Sunday, December 20, 2009

Setting up my Upstairs Space and the Snow Storm

Sitting area in my office
Kitchen Window

The House

Pasture next to the Studio

Pond with Trees
We are staying warm. Jim threw pots today and I tackled my paperwork. We ventured up to the road in hopes of getting the mail but it looks like none has been delivered in the past few days. The public road hasn't been plowed. Good thing we have plenty of food and a few good books.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Studio around the back.

Raku Ruth- pink dress and all!

Glazing station.

Where the raku process happens.

Here is the side corner of the house (our bedroom) and up above is the studio. There is a good sized area in front of the studio with a high roof for raku and pitfiring. The view from my small corner of the studio is towards the woods, pond and house.

My New Home

This photo of the house was taken in June 2009.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Hugin and Munin- Thought and Memory

Hugin and Munin Sculpture
Hugin and Munin are Odin's raven spies. They fly about gathering information and bring it back to Odin. They are known as Thought and Memory.

Thought and Memory

I think therefore I am.

Sometimes I think if others could see my thought processes they might think I am a little crazy.

I especially go into overload in the grocery store but not in the way you might expect. If you know me you know I love to cook and explore new foods and I like to wild harvest food.
What happens to me in a grocery store revolves around my disdain over what we call food and what we accept as reasonable and normal.
I feel like I am in a universe of bad options.
I don't want to bring anything home that comes in Styrofoam. ( I'll rant about that another time, why I HATE the stuff and think it is utter madness.) I wish to reduce or give up on plastic bottles and excess packaging.
OK so that is just a start. Then there is country of origin. Asparagus from Peru? Why do I need to eat out of season food from the other side of the planet?
Organic versus conventionally grown...well you can guess the answer to that one....Local non organic verses organic not local...not so easy. Sometimes local, not organically certified is actually organically grown...but not having jumped through the hoops for certifications...
Ahh, but what about coffee ( don't drink it at home), cooking oils ( I buy them), grains and legumes?
You will find it harder an harder to buy USA grown organic grains. Many come from China now and I take their certification with a grain of salt.

Don't you love that phrase? With a grain of salt? Have to look that one up!

Off to the seafood case. it is harder to shop for seafood here as the labeling requirements in Washington State were stricter. Not everything is labeled farmed or by country of origin.
I don't eat farmed fish even though some are considered OK....they aren't OK by me.
I don't eat fish that has been over fished..That doesn't leave much left and I love fish and could eat it daily.I used to be able to get all my detergents, shampoo, oils,soy, maple syrup, honey and teas, grains and pasta in bulk bringing my own containers. I have many of these sourced out but not all.
Meat...local from small herds or flocks..No Styrofoam. Pretty limiting. I had all this down, living in Port Townsend. I am only half way there living in North Carolina. I haven't had the time to explore all my options yet. There are CSA's and lots of organic farms all around. I'll set up my network again. I'll replant my mint and lemon balm patch for my year's supply of tea and harvest nettles and whatever else I learn to find in the woods and by streams.

It is all part of the adventure.

I do manage to come home with food but often not what I was hoping for. Yesterday at the fancy Fresh Food Market they had only a small amount of tofu and none I could buy unpackaged. There was no organic chicken or bulk teas. Most of the vegetables were not organically grown.
There was very little in the way of rice or soy milk on the shelves. Most of the crackers were not organic. I'll keep looking for a really good place for the winter months and will connect with the Farmer's Market in the spring.
We got an estimate for clearing a small area for me to grow a garden. $1,000 plus will need to bring in dirt ( clay here) and fence out the deer and bunnies...Does it make sense?
That's a lot of veggies to get to zero. I miss my garden...terribly. It made sense in a world that to me does not.

My Port Townsend Garden

Hopefully the world will have to end the transport of food that could be local from far away. Here I see Washington apples imported across the country in an area that is rich in apples! The very same varieties no less. Madness.
Fight back when you shop. One by one it does add up. Or perhaps it doesn't. I don't know, but it is just the way I am wired and I am not likely to change much! It only seems to get worse the more I think about the crazy way we eat.

my bed as it was in Port Townsend

Back to Hugin and Munin

I ponder several ideas....they haunt me actually.

