Wednesday, November 30, 2005

An Artists Tale, Episode 27: Firing (or Seeking Poverty Thru Flame)

Good morning boys and girls!

Grab your latte or your popcorn, sit back and enjoy the show!

Have a great day!

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Firing Blog

The annual T-giving kiln firing is completed, cooled and unloaded. Sorry it took me a while to get up some images. But I unloaded last night in the cold pouring rain and dark, so when I came in all I wanted to do was take a hot shower, eat, and crash. After I get this posting done, I'm going to work on a piece of video to put up showing some of the tail end (read interesting) part of the firing. I'll link when done, hopefully in the next couple of days.

Comments on the work welcomed (good or bad).

warm kiln in the late afternoon

lit at night, pouring rain

cart full of glazeware

best small pieces in the kiln (coffee bowls and winter teabowls)


Hope everyone is having a good evening and is safe and warm. Off to work in video, more later!

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Mail Art Scans (the only productive thing for the day...)

From the fab-u-lous Ms. Lisa at Practicing Magic a multi-layered wonderful texture-y collage piece (note the butterfly iconography, kids)

From the Spiritual Leader of The Tent Show, the incomparable Dr. Omed a brilliantly energetic pen drawing of His Holiness in Papal Garb

Thanks Lisa and Dana!

Mail Art: fun, cheap and do it yourself- Send some today!

Bloody Mary Blogging

Sunday after my kiln firing. (thanks Karen!) A year's worth of clay work done for better or worse. Won't get a peek at it till tomorrow evening but I have my fingers crossed.

It's my big day of slacking. So I slept late, got up and took a walk with Lucy, then fixed a big brunchy bunch of food and a celebratory bloody mary. Menu: scrambled eggs and cheese, sausages, greek style fried potatoes. K gets the benefit of all of course, and is happy when I'm on a morning cooking binge. Now on the sofa, where I plan to remain for a good part of the day, feet up and listening to the rerun of this weeks Prairie Home Companion. Some dozing, some afternoon coffee, then winding down the evening early.

So I have some things to work on, but I'm feeling pretty lazy. Should I be struck with some motivation, I can go up and scan the mailart I received, and work on a video clip of the late stage of firing yesterday. I had K come up and run the video camera at the end of the firing which can be pretty dramatic visually, but I haven't looked at it yet. If not today, then sometime this week (assuming there's anything of value to work with).

Hope everyone has a warm and lazy Sunday afternoon wherever you are. Take some time to breathe and be thankful for small things. There is great benefit in slowness and ease.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Art in the box

WHOO-HOO! The old snail delivers mailart today from the Right Reverend Dr. Omed and Lisa at Practicing Magic. Thanks guys! (scans later when I get to the desk...)

Firing continues on a beautiful fall day. I'm a lucky boy this time...aiming for finish at sundown.

Stay tuned.

Way back machine, recent setting

Finally getting pics from the last couple of days up....

glazed pots waiting on a cart

glazed pots waiting on the table

faithful helper laying on the glaze floor

fire in the hole, 1am

3am Sat morning shorthand

Firing a kiln. Eleventyjillion stars out, a cold clear perfect night. Worked all day loading and bricking up the door, I have pics but haven't uploaded them yet (got to go up to the desktop). Thankful for the good weather and optimistic about the firing.

Thanksgiving: a good combination of work and play. Worked in the morning, cooked in the afternoon, vistors for dinner, lots of laughter and then a good nights sleep. I have a LOT to be grateful for.

Going out to turn up burners, photos later.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Thanksgiving day- Dawn Update

Heading down to my studio to wad pots. Some folks will come for dinner this afternoon so I'll take a break from that around noon and get to cooking. On the menu, Cajun fried turkey (hot and spicy!) curried sweet potatoes, and baked cornbread stuffing. Bully Hill Love My Goat and Meat Market Reds, mineral water, green tea, coffee. Someone is bringing a dessert. And there'll be something green. Yum!

Cold front moving in, howling wind. So most work will be inside today. Tomorrow I'll load, and hopefully fire on in the late evening (weather dependent.) I'll blog photo updates for anyone who cares how this is done (I'll entitle the series "how to be a starving artist: the process of poverty")

Have a great day everyone! Travel safe, and if you're international and have to work today, slack off a little bit...we don't mind, we'll know you're celebrating with us!

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Just a thought...

So what would they do if say...a thousand people show up? or 10,000?

Everyone within a days drive should show up there for lunch tomorrow. Maybe that would get someones attention...

