Monday, June 21, 2010

Slowly recovering from Arts Alive weekend

This was the fifth year for Arts Alive, the multidimensional celebration of arts and crafts that happens here in Falmouth on and near the library lawn. It's a more "local" event than the various craft fairs that happen after the July 4 weekend, and there's lots of music involved in tents near the crafts venue. All the vendors and performers are local to Falmouth or very nearby. And the buyers and browsers tend to be people you see in the coffee shop or the grocery store, or regular summer visitors here for an early weekend. It's a fun time if the weather cooperates.
And this year for some of us it was a more lucrative weekend than it has been in the past. Saturday was a brilliant blue-sky-sunshiney day and lots of people came out and many of them bought pots. Steady buying right through the day. We like that. Sunday was foggy and cloudy and the buying public was much slower to emerge. But Sundays are always a bit slower and no doubt some families took Dad out for a Father's Day breakfast.
But it was a successful weekend for us. Now maybe I can get one more firing in before the upcoming craft and art fair in Marion, not far away on the mainland.
In the top photo, Falmouth potter and art teacher Frances Johnson visits, and so does local ne'er-do-well Grant Mallett. Next photo down, what is it that goes through people's minds when they pick up a teabowl and stare at it? Fitting it to her hands, perhaps? She didn't buy, in any case. And next, part of the strolling crowd.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Happy Father's Day, everyone

I thought I would post a photo of our two fathers for Father's Day.
At the top is Paul Engley, my father, in 1939 or thereabouts. He's a young man, at the wheel of the Bangs Market delivery truck, and appears to be very happy with his job. Most likely it's a summer day on Martha's Vineyard, since that's when he delivered groceries for the market. World War II and service in India still lay ahead, and his marriage to Lucille Andrews and then four children, three boys and a girl. My dad worked as a fine carpenter on the Vineyard for more than 30 years. He died in 2001, followed a few weeks later by my mother. I found this photo among the stuff I cleared out of my parents' house.
Below Paul is Doug Dorchester, Dee's father. Doug turned 86 in March and, though with a few health worries, is still active. Doug is a retired Methodist minister, one of a long line of Dorchester ministers, and was in training in the Naval Chaplaincy program when World War II ended. He married his Connecticut sweetheart Jan Potter and fathered three girls and two boys. Doug worked for most of his working life in Christian Education for the Methodist Church in New England and New Jersey. Jan and Doug are now approaching their 65th wedding anniversary.
Two good fathers.

Friday, June 18, 2010

First firing of the summer ... it's about time

The first firing of the warm season came Wednesday, with the temperature in the studio up near 120 degrees F. by the time we reached cone 10. I have pilot light problems with the kiln if the doors are open and there's a cross-draft, so they pretty much stay closed for the whole firing. Which makes summer firings so exhausting. Something about peering into that hot kiln wears me out by the end of the day.
That said, it was a good firing. Lots of mugs and teabowls and a few spouted pouring bowls. Dana's Kitchen, a fine little off-the-beaten-tourist-path cafe here in Falmouth, has served coffee in my mugs for a few years, but needed another order of them. So there were a couple dozen of them in this firing. Plus smaller coffee cups and a group of teabowls. Warming up for bigger things in the next firing, I guess.
This firing went well, climbing steadily up to top temperature. Steadily but slowly, I think because it was a pretty tight pack of pots in there. I shut down at 5 p.m., which makes it an eight-hour firing. But the cones top and bottom were almost exactly even and the reduction was good all around, so I'm happy about it.
Our friend Janet came over to help unload. She likes pots. And she took the photo of me peering into the still-warm kiln. I try like hell to keep photos of me off the blog. It think it scares the readership ... better to have pots than this particular potter.
I botched a potential blog photo assignment this week, as Dan Finnegan's helper Beth and her husband Elliot (sp?) came by on their vacation to Cape Cod. Should have photographed ... Anyway, a nice couple of folks, who have apparently done overnight duty on Dan's wood kiln, which makes them good people in my estimation. Beth went home with a little squared mug. And I hope they managed to get to a few other potteries on their way back to meet friends in Chatham.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Couple of hours off, on the clam flats

Some of you may be tired of clam-related non-pottery posts. Well ... sorry. One of the great things about living near the ocean is the occasional opportunity to go out and wrest your dinner from below the water. Around here, it's oysters, clams, sea and bay scallops, striped bass, bluefish, flounder, scup, blue crabs ... and a few other tasty sea creatures.
The bisque kiln was still cooling yesterday (mandatory pottery reference), so I joined our friend Tammy Race in raking the low-tide rocky and sandy bottom for quahaugs, those small hardshell clams I've written about before. Tammy and I went to our usual place, which will remain geographically unspecified for fear that UK and Australian and North Carolina potters will flood the flats with foreign rakes and make bare our favorite flats. (Dan Finnegan has actually paddled a kayak from this very spot, so only he among the blog-readers knows the place.)
It was a gray mid-day as we walked out into the warm water, clouds gathering in the west and southwest for the rain that came later in the day. We've been here three times in the past few weeks and never failed to gather our limit of one-half peck of clams in about an hour. It was the same story this time, each of us finding one or two "holes" with plentiful clams coming up in our rakes. There's something about taking your food from the earth - submerged or cultivated - that beats picking up California or Florida or Mexican produce at the grocery store, or even fish from nearby waters at a fish market.
Dee joined us during a lull in her day of massage therapy, setting up a lawn chair on the dry sand, opening her mystery and doing nothing whatsoever to help, though she did provide spectator support and encouragement.
Once we reached our limit, we went on to The Lobster Trap, a nearby summer fish joint and all had delicious fish tacos.
Now, to decide how to prepare the new clams ...

Friday, June 4, 2010

Pots all over the place ...

It doesn't take long for newly thrown, drying and bisqued pots to fill the available flat spaces in my studio. A couple of days of throwing and things are everywhere. I'm aiming for a firing in a couple of weeks, before the Arts Alive show on the Falmouth Library green. That's been the first local arts event of the summer for the past four or five years. A Saturday and Sunday of people filling the library lawn with art of all kinds and a similar variety of entertainment.
Right now I've got spouted bowls destined for Bill and Carmina Mock for their summer gazpacho. I originally made the pots as small kitchen mixing and pouring bowls, but Carmina, a native of Spain, bought some so that her guests could pour the gazpacho directly from the bowl into their mouths. Now they want more, so these will be in the next firing. Simple bowls with pulled spouts, but they sell well.
Also, an order for mid-size mugs from Dana's Kitchen, a small breakfast and luncheon spot here in Falmouth. Dana has used my mugs for a few years now, but needed more, so there are 25 here for her and more for inventory. Also, pasta bowls, both plain and faceted, vases, teabowls, etc. etc. ....
Back to trimming bowls now. Have a good weekend, everyone.