Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Kneel Jung

Man I really like Neil Young. Nice to see him doing something new these days, I mean, I really liked his early stuff - you know - "Shilo" and "Kentucky Woman", "Crunchy Granola". Great voice an' all.

Hey, that wasn't Neil Young! That's Neil Diamond!

Oh...okay. So I really like "The Goodbye Girl" .ha ha..remember Dreyfus sitting on the bed naked playing his guitar and Marsha Mason asks him "Are you decent?" and he...

Hey man, that's Simon!!!

Oh. Hey I really like him too, man! I wonder if he's still crazy after .

NO! not PAUL Simon! I mean that's NEIL Simon!!

Neil Simon wrote "Still Crazy After All These Years"? ? Man, that cat's versatile..

Jeez, no, I mean Neil Simon wrote the Goodbye Girl .you know? The play made into a movie?

Yeah, I heard they were doing some kinda dramatic stage thing on the new tour.

New tour? Whaddaya mean, "New Tour"?

You know, Neil Young's new tour. I heard there's some kinda, you know, drama.

So now we're back to Neil Young?

Yeah man. Isn't that what we were talking about?'l bit of trivia here - did you know he wrote that "Love Will Keep Us Together" that the Captain and Tennille recorded?

No. I did not know that BECAUSE IT IS NOT TRUE! That was Neil SEDAKA you rube!

HEY! TenNEIL..NEIL you suppose they were, you know, married or brother and sister or something?

Yes. NEIL Sedaka and TenNEIL were married. *rolling eyes*

Hey, wait, you're wrong - Tennille was married to the Captain. I'm almost sure of it.

Well, you got me there.

Things can get kinda weird in this world you know? I mean just think of it - what are the chances? Neil Armstrong walked on the moon and I'll bet Neil Young has sung at least one song about the moon. It just doesn't get any weirder than that. That's probably one of those "syncronicity" things, y'know?

You mean like the fact that Paul Simon and Art Garfunkle had the same birthday?

I thought we were talking about Neil Young.

But you said something about coinci..oh, nevermind.

It's such a shame the four of 'em will never get together again. Man, what is it now? Two of 'em dead?

Two of WHO?!

Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young!

THEY"RE NOT DEAD!! You idiot! You're thinking of the Beatles! Two of them are dead...

OH yeah! Paul and..

NO! Not Paul and. NOT Paul and. Paul was never DEAD! That was just a hoax. John and George are dead.

So I guess the Beatles are never going to get together again either?

Either? I just told you that Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young are still alive. I mean, theoretically THEY could still get together again.

Cool. You think they'd do any of Neil's early stuff? I really liked "Cracklin' Rosie".

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Leeper Park Art Fair

Well, yesterday Dar and I had a day to unwind after the Leeper Park Art Fair in nearby South Bend. I hadn't done that show in over 25 years and it was interesting to do a show so close to home.

I made a huge mistake with the kiln -- a mistake I've never done. My plan was to fire on Thursday so I could unload the kiln on Friday and still get up to South Bend to set up my display on Friday afternoon. I candled the kiln overnight Wed and woke up at 2 A.M. to start the kiln....

...but when the kiln got red hot (later that morning) and I peeked inside, I realized I had forgotten to put cones in the kiln. Oops.

I turned the kiln off to let it cool enough to allow me to reach in (several hours later) and put cones in, but here's where it went from bad to worse....

...I put the wrong cones in. Yeah. The wrong cones. I've never before done that, and I can't even imagine what made me reach for the wrong cones this time.

So, again I had to cool the kiln down and get the proper cones in.

By this time, plans of firing on Thursday and unloading on Friday were long gone. But here's where my kiln cone goof was one of the better things that happened to me all weekend (a weekend with some pretty darn good stuff happening).

See, if I had been set up as planned (on Friday afternoon) my display would likely have been destroyed by the 75 mph winds and storms that blew through the park at 7 P.M. on Friday. There were a number of blown up and bent canopies due to the wind. I don't think that I've ever had a mistake turn out quite so well.

Anyway, after driving through the eerie darkness of power outages all the way from Plymouth to South Bend at 4 A.M. on a post-storm Saturday, I finally got set up at Leeper Park.

I had a great show AND I won an award too!

I also got to visit briefly with my potter-friends
Glenn Woods and Keith Herbrand (The Pottery Boys) and Sandi Finney.

Here is a special order for my friend Stephen. The man seems to be a wealth of great ideas...

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Carter Is Right

Just a bit larger (about 12" diameter) than the prototypes of last week, I took Carter's advice and tried handles on the newest bowls. I like 'em. I intend to get quite a few made by my July shows.
In addition to a dozen larger pumpkins and four more basket/bowls and some square baking dishes, I finished the turban gourds that I started before I left for Indianapolis to participate in the Talbot Street Art Fair...

Here's my set up at Talbot Street. It had just stopped raining and was beginning to get VERY muggy. Tens of thousands of the Indianapolis faithful art show patrons still braved the horrid weather and though it wasn't my best Talbot Street, it was still a good show.

We battled weather all weekend -- from the heat during the days, to the late afternoon thunderstorms that kept me on the site babysitting my booth until late at night (just to reassure myself that nothing was destroyed). And, finally (and very thankfully) Dar made the 100 mile trip to help me pack it in on Sunday -- thereby avoiding the worst storm of the weekend. We got packed in just minutes before the sky just opened up. The visibility, due to the downpour, was so bad that cars were pulled off to the side of the road for the first twenty miles of the trip home.

Talbot Street has always sort of been my "home show". I grew up in Indianapolis and Talbot Street Art Fair was my first outdoor show ever (1979).

We got home late and tired. Breeze showed the way upstairs to bed...

...way upstairs...