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

From the gulf coast: A firsthand and true story

I have spent the last 2 days helping a displaced artist resettle in our community. We have provided her a small apartment on our campus for at least thru feb. When she arrived yesterday she was so grateful. i have to say, very composed, but almost shell shocked. I chalked it up to her traveling. She came to us from Bay St. Louis, by a circuitous route. Bay
St. Louis is no more.

She showed me a picture of what used to be her home. It defies description-the best I can come up with is that it looked like EVERY physical piece of her life had been thrown into a food processor. The dead cow hanging from what used to be her rafters was a startling exclamation point. There is nothing, nothing in our social experience that prepares us for dealing with
things like that. This young woman lost everything, every possession, every tool, all her artwork, everything except what she was wearing when she evac-ed and her cat. She left 2 days ahead of the storm; she knew it would be bad, but had no idea it would be the end of life as she knew it to that point. Now she is starting over, from less than scratch. And she is only one
person among thousands that have the same story.

A pair of jeans, a little shirt, a thin jacket, some warm weather shoes, a small bag of personal items- this is what she began today with. In the middle of the night it got pretty cold and started snowing here. She hasn't even seen snow since kindergarten. K and I got up and were having coffee, we looked at each other and realized she can't possibly have any winter stuff. So we gathered a coat, hats, scarves, mittens, and some warm things and took to her. And I have spent the better part of this day just trying to help her get her bearings. She has nothing here, no friends, no family, no money, no job. We drove down the mountain to our little town, I showed her the thrift shops, the grocery store, the local mechanic. I took her around the hills to some of our friends and introduced her, some donated tools, some clothes, some house utensils. Our friends don't tend to have much, but are willing to give what they can, items here and there, support, a warm dinner. After all, we have something. And getting to know her makes us realize how lucky we all are. We are morally and ethically compelled to help any way we can.

If you know anyone, or any way you can help someone from these areas, do it. Be thankful and grateful for what you have, and try to help someone rebuild their life. It is a most worthy effort.

I have a lot more to say about this, but am not able to compose my thoughts clearly right now. Reach out- your willingness to help keep someone afloat may prevent them from drowning in despair. We are all needed.

Monday, November 21, 2005

This just in:

Haloscan comments suggest that some bloggers like the idea of food and fun get-togethers (and yes, certain Canadians are most certainly welcome, for we are an internationally inclusive group). This is food for thought this winter. Could we pull it off? Stranger things have happend...

I go to bed tired from work, early to rise, with the beginnings of menu's in my head...

Rumor has it...

that its Monday. Hard to say, the days are a muddle. But we finished cleaning and closing up buildings today, and after a couple of meetings and an evening event tomorrow the gears should shift. Then I can give over all my time and energy for the next few days to getting my kiln fired.

Of course, the weather has turned- heavy cold rain maybe changing to snow by morning. The same combination continuing over the next few days. I won't let it slow me down too much, as long as the wind doesn't get going I can fire away. I'd love for it to be nice so I could film a little of what I'm doing, but I'm not counting on it. I'll at least try to take some snapshots and post them for your entertainment.

My blogging isn't at its best these last few days. By the time I get here, all I have in me is hello and goodnight. But soon to come is something much more interesting (or at least as good as I can give you) Maybe I'll blog the firing. I suspect readers will be fewer anyways as people are hitting the holiday stride; I can already see bigger spaces between blog entries in the ones I read regularly. I know its not because people have nothing to write about, to the contrary days and nights become so action packed there is little time left to sit down and write. Here on the mountain the time after the Thanksgiving firing usually slows so I have more time to ponder and scribble. Again, that's me, out of step with the rest of the universe. I meander to the sound of a different music I suppose.

Bedtime for tired boys. Hope everyone has a good evening. And since it's that week, if you're traveling, be safe, don't hurry for nuthin' and have fun.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Sat morning bloggity in moonlight

Up early and have the fire stoked and coffee made before I go to work. I'll be closing down the school for the next few days in preparation for winter.

I'm on some bizarre sleep cycle these days...waking up too early (but rested), then by mid evening I'm done in. I get this way whenever there are things looming to be done; I sleep, but wake up with lists immediately in my head. And once the hampsters start turning the wheel there's nothing left but to get moving. But for now I have a couple of minutes by the fire to myself.