The idea that I, and we, have about objects and places of violent death. You know, the place marked by the roadside where someone was killed in a wreck. The shrines of fake flowers and other mementos. Cemeteries and gravestones...objects given to us by friends or from those now gone or far away, or made by our children, grandchildren and loved ones.
Do we think the soul's of the death hover at the places they died? Why make a memorial to the place they died? Why not of where they were born? We don't fear what we were before we were born but we fear what we are or are not after our death. Why is that? The conscious to the unconscious?

These objects and places take on meaning for us. I kept a bright yellow colander for years that I never liked, because it was a gift from a friend. I recently gave it to my son Tucker.
I no longer in touch with this friend from my Vermont days and was able to let it go. Having moved across the country again I have boxes of mementos. My touchstones to my past. Each object a storehouse of memories.

Last night I slept upstairs in our guest bed because Jim is sick.
He rarely gets sick and has been healthy through a long stretch of stressful times and just finished his last show of the season. I guess his body just decided it was OK for him to shut down and take a break. Chicken soup is on the stove cooking...not organic, and it does have some kashsa and seaweed in it!

What got me thinking about objects and memories. I slept last night in my old bed and sheets and blankets brought here from Port Townsend, Washington. The bed I shared with Bob now here and for the first time since I moved, slept in by me, by myself.
That sure was hard. Yesterday was Bob's ( my soon to be x) 62nd birthday so naturally he was on my mind all day. Wondering how he was doing I sent him a Happy Birthday email and also emailed my list of friends and family that I thought might want to wish him a Happy Birthday as well.
He still is not talking to me.

So here I am with my thoughts and memories trying to weave my past into my present and create a new beginning. Some days it flows and is easy and other days I cry and try to accept the joys and the sorrows. I feel that being here now is the right thing for me to be doing. I wish I did not have to cause so much sorrow for myself and others in order to get here.

There it is: the conundrum.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

"Mastering Raku" by Steven Branfman has just come out and I have photos of two of my critters in this new book. Amazon has a great price on this book.

On the inside of the dust jacket is my White Buffalo which also appears inside the book along with the Running Horse in copper matte. Great for the ego!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

View from the Snake River
South of Moab, Utah

Haybales across the road from Dayna and Marlen's Bellevue, Idaho

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Coming Home, home coming....

I arrived on the evening of October 8th 2009. My moving van came on the 10th and the next few days were a blur of unpacking and exhaustion. I just wanted to do nothing for a week but the pressure of my list of orders was forcing me to get the studio up and running. I have unpacked the studio, most of the kitchen, and my clothes. I haven't found my tea kettle yet!

I have wanted to do a full write up on my cross country trek.
Each day I find myself too tired and it is all starting to blur.
I have many photos to upload. My trip across the country was overwhelming at times, and wonderful and terrible all at once. I cried my way across the country. I sang along with my old tapes. I pulled over when I got too tired. Shadow was my ambassador of good will. I had adventures. I talked to Jim several times a day and also to Gary my truck driver. He (Gary) became my guardian angel and checked in with me each day as we wandered across America. He calls me sister. I think he is an amazing human being and a true gift. Who knew? we met up for lunch in Nashville.
Arriving here was such a relief and overwhelming. The tears continued to flow for many days...but somehow within the last few days I feel differently...more grounded and at peace.
My kiln is up and running and I rakued a few days ago. Somehow being fully back at work made the difference. Living with Jim is the easy part, letting go is the hard part. I do feel guilty for leaving those I hold so dear behind. I do mourn the loss of parts of my old life. I am sure that this is where I am supposed to be. I love being around just feels right.
The land here is so beautiful. Great rolling farmland, huge hardwood trees, asters, ragweed, queen anne's lace, pokeweed, mullein, grasses and cattails...cows, donkeys, white squirrels, goats and horses, hay fields and corn. It is much like Vermont but more hardwoods and more open. I still get lost on the backroads and don't have a clear picture in my head of the geographic relationship of the small towns around me.
I wonder if I will get a Southern accent?
I'll post pictures and travel stories soon. I promise!
Tomorrow I will be going to the Southern Highland's Craft Show in Asheville that Jim is selling his work in. I'll meet his friends and check out the other artists and help him break down his booth at the end of the day.
Living with another artist is amazing in so many little ways. It is like we speak the same secret language and flow with the same rhythms that working with clay imposes.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Misty Mountains of Utah (below), Cortez, CO (right)


