Saturday, December 31, 2011

Clay Cottages

I try to get a 45 minute walk in the morning. A few months ago I would hope to see a heron fly over head or perhaps a couple of deer in the vineyards. Now this urban cowboy enjoys the cottages of Steel Town. One of the advantages of living in clay country is there are some great brick cottages. Our house with the trumpet vine climbing up the wall has the parapet architecture  which reminds me of the castles of the motherland where men took shelter to fire their arrows. At first I thought it looked Texan like the front of a saloon but then further reading showed the ancestry of the early settlers of Hamilton from  England, Scotland and Ireland. Damn good brick masons are those folks.
My morning walk now includes the homeless man that wished me Happy New Year, the busker out front of the Liquor Store and the yuppies with dogs as fashion accessories.  My walk now is less solitary. I will miss the smells of the country. Oh if I get too nostalgic for smell I'll walk past Wimpy's Hamburgers. I'l
l gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today!

To all of you I wish you good health and happiness in 2012. Remember to eat your vegetables and walk daily. Here's to bacon the ultimate red vegetable.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Happy Gang

In between Christmas visits Sheila and I have been putting up insulation and putting plywood on the walls. The last studio had drywall and nice trim. It was nice to look at but not all that practical for a mud and water guy. Plywood will allow us to put nails in the walls to hang tools and all the stuff we seem to need to make our pots.
It has been nice just doing manual work with no thoughts of other things that need done. It's been days since I thought of my class at school. Here is a picture of them- we're missing Amber.  I bought them all "I Love Isaac Button" buttons for Xmas. It is to remind them not to be afraid to be just a "potter". Making good honest pots that people need and love. What I would give for the Isaac Button 28 lb cider jar that I poured pear cider from the wooden spigot at Mick and Sheila  Casson's the summer I was at Upton Bishop, Ross on Wye, Herefordshire, England.
I hope I make even a fraction of the impact on my students as Mick did on me. Gave me a enough motivation to last a life time. There is a difference between those that want to make work and those that need to. I am the later and am missing making my work. It is within sight-  a month or so.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Socks AGAIN!

Yeah, I pretty well have everything I need. Not too much that I want. So glad Sheila buys me some socks.
Yeah, the socks are full of memories and still hang on to hope that I'll be 35 again.  I love this  life and all that it has given me. I am one very lucky camper.
Gotta go! The smoke detector just went off which means the turkey is ready.
 Yum! Yum!
Gobble, gobble!
We have much to be thankful for said the turkey at a vegetarian conference.

This is what it has come too!

Please accept, with no obligation, implied or implicit, my best wishes
for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low stress, non
addictive, gender neutral celebration of the summer solstice holiday
practiced with the most enjoyable traditions of religious persuasion or
secular practices of your choice with respect for the religious /
... secular persuasions and / or traditions of others, or their choice not
to practice religious or secular traditions at all .

I also wish you a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling and
medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally
accepted calendar year 2012, but not without due respect for the
calendar of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have
helped make our country great ( not to imply that Canada is
necessarily greater than any other country ) and without regard to the
race, creed, colour, age, physical ability, religious faith or sexual
preference of the wishee.

By accepting this greeting, please be advised that you are accepting
these terms:

This greeting is subject to clarification or withdrawal. It is freely
transferable on the proviso that there is no alteration to the original
greeting. It implies no promise by the wisher to actually implement any
of the wishes for her / him or others and is void where prohibited by
law, and is revocable at the sole discretion of the wisher. The wish is
warranted to perform as expected within the usual application of good
tidings for a period of one year or until the issuance of a new wish at
the sole discretion of the wisher.
 MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Boughs of Holly

Deck the halls with boughs of holly. Bah humbug!  Give me "That'll be the day" by Buddy Holly, a good book, something nice to sip on and I'm happy as a clam. If it weren't for Sheila decking the house and wrapping and decorating Christmas would not happen for me or our kids. I don't do it well. Even the music drives me cuckoo.
I am however a BIG believer in Santa! He sprinkled some of his fairy dust on Sheila and I this year. Our customer, turned friend, turned patron saint Sylvie gave us her almost brand new programmable Skutt kiln. Unfortunately health and work issues prevented Sylvie from continuing with clay.  We will pay up later with pots and in any way we can once we have the workshop going again. This has been a HUGE relief for us as everyone seems to have their hands in our pockets with this move. Being the new folks on the block and not knowing who to call for electrical, plumbing, roofing etc has us with large X's on our foreheads. Beware of any electrician named Sparky!

