Wednesday, June 29, 2011

A moment for friends and family

Peter had a great post about the quietness of Sunday. We noticed how quiet it was in Maine. Mostly because we weren't hearing the constant mating of the cicadas anymore! But there is such a stillness there. We pulled into Booth Bay Harbor around noon on Father's Day Sunday and the church bells across the bay were chiming hymns, this one was Bringing in the Sheaves. If you live in the south you had to have heard your grandmother singing this one, I sure did, many times! It was such a peaceful and spiritual moment and I just sat there by the water listening to the quiet and the bells.
Here is a moment for my friends and family. I have been sitting with my 85 year old uncle today in the hospital who just had several heart valves replaced. I love this man so much and today he told me all kinds of stories about my ancestors. Apparently the Dailey clan came from England and landed in Bath NC. which was apparently the first town in NC. They were sailors and owned two large ships. They ran contraband for the rebels during the revolutionary war and were finally banned from the town because they would not sign an agreement with the king of England so they sailed off for parts unknown. Another ancestor was found to be the lightkeeper of the Currituck lighthouse and was the one that received the SOS call from the Titanic when it first hit the iceberg. He was the one to call the coastguard. All this time, I had no idea I had such a connection to the sea, no wonder my car just heads off in that direction and I always end up lost. Like today, I left the hospital headed home, and was an hour from Wilmington before I realized I was going the wrong way, or the right way, if you consider the pull the ocean has for me right now!
Anyway, my uncle has two small planes, he built his own airstrip on his 28 acres down east, he has a red corvette, a harley motorcycle, two sailboats that he built himself, and shows no signs of letting this heart thing stop him from using all his toys. He is such an inspiration for me!
A couple of my friends have lost loved ones this week , or their loved ones have been injured and my friend Susan just sent her 18 year old son off to India, and my uncle isn't going to live forever, so let's just take a moment to remember how precious life is and to love those we love with all we have while we have them!!!!!
Peace, ya'll

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Hello studio

I spent a full day in my studio today, trying to get back into some sort of routine. I couldn't even remember where things were. I made a few things, mostly messed around putting shell sprigs on things. I just have to get this out of my system before I can get serious I think. I have had this oval bisque mold since the days of teaching hand building and never used it. I got it out today and made this oval dish with some shell sprigs, kinda nice, but it will want to be glazed and I will not want to glaze it. Maybe a non functional terra sig, that will make it basically a useless item, hmm.... now that I look at it in this photo, I think I might already be over the shell thing. Maybe, maybe not. Maine keeps sneaking into my brain!
I also worked on some new texture for my barns. I have decided to make some without a cut out door, just the suggestion of one and no windows, no feet. That way maybe people will stop thinking they are birdhouses or the newest one- it could go in an aquarium for fish to swim through...... I really don't take offense to any of these suggestions, it's just that they aren't cheap, they are intended to be a sculpture. Do you really want to pay $100 for a barn just so a bird or a fish can shit on it?

Monday, June 27, 2011


Gerry went around shooting really beautiful landscapes in Maine, sunrises and full moon rises. I will show you some of them if I ever get the photos off of his Mac. I shot the plates of food we ate and the paint colors of all the walls I came across! Such inspiration for my barns. So much color my head feels like it will explode!

I got an email today from the Carolina Designer Craftsman Guild, and I have been accepted for their Thanksgiving show as a provisional member. I guess that means they want to see if I can behave myself. I guess that means I have to behave myself. I had a little talk with myself tonight and decided to get all of this inspiration out of my head for just a little while and focus on a clear and professional plan for the upcoming fall. I am applying for my third year to Festifall, which I love, that will be September I think, then the CDC show in November and I am now a member of the Chatham Artists Studio tour so I will have that the first two weeks in December. This is no time to be wanting to develop a blue and white tableware set! Although that is what has been in my head all week and paralyzing me. Now is the time to come up with plans for a professional looking INDOOR booth, loving that! and step up the barns a bit, since they are what's taking me to the party. But they are getting ready to grow up so they better look out!

I just love this child. I have a really funny video of her that shows what a truly odd child I have raised (but in a good way), I'll get that posted some time this week....

