Sunday, August 31, 2008

and then the weekend...

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!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

a great week

I've enjoyed my mornings in the studio. Not producing rows of pots--like some of my favorite bloggers can do. My production is very modest--but now I have a kiln load ready to bisque--and that feels great! I am looking forward to doing some glaze experiments. That is new--historically I dread glazing--I hope the good feelings survive the experience.

We've spent our evenings glued to the TV watching the convention. A shameful amount of time spent in front of the TV. But I am one of the women for Obama! And don't want to miss a single moment of the excitement.

Tomorrow Jim and I will drive to Houston to attend a reception for Warren Mackenzie who is having a exhibition of his work there. On Saturday he will give a talk which I look forward to hearing. I am very fond of his work and really look forward to seeing some of it in person. It will also be a first outing for Jim and me since our move here in January.

It seems like life is settling into a nice pattern, finally!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

just a recommendation

The motivation for this brief post is to share a new blog with you. Russel Fouts is an American potter living in Brussels whom I had the pleasure of meeting at NCECA in Louisville, 2007. His work is great, very inspiring, but his blog is about looking at other people's pots, lovely pots. I am adding it to my morning stroll through the pottery blogs and thought you might like to look at it also.

We have had the pleasure of a visit from my brother-in-law, Wayne Adams. A rare treat, he is seldom willing to subject himself to the tortures of Texas heat but made this trip at the height of summer temperatures to celebrate my son's 49th birthday. Chris spent his 12th year living in Brussels with Wayne and my sister Catherine before they had their own children. So of course they have a close bond to this day. Wayne's visit was short so it turned into a marathon of family gatherings to make sure everyone of our Texas family got to spend time with Wayne from Maine. Not one minute in the studio over the last 4 days--but tomorrow...

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Hello everybody, somebody?

Can't imagine that there will be many readers of this blog after such a long absence. I have been busy, busy, busy!
Tying up loose ends: I completed the Majolica class and did get one satisfactory piece--Jim calls it my $300 batter bowl!

But it is on the home front that I have been so busy, busy, busy.
A week ago last Monday we had the new window installed in the library.

When we were shown this house last fall the realtor called this room the 'living room' and the adjoining room was called the 'family room'. We immediately recognized the 'living room' as our future 'library'.
On Wednesday of last week, Jim picked up the last of the bookcases we had made in Austin. Ben had already brought part of the bookcase order here along with the metal base we had made there for the library table--we have a SMALL truck so it took 2 trips. And then anchored the bookcases so there would be no threat of their falling over.

On Sunday Jim and Ben assembled the library table. The table top is a door that was on my grandfather's house in East Texas--it is over a hundred years old--I remember the awe I felt toward the door as a child. When we built our home in 1979 Jim and I drove to East Texas to pick up the door--no longer in use--and had it installed in our new home. Because the door would not fit this house we decided to make it into the library table with a metal base and a glass top.

The base weighs over 300 pounds and the door about that also--it measures 42" X 91" X 2.74." Don't know what the glass will add in weight!

Finally this Monday I could empty those boxes stacked in the library these last 8 months--at least 2 dozen boxes! Sorting the books in categories and alphabetizing them was a huge chore--taking 2 days. These are the new bookcases:

These are the old bookcases which were in our former home and we are reusing:

Jim wishes to have all the bookcases match--but I'm happy with what we finally have! Besides they are on different wall constructions so I think they look 'just right'!

Busy couple of weeks. Now I hope to get back into the studio for some real work....