Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Autumn on Cape Cod, a break from pots
This might be the best time of the year on Cape Cod. The ocean and the shallower bays are still warm enough for swimming, winter storms are many weeks away, sailboats are still at their moorings, the striped bass and bluefish are running and the tourists are (mostly) not. We have this place largely to ourselves at this time of year. And it's about time.
I am about to start another cycle of pot-making, this time aimed at the Nov. 7-8 show at Donna Sutherland's house, the Thanksgiving weekend show at New Bedford's Hatch Street Studios and our own holiday open house the week before Christmas. I was inspired by my recent visit to Dan Finnegan's studio in the Virginia woods near the Rappahannock; inspired by his enthusiasm and the sight of so many fine pots ready to go into the two-chambered wood kiln. (Check out his blog, danfinneganpottery.blogspot.com, for a look at the loading process.)
But before I start making new pots, I thought I would take a short drive this afternoon to shoot a few photos of this place. Douglas Fitch, a fine potter in Devonshire, England, often takes a moment to show us the countryside around his pottery on his blog (slipware.blogspot.com),
as does Paul Jessop (paulthepotter.blogspot.com) in Somerset, England. So, thinks I, why not do the same for Cape Cod?
Our pottery is just a couple of miles from Buzzards Bay, a shallow arm of the Atlantic by way of Vineyard Sound, bounded on the east by the west shore of the Cape, on the south by the Elizabeth Islands that run roughly east to west from Falmouth to Cuttyhunk, and on the north by the so-called South Coast, the Massachusetts mainland towns of New Bedford, Marion, Wareham and Mattapoisett.
This time of year, the sugar maples are turning red, orange and yellow and dropping their leaves in random lapidary patterns on the ground. The image here was made in an old cemetery in Bourne, on County Road across from the local Methodist church, perhaps a quarter mile as the crow flies from the bay. Redbrook Harbor, a portion of Buzzards Bay that lies between Bassett's Island and the Bourne mainland, is a lovely little anchorage where we often paddle our kayaks. We were there yesterday, in fact, on a still morning. The harbor peters out into shallow tidal flats, where shorebirds often feed. In the one of the other two photos here, a Great Blue Heron stalks the edge of the wetlands, the lacy phragmites plants behind him. And then a solo portrait of phragmites, a common and invasive wetlands plant that characterizes much of the Cape waterfront.
Tomorrow, starting the cycle with eight-pound plates.