Sunday, June 26, 2011

We don't do what the tourists do

We did eat A LOT of lobster in Maine, but that was about the only "normal" thing we did as tourists, I think. The first lobster roll dinner we had was in Bass Harbor at an out of the way restaurant on the harbor watching the guys work that probably caught our dinner. Bass Harbor is a working harbor and Ketch Seafood is an outstanding place to eat if you are ever there. We met the owner who has been there for 26 years and he gave us a lot of out of the way places to check out. You have to talk to the locals! This blueberry beer and lobster roll dinner was probably my favorite meal of the trip. I left home with a list of places to eat and things to see and not one of them got done. We even missed the pop overs at the Jordan House which everyone said we HAD to do, just couldn't bring ourselves to do popovers, mostly because I really don't like them and mostly because they were like $18 or some ridiculous price! Sorry, I know we were supposed to do this....
This place might be another favorite. We brought no fancy clothes since we were camping so fancy restaurants were out of the question. We spotted this place on the way out of Boothbay harbor our last day in Maine and stopped for one more seafood fix. The FRESHEST seafood I think I have ever had and they cook it all to order, you just stand there and wait for them to call your name.
We got our lunch and took it over to the waterfront to eat. Wesley the vegetarian had just about had it with all the seafood we were eating, as you can see she is having a peanut butter bagel.
We also missed most of the hiking trails in the park. One morning we quickly rode around the loop drive in Acadia just to make sure we weren't missing anything, up to the top of Cadillac Mt. and then on to find secluded places. I grew up in a tourist town and Gerry grew up a preacher's kid, and well, Wesley grew up with us.... we all have an aversion to people when we are on vacation, we go to the most deserted places we can find. Like this overgrown trail, it led to a magnificent overlook where we laid down, read, had a nap, climbed the rocks, all by ourselves, like it was our very own beach. We found a few more of these trails in the park and had a great time exploring.
This was the most spur of the moment trip we have ever taken. Gerry spent several months planning a really great back packing trip out west to Colorado and Santa Fe for Wesley's graduation present.We bought her a new back pack, sleeping bag, and tent for the trip. What we didn't plan on was Mother Nature and her fury this year. Too much snow in the rockies for weenie backpackers and too many fires in New Mexico for those of us who want to live a few more years. So we picked Maine and planned almost nothing. I went to the library a week before the trip and at least got familiar with the geography. We were supposed to backpack in New Hampshire too but the rain did us in the first week, mama ain't happy when she is cold and wet. Been there done that, too old now! But it was great to look at the map and say "hey, let's go over here this looks cool". And that's pretty much how the whole trip went, we had no idea where we were half the time or what we were doing, we just stopped and talked to people and found things.
For instance, we read in one of the guide books that Schoodic Point is often overlooked by tourists, so our car sped quickly there and we were rewarded with more deserted shoreline and unbelievable freak of nature scenery. The harbors around Schoodic are so cool and we had a great time checking this place out, although there were no tourists to be found anywhere. Just us and a park ranger.
Our summer vacation included our fleece and gortex, it was pretty chilly a good bit of the time. Apparently we timed our trip just before the sun and the tourists hit Maine, late June is a great time to go to beat the crowds and the warm weather!
The first week of our trip was here in Acadia. The first night it rained an ungodly amount of rain. The humidity was so crazy, our tent turned into a terrarium and it literally RAINED inside our tent. Our tent, meaning me and Gerry, Wesley had the new North Face that she got for Christmas, the one with mesh walls that don't form buckets of condensation. She got to lay in her tent all night and hear her mom and dad swear a good bit, lucky girl!
The second week was here, in Boothbay, with dry walls and a lovely view of the harbor. Again, our timing was off, the day we left was the beginning of Windjammer Days, when crowds pour in to see the schooners in the harbor. Sorry to have missed that, but there is the crowd aversion that we suffer from.... oh well......
We were sitting on our nice little front porch when all of a sudden this WWII ship comes pulling in to the harbor, this was before we knew about the windjammer thing. It's a bit freaky to see a battleship come in to a quiet harbor, but sort of cool. The sailors were all on deck but sadly for Wes we left before all of those 18-20 year old boys that had been out at sea for awhile could come ashore, dang I hate that for her!
Somewhere along the way, our daughter turned into Hunter S. Thompson. Tonight she tells us that she has been at a recording session all day cutting a demo of a song she wrote in the room she stayed at when we were at Hollis' place. Who knew....... more later, let me know if you get bored with this, I'll try to keep it as interesting as I can :)

Art day in Maine

When I was in High School my best friend's father took us to see the Andrew Wyeth exhibit in Greenville SC and I never forgot that day. Wyeth became my favorite artist that day, and it hasn't changed.
We made our way south after a week of camping in Acadia park, and our first stop was the Farnsworth Art Museum and the Wyeth Center in Rockland Maine. The current Wyeth exhibit was a collection on loan from the Marunuma Art Park in Asaka, Japan. These works have rarely been seen in the United States. They are works from Christina's World and the Olson House and are worth the trip to Maine just to see them. I was spellbound. They also have works by NC Wyeth and Jamie, incredible as well. In the main museum were other works by Wyeth, dating back to the 1940's and I almost stopped breathing in there.