I have to confess that I really like blogs. It occurs to me they are my morning and evening papers. I find them entertaining, informative and inspiring. And more importantly, connecting. Because of blogs I've been fortunate enough to make some friends that have had a definite positive impact on my life. The days are brighter, richer, and more thought provoking than they would be without them. My blog friends lend color and texture to my life, and I'm grateful for them. Oddly enough, having never met any of these folks face to face I feel closer to them thru their writing and our email exchanges than a lot of people I see on a daily basis. (I wonder what this says about me?)

I was telling someone the other day the appeal of a blog or email from a blogger friend is like having a live time penpal discussion, a frequent snapshot of a world bigger than the one we routinely inhabit, a travelogue, an old fashioned art salon, and the best family dinner you've ever had all rolled into one. Which makes me think of how wonderful it would be to gather all these cool people on our mountaintop one day and have a big dinner on the deck, much like old fashioned country church potlucks, or a scene from a european movie where there are long tables beneath plane trees laden with food and wine and beer and coffee and everyone sits and eats and laughs for hours, until the sun is long down and the lanterns are lit and the music slows to the sweet languid pace the signals the end of a perfect evening.

You'll excuse me vivid imagination early this morning?

The eastern sky is starting to get just a little pink, so that's my cue to get moving. Before I go into the day and the mundane work ahead, I want to give a shout out to my peeps: Sam, Meg, Kate, Dr. O, Lisa, and Rachael. Not a day goes by that I miss checking in with you, and I'm always delighted to see and hear what you're up to. And as the Thanksgiving week approaches and I ponder what I'm thankful for, I have to include all of you on my list. Thanks for being part of my days.

Signing off and heading down the hill. Have a great day!

Friday, November 18, 2005

Friday Matinee

Home from work early after a late last night and an impending early morning return. Fire built, coffee made, and sitting in the late afternoon sunlight that streams thru the window on a low slant. Another 45 minutes and it will drop behind the ridge. Sitting here to blog a bit is a little luxury.

Winter is here. Or at least a late fall wintery snap. Unusual, about 2 wks ahead. I wonder what it bodes for the next few months?

Our auction event was a wild success, we made over $11,000 last night. The donated work was great, and people were very generous. It makes the effort worthwhile. If I had been on my game I would've taken some photos of the work, but as you can see I wasn't and didn't.

Interesting thing, this over-busy work time. It can lead to surprising revelations. I don't know whether its the pace, or the tiredness that leads to some sort of subconscious clarity, but out of the chaos can arise a crystal clear vision. One such vision has unexpectedly fallen into my lap, and it's good stuff, and couldn't be more timely.

I'm getting ready to fire a kiln, and have had my hands on this years work a good bit in preparation. And everyone that reads this blog knows I fiddle with several different media besides clay. One of my challenges is trying to figure out how it all fits together, which I really haven't but don't worry over too much. So I'm looking at the new work, stumbling around the old work, thinking of a bunch of other stuff simultaneously, and tired on top of all that. The other night I collapsed into bed, and slept hard. And dreamed. Vividly. I popped awake, and knew right away that I had dreamed the full scope of what I've been doing and why, and how it all fits together. I mean I saw the WHOLE thing...installed, lit, sound, temperature of the space, the pedestals, the wall attachment details- it couldn't have been more clear. And best of all, doable. I know what to work towards. It was and is very exciting. Of course I lept up, half asleep, and began scribbling notes furiously. From these will arise a plan.

Now, I have to admit its not just a matter of assembling components. I see the end result, but now have to back into it. Like I have to learn how to DO some of the stuff I dreamed. But no matter, now there's a point. It's just a matter of physical realization.

I love to examine how this kind of thought process occurs. In this instance, I think I know. My biggest challenge as an artist is finding the time to work- I tend to be slow and organic in my processes no matter what the media. So I'm always struggling (and frustrated with that). For encouragement I study Christo and Jeanne-Claude; their work takes place over a matter of YEARS and I have so much respect for that passion, vision and absolute tenacity. So I had been re-visiting part of their biography lately. Then, there was a piece on NPR about Jem Cohen, a documentary filmmaker, who works on projects that span years, mainly because of HOW he works. And somewhere along the line he was asked and responded that he doesn't worry so much about the amount of time it takes him to complete a project. So I find this very encouraging, have it rattling around in my head, and sleep on it at a time I'm pretty immersed in my own projects. So it ferments, I dream, and WA-LA! magic.

How cool is that? Now all I have to do is get back to work!

The moral of the story is do your thing, and make friends with time.