Abandoned Homestead

Eastern Washington Balloon and Birds

Yakima, WA Lumberyard FIRE!!!

Eastern, WA or Oregon....

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Going and Coming

After seriously underestimating how long it would take to pack up my household things and my studio by about a factor of ten....I was rescued by several friends and my driver Gary Duplex. Gary is from Tennessee and came a day ahead of time and helped me do a marathon packing session along with a great local young man named Blake that a friend recommended for the job.
What I learned from this experience is more than I can easily put into words. The stress just about did me in. The kindness sent my way was very special and still brings me to tears. I am learning so much with each new day. I feel incredibly loved and I also find people has been so incredibly open with me lately. My conversations have so much depth and honesty and sometimes I am even overwhelmed by it all. I have had people releasing some very painful and private feelings and history...none of which I can discuss. I am left with a feeling that we all carry around some very intense hurts, illnesses, loneliness and broken relationships.

I am in Kamas Utah with about 2,000 miles to go on this trip. I have had a very intensely amazing trip so far and I will be posting photos and going into more details. So far I have experienced the immensity of driving through the steep Cascade mountain range, driving through the east sides of Washington and Oregon seeing vast rolls of hay, alfalfa, sugar beets, hops and fruit. In Idaho the rock formations have been intense and remind me of Keflavik,
I have been visiting with family in Idaho and now in Utah..meeting my great nieces and nephews.
The 2 nights I have spent in motels have been a study in contrasts. My first night was in a small old motel full of Hispanic families along with a bunch of kittens and puppies. All the little girls loved petting my small old dog Shadow and I had a great time hanging out with babies , toddlers and middle school aged boys who shared their remote controlled cars and kittens with me. Last night I stayed at a pet friendly Best Western that was luxurious and also had good energy. The restaurant next door was fairly empty and the other guests , our waitress and I had a great conversation. The waitress is a lesbian and she and her partner are trying to decide if they should have a child together. So the conversations ranged far and wide from travel, school to becoming a parent.
I traveled to Salt Lake City today and met up with Stan Roberts of XAZ Beads. He and I met years ago in Seattle at the gift show and we have talked a few times since. He gave me advise on how to build a small electric raku fired kiln. I loved seeing his set up and unique firing tricks. He is a tall slender sweet man with a great smile and lots of wisdom. I will post photos later.
Its is almost 3 am so back to bed...
Reminders to self: write about dumpster diving, keys in the car, cell phone hell, impressions of the places I have been, saying good bye one last night and gifts of the open dreams and babies..................
More later..Pictures too.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Upstage Benefit concert for Serena and my Guardian Angel arrives!

Here is a photo of Jasper and me as he played with water in my sink. Just water and bubbles can make the best play things!

Last night I packed until 9:00 pm and thought I should go to bed early. But instead at the last minute I decided to head into town and go to a benefit concert at the Upstage in Port Townsend. Serena's 103 year old cello has broken and is being repaired in Seattle with an estimated cost of $2,000.

She is a beautiful young single mother, composer and passionate musician. The turn out was great and the whole event came together under the direction of Joe Breskin who managed to network through his vast email list and get folks to come and play music and donate to the cause.

The quality of the music was excellent, deep and heartfelt. It was more than special to experience this event.

Today my Guardian Angel arrived in the form of a truck driver from Tennesee. Gary is a special man and he came a day early and is helping me pack. I have been so completely overwhelmed by the volume of stuff that has to be packed. Even with help I was and still am far behind. We just about have the house all done and while he and some local hired help load up what is in boxes I will tackle the rest of the studio packing in the morning. My assistant Rose spend 3 days packing bisqued animals and plaster molds. River helped tape up and pack the glazes over the weekend. I have had so much help with packing and the yardsale.

