Saturday, August 25, 2012

Busy Summer

Lilly Endowment This has been one crazy, wonderful, and challenging summer for me! In February I found out that I had won a Lilly Endowment for teacher creativity renewal. The endowment gave me the opportunity to first travel to the Smoky Mountains of Cherokee, NC, where some of my ancestry originated from. I spent a week staying in a cabin up in the mountains and traveling to various sites and meeting area potters. My main focus was to learn as much as possible about the Cherokee pit fired pottery methods. After returning home my family and I dug a fire pit so that I could begin experimenting with my own pit fire pottery. I also plan to teach pit firing to my students. But it is now the end of August, and we have been under a no burn order since June, so I have not been able to even try out the fire pit. I am hoping that we will have enough rain by October but one never knows.
In July, the second leg of my endowment journey took me to a fabulous arts and crafts school called Penland. The school is nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, and is a tiny community unto itself. I took a two week course on figurative/narrative clay sculpture with an excellent instructor named Arthur Gonzalez. During the two week course I constructed three life-size busts, three maquettes, tiny figures, and pendents. Arthur took the class to the studios of two ceramic sculptors, the Blue Spiral gallery and the art museum in Ashville. My experience had a "monkey wrench" tossed into it though, when one week into the course, I fell going up some slate stone steps. The impact left me with a 1/2 inch deep cut and tissue damage to my right knee and bruising on my left elbow. The accident made for a very difficult second week, but the people were so kind and caring and helpful that I was deeply moved and it gave me the tenacity to fight through the pain to finish the course.
Once I returned home, I had three weeks before school started back. Needless to say, those weeks were spent going to the doctor, getting x-rays, and focusing on recovery. It has been 6 weeks since my injury and I am still not properly healed, but I am told that "these things take time". My experiences have taught me a lot though. I am no longer afraid to go on a long trip by myself to a strange place. I have recognized my pessimism toward change and realize that without change life becomes stagnant. I also see that being socially adept takes work on my part and I must fight my tendency to be a recluse in social situations. The experiences that I have been blessed with due to this grant cover a multitude of areas and will affect the rest my life. I am very grateful to have been given such opportunity. Thank you Lilly Endowment Inc.!

Monday, January 2, 2012


First dolls of 2012 now available on ETSY!

My 5 year relationship with ebay has come to a close for the most part. I have become very disenchanted with their policies and the way the site has changed over the years to cater more to larger businesses which shut the little guy out. Etsy has impressed me though it will be a challenge to get established in a new venue. I am looking forward to new opportunities through Etsy and to supporting a site that believes in handmade items created by us "little guys". I am looking at 2012 not as an ending but as the beginning of a new era. May it be the beginning of a new era for you also!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

A New Year

Midnight came and went while we were snoozing peacefully in our snug bed. We had no clue as to the passing of that fleeting moment of old turning into new. Ten years ago, we never would have let that magic hour come and go without ringing it in joyfully. And now the serenity of quiet hearth and home wins out as does the call to slumber at a reasonable hour. I came across some quotes that are quite befitting this changing of the year.

Youth is when you're allowed to stay up late on New Year's Eve. Middle age is when you're forced to. ~Bill Vaughn

Many people look forward to the new year for a new start on old habits. ~Author Unknown

A New Year's resolution is something that goes in one year and out the other. ~Author Unknown

Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each new year find you a better man. ~Benjamin Franklin

May the next twelve months bring you more joy than sorrow and abundant blessings and wisdom to handle all that 2012 throws your way.