So now the sun is behind the ridge, Lucy is sitting at my feet patiently, and supper will need to be started soon (I'm making K pepper steak from the last of the peppers picked a couple of days ago before the cold wind/hard freeze.) A stick of wood on the fire, wrap around a scarf and put on a snuggly vest, and I'm off to walk.

Hope everyone has a great evening. Maybe I'll put some notes about my envisioned installation project up soon and get some feedback. But don't try to talk me out of it: I have a dream!

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Small ponderings: political department

It's late and I'm just in from work and waaaayyyy tired, so don't have much in the tank. But I came across this and wanted to share it. Haven't fact checked it so I hope it's legit.

This report is over a year and a half old, but awfully relevant. Let's read it, then ask questions, and encourage others to do the same. Click here to read the thing in total.

51 documented lies at the time, but now, it must be in the hundreds...

Lots of work for the next few days. More and better ponderings when it slows down. I don't lack for material, but by the time I sit in the evening I'm about out of gas.

Have a great tomorrow!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Spread the news!

Kate from Broken Windows on NPR. Listen to it, pass on the link.

Nothing I could write or say this evening can even compare.

Have a great tomorrow!

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Blog lunch

(to show you how it's going, i started this post at lunch around's now 8:05pm)

It's Tuesday, I lost Monday, and Wed isn't looking too hopeful!


glazed pots all afternoon yesterday, cooked a big pre-tgiving dinner, made a 3 piece series of mail art before crashing. Got up in starlight this morning, loaded and hauled trash and recycling, delivered aforementioned dinner to a friend at breakfastime, ran errands, mailed aforementioned mailart (yea!)got to work, and have been working. This afternoon, more working, more glazing into the night. Leftovers for dinner. The life of a working artist.

I put a piece in a show, a large-ish sculpture entitled "Fall Koan" (nope, no picture, cause that was one more thing to do...) I don't usually title my pieces, but on the spur of the moment that's what came to mind.

From Wikipedia: A koan is a story, dialog, question, or statement in the history and lore of Chan (Zen) Buddhism, generally containing aspects that are inaccessible to rational understanding, yet that may be accessible to Intuition.

Koan aptly describes my artwork in general: An up to this point unsolvable riddle- why do I do it? why do I continue to do it? what the heck am I thinking? Where does all the time go? As I write this it becomes apparent that I could expand this line of questioning to the rest of my life. Hmm...

here's the latest pic I took of the road looking down from our house. It's long and winding...I had a spectacular metaphorical post in mind when I took it; now I can't remember the post or which day I snapped the shot. So we're left with a road and no story.

It's pouring down rain now, the wind blowing and getting foggy. Cold front moving, snow forecast for tomorrow night. Raku is complaining at my feet and now jumping in my lap, wanting me to do something about the weather. She doesn't know I'm just a guy trying to make a little stuff and keep her fed and warm.

I clearly need to go to bed. So I will. Remember, tomorrow is the Golden Egg Grand Opening. Send Sam warm wishes and good thoughts and most of all, book orders.

G' night all...

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Sunday quiet

Here it is Sunday morning. The days of the week started running together about Friday morning at 5:30. So many people, so many activities, so much scattered energy (mine and theirs). Endless lists, last minute requests/changes, lots of wining and dining (mountain style of course). And finally, done. So I have today off and will glaze pots.

To give you some indication of how the week has been: at this time of year I have to think and work in a 3 week block. Somewhere, somehow, even while successfully juggling all the events and planning, I lost track of my personal point in time on the calendar. About a week to be exact. Rushing about I ran down to the local grocery place, cause turkeys would be on sale, yipee!. Bought said turkey, did more errands, put said bird in the refrig to thaw. Truly beloved asks last night "uh, why is there a turkey thawing in the refrig?" me, chef extraordinaire: "turkey for thursday". she, patiently: "why thursday, are you taking off and why turkey?" me: "no, and it's thanksgiving" she, knowing she has me soundly cornered in logic and calendar challengement: "aren't you doing the auction on Thursday?" me" Duh-Oh".

I have misplaced a week of personal time. This is my life at this time of year.

But the sun is out and I'm somewhat rested after a good nights sleep. There are pots to be worked on, and now I know I have another week before they all have to be glazed, since the next day I have off is in fact Thanksgiving. Which I will be thankful for as I load my kiln.

