I was telling Sue and Fred Rose today that when we did our first kiln-opening and sale eight years ago, maybe five or six people were there to see the new, warm pots come out of the kiln. Sue and Fred were two of those people, because at the time I was firing with their daughter Angela. So they were there to support her, and my wife Dee was there to support me, and two or three people might have wandered in out of the cold.
For the past two years, so many people have come for the kiln-opening part of our Open Studio weekend that we have had to hire a police officer to keep the on-street parking from disturbing the neighbors. It was like that today, with a studio crowd of maybe 30 people, jammed in by the slabroller, around the kiln door, alongside the sinks and tables and looking on from the door into the house. No shortage of willing hands to pass the new pots on to the nearby table. My pot-loving friend Janet handled the kiln-shelf-and-loose-wads detail and took the pots from me as I worked my way down through the stack. It was a very good firing, I think. It's a bit difficult to hand pots out and have them claimed immediately, be wrapped and bagged and out the door. On the other hand, the money's a good thing, too.
Lots of pots left the property today, as did quite a bit of Mike Race's locally-roasted coffee beans, earrings and necklaces and notebooks and handblown and handworked glass. This open studio weekend has become a lot more to handle than it was in the beginning, but it's also become a community event. Most of the people who come here on this weekend are from Falmouth or one of the nearby towns, though our longtime friend Ethel came over from Martha's Vineyard and new friends Linda and Peter came down from Plymouth. It's not a Cape Cod summer event, but mostly friends and neighbors and other local folk eating and drinking and buying around the holidays. Once I get over the organizational jitters (not a pleasant problem to have, actually), this gets to be fun.
Tammy Race made kale soup, Lois Hirshberg made vegetarian chili, Ed Sholkovitz made extremely good scalloped potatoes, Donna Sutherland Steele brought frosted fruit cake, Bill McCarthy and Jim Sharpe brought pizzelles, Janet brought ... what was that, Janet? Some wonderful kind of chocolate ... thing. And I made red chile for the customary chile dogs.
And we'll do it all over again - though without the crowded kiln-opening - Sunday. And snow is expected tonight. Of course.
My thanks in particular to Barry and Terri Good, our neighbors from a few houses down Boxberry Hill Road, who came with an entourage and went away with pots, but particularly helped out by photographing the kiln-opening and putting pictures on their Facebook pages. I never took a shot and am grateful to them for supplying the illustration for this post.
Come tomorrow, everyone.
And a PS: The man who gave me this idea, Washington D.C. potter and Shino master Malcolm Davis, died last week. I didn't know Malcolm well, but when we lived in northern Virginia we used to go to his D.C. townhouse for his holiday open studio. He sold his pots there, but also opened his place to other local craftspeople and artists. That was the plan we followed years ago when we decided to do exactly the same thing. Thank you for the idea, Malcolm.