Thursday, November 27, 2014

I'm On A Bus……

Getting to my new job has been a amazing!  First day, the bus station was moved due to construction!  We have lived here 30 years and the bus stop has never moved, not once in 30 years.  The day I start taking the bus they move the stop.  Those are the times one should stop and say; Maybe you should rethink this decision.  BUT!  I vote for the LakeTran levies, made my kids use the bus and I would use it more but after hunting and gathering I doubt there is a seat big enough for me and all the stuff I bag on my outings, so I drive.  Finally, this seemed perfect!  A mile walk up and down a hill that could get you in shape for Mt. Shasta.  I'm not very good at estimating time so I leave 30 minutes early for a 10 minute walk and end up jogging up the hill convinced the bus is leaving.  The first day it worked to my advantage as the sign in the old bus stop said:  BUS STOP MOVED ACROSS THE STREET.   I looked across the street and there are three construction workers standing in the bus shelter, drinking coffee and eating donuts.  Hollering across the street; Hey are you waiting for the bus?  They holler back; Nope, we're working!  Well do you know where the bus stop moved?  Nope, we're working. 
Fine, I jogged to the library, no bus stop and it's 7:30 a.m. the library is closed.  While looking through the windows a reflection of the bus goes zooming by.  Turning I sprint for the bus, did I mention I am wearing a red backpack full of coffee, water, magazines and knitting!  Running down the block, observing my knee is holding up pretty well, I can see the brake lights on the bus. I wave my arms at the bus driver and throw myself off the curb.  Beat red and sweating, the bus slows down and it is my bus and the doors fly open.  Are you going to Lakeland, I pant and ask if I can please get on!  There is a young woman standing on the curb yelling into a cell phone at the Laketran office, apparently she had the same issue of finding the bus stop.  Carol Brown wedges in front me yelling at the bus driver, who is very nice guy by the way and then Carol Brown turns to me.  Oh God, here we go…..I am a magnet.

Oh you're going to Lakeland too, she asks.  Do you know Jan?  Jan hates me, do you know her because she hates me and she is very mean.  No, I reply and feed my quarters into the fare box, heading to the back of the bus. If the bus had a back door I would have kept going but I was trapped like cornered wildebeest at the edge of cliff.  She follows me, now telling me her boyfriend thinks she's fat and why don't boys like fat girls.  And I'm thinking, thank god there is no way two of us would fit on a Laketran seat as that would be way too much human as I'm not very svelte myself.  She sits across the aisle and then says, and I quote;  " I took myself off my meds and I think I'm loosing weight but I can't stop talking."  My inside voice says;  Go back on your meds, you're so thin….. but instead reach for my phone and make a fake phone call.  She quietly turns and talks in her cell phone to cancel Dr. appt's and talk to her attorney about her court date as she didn't think throwing a butter knife at her boyfriend, the one that called her fat was that bad.  
I just know Carol is going to take the bus everyday unless as she puts it; they take her to the big house.  
What does that mean….. the big house?  Who says that?  I say nothing, get out my Mother Earth News, try to read about slaughtering backyard chickens and watch people get on and off the bus.  I'm riding the bus and I love it…… the bus is full, standing room only by the time we get to the mall.  People eat, drink, groom and sleep on the bus!  At 7:30 am they drink Coke or Mountain Dew and eat food in cellophane.  Nothing fresh on this bus!  No one reads the paper anymore, everybody is plugged in.  I guess music?  There are college kids, immigrants, old people, crazy people, working people, little kids with strict Mothers and me; who can fit into any of these categories at anytime of the day.  Monday I might go as Gretchen the German noodle maker…… because I am on the bus and no one cares!  I am fascinated with all of it!  
I get to work in an hour and spend 3.5 hours unloading two oxidation kilns of bisqueware, scrape and kiln wash all the shelves, reload both kilns with greenware and program up.  Load the gas kiln, scraping all the shelves and rewashing.  I forgot how heavy student work can be and some of the work takes up an entire shelf.  It's the end of term and everybody needs their work out for critique next week.  It will be a race to the finish.   

