29 April 2011

Public Notice...Artists' Yard Sale

Although completely unrelated, you must click on the photo below and read and enjoy!
 Riverby Books is a fantastic used bookstore here in the 'Burg and Paul Cymrot writes the best things I get to read. His 'whiteboard' comments are legendary.  
Tomorrow morning at least a dozen LibertyTown artists will be selling everything from art and art supplies to random household items.
I will have a big bunch of pots for sale covering most if not all of the leftovers from the past 9 firings.

For many years I fired my work in a gas reduction kiln and that kiln produced so few 'seconds' that I stopped selling them...I'd either give them away if they weren't too bad or chuck 'em out. I suppose that it is the snob in me that enjoyed being able to declaim my unwillingness to sell any pot that less than a 'first'. And it has always bugged me when folks would come to the shop and ask immediately for the 'seconds'. I know it's more of my snobbery, but I can't help myself.
That brings me to tomorrow...the wood kiln often produces pots more beautiful than I imagine, but there are some that just seem to lack that certain je ne sais quoi and others that have various flaws. I'm doing a clear-out just before firing #10 and eating a little crow because, the truth is, I do sell 'seconds'....once in while...and reluctantly. Maybe I'll wear sunglasses and go in disguise...

Aline has great plants for sale!

24 April 2011

Doug and Hannah Redux

It's hard to believe that a week has gone by since H & D finished up their workshop at LibertyTown. We packed so much into one week that it's hard to digest. I'm sure that their heads must be ready to explode!
    I met the gang (Ang included) in Cape Cod as their first workshop was winding down. After good-byes with Hollis and friends at the coffee shop we piled into my Jeep and headed for western Connecticut, a beautiful rural piece of Ol' New England that I know well from my younger days.
    Our mission was to visit the pottery of Guy Wolffe, a well known maker of traditional earthenware pots and a great enthusiast for old pots...and old music as well. Sadly we only had a couple of hours to visit and poor Guy had so much to share with us that I'm sure he must have been spent by the time we left. This is a man who throws close to 30 tons(!) of clay a year! and plays a mean blues guitar...and banjo as well. He made 25 lb. pots for us, shared his collection of old pots, treated us to cold drinks, dusted off the guitar with a great old bluesy song and generally shared his enthusiasm for clay and his excitement at meeting his British 'cousins'.
We heard tales of Oprah and Martha and Dustin and Meryl...this is a potter who moves in different circles than many of us. Still it was great to meet him and I look forward to getting back there one day.
Jennifer,Jason, Misha and Beth...4 of my current and former assistants!
From Guy's place we then did a marathon trip to Virginia...a ten hour drive passed huge chunks of America, but what can you do? This is a big-ass country! I still had to show them my patch of God's green earth here...an hours drive west to  the Blue Ridge Mountains, an hour east to the Chesapeake Bay and one hour north to Washington, DC (our nation's capitol). We toured LibertyTown and my studio on the farm (we stayed in the grand old farmhouse there...thanks to Steve and Nicky) and spent a day in Washington, visiting the new native American Museum and The Freer Gallery of Asian Art (my favorite on the Mall). We visited Trista Chapman's studio back here in Fredericksburg and made burritos with Emily, Paul, Ellie, Jim, Elizabeth and Milo. Plus several visits to Carl's Ice Cream (the line last night was almost a half hour wait!), Parthenon Pizza and Sammy T's. And we even managed a cup of tea once in a great while...
Lots of laughing the whole week. Ellie Bird called Doug "naughty". She's correct.
We held a reception on Friday night and had a great turnout. A good deal of cash was exchanged for pots and by the end of the weekend there were just a few remaining. I was delighted to see people supporting this newest venture of ours. This is the first time we've hosted out of town artists for a workshop and we advertised both regionally and nationally and we are already muttering about next year's pottery workshop marathon. The response was very gratifying.
Sorry, they're all sold!
Of course you've probably seen lots of blog reports about the workshop itself. It was a fantastic few days and inspiring to many of us. It was really good idea I had. There have been so many good connections made and tales told and future plans hatched.
Lovely pots

trying out the inner tube slip trailer

Slip trailing a large platter

Everyone was able to do a little sgrafitto on one of Doug's jugs
Within minutes of concluding a sublime workshop I whisked them off to the most ridiculous event I know (and I mean that in the best way possible!)...the 34th annual Virginia State Frisbee Championships. Friends of mine have been hosting this from the very beginning and it attracts some of the best frisbee players in the world. It is a totally zany, counterculture lovefest, held outdoors rain or shine in a local park. Hannah couldn't ever get her brain around it and as we left suggested that it might all have been a mirage! Of course, the moonshine she drank may have clouded her judgment. Both Hannah and Doug were indoctrinated/inducted into the Laszlo's Weenie World Family (if you don't know, don't ask...it's complicated...) which involves buying meaningless stock which requires the wearing of the pirate hat and wielding of the mighty sword...and the drinking of the 'shine...the 'clear' or the raspberry! I don't understand what struck Hannah as being so unusual??!! I hope that she will relate her take on this when she gets home. Don't pull any punches, Hannah! Tell it like you saw it!

