Monday, October 19, 2009

Wet and wild Wellfleet

The people who plan the popular and tasty Wellfleet OysterFest every October roll the weather dice, wish for luck and live with what the gods give them. The past three years it's been brilliant sun and a bit of cold. This past weekend the dice came up cold and breezy on Saturday and really freaking miserable Sunday. Winds up to 50 miles per hour, leafy trees bending over, and rain, rain, rain.
Late in the day Saturday, craft show organizer Deirdre Oringer was going from booth to booth, saying something like, "If I were you, I'd pack up tonight and relax on Sunday. The weather forecast does not look good." And indeed it did not.
Saturday was not a bad day for selling, with pretty good crowds of bundled visitors, and a number of buyer/friends that I only see at this show. Bowls, plates and teabowls were popular among my buyers. None of the new teapots sold, but these side-handle teapots are strange to most U.S. buyers and I spend a lot of time explaing that "no, it's not a bong." But I made my expenses and bit more. (And friends Milene Chioatto and Paul Lefebvre showed up with a bottle of Aberlour single malt ... which is a nice thing to have toward the end of a cold day.) A good Sunday would have made for a good show, which is usually the case with Wellfleet. Not this year, though.
At the end of the day, I packed all the pots back in their boxes, folded up the tables and took down the tent. Falmouth potter Tessa Morgan, who was two tents up from me, helped me pack the tent in its bag and I helped her pack hers.
I had a free room that night in Wellfleet, so I stayed at the Inn at Duck Creek and had dinner and a few Bloody Marys with Falmouth friends Chris Bromfield and Denise Marcoux. (Note to Paul Jessop: Chris and Denise will be in Somerset next month.) We toddled from the bar back to the inn with no major damage, Denise insisting on me walking on the sidewalk because, she said, "Dee would kill me if you got hit by a car." I didn't.
The next morning all the storm predictions came true, as you can see by the image of the car throwing up torrents of water on Route 6A, somwhere near Dennis on my ride home. What New Englanders call a "nor'easter" blew in in full force. The next thing I will do today is unload from the truck all the soaked wooden boxes and paper-wrapped pots.
Better luck next year.
Photos: Splashing along the soaked road home; teapot and teabowls; the crowd of buyers; one mittened woman handling a bowl in my booth.

11 comments: said...

That sounds like a really good time in spite of the weather, actually perfect oyster weather though. Sorry about the teapot bongs, really do like that style, wish people would just get with the plan and understand these things along with yunomi! I think the bloody Marys sound like the most fun of all!

Hollis Engley said...

You have that right, Tracey. For some reason, Bloody Marys have become the drink of choice at the OysterFest. Works for me.
Next time I throw, I'll do a few more "conventional" teapots for those people who don't go for cross-cultural.

mengley said...

At least you made expenses -- that's rough weather for festival wanderers. It's been torrential out here, but still not cold enough for snow. said...

Hollis, check out Po Wen's blog (link on my post today) for some similar teapots. He makes some really nice ones too.

ang said...

hey hollis you should just say yes they're bongs and sell them at ridiculous prices and see if they can make it work....HA.. love the display on the wood blocks..just super..

Dan Finnegan said...

What hardy souls those visitors were! I'm sure the dire weather slowed down our show, too, but , as you say, I was comfortably indoors.

Hollis Engley said...

I looked at Po Wen's blog today when you mentioned it on yours, Tracey. Lovely stuff. And Ang, I thought of that, but the fact that the handle doesn't allow smoke to pass through ... or however it would work ... sort of argues against it being an actual bong. They usually figure that out. The question is, why do so many people know what a bong is? We got snow west of us, Marco, but nothing but rain here. And Daniel, I'm guessing you didn't need single malt to keep you warm.

Dirt-Kicker Pottery said...

Sorry the weather was so poopy. Bummer that people thought the Kyusu's were bongs :( Dummies.
You inspired me with your kyusu's. I made a couple of them in porcelain. Pictured on my blog.

cookingwithgas said...

Hi- we had one of our best shows in a pouring summer rain.
Sigh- a faded memory in the times of tight money.
What an adventure- high winds and pots don't mix.
It's been awhile since I stopped in to see your work- love the tea bowls and I am drawn to your beautiful black glaze like a fly to honey!

paul jessop said...

Hi Hollis,
That looked like a well attended show despite the weather, it's a bummer that the second day didn't happen. I'll keep an eye out for chris and his lady, we will be in the Dinnington docks some times but if he's passing Barrington, on a sunday evening then his old thatcher mate Richard Tratt is usually in from about 6.30 ish.

Hollis Engley said...

Thanks, Paul. I'll pass the word on to Chris and Denise.