Two hours on the bus, sprinting up the hill, chasing a bus and loading kilns, no lie when I walked in the back door at 2:30 p.m. I was kind of tired.  Monday done and Tuesday was delivery day.  Off to Oberlin, W78th St. and Brecksville.  178 miles logged, pots delivered.  Home for dinner and back on the bus Wednesday…… Carol Brown was waiting for me.  She never stops talking.  Back to Lakeland and another round of unloading, kiln shelf washing and loading.  Catch the bus home and a new cast of characters.  A very dapper older man in a suit boards the bus at the mall.  He talks to everyone on the bus and I do mean everyone!  Half way home, an old woman dressed in a fluorescent green vest, jeans, furry Ug Boots and cane gets on the bus very slowly.  She pays her fare, turns and apologizes loudly to the bus for being so slow and then says to the man in the suit;  Don't you look fine today sir!  He smiles and says Thank you and he was so tired of wearing jeans.  I'm wearing a gown on the bus next week!  She talks to everyone on the bus and asks; How are you doing?  Oh so you don't want to talk, that's OK, I'll talk to the next person.  She is a hoot! and turns out to the be the crossing guard for the grade school.   Home again, tired.  Yup, I can wash a kiln shelf like a professional!  Next week I will be tearing apart the pug mill to get ready for Christmas break, whohoo!  

This morning it's Thanksgiving and it's just two of us this year.  Rachael is in Benin, West Africa with Mamacarts and Abby is working in Crested Butte, CO.  Both are having a delightful Thanksgiving!  Us too, hiking in the morning and dinner late afternoon.
No turkey, instead baked soy/garlic/ginger marinaded salmon, boiled red potatoes tossed in butter and thyme, oven roasted cauliflower and carrots, cider beer and pumpkin custard for dessert.  

This mornings walk at the beach….. I love the beach this time of the year.

We Ohioans are a sturdy bunch as even high winds and snow will not keep us from the beach and beach combing.

New park at the bottom of the hill.  Where the flood of 2006 took out 
rows and rows of condos, now a pair of mallards is calling it home. 
Nature wins…… 

Even with the 16" snow melt the river is staying calming down.

Winter has come early this year, and the days are growing yet shorter. 
Soon the solstice will be here and we will be headed back to the light. 

For now I am happy to walk, go to a job that doesn't seem like a job, ride the bus and keep making pots :) 

Happy Thanksgiving! 

and now Rachael I would like a report from the bus in Parakou!   Miss you! 

Sunday, November 23, 2014

ARGH! …. tomorrow…….

and those closings mentioned in the last post?   
Life as I know it is closing or at least changing.  

Tomorrow morning I will wake early, tend the chicklets, drink my coffee and walk a mile to the bus stop.  Hopefully, get on the correct bus and make the 50 minute ride to my new….. job.  

My outside self is so excited for this next adventure!  One of my dear children…. you know the fruit from my lady garden…. said;  MOM, you're 60 and you're going to have a student ID?  Ha!  Mom, you're in the system!  

I have spent years staying out of the system, living underground and now I have been fingerprinted, scanned and background checked.  Ha!  I am not the axe murder of Painesville!  I have willingly given out my bank account information for direct deposit and social security information.  My last 14 years have been spent guarding it with my life and practically living under ground…. identity theft will do that!  I have a brand new SSN and just don't give it out willy nilly, the old one ended up on every rap artists and casino bathroom from here to Los Angels and Windsor, Ontario.  In my spare time my other self was out stealing cars, paying for studio time at a rap studio and buying cell phones at an alarming rate.  No wonder I was so tired….   

I filled out 32 pages of paperwork!  One of the forms used 6 pages to explain exactly what the 2 page form was and if I lied I would be taken to jail and one more time in Spanish…...  I loved reading the bottom of page 9, stating this was part of the "reduction of paperwork act" passed by congress.  The last job I had, there was one question….. are you breathing.

Today I searched the bus routes, dumped the chairs for the $1.75 bus fare, cleaned out my backpack, looked at the weather report and checked my shoes for support, tread and cushion.  Today, my other self thought the world was ending and ate; eggs sunny side up with a side of toast, bloody mary's stirred with bacon sticks, a can of salt and vinegar Pringles, pizza and washed down with cold beer.  I am either going to die or be so swollen, the guy who hired me won't know it's me.  By morning I should look like the Michelin Tire guy waddling to the bus stop!  It's not the end of the world just me getting a J-O-B.   

The funny part of the entire story…… I got the job to pay the over head on the gallery.  I know when January hits, sales will come to a screeching halt, it's retail.  But your rent is still due and so is the electric bill, insurance and clay to buy.  So in my effort to be a self supporting potter I had to get a job.  I find that ridiculously funny!  I think it's just like that these days. We hear the big recession is over but the guy who lives behind me and runs a great little neighborhood greenhouse has taken a job driving a school bus to pay bills too.  The green house has been in his family at least two generations and supported the family. 

