Sunday, June 25, 2017

If I had a million dollars


I remember when Canada’s Barenaked Ladies produced this song we all dreamed of what we could do with a million dollars. I’m in Vancouver doing a workshop. Vancouver has the highest real estate prices of any city in Canada. A garden shed would cost you over a million dollars and a detached crack house 1.6 million dollars. Actually I’m staying in a friends one bedroom condo which has the million dollar price tag. It’s hard to imagine a person in the arts living in this city without having 3 or 4 jobs. Not a place for little ole moi.  Rural Ontario is looking better and better.
We went down to Granville Island which is a happening spot on the harbour front that has long been the home of Emily Carr School of Art and Design. There were some sexy little house boats nestled along the shore and low and behold a cement factory. What that real estate is worth would be mind blowing. I’d sell the joint pay a few bills, move to Aylmer, Ontario and make pots till all the money was gone.  What was nice to see is the paint job on the silos. Art can change the entire face of industry. I wasn’t the only person that stopped to photograph the cement trucks . They are even smart enough to have artists painting flower boxes, mail boxes and empty walls. This way they look like art instead of some bad tag from someone in a hurry to deface an empty space.

Here is a picture of my friend Cheryl who works 3 or 4 jobs to live in Vancouver amongst her arts peeps. A big salute to Cheryl who gives so much to Ceramic Arts in Vancouver without much well deserved recognition. People like Cheryl are in many arts centres making sure the glazes are made, the kilns are working, the space isn’t a pig stye and people go home happy.  People that know who the worker bees are celebrated Cheryl's



B-Day with flowers.  A tip of my fedora to you Cheryl.  That'a a helluva smile and a even bigger laugh- har, har, har, har.  Cheryl long may you run!

Friday, June 23, 2017

Are you getting any better?


And what are you doing about it? Facebook calls your attention to the passing of time and it has been a great way for me to follow my wood fire family. It was three years ago this September when I started the voyage with 11 potters on a wood fire mentorship sponsored by the Hamilton Potters Guild. These remaining 5 have been on every voyage with me and now I see them charting their own courses in new rivers of fire. I have this secret underground of friends that keep me posted as to how they are doing. Once their teacher always their teacher.
Emma Smith went off to the wood fire conference in North Carolina to fire with Josh Copius. Word came back they want to keep her there. Fat chance we need our closer. Anne Marie Row, Chris de Takesy, Teresa Dunlop and Jen Drysdale went down to Peter’s Valley to fire with Takuro and Hitomi Shibata to fire in the noborigama. Word from the tick infested forest of NJ is they were the best. America ya can’t have anyone of them either. There stands my opener, my night shift and my middle innings and organizer. 
I am not surprised to receive the compliments! People that get better work at it. You can get better working alone. I did it for over 20 years however I found I got better a lot faster when I worked with someone else.

When I think of the combined knowledge of this group over the past 3 years it has been amazing. The pots have gotten better, the firings have gotten better and the roles we all play in this team make the next steps in the learning process easier. Walk tall and carry a big stick!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

I got crabs!


My workshop up Island got cancelled so I spent an extra couple of days at Chosin’ Pottery with my gracious hostess/friend Judi Dyelle. Judi is amazing as she took me all over and I sampled island life as I heard of it so many times on my regular Saturday night phone calls.
Me being a meat and potatoes man all I can tell ya is you have a hellava lot of work to do to pick the wee morsels of meat outta a Dungeness crab. It’s almost like going on a diet with all the work to get a toothpick full of meat. Good thing we had some nice fresh bagets, some salad and nice bottle of wine or I might have perished. I was just about ready to throw the dang crab in a pan of hot water and make a soup out of it shell and all.
Judi and I put together the images for the eulogy that I will be presenting at Nceca in Pittsburgh on Robin’s behalf. Spending this past week there gave me so much more appreciation for the artistry and hard work behind this iconic couple. Judi allowed Robin to dream in technicolour while she kept the house fires going, the I’s dotted, the t’s crossed and the financial wolves at bay. There was no production work left in the showroom. Judi had finally convinced Robin that he had only so many more pots left in his hands so he should concentrate on one off’s. Each time he would focus on a series- landscapes, oribe,southwest etc, etc. What kept revealing itself with each series was the amazing brushwork. God, he was good with a brush.
Rich to have such wonderful friends. Thank you Judi for such a wonderful insight into your world.

I’m sitting waiting for the ferry to Vancouver for a weekend workshop with my friend Janet Zadra. Back to the mainland and a 3500 kilometer walk back to The Cactus Lounge. Once pointed in that direction I start to think of the richness of what I have at home. Very different but rich. I am the richest man on this ferry.