30 November 2009

Another Random Book Review

As I continue to mend I've begun rummaging through my collection of books on clay, starting with the oldest and wandering from there. I enjoy the sometimes archaic language and the strong opinions that seem to have disappeared as we've gotten more 'civilized'. The stronger the opinion the better, I say, whether I agree or not.

Birch's Ancient Pottery by Samuel Birch is a 2 volume set printed in 1858. There are no photos, but it is illustrated with 100's of fine lithographs and in some ways they make it easier to see the form of a piece.

Mr. Birch's intro begins: "A work has long been required which should embody the general history of the FICTILE art of the ancients"...I had to look up 'fictile' ( It's from the Latin word meaning to mold). I should have known that...now we all do!
He also writes: "In the application of form in art, the Greeks have excelled all nations, either past or present."
In another of my favorites, The Book of Pottery and Porcelain by Warren Cox (also 2 volumes, copyright 1944) the author disagrees: "We, therefore, find at times a certain coldness in the art of the Greeks. It is though they prefer a straight line to a curve." I believe the later to be true, but mostly I enjoy the differing views of the experts.

I've been playing around with some bead making and pendants for Nicky to turn into necklaces.
I do enjoy working on wee little things. Most of these are from stamps I've carved from fine white clay and biscuit-fired.

For those keeping score, I visited my surgeon today and he won't be needing my company again for 6 months! Another positive milestone.

26 November 2009

Thanksgiving w/ an Extra Helping of Thanks!

I'm having a quiet day reading and half watching football with a good fire in the fireplace. Of course, I'm drinking tea with biscuits, too. I'm getting stronger and eating better everyday; I'm just very sore and they tell me that it is normal.
I really just want to write to say thanks again to the countless people that rallied behind me these past 6 weeks...it gives emphasis to today's celebration in a very real way.

15 November 2009

Survivor : Fredericksburg

Hello again, friends! It has been a whirlwind of a month, from diagnosis to cure, but I am now a part of that growing population that calls themselves a cancer survivor. 10 days ago the wonderful surgeon, Dr. Earnhardt, removed 8" of my colon and 3 days ago the lab report came back with the wonderful news that no bad cells were found in the lymph nodes that were also removed! The surgery was more extensive than the Dr. had hoped, but with results like that one can only be grateful.

I am eating most anything I choose, walking around the block, and you would be hard pressed to know what I'd been through if you could see me now. I'm still very sore and trying to 'manage the pain' without depending too much on the serious drugs they've given me.

I can't begin to tell you how important all of the good wishes mean to me and if the power of positive thinking truly exists, I have countless people to thank for my recovery. I'll be laying low for a while yet, but it won't be too long before I'll be heading out to the studio. Happily I enjoy making little pots.
One of the most extraordinary people to help me along the way is Steven, one of the 7 nurses who attended to me. That's him below. He was upbeat and kind while at the same time pushing me to walk and move when it was the last thing I wanted to do. He was as therapeutic as any medicine they gave me! If there are angels on this earth, he is one of them. More soon about all the support I've gotten.

Update on Dan Finnegan

(Guest bloggers Anna and John are sitting in for Dan today and want to give you an update...)

Without going into too much detail, Dan had surgery about ten days ago to remove the cancer discovered during his routine colonoscopy. All the fixing, patching and sewing that followed the procedure have gone exceedingly well. Dan is progressing as the doctors had hoped and Dan is up and around as expected.

For those of you keeping score at home, Dan was released on Tuesday afternoon and has been recuperating in a secure, undisclosed location (and under adult supervision!) His keepers continue to report nothing but good news on the Dan Finnegan progress report!

So far Dan's pain has been manageable, and all his parts that should be working are working. He is being closely monitored around the clock. Rumor has it that he may be back home before too long.

The gang at LibertyTown is coordinating a revolving 'Dinners for Dan'. Call LibertyTown for details if you wish to contribute calories to the cause.

We (collectively, all of his friends, neighbors, well-wishers and loved ones) have been successful in allowing him to focus on his recovery and that is thanks to everyone who is sending all that good Kharma his way. It continues to have a profound impact on his health, so keep bombarding him with your thoughts and prayers.

05 November 2009

Just a Few Words of Thanks

Tomorrow is the big day and I just wanted to thank all of the well wishers who've been sending me their love, affection and positive thoughts. I have been overwhelmed by the support of friends near and far. Despite the impending surgery, I sit here today feeling a fortunate man to be so rich in good people. I'll talk to you on the other side! Dan

02 November 2009


When I began writing this blog it was in part an effort to refocus my mind on my life as a potter. Running an art center and trying to be a potter at the same time often leaves me feeling discombobulated. It was never my intention to get too personal here, but rather to share some of my passion for clay and connect to more of my fellow travelers.

So, now I'm breaking my own rules here...It's not easy to share this with you all, but this Friday I'm to be operated on for colon cancer...while it is a serious surgery the outlook is very positive and my expectation is to be back in the studio by the new year. If you know anything about cancer, mine has been identified as T1-0. That indicates that I have the lowest level (T1) and that no lymph nodes are involved. This is all good. I have a great surgeon on my side and he intends to try to do this laproscopically, which means a much less invasive procedure. I also have an extraordinary community of friends who are rallying to watch out for me and help me get through this.
I may be off line here for a bit, but rest assured I will find something to go on about before long.
One bit of preaching...if you are approaching a certain age (I'm 54) call your physician and make an appointment for a colonoscopy. That's the only reason I found out and I count myself lucky to have learned this early on.
As an amusement I've included a photo from 1969...8th grade graduation. I've been a geek for a l-o-n-g time!