We've done this holiday kiln-opening and open studio for the past nine years and I'm always anxiety-ridden in the week leading up to it and always happy when Saturday arrives and everything works and the new pots are good, the cop handles the traffic, we don't get two feet of snow and people buy pots. And that held true this past weekend.
The raucous laughter coming from the room over my studio was reassuring early Saturday morning, when Kim Collins, Bryan Randa and Ruth Bleakley were back together again, organizing their wares and catching up with each other. I went upstairs to tell them it was like having the kids come home for the holidays and livening up the house again. Then Lois Hirshberg arrived and Kim Medeiros and then Mike Race with his coffee and pretty soon everything was as it should be. And then the people came and we opened the kiln and my pots and Kim's were good and people bought them and bought from everyone and food came from seemingly everywhere and I was cold in the studio selling pots while everyone else was in the house selling and eating and drinking. But what the hell.
For about an hour after we emptied the kiln there was a line of people waiting to buy my pots and I ran out of my pile of wrapping paper and bags. I don't think those things have ever happened before.
Once again, our neighbors Jim and Bill were close to the new pots coming warm from the kiln and once again they walked off with one of the best. They always do that.
This weekend has become much more than a sale, though. In the week before the firing, more people ask me about what they should bring to eat than asked about how my glazing was going. There was chowder, green chile meatballs, empanadas, thousands of cookies, chocolate truffles (still some in hiding in the kitchen, actually), small and delicious mince meat tarts that somehow never made it onto the communal food table, salmon, chile dogs, vegetarian chili, coffee, vodka, a tomato tart, bacon and mushroom quiche ... much more. And much that I didn't get to eat. There were kids, dogs, old folks with canes, couples, families, relatives ...
Now that it's over, I can say it's a pretty cool thing that happens here every year. Even Angela Rose, a local potter who started this with me, showed up and talked promisingly of making more pots and getting involved again.
Now, some photos, with pots that just came out Saturday: Top, all the craftspeople, except coffee roaster Mike Race, who must have been in the kitchen brewing; left to right above the bearded guy are Bryan Randa, Lois Hirshberg, Ruth Bleakley, Kim Collins and my firing partner Kim Medeiros; white Shino broken-rimmed teabowl; one side of an eight-pound jar with overlapped Shino and Temmoku glazes; another side of the same jar; two small wide teabowls whose upper walls are added slabs.