Summer Fun

The highlight of my summer is teaching Summer Art Camp. Many of the students in our rural communities do not have summer scedules that provide them recreational opportunites, and I was pleased to have funding to teach in three locations this summer.

Roseville Art Camp started on the 8th, and I had 12 students who met me every morning at the elementary school. Funding came from both Perry and Muskingum County Community Foundations, and the projects were Face Mugs, Paper Making, Printing, and Book Binding. It was a blast. And did I mention how totally sweet the kids were? Hugs goodby everyday!

Selah Brown's Turtle on the Path

And then at home, waiting eagerly every afternoon were....the cherries! The picking was actually kind of nourishing, pick two, eat one, and so on....but the pitting got really old after about 6 days and 20 gallon bags for the freezer. I went for broke, and continued to pick and pit to 30, and then let the rest go to the birds...Because then it was time to pick the raspberries!


The second Art Camp was in Shawnee, with another dozen neighborhood kids, many of them from last summer's program. We made press tile molds and kicked out 1/2 dozen each, and the kids thought the whole process was pretty neat. Thanks to Henry Mercer, and the gift that keeps on giving...

A smaller group of the girls spent the 2nd week with me making Punch Needle Molas. Thanks to Amy Oxford for her wonderful Punch Needle, and for keeping the practice alive for yet another generation. Here are two new converts to this fiber arts tradition, sisters Amelia and Amy.

I have two more weeks ahead of me with students at the Zanesville Art Center, and am looking forward to it every bit as much as I have with the Shawnee students. Thanks to the parents for sharing their children with me!


Opening Up, Its Spring!

I am happy to report that the Barn Swallows arrived to the farm in a timely fashion this spring, on April 6th. My clay shipment arrived a few days later! I have to confess that I have not been over eager to get back to potting the same old same old. While I believe in the integrity of the work I make; it is well thrown, the decorative motifs are charming to those who love them, my experience with Majolica has brought me happily around the world, the work is useful and well used,  I am tired of making it. There, I said it.

So, what next? I do have a few holes to fill in for inventory: compotes, mugs, cereal and berry bowls, flower pots, trays, and a number of special orders, but then, I am on to something new. It will involve a new clay body, lots of texture, and a gas kiln! I am pretty excited about embracing change. It sure beats the fog of resistance.

I have had a GREAT spring semester at Ohio University Zanesville, and I credit it all to my enthusiastic students. Overheard in the glaze room after last weeks Raku firing, one student to another, "I have never done anything so cool in my life." I am so greatful for being able to provide this experience of fire, metal, clay, and reduction. 



Howard has also been quite busy. It was our first real willow harvest, and we did the bulk of it ourselves. It would have been more grueling however, had we not had the help of some wonderful Americorp volunteers on those days when our backs were flagging. Shout outs to Sarah, Shannon, Jay, Patrick, Jen, Matt, and that nice fellow...whats his name, he had dinner with us that night, you too. So that was the winter. It was long, dark, cold, and we were bent over snipping for most of it.

Then spring came, finally, end of March, and Howard got busy planting the live whips into some fun and lively garden structure; one over the front walk, an arbor, and the other one in back by the garden, saluting the pasture.

International Punch Needle Rug Hooking Day was on the 18th of April, and I had a gathering of women who wanted to learn how to use the Oxford Mini Punch Needle. I received my Oxford Certification in 2009, and have had the pleasure of teaching both younger and older students the technique. This particular project was the Mola Trading Cards, so the students got to learn about the Folk Art traditions of the Kuna Peoples in addition to making some sweet little punch pieces. 


Here are Jessica and her sweet Mom Tami with their finished projects.

It is days like this that I feel truely blessed. I get to share my skills, the farm, my studio space, meet new people, and provide them the opportunity to have a meaningful day and inspiring day. The farm property does not fail in always sharing its beauty and repose with those who visit, and yesterday was no exception.

We are looking forward to sharing the farm to others as the spring progresses. And towards that end, today was the first day the lawns got mowed! Happy Spring, and may there be many more mowings to come! 


My Inner Chimp Greets the New Year

I clearly remember my inner chimp telling me ten or twelve, who remembers, years ago, that I did NOT want my 50's to bear any resemblance to my 40's. Does anyone else do this? It was not a New Years Resolution, it was a New Decades Resolution. Looking back on that 5th decade of mine (when I was in my 40's, do the math) what was so terrible that I would'nt do the whole thing over again?

And that is the truth. I would do it all over again, that decade, but of course with the perspective I have now. Shaw or Wilde, the waste of youth on the young. So, when my husband started pestering me about getting a Vanagon (the V.W. campervans) this last year, I recognized that my 60's are not going to look like my 50's either, and that even though he was getting a jump start on the decade (we are both 59 this year) he is encouraging us to live life like we were in out twenties.

Her name is Molly Brown, and she is the new baby in the family.

Indestructable, I do not know, but she did make it down to the Florida Keys and back. Isn't that Bahai Honda one stellar state park?

En route: Rookwood in Cincinatti....same traderess and mold archive, new owners and location, and a state of the art factory. Marvelous tour, thanks George. The showroom and tile installations are pretty spectacular. If you are an Art Pottery buff, this is the place to stop. It should be in the Top Ten on Trip Advisor. 

On the way south, to Louisville, we stopped in at the historic Seelback Hotel, to have a drink in the Rathskeller, which is an amazing Rookwood Tile installation from 1907.

But the best (for me) was yet to come.... When I was a teenager, taking care of other families children in their lovely summer homes (Little Compton Rhode Island, summer of 1972?) I was taken into a little store where they were selling the most endearing pottery. It was made in Louisville, by a Mary Hadley, and her patterns were unique and charming. I decided right then and there that I wanted Hadley Pottery when I grew up. Her work is still being manufactured in the factory that she built in the 1950's. We were blessed to have a personal tour, by the "factories" third generation superintendant, Jerry.

Mary,,,,,, a self portrait on a clay plaque, and a self potrait of me in her mirror, my heart and soul on fire.


I encourage and invite you to watch this short Mary Hadley Video, where you too, can make the aesthetic connections to community and clay, and to a small industry that continues to thrive. If you love handmade dinnerware as much as I do, your heart will sing too.

My inner chimp (who remains unamed) continues to yammer on about a Community Clay Center for us here in Zanesville. What a pester that chimp is! But when the chimp visited the Morean Art Center in St. Petersburg Florida, the chimp was floored.

OMG, chimp said, look at that kiln yard. Look at those studios. They have a gallery too! They have clay class oportunities for kids, for amature yearners, and for senior survivors. And it has a partnership with the communities MUSEUM!! The chimp dreams more modestly, but sees how coomunity art centers help build the very community that chimps like mine want to live in.

A more modest arts incubator was certainly experiencing a growth spurt further north, in Cedar Key, Florida. This little fishing town is adding on to their Community Art Center. We were pleased to meet Henry Gernhardt, who with his potter wife Amy, have been actively contributing to the sucess of the centers growth. A new classroom wing is being built, with space out back for a gas kiln. The community hosts a spring Arts Festival. Wouldn't it be fun, next winter (winter here in Ohio, that is, spring in Cedar Key!) to go hang out and work and teach and live in Molly Brown in the totally cool and funky Cedar Key RV park?

Molly Brown and the chimp are game! They hope that everyones New Year dreams bear fruit.