The buildings and gardens are also beautiful, Gerry shot some great photos here, I did not, too busy looking around, these were the only shots I got.....
Across the street was a tiny gallery called the Craft Gallery but it was full of exquisite pottery from Diana Thomas, Laurel MacDuffie and several other potters I forgot to get the names of. The gallery had some pit fired vases and some raku vases that were incredible, but Diana and Laurel's works were my favorites. This was the only art fix I got, the ocean was just too much competition for the art galleries and shops......

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Texture from the sea

Like most artists, I spend a lot of time looking on the ground. I am always picking up random things on my walks. I have bowls of bones, shells, rocks, rusty bits of metal, I'm sure you know what I'm talking about. In Maine I spent a lot of time walking around on the beaches and the rocky cliffs and finding so many things that inspired me. My senses were flooded with color and texture and sounds and smells. Right now, blue and white is all I can think about. I like the color blue, don't care what anyone says, it's a beautiful color and it makes me feel good. I want to make functional pottery with a blue and white palette. But that makes my head spin around like Linda Blair! This will require glaze testing and firing my kiln for functional ware, which it doesn't seem to like to do. And then what about my barns? Where do they fit in? I am craving something new so bad, but I don't know yet what that new thing is and so I sit here paralyzed, not doing anything but looking at my shells....... and wishing to move back to the ocean.
I spent the first 20 years of my life living on the beach. My skin always tasted like salt, there was always sand between my bed sheets, and the sound of the ocean and the seagulls were a constant hum in my head. I didn't realize until this past week what a profound impact the ocean and the beach has had on my life and how much a part of me it really is. I have spent the past 30 years exploring the country and the mountains and that's great too, but there is salt water in my blood for sure and I think that there will be a day when I will go back to live by the water.
Right now I feel it tugging at my soul, and it seems I am wanting to create a body of work to reflect this influence. I have a good friend that is a practicing intuitive and the last time I saw her, she said she saw mermaids coming into my work somehow. I may have mentioned this in an earlier post, but I really don't see me making mermaids. However, while we were in Maine, there was not a day that I didn't see a mermaid somewhere (not real ones). The day we went for coffee with Hollis and Dee, I went to the restroom and there were mermaids everywhere! There was a relief tile sculpture of a mermaid that had been raku fired, very cool and a metal mermaid sculpture and several paintings, so weird. I even bought a cast iron mermaid bottle opener in Boothbay. The other weird thing about this mermaid business, is the portrait we had done of Wes at Shakori, the artist painted her as a mermaid. WTF.....
Did any of you ever see the movie The Secret of Roan Innish? It is about an Irish legend of a Selkie, a seal that can turn into a human. I love this story and I thought about the movie a lot while sitting on the rocky cliffs in Maine being hypnotized by the water. Mermaids and selkies, what great legends. I'll tell you a crazy story here, since I am on this mermaid thing right now. When I was a little girl, I would lay in the hallway of our house and pretend it was the ocean and I was a mermaid. All of the bedrooms off of the hallway were islands that I could swim to. My poor mom would have to step over me constantly because I laid in this hallway A LOT being a mermaid. I love this memory, just shows what a whack job I was as a kid, but in a fun way. Who knows maybe I was a mermaid in another life :)
I'm going to sit around for two more days in this dreamy state and then first thing Monday morning I am going out to the studio and DO something, don't know what, but I have a busy fall coming up, I better think of something!

Friday, June 24, 2011

The end of the beginning

Since so many potters read this blog I thought I would start with the end of our trip and our visit to Hatchville Pottery, staying with Dee and Hollis Engley. There are a lot of potters in Maine and I would like to have visited all of them, but I was not traveling with others that had the same desire to see potteries, so Hollis is the only one we visited. Well worth the side trip to Cape Cod though.
Dee and Hollis invited their good friends Mike and Tammy to join us for a dinner of grilled bluefish and scallops, all fresh from the sea, and a wonderful salad, just picked greens, potato salad, eggplant and squash. What a feast! Great food and great company outside on beautiful Cape Cod, such a nice way to end our vacation.

Wesley stayed upstairs in Hollis' new gallery with his 1952 Martin guitar and a sweet kitty that slept with her, (the barely visible black blob in my poorly exposed photo!)

