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Several years ago, when I was *very* new to clay, I attended my very first clay conference. It was really my first introduction to the clay community. I remember it being a wonderful and unforgettable experience. I got to try rakuing for the very first time at the preliminary workshop hosted by Ottawa Valley artist Leta Cormier in her, as I remember, extremely immaculate studio. I also got to take part in my first mug exchange in which I remember receiving a lovely salt-glazed mug by potter Jackie Seaton. My name was even drawn and I won some nice oriental brushes. But that was not all (and this was the pinnacle for me), John Leach, of Muchelney Pottery, was the main presenter. His pots were like nothing I had seen before (I told you I was new to clay) and I was impressed by what a real person he was … very gracious, generous, and down to earth. He left a lasting impression on me.
I recently discovered John’s brother Simon Leach has posted a series of videos on YouTube over the last year or so, showing demos, kilns, visits back to England and to friends’ studios, his philosophies, etc etc. What I like is he presents things face on and shares his victories and disappointments, the good and the bad, taking it all in stride. I don’t think a lot of people are aware how hard it can be to be a potter and that things, quite beyond your control, can go extremely wrong after many, many hours of hard work, and all for naught. Here is the 2nd of 2 of Simon’s videos taken while unloading Seth Cardew‘s kiln:
Well Christmas is right around the corner and December seems to have passed as soon as it came. There were a lot of pots made in between illnesses and the different obligations and distractions that typically pull you away when you have 2 small children.
Our much anticipated Coastal Artisans Art Show took place on December 2nd (the invitational art show that we had been busily organizing since early last spring) and I am so very pleased to say it was a great success, thanks to a lot of elbow grease on everybody’s part, great community support, and, of course, a buying public. It was a very positive experience and imminently rewarding. We have a really personable and eclectic group of artists and I feel very fortunate to have been able to get to know them over the last several months. I really look forward to working with them again next year. In case you who were involved are reading this blog, I wish to thank all of you who participated and to everyone else who so generously helped us make everything happen.
One of the members and a co-founder of The Coastal Artisans, is Charles Smith. A native of Mobile, Alabama, he is one of the region’s most well known, widely recognized, and certainly respected professional visual artists. He is a true craftsman with a shrewd business sense, a great sense of humor and a heart of gold. Some of you may be interested to learn that a number of video interviews with Charles have been posted on YouTube, where Charles reflects upon technique, design, and artistry, among other things. To view these eight videos, including a slideshow of some of his pots, go to http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=smithpots.
Something else that has gone on in the early part of the month, as mentioned in my previous posts…… On Saturday Dec 16th, the Gulf Coast Kiln Walk Society had the official opening of their anagama kiln. Sadly we weren’t able to make it over be there for the event, but not for lack of desire (my 4 year old brought home yet another cold from school and this time, everybody here got it.). According to a recent email from Marty and Brenda Stokes, the firing took 5 days, as it did last year when Brian Harper helped them fire it. I can’t wait to see the pictures and, with any luck, a video of the event on their web site.