Many thanks to all my dear sweet loving and kind friends who have brought me food, helped set up and breakdown the yardsale stuff, taken trash to the dump and checked in often. I feel loved.

I do not have a lap top and this computer will get packed up tomorrow morning. So the next entries will be from borrowed computers along the way. I will take photos and upload as I get the opportunity. Tomorrow Jenny is cleaning my car for the trip...sweet!

The last few months have by far been the most difficult in my life. Great highs and lows.

As excited as I am about leaving for North Carolina and living with Jim I am also very sad about leaving this community that has made me feel more loved and enfolded than any other place I have ever lived.

Leaving Jenny and Jasper is heart breaking. I will visit of course, but it just isn't going to be the same.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Crying a River.....

Last night was my going away party hosted by Jill Beaumont and Tom Lemmons. They set up for the party in a small grove of young trees with a circle of Adirondack chairs, picnic table and a wonderful fire in a deep fire pit. Most of my friends were able to come. Some coming as from as far away as San Juan Island which is 2 ferry rides from the north where I raised my sons. My dear friends River and Chinmayo (the San Juan Island friends) came early and helped me pack and to cheer me up. They are deep souls and among some of the finest women I know. Each have lived through hard times and painful life experiences to only become stronger and more full of life and creativity. They are amazing people. They love deeply and give of them selves fully.
Actually I think I could say that about most of my friends here.

As I looked around I realized that my friends are artists, musicians, writers, story tellers, fishermen and healers, gardeners, great cooks, world travelers, committed community minded seekers after the ideal of a better way of living, sharing and relating to the blessing of living on the fragile planet we call home. Otto, Kristin, Joe and Buzz played music, the potluck was sumptuous and made mostly from local fish and fruit and vegetables. Carrie cooked the huge roast beast I had left from the 1/4 of a beef cattle from a local farm. Had to defrost that freezer!

We live in one of the most bountiful places on the planet.

I can only absorb just so much right now. I am so overwhelmed and fragile and find it hard to let go and say my good byes and hear all the loving words of support and friendship.

Pam danced with me and sang a sweet impromptu love rhyme in my ears.. The tears flowed.

I had to say good bye to my son Tucker early this morning as he headed out to Lopez Island and then home to Mt Baker with a truck load of his broken motorcycle, dirt bike and snow mobile...He sold the broken 1979 Toyota 4x4 pick up to a local off roader and will sell the rest for whatever he can get. He is determined to not accumulate more "projects" that he doesn't actually get to! A great life lesson many of us need to learn. He is most likely headed to Alaska again to continue with Avalanche and Rescue training. He is a certified Heli-sking Guide.

My other son Evan started his first semester at Whatcom Community College and just found out his Pell Grant came through! I think he is going to do very well in school. I am proud of both of them.

I have had some wonderful support with friends helping me pack and even bringing me food. I have lots 10 lbs....combination of stress and being really strict with my new diet to control my diabetes. Feels really good to be losing weigh. 10 lbs to go..seems attainable.
I'll hopefully make my deadline of being ready by Friday for the moving van! It seems impossible to pull off. Hopefully tomorrow will be a day of more packing and less crying! Cavin Richie is going to build a crate for one of my kilns....more kindness and generosity.....My plants are finding new homes and my treasures are mostly packed. If you stop by I will put you to work!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

I'm officially tired of crying.

Today I fired my last raku firing that I'll do on Blossom Lane in Port Townsend, WA. Then I cried.

I shipped several orders to galleries today, even one to The Netherlands! I cried after saying good bye to the staff at the local UPS Store. Audrey, the owner, has become a friend over the years along with Lynn who also works there. They are dog lovers and even have special soft dog treats for my small dog Shadow who is 15 years old. When I first moved here I hardly knew anyone and going to ship my orders out was a treat. Right from the start I felt a special connection to the place. They saved boxes for me and always asked about Shadow if for some reason I didn't bring him, which was rare. I walked out and cried as I drove away.

