Thursday, June 22, 2017

I got crabs!

My workshop up Island got cancelled so I spent an extra couple of days at Chosin’ Pottery with my gracious hostess/friend Judi Dyelle. Judi is amazing as she took me all over and I sampled island life as I heard of it so many times on my regular Saturday night phone calls.
Me being a meat and potatoes man all I can tell ya is you have a hellava lot of work to do to pick the wee morsels of meat outta a Dungeness crab. It’s almost like going on a diet with all the work to get a toothpick full of meat. Good thing we had some nice fresh bagets, some salad and nice bottle of wine or I might have perished. I was just about ready to throw the dang crab in a pan of hot water and make a soup out of it shell and all.
Judi and I put together the images for the eulogy that I will be presenting at Nceca in Pittsburgh on Robin’s behalf. Spending this past week there gave me so much more appreciation for the artistry and hard work behind this iconic couple. Judi allowed Robin to dream in technicolour while she kept the house fires going, the I’s dotted, the t’s crossed and the financial wolves at bay. There was no production work left in the showroom. Judi had finally convinced Robin that he had only so many more pots left in his hands so he should concentrate on one off’s. Each time he would focus on a series- landscapes, oribe,southwest etc, etc. What kept revealing itself with each series was the amazing brushwork. God, he was good with a brush.
Rich to have such wonderful friends. Thank you Judi for such a wonderful insight into your world.

I’m sitting waiting for the ferry to Vancouver for a weekend workshop with my friend Janet Zadra. Back to the mainland and a 3500 kilometer walk back to The Cactus Lounge. Once pointed in that direction I start to think of the richness of what I have at home. Very different but rich. I am the richest man on this ferry.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

The Balance of Opposites

I went up as far as you could go by road on the south west coast of Vancouver Island to Port Renfrew where when I was in my 20’s I planned to hike the West Coast Trail.  I’ve always been a bit of a tree hugger but I found one that would need a helllava big hug. What an amazing stoke this stump would make. What is amazing about this part of the world is the struggle to balance the opposites- nature and industry. The trip from Chosin Pottery to Port Renfrew which is 73 kiilometers or less than 50 miles took over 2 hours winding along a road of trees and rocks. No Dairy Queen, no McD’s, no KFC, no Burger King and no gas stations. Fill up or walk with the bears and cougars. Here you can experience old growth rain forests and the surf of the Pacific Ocean. Home to eagles, bears, deer, whales, seals, otters and yummy fish of all sorts. Other than some ugly patches of strip logging this part of the world remains wild and untamed.
I discovered an uprooted tree that would make a decent man cave should I not be able to make the payments on The Cactus Lounge. I also discovered the perfect wood kiln made of drift wood which would once and for all answer the question what is a wood kiln? It is a kiln made of wood what do you think it is?

I haven’t taken the time to really just breathe in for a long time. There is so much that given time to digest can influence your art work. This is a very different geography than small town Ontario that I love. But it doesn't have to be big and majestic. It can be small and is often right in front of your nose. It may be a flower, a stone, a brick or the pattern of several hanging brooms. It doesn’t need to be big and powerful to reference your work.  This trip could very well influence the way I walk. The way I talk will remain the same.

Monday, June 19, 2017


Today I visited the Victoria Museum and saw some big beasts that could be made into delicious gourmet meats. There were traces of civilization going back over 80,000 years. This must be fake! Didn’t life start with Adam and Eve?
The most fantastic part of the museum was the indigenous art. WOW! It must be fake!  No art school education, no u-tubes, no computer assisted drawing programs. The massive totems, the intricate sewing of bark into clothing, the beautiful symmetry in the carved stone bowls, the amazing man tools and weapons must be all fake.  All these amazing skills of making tools, clothing, and providing for oneself could not have been possible without the superior knowledge of the white man. It’s all fake!

It seems to me the people must have had time, lots and lots of time.  Other than taking time for survival they had time to teach skills, time to pay attention to details, wear and surround themselves with hand made beautiful art.  Nobody has ever had this much time to create beautiful things. They were fake people! They must have been!