Hmmmm so 3 days a week out of the studio, a gallery to keep filled and open, loads of pots to weave, 4 galleries to keep stocked,  two or three shows to apply to and OH here's big news, teaching two sessions at Touch Stone Center for Craft .  And lets not forget that garden thing!  2015 is bucking up to be a busy year and if my other self can step in and lend a hand I bet it could use my old Social Security Number!  

Openings and Closings…...

Since the last post there have been two openings at the gallery and 4 kilns fired.  
Pots packed, gallery adjusted, little sleeping and lots of throwing. 
Wednesday night we had a very nice event for the Earth Day Coalition.  Sold two framed pieces and drove home at 11 p.m.  Long day……. 

Thursday was spent trimming, firing and thinking about Fridays opening. 
We got hit with another storm on Thursday so all the hunting and gathering was pitched back to Friday morning.  I managed to make a vat of hummus and smoked salmon dip, clean veggies, buy boxes of crackers and couple bottles of wine.  Slapped it on a table before opening and slam a few cups of coffee.  Drove home at 11 p.m.  Long day…… 
There seems to be a theme with this gallery thing.  Long day…… 
but I am paying my rent! 

Table for 6 please…..

I LOVE hosting a small portion of the "Directors Choice" show from Lakeland! 
Even sold one of Richard Aerni's lovely bowls!  As the woman bought the 
bowl, so many other potters standing around said:  Awwww, he's such a nice guy! 
Is that just the best thing ever?!   I love having other work in the gallery and thinking a visiting clay artist might be a great thing every month!

And Neil Patterson….. his work is just the bomb! 

And I have too many pots, the place is starting to look like a garage sale.  
There are three more shows in December and then have potters angst if I have enough…. 
It's just like ordering mulch, hmmm 20 yards but wait I should have ordered 22 yards. 
One never knows…. and whatever the buying public decides is the best thing you make, you only made one.  I know I need shelving, lots of shelving!  It will make a huge difference in display, but as this space is temporary and the big move to permanent space will begin in January I am reluctant to build a shelf unit.  For now making due!  Seriously, just the thought of moving all the stuff here is a bit daunting. 

and more pots…..

Working on sheep to go with the bees…… 

Here are the results from a day with a photographer in the studio.  
The photographer is taking classes on portraiture and wondered if I would be up
for a few pictures.  Sure!  I hope her critique goes well because we did have fun!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Living in the moment…….

One day it's sunglasses and sunbathing chickens taking deep sumptuous dust baths.  The next day we are butt in the air, madly digging through dressers for mittens, long johns and the flannel sheets.  Looking at the clothes flopped over the chair next to bed.  Summer tee shirts, shorts, sweaters, long johns and always muddy jeans….. ahhhh weather A.D.D.    The shoes by the back door are piles of flip flops and boots.

It's November, it's dark.  All Summer, Fall and Spring, I look out the back window to embrace the joy of the day but November just kind of sucks the embrace of day in the inky darkness.  I don't know how to dress until I hit the back door on my way to the chicken coop.  Who needs a weather rock?  I have nose hairs that freeze together and scrunch up your face so hard it scares the chickens and the neighbor lady gazing out her kitchen window.  But snow?  Really?   This is more than frost on the pumpkins, this is buried pumpkins.  

Trying really hard to embrace living moment to moment without bitching too much.

This morning I sat in the glow of the TV weather report and news, eating my warm bowl of rice with cinnamon.  Savoring each grain as it warmed my frozen face.  Good Morning America has the lead story…… BROWN RICE HIGHER IN ARSENIC IN THAN ANY OTHER RICE….. 
I stopped eating mid chew.  My healthy brown rice that we eat quite often, is loaded with arsenic and I should be eating white rice?  I finished my rice….. I'm living large in the moment.  I'm old, how quick will arsenic kill me?  It lingers and takes a long time…. excellent!  And one of the side effects?  Shiny hair.  joy.  

