Kindness

I was given a booth yesterday!

In the last CCNL newsletter, there was a notice that Janet Davis wanted to sell her booth display. I thought, wow, only I had the money…

On Sunday I got the chance to go by the craft fair[1]. Ann Breen, who does mostly Christmas ornaments but also textiley things, was going to lend me a table for my display, and I wanted to measure it to see how my existing display stuff would work with it. I walked past Janet’s booth on the way, said hello. “You want a booth?” Yes. “I’m ready to give it away at this point.” She showed me how it fit together, how you don’t need to do any hammering or screwdriving to get it together, where the lights are, how the sign is attched. I expressed appreciation, for lo it is a great design. Thought she was joking about the giving part; said I’d mull it over. Moved on, measured Ann’s table, dropped by a bunch of other people’s booths to say hello and have a chat. Thought “You know, even if you can’t afford it, it’s still a nice booth. You should at least ask.”

Went back to Janet, asked “But seriously though, how much would you want for it?” “I seriously would give it to you for free.”

So I have a booth! An actual booth! A week ago I was thinking “And this year maybe I can afford a sign”, but now I have a whole booth! With a sign![2] And it’s solid wood, so I can nail shelves to it and paint it and it is sturdy as all get out.

After five, I went back to the fair. I figured the least I could do, all things considered, was help them take it down and move it into the space I’ll be in. And I didn’t even have to help with that, really; suddenly four people appeared to help me move and assemble it. I even got an offer of more helping hands and the use of Roz‘s dad’s pickup truck for take-down time.

I am feeling absolutely blown over by the help and kindness I’ve been offered. People can be so very awesome sometimes.

[1] Astute readers may have picked up that it’s at the Arts and Culture Centre this month, split over two weekends. I’m in the second half. Set-up is in a matter of days. Aieee.

[2] I even know what design I’m going to paint on it, and what colours it’ll be.

Retreat! Retreat!

I’ve been lost in a sea of glaze the last day or two; just surfacing here briefly to pass on the word on this year’s Craft Retreat. I’ve never been myself, but that’s something I’ve always regretted because it sounds like a blast:

“The time has come to start brainstorming and wishing…what will be in store for the Textiles Annual Upper Amherst Cove Craft Retreat 2010? This year’s retreat will be held the weekend of September 11th, just after Labour Day.

This weekend-long retreat will combine free time, workshops, lectures and presentations which are designed to unite craftspeople of all influences and provide a calm and serene opportunity to share knowledge, skills and experiences.

[…]

The 5 W’s:

Who can take part: Anyone with an interest in craft – the event is free!! The retreat is organized by the Textiles program (College of the North Atlantic) and the Anna Templeton Centre for Craft, Art & Design and is hosted by Paterson Woodworking

What happens: A jam-packed weekend of hands-on workshops, demonstrations, artist talks and presentations, campfires, belly laughs and lots of great food

When does it take place: September 11th & 12th with transportation on the 10th and 13th (we charter a motorcoach! – also free for you)

Where does it take place: Upper Amherst Cove, Bonavista Bay (near Bonavista). Workshops take place in local studios, houses and outside (weather permitting). Accommodations – most people camp but there is limited indoor accommodation for those that require it. There are also nearby B & B’s…

Why do we do it: This weekend is a full immersion in the local craft world. The activities are a load of fun and inspiration, there is a lot to learn and plenty of wonderful-grand people to meet, and Upper Amherst Cove is beautiful. You are bound to leave feeling excited, inspired and motivated to create!

If you know of anyone else who might like to be involved, please pass the word along.

For more information, contact the Textiles office, 757 8178 or the Anna Templeton Centre, 739 7623.”

Sigh.

Someone broke a tentacle on my casserole.

Not one of the awkward ones, luckily; just one attached to the octoknob. I prised off the old one with a butter knife and made a new knob.

Handy tip: when clay is too dry for you to attach anything to it, and the piece you want to attach will be held in place by gravity, you can just bisque your pieces separately, apply glaze, and put one piece on top of the other during the glaze firing. The glaze will melt and resolidify around the attached piece, holding it in place.

Hm.

I seem to be falling waaay behind in my blogging this month. Bad blogess; no cookie.

I’ve been spending all my free time in the studio, but most of it’s been as a volunteer, not working on my own things. So there hasn’t been a lot of progress done there. I am, however, one day away from really totally definitely finishing up the work for the wholesale show.

