Last Thursday, I headed south down the highway in our little R.V. First stop was at Raccoon Valley just north of Knoxville. Every Thursday the ESCAPEES campground there has a Bluegrass jam session. You don't need talent, just nerve to participate. Since I can only halfway play, I brought 2 guitars. There might have been 35 or 40 people there with a dozen or so of us performing. I had a very good time and avoided the flying fruit and rotten vegetables. Those folks were so nice that some of them helped me off the stage and showed me the door. One fellow even said he'd like to put me in a long black Cadillac. You can't beat southern hospitality. Seriously, it is a fun evening and a very nice group of people. Any Thursday, 7pm, everyone welcome.
Friday took me to Dillsboro N.C. to help Mike and Karen Baum in their booth at the Western North Carolina Pottery Festival.The drive through the Smoky Mountains was lovely but the sight of snow on the high elevations worried me a little. Luckily, I went around the end of the Smokies and avoided driving through any of it. When I got to Dillsboro, I parked the rig back by the creek and left it there for the weekend. It was very convenient not to have to drive to a motel off site and to have everything I needed close at hand. I helped with set up for a couple of hours then enjoyed watching throwing competitions. These are some outstanding potters from as far away a New York, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Texas. I think the winning 5 lb cylinder was about 17 inches high and the winning 5 lb bowl was nearly 18 .Longest pulled handle? 38 inches. After a quick dinner Mike , Karen and I unloaded their booth from the van and set up the canopy and shelves by lantern light. Friends Marcia Fanthorp and sister Carol also showed up so it went well and only took an hour or so. I was glad to see my snug little bed waiting in a nice warm camper and hit it early.
Saturday, I was up at 6 making coffee and by 7 we were again working under lantern light to unpack boxes and stock the booth. Mike and Karen make lovely durable functional pots and plenty of them.Like a stretched van packed wall to wall end to end and top to bottom. We flew through set up and were ready to go by 9:30. That gave me 2 minutes to run to the bathroom, say hello to John Bauman, meet Ron Philbeck, eat a complementary breakfast burrito and get back to the booth. No time for fooling around or even taking pictures for the blog. You can use the links above to see Mike and Karen's work and see more from the festival. People started coming and lining up 4 or 5 deep to check out. I was wrapping and bagging in the back of the booth and didn't get to look up until 3 pm. Wow what a show.We closed at 4 and by 5:30 ( again with more help from Marcia) we were packed up and heading for the post show dinner. I hit the sack about 7:30 and that was that.
Sunday was a beautiful day to drive home. I even made a short side trip to Cumberland Falls about 15 miles west of I 75 at Corbin Ky. just to take a picture for you. The falls are 65 ft high and there is a lovely state park there with full amenities.