The next morning we headed home, first stopping for coffee at the Daily Brew, they use cups they bought from Hollis so it was a treat to drink a latte from one of his cups and have breakfast with him and Dee.
I had emailed ahead and asked Hollis to pick out a mug for Gerry for a Father's Day gift, this is the one he got. So perfect with the stamped shells and green ash glaze. We stopped at his friend Mike's house on the way out and picked up some coffee to go with the mug, Mike roasts his own, and we had our first cups of fresh roasted coffee from New Guinea this morning.
Wesley picked out a tea bowl from the gallery, she said it reminded her of the ocean, and I picked out a rather large mug that I intend to use in my studio for iced tea. Nice new pieces to add to our growing collection of Hatchville Pottery!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Back to reality

Hello everybody! We are back from one of the greatest vacations I think we have ever had! Well rested, except for the driving, well fed, and full of great memories. We took Wesley to Maine for her graduation present and our summer vacation and had an amazing time. I have lots of photos to sort through, I'll try not to bore you with family vacation photos, but I will try to share some information and inspiration from the trip. I will also try and share some of the photos Gerry took. He shot ART, I shot family memories. This is the first time in I can't remember when that I have seen Gerry shooting photos when he wasn't working. When we go on trips, he usually puts the camera down, but he shot some incredible photos that I hope he will let me post.
I am anxious to get back in my studio and see what comes from the inspiration of Maine: the sea, the rocks, the forest, the architecture, the people.... it will take me some time to process all that is in my head, so I thought maybe I would post a bit each day over the next week, so as not to bore everyone to tears. I do know that I am in love with Maine, in love with red, white and blue, in love with the sea again, which I now realize I have missed very much, it's where I belong, and I have to find my way back there. I don't know what I want to make these days. I do know I still love clay, just don't know where I am with it right now, maybe I will be able to sort out my thoughts as I blog about our trip.
We drove 2500 miles since last Monday, so it will take me some time to come out of this fog, I'll try to keep it interesting! So glad to be home!!!!!

Saturday, June 11, 2011


My daughter gave the most beautiful speech today for her high school graduation. Everyone that graduated had the chance to say whatever they wanted, there were 40 kids, and they all said something. It just so happens Wesley's last name starts with a B so she was first and her speech was the beginning of many wonderful speeches to come. She was very emotional but spoke so eloquently of the respect Buddhism has for teachers, and the influence her teachers have had on her life, it was amazing, but she has asked me not to post the video on my blog so I will respect her wishes and just tell you that it was a proud moment for her dad and me.
I have posted this photo because it says so much to me. This is Wesley's good friend Preston. She was still crying when she left the stage, and Preston came to her and gave her the sweetest embrace you could ever imagine. It was so lovely. There was a time, not too long ago, when you would not have seen this at a high school graduation. You would not have seen it at my high school graduation. But my child and her friends don't know about color, they only love each other for who they are. Preston ended his speech with this quote, " we all walk the same path, we just wear different shoes." People, we have a bright future, the kids I saw today are going to change the world!!! I'll be back in a couple of weeks! Peace ya'll....

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Time out

I will be taking a little break for a few weeks from clay and blogging. Wesley is graduating and the lunar eclipse is screwing with my mind, so I need a time out! My Etsy shop will be up until Sunday and then it will be down for a while as I add some new things. Stay tuned for news and updates! (I may add a graduation photo if I have time....)

"Be yourself; no base imitator of another, but your best self. There is something which you can do better than another. Listen to the inward voice and bravely obey that. Do the things at which you are great, not what you were never made for."
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Zen Pottery

I haven't been feeling the pottery thing for a couple of weeks now. It's not a bad thing, just taking a mental break I think. It's been an odd feeling, I know I need to get busy making some things, but I don't really feel the urge to do so, I go out to my studio and I clean, organize, shuffle things around, but not making anything wonderful. Today, my friend Susan had a great photo of an alter in her house on her blog, and it occurred to me that Wesley has an alter in her room where she meditates every morning and although I have lots of things from nature in my studio as we all do, I don't have a specific location to honor nature and peace and creativity. So, I made myself a little alter thanks to Susan's inspiration. Earth: a rock, some shells, and a seed pod, Air: incense and a bird's feather, Water: a tea bowl filled, Fire: a candle. I lit the candle, the incense, put on some great music and just sat still for awhile. I looked at my stack of books and the first one I came to was Zen and the Art of Pottery. I always enjoy this book, so I picked it up. Let me share the first passage with you. It clearly identifies what I know a lot of us go through:

After a time of decay, comes the turning point.
The powerful light that has been banished returns.
There is movement but it is not brought about by force
the movement is natural, arising spontaneously
For this reason the transformation of the old becomes easy.
The old is discarded and the new is introduced.
Both measures accord with time, therefore no harm results.
I Ching