Even the folding business cards, which have cost me a month of frustration. (Next time, I’m asking my husband to do this stuff. He knows stuff about graphic design. And doesn’t end up screaming at the computer, wanting to hit things after an hour of Things Not Going Right.)

Oh, and the last of the Small Comforts sold today! A man came into the shop to buy some earrings, and mentioned seeing “some interesting little teapots” in the gallery a few weeks ago. He wanted to know if the show was still up. (Technically, no, it was being packed up, but the door was open today for just such customers.) He bought my favourite one: the round one with the feet, the swirly spout and the tall swirly lid.

Pepa Chan

Remember the Pick-Me-Up Artists? They have some new members, including Pepa Chan, who does adorable-creepy stuff.

Originally from Argentina, she was living in Vancouver when she and her boyfriend decided to move to Halifax. They started hitch-hiking their way across the continent, and about halfway along got picked up by the Idlers, who told them St. John’s is way cooler and that’s where they were taking them. So here she is. Tough noogies, Halifax.

It’s stories like these that really make me appreciate the local arts scene. It feels isolated from the rest of the country, but it’s big, and very intense, and very welcoming. And it pulls people in.

Middle Cove Beach Firing

The beach firing went off wonderfully. We had great weather, good food, and some awesome pots.

In previous years, we’ve dug a big trench in the rocks and used that to do a pit firing. This year, there’s sign at the beach banning large fires, so we did two smaller firing in the ex-oil drum we used Monday night. The first firing, it was sitting directly on the rocks, so there wasn’t a whole lot of ventilation, and we got some great reduction happening. The top layer of pots was all smokey colours–some are almost purple–and the bottom had a lot of red. There was a lot of big, dramatic black patches, but I’d been hoping for brighter colours too. For the second firing, we propped up the drum to get some more airflow at the bottom. We got a lot less black and grey that time around, and a lot more reds and bright, sodium oranges.

While things were burning, there wasn’t a whole lot to do, so Heather and all us volunteers just vegged out on the beach for most of the day. I went up the trail towards Torbay, and got some blueberries. John Bear brought a cooler with his famous snow peas, fresh from the garden. Heather’s dad brought a sandwich tray. The family of one of the kids camp participants, who wanted to come down to the beach and see the big event, made everyone pancakes and bacon in the morning and hotdogs and greek salad in the evening. The beach fire, for all the effort that goes into it–clay mixing and volunteer pot-making started a month and a half ago–is really the best day of the year for the studio. There’s a lot of lugging and scrubbing before and after the firing, but in the hours in between, you get to hang out on the beach with a bunch of friends.

About the only thing that went wrong was that the second firing took so long to cool down, it didn’t get unloaded until right before sunset. We wound up packing up pottery and all our gear in the dark. (Until the wave of Saturday evening bonfire-makers turned up, and shined some flashlights around for us, which was great. Special thanks to the family with the party lights, who brought the most flashlights and even helped with scrubbing and packing the last of the pots.)

About ten minutes into the drive back to the studio, a wall of tired hit. Me, Lauren (the last student standing) and Heather dumped everything into the side storage room (commonly referred to as the Room of Death for all the mess that tends to accumulate there), and went home for soap and sleep.

I don’t know about the others, but I for one was so sooty by the end of the day that I turned the bathwater grey, and then had to have a quick shower to rinse off the bathwater. And then I slept until almost noon.

I took to many pictures to really fit them into a post, but you can find them here.

Ho hum.

Mostly a quiet week in the studio. There hasn’t been enough glazed work ready for a firing, so the cephalopots have been waiting patiently for their days in the kiln. The spring clay order still hasn’t shown up, so there haven’t been any new Bug pieces, either. My gallery submission for the Annual Members’ Exhibit broke[1], so I’ll be missing yet another gallery show deadline. No-one showed up for Open Studio Friday, but I did get a batch of Cranberry glaze mixed up. Thursday’s glaze chem class was pretty low-key… mostly, we just mixed up the last few glaze tests.

The drop-in class today was fun, though. We had two teenagers and an eleven-year-old doing sculpture and trying the wheel[2], and then a couple came in to try the wheel. There were also three Open Studio users weaving in and out… it was like a party.[3]

[1] The surviving half is doing service as a pencil holder by the studio sign-in book.

[2] The eleven-year-old was a natural. She needed help centering (everyone does), but her first piece actually held up. Most of the time, the first piece collapses, and the first piece people actually get to take home is their second attempt.

[3] A very low-key, muddy party…