This time of the year I spend a great deal of time in the studio…… talking to Self.  Self is brilliant!  
There is a big mirror in front of my wheel.  As I looked up, cutting the 50th mug off the wheel head I caught that crazy person looking back at me.  Jesus, get a hair cut and how about those bags under your eyes!  Whoa!  As the day progressed I remembered all the fuggly hair cuts I've had over the years and all the big bucks spent.  Self said:  Hey, why don't you cut your own hair?  Can it be as bad as the time you had a pixie cut and you were 8 months pregnant?  Or the time the hair dresser at Studda Bubba's House of Beauty said: Oh Honey, you need a makeover and perm!   I drove up the road and paid another hair person big bucks to fix it.  And besides I don't have time to go….. living in the moment of studio insanity.   I walked in the house and lopped off my hair.  I like it!  I went to home depot last night for lumber and paint.  On my way to the truck I stopped next door at the dollar hair cut store.  It was awesome!!!  It was -15 with the wind chill, snow blowing and the women were sitting around reading.  I took all my layers off, that took longer than the haircut, and said lop off the back, don't touch anything else and whatever you do don't wet my hair, my mittens could freeze to my hair it I touch it outside and I will never get the keys out of my pocket.  She was, like whatever….. whipped out her clippers, grabbed the mirror, spun me around in the chair and said; Like that?  No higher and she took another 1" off.  I was thrilled and she charged me $5!   It's taken me 60 years to live in the moment of coiffeuring my own hair.  Yes, couiffeuring is verb!  

I've unloaded two full glaze loads of the new stuff.  I spent two days at the gallery figuring out how to display this new stuff.  I put the place setting for 4 on an old antique walnut table and it was great. 
This morning I unloaded another kiln and stacked the dishes on those white benches I made last summer.  Wow!  They look way better than on that walnut table.  There is an opening tonight and an opening on Friday.  I am running home after the opening tonight and painting up a table in white wash and installing it for Friday!!  Living in the moment has become a lot more work! 

and good news …..
the rewired kiln went up last night and worked great! 

Yes, I am thankful for working kilns, snow blowers, wood stoves, happy chickens and most of all…….
I dont' live in Buffalo…. 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Announcing the New Mascot for Paine Falls Pottery…..

Oh yes, it's the loon!  Did you like that whiney post yesterday….. deep thoughts.  
One friend pointed out I should quit pottery and start a greeting card company.  

On Sunday night I wrote the letter to Head of the Ceramics Dept stating I just can't possibly take this job as Ceramics Lab Tech.  It would take me out of the studio too much but, sigh… I am such a kick ass potter who is just so incredibly busy…… doing what?  Oh yeah I had a herd of Brownies here last month and I'm a bit short on my electric bill this month.  
After a couple phone calls, a visit to the college campus yesterday to slide the letter under the door of the guy who interviewed me, talk to myself on the drive there and just plain buying that ticket on the crazy train.  
You just need to slap yourself and say this is a great opportunity!

How many times do we say, NO to things because of…… 
well this blog isn't long enough to list the excuses.
So for once I said, YES!  
Do something different, get out there……. and then 
Heidi posted this great article from the NY Times on her Facebook page 
and it was awesome and boiled down to get out there!  
You can read it here:   Ny Times Masters

Can I work at the college, run the gallery and still make pots?  
And then there is that gardening, fishing thing I love so much…… 
Well I will let you know….. 

For now I am embracing the "Yes", deciding to pay my bills, have 
a bit of a financial cushion and talk to real people because 8 chickens and a cat do not talk back.
I gave myself a one year commitment and can re-access this time next year.  

Maybe I won't need to be so crazy and I kick back and relax for a minute.

nahhhhhhh, that will never happen……

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Turmoil in the Falls……..

Six days since the last post and I think there are skid marks on my face.  

Last Tuesday I left the compound and had a JOB interview!  Anybody else feel the shockwaves?  
I applied to work as the ceramic lab tech for the local community college.  It was a two hour interview and probably one of the most fun interviews I have been on….. ever!  Love the guy who runs the dept. and think if I had to work for somebody I would want to work for this guy.  We discussed philosophy, clay, equipment, student work and on it went.  I walked around in the studio where I took my first clay class and the new guy had cleaned it up remarkably from what I remember.  Got rid of the clay mixer and was buying premixed clay!  Still mixing glazing but had added two oxidation kilns next to the old gas belcher.  I gotta say I was in a bit of daze.  I went back to get an associates degree in ….. well I can't remember.  What do I remember?  Walking in to the ceramics and being sucked in for 6 years, never getting a degree in anything.  Moved on, bought garage sale equipment and it was game on for ….. well, the next 30 years or so.   I do remember what a lab tech does, it's stuff I do in my own studio all the time.  Load kilns, unload trucks of clay, pug clay, scrape kiln shelves, rewire kilns, mix glazes and all that crap I hate doing in my own studio so I can throw pots and I would be doing it 24 -29 hours a week.  Benefit?  A paycheck: $14 and hour.  But the oxidation kilns have been fired in a college setting for the last 7 years and never had the elements changed and they are Skutts, so no fancy element channels, pins and a propane torch to rewire those cuties.