Toasting with a pirate's brew...(hint... think  moonshine) impromtu bluegrass band in background.
I think I've been putting off this recap because I don't really want to bring this adventure to an end. It was a couple of years ago that we first discussed the idea of the trip under the shade of the Milway's plum tree orchard in Gloucestershire, England. Now my mind is slowly turning towards my 10th firing coming up on the 17th/18th of May. I still have pots to make and lots of new bird ideas I won't get to this time. But that's always the way...

18 April 2011

So Long, Farewell, Auf Wiedersehen, Good-bye!

I just returned from a misty-eyed parting with our dear friends from across the big pond. Kevin Crowe kindly provided a wonderful meeting place and warm hospitality for the hand-off. The ol' slipware couple and Ang are in the capable hands of Ron Philbeck now, making their way to the heart of North Carolina clay country. I am completely shattered and happy to be back home with Miss Moneypenny and the aftermath! It'll take me the rest of the week to fill you in on our fantastic week. It should be no surprise that Doug and Hannah completely charmed and inspired all of us who were lucky enough to be with them this week!
Lunch on the porch!
In Kevin's studio, full to the roof with pots awaiting the fire.
Love those t-shirts!

15 April 2011

Alive and Well!

I apologize for the lack of updates , but we've been keeping very busy and have often been far from the land of the internet...a poor excuse for four bloggers, but there you are. I'll do some catching up next week.  The weather has been glorious and the company delightful. Now, on to the workshop!

08 April 2011

Surprise Workshop!!!

In case you just crawled out from under a rock you should know that these two charming British potters will be in residence at LibertyTown Arts Workshop in Fredericksburg, Virginia next weekend.

Fredericksburg is just one hour south of washington, DC and we still have space available.
The weekend package cost $150.00 which includes a reception friday evening, demonstrations on Saturday and Sunday and a cookout on Saturday night. As an extra special bonus, the oldest frisbee tournament in America is happening just across the river and we may have to drop in on those old (and young) hippies!
Contact us at 540-371-7255 Don't delay!!
(I apologize to Doug and Hannah about the photos...I grabbed them off of the web)

06 April 2011

Betwixt and Between

Life has been overfull lately, what with gallery openings, beekeeping, and workshop preparations, but I'm still squeezing out a few pots when I can. I'm feeling a little desperate to get enough made for a May firing. I've been thinking of candlesticks for a while. Here's my first try.

04 April 2011

My Second Hobby

We took this first hive apart right to the last 'super' where we found the queen!
For most of the past 35 years or so I would often quip that I had no hobbies...making pots is what I would choose to do most days even if I didn't make my living by it.  Then I discovered poker about 5 years ago and ever since then I've admitted to having a hobby. Now I have two...today I became a beekeeper! 
I drove to Washington, D.C. (our nation's capitol) today to meet Todd C. who started two hives last year and today was the day to divide the more active hive and remove the queen before it swarmed! Very exciting to be there and watch as Toni, Todd's mentor, and Todd go through the entire hive, piece by piece, and find the one and only queen amidst the 40,000 - 60,000 bees that are inside! Very exciting. These are urban bees, sited just a few blocks from the Halls of Congress and the Capitol Building. 
Todd's hive is so healthy it was overcrowded and was REAL close to swarming.
Todd is a keen beekeeper, but he reacts badly to stings, so he keeps himself well wrapped up. I am less sensitive... a subject for another time...
Box o' bees!
Todd pretends to be looking for the queen.
Looking down into the hive
 5 frames of bees, honey, nectar, polen, eggs, brood and the queen were packed into the 'nuc' box. This was duly sealed up for the 50 mile ride back home.
This is the nuc box for transporting.
 About halfway home I noticed a bee in front of me so I rolled down the window and she flew out. Then it struck me that where there is one bee escaping, perhaps there is another. So I turned around, going 70 mph, to see the following scene on the rear window!
I decided that I just had to carry on as fast as I could and not stop. The red lights were a bit hairy, but they never showed much interest in me and I got home unscathed. Every hobby should start so auspiciously...

03 April 2011

Food Show Winners!

Our 5th annual "FOOD SHOW" opened Friday night to wide acclaim.,We always open the show with an "Art made from Food" competition and the entries this year were delightful to behold...and to consume! After the judging is complete, the eating commences! Most things don't last long. Thanks to all who entered. Start thinking of next years prize winner now!
'Choc-fil-a' was my entry, what else could I make? 100% edible...except for Hollis' plate.
"Mona Lisa' in jello...coffee, tea, etc. to make the colors
'The Bug Juice Bar' was the first place winner by a large number. Great work, Sharon!
Detail of the 'Bug Juice Bar'
I couldn't even look at this one and people were funny about eating it....chocolate cake with a twist!
Kathy H. continues to produce exquisite and delicate entries each year. All of these flowers and petals are made by hand.
The 'White House' suffered some structural problems as the night went on. Faulty mortar?!
'Edible Easels'  by a group of under five year olds and their moms! (and Neal)