Speaking of kilns, the one thing I did these past few days that was fun and interesting for me was going to the final event of the weekend, a slide lecture by Danish artist Nina Hole. Nina's current works are called fire sculptures and I think they are the epitome of what a clay sculptor can do. (i've been interested in doing one for about 3 years, since we moved out of the city. I've been planning to do a smallish one 3-4' tall in the spring or summer, and now have a better idea of the mechanics involved) She will be doing a residency in the area next year in Sept, and was here for site and logistics visits. I hope to work on this project in some way, hopefully during the building of the piece. And of course I'll try to be present at the firing. The piece will actually be built about an hour away across the east ridge, but that's close enough to get to...much closer than say, Denmark.

Right now I think I need some oatmeal and some reading time. So off I go (it's Sunday right?) into the day. Hope everyone has a great one. Stay tuned for more stories of distorted time and space...

Friday, November 11, 2005

Hi Ho, Hi ho, its off to work I go...

The wind blew hard for the last couple of days; this morning dawns with all leaves and soft edges gone, and our mountains look like a Japanese Woodcut Block Print. To the east the light is sharp, and everything is in deep contrast, with little or no varigation- the east ridge is a hard undulating line, the foreground woods and mountain are a deep indigo/purple/nearly black. All the trees are crisp sumi ink verticals, backlit by the creeping light. There is no bleeding or melting of colors; the light preceding the sun is brilliant orange, and the sky above a band of yellow white capped with purple. The air itself is crystalline. A nice morning.

And I'm off to work, juggling numerous events for the next few days. As an organization, we don't seem to do well spacing things across time. I'm not involved on the scheduling side, but I am the implementation side. So I pretty much ride the wave the comes to me. As a result I'll do 3 months worth of events in the next week. It's a heck of a way to run a railroad.

I suspect there'll be little blogging till Sunday, when I come up for air before diving back in. Until then, I hope everyone has a great weekend. Remember to support your local (and remote) small artists. And make some stuff yourself.

Small art can change the world for the better. And it needs all the help we can lend.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Cups: The Statement

What could be more routine and invisible than the ubiquitous morning take away cup? How often do you receive a message on your cup that is not advertising based? Does your cup make you think? (about something other than how good the first hit of coffee is in the morning)

A stack of cups, randomly tagged with a message. No predictable pattern, chance determines the user receiving the cup. A closed group in a small room for a long series of meetings: the possibility exists for about a third of the people present to receive a message. When will they discover them (immediately? after the door is closed and the agenda begins? In the middle of the morning when a break for fresh air and coffee is declared?)

What will be the effect? Will any one of the messages lead to a shift in perception? WIll any doors open? Will possibilities be expanded?

Will anyone break out of their normal morning routine and "wakeup and smell the coffee'?

Who knows? Stay tuned...

Subversive Art Installation

what I do when work doesn't allow enough time for clay:

sleeve of styro coffee cups, printed text lables

labels printed with thought provokiing text, copyrights read "wakeup 2005" and "smellthecoffee 2005"

subversive, suggestive cups, ready for stealth insertion at the coffee bar in the morning

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

From out of nowhere...

Here I am getting near bedtime, tired and feeling blog challenged. Wasn't even going to write and entry tonight, just look thru my daily reads, send a couple of emails, and get under the covers...until I read this.

I find this story astonishing for any number of reasons. It is an interesting comparison to see what happens when one citizen puts a sticker on a pole as a method of artistic/philosophical expression, while another person (and a few close friends) wreaks havoc on whole cultures and societies with rockets, bombs and bullets AND exposes thousands of his very own citizens to unmentionable harm in the process, and is not held accountable, responsible, or even confronted about the crimes against humanity that he is perpetrating. Our system is upside down. Clearly.

Alyce's great website here.

Art. It can be dangerous work in these days and times. Ponder on that for a while...

Dream jobs at sunup

(in no particular order)

Run an independent radio station
Be a pizza chef in my own hole-in-the-wall no frills pizza joint
Own and run a funky little hole-in-the wall no frills cafe (no menu, just blackboard specials depending on mood and season)
Artisan bread baker with a wood fired handbuilt outdoor oven
run the worlds best burrito cart on the corner of a major city in the warmer days of spring, summer and warm fall days
Own and operate a funky little hole-in-the wall books and music store (independent of course)
documentary and short film maker (yup, independent...)

hmmm, notice a trend here?

work for a touring show circus (not as a performer but as a behind the scenes guy, that's where all the fun is!)

ok, a couple of more: story collector (drive around in an antique motorhome or old airstream and record peoples stories...i could use them on the radio show, or write a book, or make a movie...)

guerilla peformance and installation artist (similar to above, but the motorhome or airstream would have a workshop inside, where I'd create challenging and engaging work and install it or give it away, then move on down the road...this strangely similar to the circus, only self contained...)

how about you?