Tonight I baby sat Jasper my 2 year old godson. This is the last time I will babysit him for a long time.We cuddled on the sofa and I made up stories about rabbits and squirrels with Jasper as the hero in many a tale. I shed more tears sitting in the car as I drove off.

I am getting really tired of crying......

Monday, September 7, 2009

Raven Box

I was playing with cigar boxes one summer. Transforming them with paint, glass bead feet and embossing velvet for the lining. I had not painted for many years and once again fell in love with the magic of color. I have done a few others but this first one is still my favorite. The handle on this box is from my apple tree in Friday Harbor, WA

Little Surprises

My son Evan gave me this tiny piece of coral that he found while scuba diving in Panama last year. I think it is one of the most wonderful , beautiful and hilarious gifts I have ever received!
He was amazed that he found it at all. It is right up there with the Raven skull a high aged boy on San Juan Island gave me. Great treasures.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Gallery Walk

Last night was Gallery Walk in Port Townsend. Lorna Smith has opened a tiny gallery that is all local ceramics and primarily features her work. She recently added my work to the gallery and I went to town after a day of packing to see how my work looked in her shop. I was more than pleased, delighted in fact. My little critters are in the window on glass shelves with great lighting. While I was looking at the display from the outside 2 women came up and commented on the work and went in and picked up several pieces. Lorna says she has been selling at least one of my pieces a day. She is happy and so am I. I'll try and get her as much work as I can before I leave for the southeast.
Here is a photo of me taking my hot critters out of the kiln at 1850F degrees so I can raku them. When it is really hot outside I end up covered in sweat. Fall and winter are better months for this work as you can imagine. I'll most likely will get up really early in the summer months in North Carolina to do the rakuing. I always enjoy firing. I love the spontaneity of the process. All raku artists are pyromaniacs at heart.
My studio and kilns will get packed last. The time I spend in the studio these days is my solace and refuge. The chaos of packing up the house is very upsetting. Yesterday I packed all my wall art and the house looks bare. Next I'll pack my treasures (shells, bird's nests, feathers, bones,rocks etc) and some of my ceramic art collection. Last will be the kitchen and clothes and studio. everyday I end up giving something away or placing things in the box headed for the local Goodwill. Sept 26th is the day I head out.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Cross Country Travels - Life is Change

I am starting to pack for my move to North Carolina.

To say that my life is changing is an understatement.

My house has sold in record time in a slow market just as Sara Creekmore said it would. By the end of 2009 I will be divorced after 35 years of marriage. My two grown sons will most likely be living in the Northwest so I will be a long ways from them. I have been living alone for the first time in my life.

I don't like it.

I am moving to NC to explore a new relationship and to explore an artistic collaboration. One Hundred Horses will continue as a business and new work will be evolving and added as I am ready to share it with the world. The last few months have been very up and down and full of discovery, pain and joy.

I am overwhelmed by the amount of treasures I want to bring!

Packing up the studio will be interesting to say the least.

Driving across the country will be an adventure. I have no idea what it will be like but usually I enjoy the spontaneity of travel and love being an onlooker and explorer in America and Canada.

My last cross country travels were back when I was 21 and hitch hiking across Canada and America several times in 6 months. I became addicted to the road. Back then I had a small journal that I drew in. Above is some of the work I did back then when pen and ink was my medium. Maybe I should bring the same journal and add to it?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

North Carolina Landscape

I finally got to fire my first sgrafitto tile. I got up at 6:00am so I could take it out of the kiln after it cooled overnight. I'm hooked. I'd like to make many, many more. It takes me back to the drawings I have always done while sitting in class or talking on the phone. I am a serious doodler.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Salmon Treasure Boxes & New Raven Tiles

I have been designing some relief tiles and raku firing them. Along with the tiles I am working on some new designs for the Treasure Boxes. I have been experimenting with doing several salmon designs. I have to admit these are a lot of fun to do and I happy that both the tiles and Salmon Boxes are getting ordered by some of the galleries I am in. Expect more new work this spring after Jim and I do our designs this winter. More examples will be posted to my website:

Life is change.