I drove home rolling all this around in my head and getting hit in the face with my kiln that fried a couple weeks ago and now needs rewiring.  There was also clay to pug and throw, kilns to load and glazes to mix.  Oh, the irony…. 

so I sat on the floor and contemplated my dilemma…… 
geeze I hate this part of my studio life.

I went as far as I could go with the kiln and ordered $300 worth of parts, they should be here Tuesday.

Leaving me the rest of the week to bisque fire all that dinnerware, scrape shelves and not sleep. 
After all that dinnerware and deep thinking was in order, I went for big.  I LOVE making big pots, I just can't sell big pots.  These are 22-23" tall and I will weave rims.  They will probably shrink to 12" or at least that how it feels when I open that last glaze firing :) 


Voted on Tuesday too…..

Dropped off work to a local art show and attended the Friday night opening. 
Sales were good for the amount of pots I took and it was nice to see everybody.  The show has been around over 35 years and it's been a good show over the years.  I cut my teeth on this show.  As I walked around and saw old friends I realized we were really OLD friends.  How and when did that happen?  We had a really great time!! 

Saturday I ran new fixtures down to the gallery, grocery shopped, and looked for new credit card readers for my iPad.  I currently use Intuit but have gone through 3 card readers and hate their bank statements!  I hunted around and landed on
I'll keep you posted on how I like this new service.  It's getting rave reviews and no card reader! 
In the evening we attended the Grand River Sailing Clubs end of the year awards and chicken dinner.   I went to hear the awards and watch Butch give his final speech as commodore and pass out this years trophies and hats.  Whew, glad this part of life is over!  Who knew sailors were such a pain the ass, honestly the drama was intense.  It was prom to the 10th power around here for the last 9 months.  But alas he was Commo-dorable and won't ever do it again.   

We got up Sunday morning and returned ice tubs and bevies back to the club house.  Remember the He-Man Woman Haters Club with Spanky in the lead from the Little Rascals?  I think this is the same clubhouse with a blue paint.  

I walked the marina.  It's my favorite time to be at the marina. 
The two legged wildlife moves out and the 
four legged, feathered wildlife moves in. 

The grebes are back!! 

and check this guy out!!  It's a fisher!!  

Easy access hole to disappear.  Think I'll head down with pack of hot dogs 
and my camera, could be a great winter with a camera! 

Sail boats are out but the stone boats work until the lake freezes.

All done at the marina and off to the beach for a brisk Sunday morning walk 
with a cup of hot coffee…… 

The turmoil was at the lake too.  Whenever the cobwebs need cleared and 
the stink needs blown off, the beach is good place to go.

Found this old green tile that washed up.  The sharp edges where 
tumbled smooth after time rolling around the bottom. 
My edges are pretty worn these days too.  I'm a lot like this old tile; 
tumbled smooth over the years, a little pitted and a bit rounder.

It's been good to have roots, even if you do have to 
twist in the wind from time to time.

Even when the wind is stiff, it's better to stand firm, looking into the wind. 
Take off is a breeze :) 

Things are not always what they seem.  I swore this was 
sponge from some potters studio, washed up on shore. 
But alas it was a brick worn round and to the perfect size of a 
studio sponge….. 

and for god's sake pay attention to wear you step! 

Let your precious seeds go, blown to the four winds and 
they will sprout with new ideas after long winter days are past. 
So like the seeds, I will be back out on the road next year and doing a few shows. 

 But it's good to be home and know your place in the world 
is secure and you really don't need that job right now. 
You are a maker, a traveler, a gardener and someone who is creative enough to 
flower through the cracks of the bricks and figure out how to pay bills.  
I will have to go back out on the road but maybe not so far this time and maybe not so big this time. 
I won't freeze or starve this winter and I have a ton of clay that needs to be spun to gold by Spring.