Friday, June 11, 2010

Shapes Of Things To Come

My gourd garden grows pretty much year 'round. But I got an idea yesterday. The bowls above will be filled with gourds (without my long stem). I'm just trying to decide whether to glaze them all in place or have them loose in the bowl. If they're glazed in place, they need not have an unglazed side on which to fire them. Also, the centerpiece will stay arranged and if it gets dusty, the whole thing can be put in the dishwasher. Also, there need be no consideration for fragile ceramic gourds bumping each other if they are all glazed in place. So I'm leaning toward glazing them in place.

I'll probably make lots of bowls (without gourds) because I think they make pretty cool looking fruit (or bread) baskets too.

Of course, I make the mini-gourds for the casserole tops too...

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Joy Of Soft Clay

20 inch stoneware bowls

I finally got a ton of soft clay. As a matter of course, my clay supplier mixes stoneware too hard for my liking. I can get by, but when it comes to throwing bigger pieces (10lbs or more), I get tired just thinking about throwing when I know that the clay is stiff.

But this new batch is soft enough that I can even wedge 15lbs without much trouble. And so I got around to making some of my 20 inch bowls for the first time in a long time. Aside from the difficulty of throwing the stiff clay, during the winter months all my sales are online and, as such, I don't need the big bowls anyway. Their cost of shipping is almost equal to their retail price. So I just don't get around to them anyway.

Sure is nice to make them again, though. That's probably how I'll spend the rest of the day.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


Last year I took this picture of a boat I was following between Knoxville and Lexington. Seems my family of animals have a way of following me, even when they can't come along.

Here, of course, is the real Breeze...

Well, it happened again this past weekend in Cincinnati when I noticed the art pictured below drawn on a basketball court directly behind my booth...

Here, of course, is the real Crush...

The back of my booth can be seen in a direct line above the "U" in "Crush" -- the white canopy with the fly attached to the back. Here is a photo from the front/side. If you touch your monitor over the image, you will feel that it was hot that day.

With not a whole lot to add tonight, I will leave you with a Rhapsody in Blue...

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Cincinnati, Here I Come

I know this is my second post today, but it occurs to me that I ought to mention that I'll be in Cincinnati at Summerfair over the weekend. I've had some GREAT firings (like the one I opened this morning ^above^ ) and I hope to see some of you there!

Art Fair Fashion Faux Pas, Fellow Artists

I’ve heard them referred to in hoops slang as “Marilyns”. Presumably the nickname for them came from someone’s remembrance of Marilyn Monroe wearing some sort of poofy short shorts. And I suppose they could have called them “Monroes” except that Earl “The Pearl” Monroe actually wore them, and while that would make the description still apt, it would drain it of all humor.

They’re those very short athletic shorts -- solid color with contrast piping -- that were worn in the sixties and even up to the early seventies – you remember? …big basketball players with very short shorts and socks pulled up to their knees? The socks have made a come back (bo-o-o-o-o!) along with headbands (his-s-s-s-s-s!). Thankfully, Marilyns have not.

Anyway, I was doing a show down in Florida. I played hooky from my booth and was walking the show, taking the opportunity to view the work of my fellow artists. I came upon a simply stunning display of pottery. Beautifully glazed, skillfully thrown, and artfully assembled work that was just jaw-dropping.

Then I saw the artist.

He was about six feet tall, balding, well into his 50s, mustached, wearing aviator sunglasses and, yes…


Even if this had been 1965 and those shorts (that very pair) had been brand new (along with the aviator sunglasses) and, therefore, still possibly “stylish”, this fellow’s 34 inch inseam of un-tanned hairy leg was not, I am relatively certain, what the fashion designer had in mind when he/she invented the “Marilyn”.

A case could be made for criminal prosecution of that fashion designer. But an even stronger case could be made for that artist/potter to have known better than to wear an old pair of Marilyns to an art fair. At least not to an art fair where he actually had hopes of making sales.

Sure, I could have admired that artist for his self-confidence, as well as his sense of priority – he obviously puts all of his creative energy – all of his care and concern – into the making of his wonderful work. And, on the other hand, I know people who obsess about their clothing. They spend all their time and too much of their money trying to impress others with their obvious good taste. I don’t think that’s a good thing either.

But I have to admit that I wondered (and wondered if I was not alone in my wondering) if there wasn’t something equally tasteless in his work that I hadn’t noticed when that work first caught my eye. I looked the work over again and decided that my first impression of the work was the correct one. I just wonder if all the public is as “forgiving”.

Anyway, I have to imagine that it’s tough to find the proper way to present ourselves at art fairs. And I suppose that maybe I worry about it too much. Maybe it doesn’t matter. But I really think that:

1.The way we present ourselves will reflect upon our work. Maybe not to the total detriment of bad sales (if we dress in bad taste) – and probably not to the point of a great increase in sales (should we hit upon a really good “look”). But I think it does matter.

2. As we age it seems we tend to lose track of trends and how fast those trends are suddenly passé. Some fashion is relatively timeless – but it seems the more “trendy” a fashion statement, the more important it is to be aware when it is no longer fashionable. The trendy look may make a bigger splash – tell your patrons that you are “hip” – but with that trendyness comes the bigger downside in being as embarrassingly as out of step as you once appeared to be in step, when you fail to change with the times.

3. Some things aren’t a matter of taste or up-to-date fashion. Some things just look tacky. Dirty, overly worn clothes. Really badly fitting clothes.

4. I think there are ways of caring that neither appear to be overly conscious of one’s look, nor in the least “trendy”. At my age, even if I thought that the latest fashion “look” was a good one, I don’t think I’d go for it – I think it’s part of growing old gracefully to know when one looks as silly in the latest fashion as they do while wearing their hippest clothing from ten or twenty years ago.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010