Kelly Savino on sat 31 oct 09
Patrick Green's rough, woodfired crunchy clay mug says, "ting!"
Tony's shino woodfired mug with the butt crack says "clack!" and is impervi=
ous to sparrow farts in Arkansas.
Mel's smooth, speckled-stony iron speck reduction mug says, "clunk!" and Je=
ff's up first so he gets to it before I do.
My latest fave is a straight sided number by Ellen Currans, with a nice "di=
ng". I'm up late so I'm all about morning coffee, and real cream, which is =
well worth the treadmill time.
Wind chimes: when I was a teen my mom made some lovely fall-leaf ones out o=
f terra cotta... they said "clack-clack". First respectable windstorm and =
they were shattered all over the ground. I remember her picking up pieces, =
saying, "What was I thinking? It's clay..."
My brother lives in Ohio farm country on land so flat you feel like a bug o=
n a plate... constant wind, trees grow with a lean. Somebody gave him long =
tube metal wind chimes as a wedding gift. After a week he got out of bed in=
the middle of the night, went outside and beat them off the porch with a b=
Workshops: I've become a workshop snob. It's hard to pay for two days in a =
hard chair, watching someone ELSE make pots, when I could be in my own stud=
io making discoveries (and some money besides). Plus, good workshoppers giv=
e me ideas I want to try RIGHT NOW, not in a couple of days. I prefer a lon=
ger, hands-on workshop, like summer sessions at Appalachian Center for Craf=
t or Penland, but missing that many work days is no longer an option at my =
Workshoppers are like teachers (and politicians): they might have a great t=
alent and a head full of information, but if they aren't likable, or person=
able, or able to explain and transmit their enthusiasm to others, it's not =
especially useful. I went to a big college with a research focus for underg=
rad. Some of the profs were great scientists, or writers,or scholars, but h=
ad the personality of a mud brick and no real passion for teaching.
I once wrote a thing for Ceramics Monthly on what makes a good workshop. I'=
d probably add some things now. Not talking down to the audience is one... =
a good presenter and decent speaker once lost me by sneering at hobbyists, =
the self taught and "market" potters, betraying an academic snobbery that l=
eft me cold.
A nice collection of what Dannon Rhudy calls "rodeo tricks" is another boon=
... the stuff people jot down in notebooks and later try for themselves. Ti=
ming is crucial, as well... any process that is too tiny to show well, or i=
s repetitive, or takes for freakin' ever, is going to lose the crowd unless=
you're a darn good storyteller in the meantime. Watching a meticulous pott=
er fuss over some little pinch pot you can't see (or too much "cat licking"=
, as Josh DeWeese calls it) makes for a fidgety audience.
I pretend I'm cooking show: demo step one and two of a pot, then and whip o=
ut the already leather hard previously made one (or two) to complete the pr=
ocess. I suspect certain demographics -- Northern and urban audiences, or =
the younger generation raised on quickly changing media -- want more RTPM (=
rodeo tricks per minute) than others might. Personalities and caffeine leve=
ls factor in, as well.
I don't love my current teaching schedule because it involves spending all =
day Saturday away from my family - class runs 10-3, then lab 'til 5. The br=
ight side, though, is that it is very much like an all day workshop setting=
. I have a before-lunch plan and an after-lunch plan, break it up by moving=
between powerpoints and demos and hands-on, and get timing down pat. Lab h=
ours are optional but nobody ever goes home, even after a five hour class, =
because they're caught up in it. They are guinea pigs: I throw them new pro=
jects, measure the "oooh ahhh" factor, get a feel for how long things will =
take, and how well they translate to other hands with a variety of skill le=
We do a lot of laughing in there, too... I honestly enjoy the whole thing. =
My students and I made terra sig from the class slop bucket, and though I'm=
told it "smells like butt", it shines up nicely and seems to take color we=
ll. We raku next weekend...
So life is good. Jeff is now teaching three science classes part time at tw=
o different colleges, while student teaching toward his junior high science=
teacher certification... he's a funny, enthusiastic nerd, a cross between =
Bill Nye and the professor from Gilligan's Island, and he's having a ball. =
I'm teaching one class at the college, two classes at the guild and ten lad=
ies in my studio, and making pots for holiday sales. I made an extruder die=
for the walls of a series of casseroles that have me really interested, ex=
perimenting and inventing.
My 16 year old was one of 350 zombies form his charter school for the arts =
who danced to "Thriller" in a flash mob at the local mall... my 14 year old=
, finally over a week of H1N1 flu, is at a halloween party dressed as a sec=
ret service man... and my only homeschooler (miss Molly) is dressed as a ca=
t, sitting between her two cats and counting halloween candies.
Yeah yeah, too long, too bloggy, bla bla. I'm not running for, applying for=
, or selling anything, so I don't care...
Kelly in Ohio