Thursday, September 21, 2017

Mon Dieu


The aroma of freshly ground coffee is the envy of the Alchemists. The secret is grinding not a minute before you brew. A new addition to the menu here at The Cactus Lounge is a creamy espresso. I bought a  Breville Burr Coffee Grinder and Espresso machine. I’ve been looking at these machines for months now rationalizing the big bucks. The Breville was rated the top of the lower end machines. It is easy to spend 2-3000 bucks on a good Italian machine. Mon Dieu the coffee is wonderful!! I no longer feel the need to go to McDonalds for that 3rd coffee at 10:30. I make a coffee Americano to actually wake the world up inside my head and then after life’s clean up maintenance a nice cafĂ© lait with foamed milk.  

Another one of my kids arrived home today for lunch. Amber Zuber a former Sheridan student has just returned with her MA from The Royal College of Art in England. In November she heads to Denmark to be the assistant at Guldagergaard International Ceramic Research Center for a 6 week residency. She is then going to take over my studio in the Cactus Lounge while I’m away for the winter.
So today was a blurr with lunch, creamy espresso and chatting. Mark Kelner wonders when I work. My motto Mark is – work quickly, speed speeds inventiveness. When I was first starting out my Uncle Jim taught me on a two speed wheel – on and off. It was powered by an old washing machine motor.  I learned to make pots faster than Saints enter heaven.
It’s nice having the kids coming back to check in on me. I wish my Uncle Jim could meet these  people that are part of my legacy that started with his legacy. He would love them and they would love him. I can almost see the twinkle in his eye. He had wonderful sparkling eyes. They say the eyes are the mirror of your soul.


I have two solid days ahead of me with no visitors that I know of. I sit down before bed and think about what I am going to make the next day. That way I'm ready to rock and roll right after caffeinating myself and going for a morning walk.  I have slip cast 8 of the tall vases in the last 2 days since I’ve been home. They are coming along quite nicely. I own them now as they have a bit of nasty happening. Mary Philpott was sitting on my shoulder whispering “show me the process!”

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

A woman moved in.


On my way home from Ottawa I passed Crazy Jerry’s junk yard and saw the woman of my dreams. Crazy Jerry told me she is the perfect woman. For $20 that’s all she will ever cost ya and she don’t talk back. Sold, said I!. This may be the very first cheap date I’ve ever had.

That's a sweet jug of Andrew Kellner's he gave me from his Grad show at WVU.

Psychologists say most people need a scapegoat. They can demonize someone else for the darkness that lays within their own hearts.  Now I have one.
I have to name my new date. I think I’ll call her Maggie after Margaret Thatcher -The Iron Lady.
Now when things go wrong as they have been known to do, I’ll just say it is all because of Maggie. Now, I don’t have to face up to the question mark of life- alone.  I have her to talk to and her to blame.
Maggie is supposed to be garden art but after giving it some serious thought I can’t have a woman living outside and besides she will be great company not only for me but for Jack the Bear..  She will be able to withstand my cooking with her steel stomach.  I brought home a tofu vegetable dish from a Vietnamese Restaurant just to see if she died before I did. We both lived through it.
 I also went out and bought her a $5 bouquet of flowers from Lisa down the road and put them in an old porcelain wood fired vase by Harlan House. It was with sadness I read that Harlan was quitting porcelain after 50 years to become a blacksmith. He will make art of some kind, it just won’t be white.




Now I have a woman to buy a cashmere sweater for at Christmas. I love yellow as you all know and I think Maggie will look absolutely breath taking in lemon yellow.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

An insincere apology



I’m home here at The Cactus Lounge after a participatory workshop this weekend in Ottawa at Ecole de Poterie de Gloucester. What a great facility and a very keen group of students.
I’d like to thank my friend Jen Drysdale for letting me hang at The El Patron for the weekend and finally spend some time with her squeeze- Ed. We connected on many levels especially those times in our lives when our halos slipped.  Ed has me beat.
Ed mentioned that Jen’s association with me gave her work life, enthusiasm and commitment like never before. Thanks Ed but I will share the kudos with the band of gypsies I put together that have come to be known throughout the land as The Cactus Lounge Flame Throwers. Everyone of the group have gone on to win awards and accolades.  Wanna play better pool? Hang with players that are better than you or at the very least your equal.
One of the potters this weekend suggested that the uneven top of my handle would not be acceptable to the Guild Standards Committee for the Guild Sale. I have been stewing all the 8 hour drive home. Where, what, how do I ever begin to explain?  So instead of a rant I will apologize to Jen. Sorry Jen you probably through your acceptance of the invitation to be mentored by me have narrowed your audience and therefore your market. Your growing reputation as a fine potter and $1.79 will get you a dark roast at Tim Horton’s. I'm so sorry, Jen. Har, har you know I'm not. I'm gloating with pride for all the CLFT.
I might as well give you my definition of a good pot. A good pot is one that I like. Here are two fine examples of pots I like – Jen Drysdale and Leslie McInally.

Jen and I visited The General in Almonte, Ontario which is a wonderful store of art and fine craft. Here is a pic of one of Jen’s ewers in The General and a display of Leslie McInally’s work at The Gloucester Pottery School.  This is work I describe as touchy feely. This is work a blind person could enjoy. Surface, form, animation and most of all tactility. If you know what you like don’t let no one say ya don’t!