Monday, November 07, 2005

Monday Mystery

Why is it the best hour of sleep is the time just before the alarm and the luscious stolen minutes just after?

Sunday, November 06, 2005

George Orwell Rolling...

(edited at lunchtime on Monday)

The day flashed by in one of the warm autumn hazes. I began the day with the intent to glaze pots, paint and draw, and nap. I ended it having glazed a few pots, unassembling and reassembling a big loom, working on the van that wouldn't start and do a couple of life maintenance things. And tomorrow begins an over the top day job work cycle. So it goes.

I want to tell you about this documentary, Orwell Rolls in His Grave. Like many others, I was turned onto it by a mention in Sam's Feral not too long ago. Put it on Netflix, and got it Friday. Watched it last night. Can't stop thinking about it today. But before I leap into it, an aside.

Recently I've been thinking and studying a lot about media creation and distribution. Apparently this is going to be my fall obsession. I'm certainly not qualified or educated enough on the subject to comment much, but that said I still enjoy exploring it. My personal rule of thumb tends to be if a media is not self-supporting, then it is suspect, and you have to check and verify every piece of information you're given, because there is an agenda, hidden or not. And even if something is self-supporting, it's worth digging around. Media creation for profit is such a big business it skews content, no doubt.

I think the average person really needs to challenge the usual information outlets, and better yet go out and find our own information, and share it any way possible. I've flooded a few email boxes lately in my enthusiasm to support and encourage that effort. It is part of my bigger belief in the importance of small art. Find it, share it, make it, distribute it, support it. Look for the truth, and tell the truth (or at least the truth you know as well as you know it). Because as we all know, it can and will "set us free"...

Sorry, I'm rambling. Mind is whirling and fingers not fast enough to keep up and for the love of god I need an editor!

Back to the documentary: everyone must see this film. It's not glitzy, but is well done and very informative. Actually, it gives substance to things I've suspected all along, but similar to Farenheit 9/11, it shows that the problems are much deeper, have been around longer, and more serious than one could guess. And to be honest,it doesn't leave one with much hope. K said she just wanted to cry after watching it from sheer frustration. I on the other hand get mad and want to do something. Short story: the crooks in the government, mainstream media, and advertising have stolen our media with our passive acceptance and are now using it against us to perpetuate the crime. So, we either have to take it back, or create our own.

The problem with a film like this is that anyone who is likely to watch it and get it is already on the side of agreement. The people who need to watch it won't, or will just to discount it. But I hope maybe "preaching to the choir" will finally get the choir to unite and sing together.

It's already gotten me started. I sat up into the wee hours looking at these two websites referenced in the film. They're both worth a look. I'd never heard of either of them (no surprise) but was wondering if anyone else has? This one, The Center for Public Integrity seems broad and deep and worth spending some serious reading time on. (editors note: I deleted the link to the second one at lunchtime monday because after further reflection it can't hold up to the quality of the first. Actually, I think it would do more harm than good. Once I gave it more than a cursory look I found it to lack reason, insight, depth and factual substance...)

Orwell Rolls in His Grave is available on Netflix, and maybe rental places in cities. Do yourself a favor, watch it and pass it on.

Hope everyone has a great week, my blogging might be spotty because of work but maybe I can get off this trend of seriosity and back to the things that make life something to smile about. Until then, take care, have fun, and ask questions.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Sun sliding behind the ridge

and the twilight woods shines like slightly tarnished gold, different from the morning which was more glow-y.. There's a slight breeze blowing, which suggests a cooler morning and probably a good bit of fog to look forward to.

I worked outside all afternoon at the kiln, scraping shelves and doing maintenance. It was warm enough for shirt sleeves, making it not an unpleasant task. My new working rule for the fall is go slower, do less. I'm somewhat OC, and can hurl myself into projects at a pace that takes all the fun out of it. So I start with my artwork, and try to change my habits. There'll be enough day job work happening for the next two weeks that I can careen around if I want, but find I'm much happier if I catch myself and slow down a bit.

K scored a loom today...a "give it to you if you'll come get it" loom stored in a woodshed, reported to be never used. Too good to be true. She took the truck and returned an hour later, with a dusty but otherwise perfect like new sweet 30" loom. How this is possible defies the imagination. In our mountains, most anything left unattended, especially if an organic material, succumbs to Appalachian Blue Mold in short order. This woodshed must have been hermetically sealed. As I speak, the loom is being returned to glowing with nothing but a damp rag wipe down followed by a lemon oil massage.