Well all the best my friends. May you get all of what you need and some of what you want. The kiln for us was what we needed. Gotta go I hear Santa. Peace and love to all of you.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Racoons for Sale

Our house was built in 1885 and the studio we're rebuilding is like opening a can of worms. The building we thought had been a boarding house for squirrels turns out to be the Hell's Angels headquarters of the hood- racoons. We have torn the entire ceiling out by now and yes there is no mistaking the size of that poop indicates coons. The reason the lights didn't work was that Rocky Racoon had chewed through the wires.
So we all know there ain't much money in pottery so my new idea is to trap friggin' coons and sell them to pet lovers.  I can't shoot them without fear of doing hard time in an orange jump suit in a place where I just might be the cutest of the pack and this time that would be  a baaaaaaaaaaaaad thing. There were some good squirrel recipes so now how about coon! Ya know when I was a kid I had a Davy Crocket hat my dad bought me at Niagara Falls with a real racoon tail. I've always been a lover of hats. I wonder if the animal lovers would object to racoons without tails. My job at Sheridan is coming to a close so I have to get entrepreneurial again. Pets or hats???????????????????

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Rats in Party Clothes

Yep, you're right they're just dressed up rats. Today in the studio we thought we had to replace a quarter of the studio's insulation but after ripping off plywood our worst nightmare was realized. The rats with bushy tails had completely destroyed the other front section of the studio. The plywood has been nailed up with a power nailer so it is not a fun job. Once you get a good hold on a piece you are covered with chewed up fibre glass.

I heard in the southern US they eat those critters. Here in squirrel hugging territory you'd do hard time for chasing one with a water pistol.  I love all kinds of nuts so I don't know why I wouldn't want one on the grill, with some mixed veggies and  chased with a glass of Chardonnay. Please send squirrel recipes.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Saturday in the Hood

This blog ain't been much about clay lately cause I ain't been doin' any. Started working on the workshop on Sunday and to be honest it's the best I've felt in a long time. I'm built to labour. Saturday we went to the Hamilton Farmer's Market which was really cool and then we went to a book signing at our neighbourhood book store where Tom Wilson of Junkhouse, Blackie and the Rodeo Kings and Lee Harvey Osmond, not to mention his solo career
was signing for a kids book he illustrated.  We bought one of his paintings that we really love. I once had a chance to buy a Mendelson Joe painting of my favourite rocker of the time- David Wilcox. I didn't buy it and it haunts me to this day.

I'm finished school today and tomorrow I labour in the studio. Hallelujah!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Rats with a good PR Agent

I had my first day in a looooooong time working in the studio. We are tearing out the ceiling and replacing the insulation as it seems we had a leaky roof and a rodent. I don't like squirrels! They are just rats of another kind. Look what one of those viscous montsters did to our joist. There is barely a centimeter of wood left. If the roofer had weighed in over 200 lbs he would have gone through the roof. It felt good to do just plain old labour today. I input my marks and those of the faculty tomorrow and then I'm done for a few weeks. I'm looking forward to plain old mindless work. Plans are to paint the inside of the workshop yellow with a big blackboard on the wall for me to do my sketches of pots in process. We have to get cracking in the pot dept as it has been since August that we actually made anything.
I'd like a pellet gun for Christmas if anyone is wondering what to buy me.  Rats with bushy tails!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Don't tell anyone of my evil thoughts.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Sheila's Heart Throb

Well the cougar got her Christmas wish when her and birthday girl Eileen went to the CBC Christmas party. And wouldn't ya know Jian Giomeshi greeted Sheila with "Great hair!' Man that guy could steal her away from me in a wink but the complimenting of her hair is like pouring honey all over it.
We are both fans of Jian and he does such a fine job as radio host on CBC. He is articulate, well researched and always does his homework. I've told Sheila many times if she leaves me, she has to take me with her.

Monday, December 12, 2011

I'll gladly

pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today! One day while doing a wheel demo I looked out and 5 of my students were watching and eating Harvey's hamburgers. This class never stops eating!!!!! They have egg and bacon bagels for breaky, a burger for lunch, left overs from Starbuck's in the afternoon and they don't seem to grow in size. Me on the other hand have to smell and look at this delicous fare and chow down on a pear, an orange or a fruit plate. Life is just not fair!!!!!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Chair Man of the Bored

This is the first December in over 23 years when we weren't hanging around waiting for a customer to pull in to our showroom. I'm actually doing stuff in my little basement workshop. I'm not bored with actually having a life. I love chairs!!!!! It all started when we visited a wood show and saw all this crappy furniture selling and in amongst all this was a guy who made his chairs on a treadle lathe and put dry wood into green wood so that it shrank and no glue was used. He didn't sell a chair until a couple of years later I had saved up enough to buy one. It is a full Windsor that he stained pumpkin orange and then put a black paint over it. It is now wearing thru beautifully.
This week at Pinecroft I was thrilled to have Brenda give me a couple of ladder backs that her Uncle Charles had made. Charles was truly a Renaissance man that lived in a log house by the pond and kept a daily journal of growing produce for sale, making chairs, knitting and cutting block ice for people's ice boxes. I spent the afternoon cleaning up the chairs and bringing Charles back to life in his work.

I've been a good boy this year so Santa if you were wondering go to David Fleming's website and look at his incredible chairs.  I'd take another rush Annie's chair to accompany Uncle Charles or I do love that Birdcage Windsor or the Connecticut Yankee or just choose anyone of them. Chairs and hats are a weakness. Did I mention good bourbon?