I am beginning to get organized for my move across the country. My new home will be in Horse Shoe, NC.
Horse Shoe is in the mountains in the far western part of the state, 20 miles from Asheville and 10 miles from Hendersonville. So here I am going back to living in the mountains on the east coast. I spent 20 years in Vermont. I have been out here in the northwest about the same period of time and spent 19 years in CT before that. 20 year itch? So where will I be heading when I am 76?

Moving a studio is a bit daunting. I find myself working happily in the studio trying to get as many orders out as I can before the move. I have kiln anxiety. I sure want little Oscar (my small custom raku kiln) to be well packed. I'll be releived when I am unpacked and up and running in NC.
I have been contacting galleries I am already in in the region to let them know I will be a local soon. One gallery I contacted that I have not sold to in the past has placed an opening order with me.
I am going to explore all my options from retail shows to getting in the Southern Highland Guild that has 5 regional galleries.

I going to NC to live with Jim Whalen. We will be working in the same studio, he doing his amazing pots, me doing One Hundred Horses and then collaborating on Critter Pots together.
Kind of like his, hers and theirs when couple with kids get together and then also have kids of their own!
Packing up my inventory should be interesting. I will have to hit the ground running as this is my busiest season. My house has sold and I have to clear out before the 25th of September. I don't stop shipping until early December so it will be a busy fall.
I am planning on driving across the country with my dog Shadow. I'll see a lot of the country I haven't seen before and I will surely have some adventures along the way. I hope to see some family and friends as I wander south and east.
I know very little about the mountains of NC and I am going to enjoy exploring and learning about this new place I will be calling HOME. I'll miss the northwest. It has been very good for me to live here. If NC is half as good I'll be happy. Someone recently asked me if I have gypsy blood? Who knows?

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Inspiration, new work

Often I percolate for quite awhile on a new idea and other times inspiration comes in a flash and I race out to the studio to capture the idea in clay. The Love Bunny came in the early morning hours and I remember going out to the studio in the rain in nightgown and slippers to make the prototype before the idea was lost in sleep.

Sometimes in my dreams I see hundreds of designs that flash before my mind in a rapid frame by frame flash. Usually it is jewelry that I see.

Lately I have been wanting to carve images on pottery like one carves a linoleum block. This process is called scraffito, it involves covering leather hard unfired pottery with a dark slip or glaze and carving through to a clay body that will be light (most likely white) when fired. After the carving is finished a clear coat of glaze is applied before firing.

I am thinking about a visual story of my niece's horse in rural Virgina that loves to share his grain with the chickens. The chickens of course think this is a wonderful relationship. My dear friend Jim will throw the pot and on the lidded top will be one of my workhorses.

I picture tall fir trees and split rail fences, the barnyard and barn...perhaps there is a tractor plowing a field....I'll work on this in early September when I will be in North Carolina working in Jim's studio for a few days.

In the mean time I can start doing some drawings or experiment with scratchboard.

Currently I am working on a new line of deep relief tiles. I will post examples after my appointment with my new photographer is done taking photos. More Ravens of course!!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Production vs One Of A Kind

I love the rhythm and peacefulness of doing production ceramics. I get into a groove and the work flows. I love the sense of order and accomplishment as the work progresses. Each part from the creation of the piece, bisque firing when there is enough for a kiln load and glazing to order has its' own beauty.
Glazing drives some people crazy. I love glazing. But firing raku is the best. Raku days are exciting and full of promise and usually are just plain fun. I don't like scrubbing the animals and tiles since it stresses my thumb's I have my helper do the scrubbing now...Parts start to wear out as one ages. I do love putting the little beads and fish and hearts on the critter, gluing tiles into frames and packing them into their gift boxes with enclosures cards.
Now most people hate that part. I love it. Everything comes together and there is a wonderful sense of accomplishment and order and beauty in seeing a group of work go off to a gallery.
I never would have guessed that this work would suit me 20 years ago. I was a different woman then.....