Tomorrow I'll start glazing big pots, taking advantage of what I hope to be a not rainy or windy day. The small pots I can do inside, but the big ones can get messy so I do them outside. I like to be able to wrestle and splash and get slip and glaze in my beard and eyebrows and generally make a big mess in order to get them like I want them. K will avoid the scene of the crime. She is not messy.

I have the movie Orwell Rolls in His Grave, noted by Sam at Feral a couple of weeks ago. We're meeting friends for dinner in a while but if its not too late when we get home I might plug it in. Maybe it will be review material. Because I have so much time on my hands and can never think of anything to write...

Hope everyone has a great Saturday evening. Take care and have fun!

Carter interview addendum

NPR and Fresh Air interviews can be heard at this link.

I love streaming audio!


Morning at small ponderings world headquarters, just before the morning walk. Today is scraping shelves, glazing and readying the kiln for loading. And 2 small treasures to be made and mailed.

Lucy says "have a golden day wherever you are!"

Friday, November 04, 2005

Friday morning radio

Driving up the mountain to work I heard this interview with Jimmy Carter. Worth a listen. Also, I understand there's another interview on Fresh Air today but they don't have the schedule up till noonish. (I'm not usually a FA listener but if Carter is on, I'll listen to the feed tonight).

I think he was the last good man that was a President. At 81, he's still sharp as a tack, well reasoned, and compassionate. Listening to him made me hopeful, the first time anyone connected with politics has done that in a long time. He is an example of no-nonsense tolerance and action that we could all learn from.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Back to our regular programming...

Here at small ponderings world headquarters the rule of writing for public consumption tends to be "write what you know, know what you write". Of course, like most rules, I like to push, pull, bend, break and completely ignore it when the mood suits me. Clearly, we've recently encountered such a mood. And the result can be quite a cacophony of words, ideas and principles, stirred together in a bubbly stew that I suppose raises eyebrows or elicits shakes of the readers head. As well it should; I'm not so certain I'm very proficient at communicating Big Ideas. If I was, the title of my spot in the Blog-o-sphere would probably be something like "Lengthy Ruminations on Very Large and Important Topics". But so many people do that so much better, and with actual basis in experience and knowledge; when it comes down to it, I'm just a guy thinking about a wide range of stuff, and knowing very little. I know the limits of my abilities and talents, but I still like to wander past the "do not enter" sign occasionally and take a peek behind the curtain. Who knows, maybe some crazy idea I might toss out in ignorance might actually spark a productive result some day.

Anyways, this afternoon we return to things I do know about...for instance:

-The way the fog in the holler looks when I stand up on the knoll in the brilliant early morning sun, the light scent of woodsmoke in the air and trees glittering golden down below
-my most excellent recently purchased at an extremely reasonable (read cheap) priced waterproof shoes, perfect for walking in the morning frost and dew, and which will come in handy when the fall rains start
-the third in a recent series of wonderful books I'm reading in the mornings, some of which I must review here when I can focus
-eagerly anticipating my annual fall and winter reading binge of old asian nature based poets
-downloaded radio pieces I listen to on my trusty iPod while driving to work
-the way my favorite knitted scarf (baby blanket soft, made by my sweetie) feels when I wrap it on in the morning
- the outrageously good butternut squash chipolte soup that Chad made at lunch today
- the slant of the late fall sun that has just a little warmth left in it as it creeps towards the west ridge
- freshly dug new sweet potatoes baking in the oven for supper tonight
- a quick nap which restores my stuffy headache-y self because I'm going back up to work tonight
- wireless high speed internet, even here in the high hills, and my trusty old laptop I use for blogging
- walking the 1/2 mile down the mountain to the mailbox and finding not one, not two, but 3 netflix movies which means entertainment for the weekend
- reading favorite blogs at the end of the day, and seeing what is going on with my ether-friends from far away
- ending the day by collapsing into bed buried beneath our old yard sale down comforter and heavy quilt, and falling asleep until the early morning, surrounded by snuggly canines and and felines

These are all little things and maybe not very important in the grand scheme, but they are what makes my life worth living. It is the good stuff that brings balance to all the not so great things happening in the world. And buoyed by these things, maybe occasionally I can think about Very Important Issues and lend a comment or two and maybe by some miracle contribute to making the world a better place.