Clearly, I am never going to be a production potter with this mentality towards making work, but I have to have my sanity, and that requires quiet time, time with my family, and time away from clay. So, I have resigned myself to the fact that I work slowly, I make few pieces, they sell, and then I make some more when I want to. That's just the way I roll and I am lucky that the AP values Gerry and his work and he gets a check from them each week. When we start depending on me, we are going to be really thin, because there will be very little food! As my work gets stronger and I find my path, this attitude may change, I'm working on that. I would like to help Wesley get through college and make the contribution to our household income that I used to make. We'll see how this goes......vacation first, then back to it in a more serious way I think!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Bye Bye

This has been one of my favorite barns. It seems like I say that about a lot of them, but the roof color on this was a new one for me and it turned out really nice. Looks like it will have a new home in Washington DC, thanks Etsy customer for the purchase! I am always a little sad to see them go, but excited that people want them also. Bye Bye......

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Hey there

Thanks for the comments about Gerry's photo yesterday, I didn't have time to respond to all of them but read them all, passed on to Ger!
Thanks also to the folks that have featured my raku barn on Etsy, the treasuries look great. I keep thinking I would like to do a treasury, but there's another time suck, just can't get to it.
This is the last raku barn I have, one is on hold for someone. I really like the raku barns and they are all surviving the thermal shock. I can remember when I first started doing raku I was told by many that my slab work would not survive, well it does if you build it right!
In other news, Gerry and I have had to do a 360 on our vacation plans. We were going on a backpack trip to Colorado, but the trails we chose have 5ft or more of snow on them, there are avalanche warnings and so..... we are heading to Maine, New Hampshire and a short side trip through Cape Cod to see Hollis and Dee! Big shift here, Gerry spent months mapping out the Rockies trip and now I am mapping out Maine, the white Mts. in New Hampshire and a side trip to the Cape. Whew..... campground reservations, back country permits, hotel stops with our Marriott points, and figuring out what we want to see. If any of you have ANY suggestions, please pass them on!! Michele.... NH?!? Hollis is sending me some things, thank you :) and we are looking forward to seeing him and Dee on our way home. Looks like the Colorado snows might be a blessing, we have been to Colorado several times but I have only been to Maine once long ago when I worked for Old Town Canoe. Looking forward to seeing it with my family and not during a sales meeting! Know any good trails, restaurants, things we can't miss?!?!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

NY Times

Gerry made the front page of the NY Times today!! He has been out of town all week following this story. This photo is very artsy and good for the NY Times for running it. Hard to tell in this photo, but it was shot through a window and there is a weird green reflection circling John Edwards, really cool photo. The News and Observer has a slide show package with the photo and a great photo with Gerry in the background working HERE, I can't post it on my blog because they have all sorts of copyright warnings posted, guess I should stay out of trouble and not drag it onto my blog.
I had a full day in the studio yesterday and did nothing but make a few tiles. I am just not feeling it right now, can't get motivated, have no creative energy flowing and don't even want to make anything. Hoping this will pass soon. I do have a kiln of bisque to fire and some coil pots to smoke, maybe after that I will have more interest...

Friday, June 3, 2011

A Day with Friends

Yesterday I took the day off and went out to Cedar Creek Gallery with my friend Barbara McKenzie to see the teapot show. Barbara has two great raku teapots in the show. Last night our friends Bob and Laura came over for dinner, we both have the same anniversary and we got together to celebrate. They just got back from New Mexico and Laura brought me this beautiful card. Laura has a great new blog, if you haven't seen it yet, check it out, it's on my blog roll, Tossing Ashes.

Cedar Creek is a bit of a trip from my house, but worth it. The grounds are so beautiful and the gallery has a lot of wonderful pottery. I'm not the biggest fan of teapots, I like a very simple shape and the teapot shows tend to be on the sculptural and dramatic side. I was most interested by some of the surface treatments, especially Ken Sedberry's. Probably my favorite was one by Doug Dotson, who makes some of the greatest pottery around here. I am a huge fan of Doug's work. Check out the show here. I took lots of pictures but their website has a great slideshow, user friendly and the photos are better than what I took.
You see this pine forest as you pull out of the parking lot, and it was quite dramatic with the sun pouring through. Reminds me of living in SC. I am super allergic to pine tree pollen and don't miss these things a bit! Luckily, I haven't lived near any since moving to NC. The temperature was much cooler when I took the dog out this morning, heading out to the studio for a full day today!