The trip to Houston Friday to see Warren MacKenzie's exhibition (traveling to 6 cities) and then to hear him speak on Saturday was a real treat! Jim had been a bit cool on the proposal originally but agreed because he knew how much I wanted to go. However, he was as enthralled as I was by the experience. The pots were beautifully displayed in an ample space but we were not allowed to pick up the pieces--which I was itching to do--nor to take pictures. But Jim cheated and took a snapshot of my brief visit with Warren.
The reception Friday was from 5:30 to 8:00 and we arrived a little after 6:30. There were a good number of people there but it was not crowded--which surprised me. There was no problem seeing everything, as close as I wanted, and for as long as I wanted to look!
The talk Saturday was very informal--planned to be more of a conversation than a talk or lecture. Again there were a surprisingly small number of people in the audience so it felt very personal and intimate. He talked, as he has written, of how important he thinks group criticism is to the development of the potter. He spoke of long conversations on form and design with Bernard Leach and Alix while they were living with Leach. And he said that was the part of teaching that he most enjoyed. He had weekly group criticism of the student's work and at the end of the semester there was a pot luck supper to which students and teacher brought a food contribution in a pot that had been made that semester--though there was not much talk of pots then, rather the focus was on the food! And he told of getting together from time to time with former students who live in the area around Warren (many do) to have those same sessions of group criticism. It made me wish that our Cone 6 Group might want to undertake group criticisms occasionally--but then I get nervous just thinking about it!
Saturday morning, before the afternoon talk, Jim and I visited the Menil Collection (art museum). That was the whipped cream topping on our perfect weekend!
Our trip coincided with concern for New Orleans under threat from Gustav. Driving over Friday afternoon on IH 10 we saw SO MANY huge, empty buses gong toward Houston--seemed very strange. While in Houston we saw many flashing highway signs announcing, "Hurricane season, keep your gas tank filled". On the return trip again so many empty huge buses going toward Houston--I think we saw more than a hundred of those buses. Finally it occurred to us that the buses were on their way to Louisiana--not Houston--to participate in the possibility of evacuation. At home last night we saw that New Orleans was ordered to evacuate by this morning. So those huge empty buses will be filled with people coming to Houston and San Antonio for safe haven. In spite of all that, we did not experience much traffic except as we were approaching Houston Friday evening--just as we always experience driving into Houston anytime, any day!