And now the sun has just dropped below the ridge, and Lucy is patiently waiting beside me for a walk in the twilight. So it's off I go but not before I leave you with this wish:

I hope you find a bunch of small little things of your own every day that make you smile and gives you hope and softens the sharp edges of life.

Off to walk and ponder...have a great evening!

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Delete or live with it?

My last post looks and sounds so pretentious it makes me want to delete it. But hopefully y'all can get to the essence of the thing, and overlook my amateurish writing skills. So I'll leave it as is and take my lumps.

In praise of clarification...

Well, I have no excuse. (actually, I have one, but won't use it, cause it's lame...)

The systems of information exchange I was referring to in the earlier post was meant to indicate corporate mass media systems, ie: tv, radio, newspapers, and magazines. Karen's comment made me understand the need to clarify (thanks, and I'll do better next time!)

I think the best hope of obtaining and disseminating accurate and truthful information on the ground is via tools like internet blogs, podcasting, and self publishing. Not because you can trust everything you read or hear from these outlets, but because they are received with an implied caveat: cross check the facts. I think one can more easily determine truth (or fiction) because at least there some degree of access to the originator and you can pose questions. Mainstream media seems to be pretty monolithic; you have to take what you get. I'm a big proponent of "make your own media", for information dispersal and entertainment. Think about it: a guy or girl with a video camera taping a demonstration and posting it for people to see without being edited or spun probably gets you closer to the truth than footage on the 6 oclock news. Give me raw information anytime over something distilled, digested, analyzed and presented on a silver platter. I'm reasonably intelligent, and I can think for myself.

That's where I think we need to build new systems of information exchange, and to expand the idea, gathering. As average people in the street and on the scene we could gather raw material, uncensored and not contaminated by commerical interest, and present it to our peer groups and the world at large for review, discussion and action. Focus could be kept on problems, instead of diverted to take advantage of news cycles. For example, the information you can glean from regular people blogging and emailing from the gulf coast is quite different than you get from news outlets. There are enormous challenges and problems down there that aren't getting the attention they deserve. Same with this stupid war. Compare and contrast news reports and government analysis with some of the information we get from soldiers on the ground that are able to communicate via email or blogs. There are huge discrepancies. One has to ask why?

The systems I speak of building require only a couple of things: access and distribution. We can build our own networks: an email, fact checked and widely distributed via a mail tree, or video, the same way. Blogs of course, cross linked. Snail mail. Telephone trees. Xerox copies of vital news, or even something as simple as letters to editors. A single question, asked directly and repeatedly until we get an honest answer is a powerful tool. All the resources we need already exist. We just need to use them better.

I'm not so great at articulating this. Karen referenced an essay she wrote in her comment on my last post. The title is On Internet Activism. I'd highly recommend you read it. She lays out the argument and gives examples much better than I could.

I'm interested in this topic for several reasons but am not qualified to say much more about it. (this is why I rarely delve into such areas in a public arena). Part of it is that I'm convinced in the power of small art to change the world. It's just a matter of getting people to look and see and engage and begin thinking. Kate's piece (which initiated these last two long rambling posts of mine) is but one example of a small and powerful artwork that can change minds, IF enough people are exposed to it. There are lots of similar work out there, in all kinds of media. Our challenge is how to get it in front of the masses. And more importantly not the masses that automatically agree with our positions, but with those that would disagree but are able and willing to think and question and consider alternatives.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Ideas from the haze

When I get icky, I get a head-achey fogged in, can't connect the dots kind of feeling. Not completely down, but not feeling good enough to generate any white hot mental energy and actually accomplish something. But I have an idea fermenting, way down deep. I need some help to bring it into the light of day.

So, to wit: read this entry of Kate's first.

Now, tell me if you think that figuring out how to distribute this widely, in public arenas, via print and sound isn't a worthwhile investment of time and energy. And if you do, lets get together and figure out how to do it. I have some ideas of my own but need to talk it thru with some folks. And I know there are people out there (who I'm sure don't read my blog, but maybe if you read it, and know someone who knows someone who knows something about how to plug in) who could point us in a direction.

The systems of information exchange which can lead to positive social change in this country have become so corrupted and co-opted that we have to build new ones. We cannot depend on others; we have to do it ourselves. And we have to start somewhere, here is as good as any.

I swear, if I could get a big ass stencil of that piece and spray paint it on the sidewalk at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, I would. But better to spend that energy finding a way to distribute such work far and wide.

I'm going to sleep on it. Looking forward to comments. Have a great evening.