Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Pictures, Pictures, Pictures

Hi everyone.The Midwest skipped the panic about Irene so I spent the week firing pots at home in the electric kiln and glazing cone 10 pots to go into 3 different gas firings. I got so tired I even slipped up and volunteered to run for Member at Large ( I thought they said Large Member). of the Clay Alliance again. Last time I was on the board I felt I was there to serve the members and share their concerns with the board at large. This time, my platform is that I am there to loot the treasury, serve my own interests, and demand bribes and sexual favors from anyone who needs anything. If this works out, I might even run for Congress. I'll certainly be qualified. Speaking of Congress, I saw on "The Ticket" that many Congressmen are complaining that they are not paid enough. To be fair I think we should put them on straight merit pay. If it's good enough for teachers, it's good enough for Congress. We would save a fortune.

Now I know I promised pictures and they are coming up.The iron red pots are pretty true to color and are glazed with a Ketchup Red recipe from Ceramics Monthly. The blue is Jeff's Long Beach( cone 10). and the copper reds (which are much brighter in person) are Pete Pinnell's red (cone 10). I'm trying out a new background for the pictures and I think I will be happier with another fill light but I am generally satisfied. OK you've waited long enough. Thanks for stopping in.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Short Post

Just a couple of quick items today and it's mostly pictures to make it easier on some of you. Fellow blogger Tracey Broome http://tsbroome.blogspot.com/ posted a picture of her sand buckets from the beach yesterday. She inspired me to turn a handle and make a bail for a bucket I made a while back so I thought I would share a picture. Also, some of you have asked for a return of the Potter's Tips series .Here is a real simple one that will make your life easier if you are throwing on the wheel.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Tennessee II

After our trip to Tennessee a couple of weeks ago, my brother Norris and I decided to make a return trip last Friday. Our goal was to get up into the mountain, find an old cemetery, and maybe find a new route into our property. One option was to arrange for an ATV rental and guide. The other was just take Norris's old 4 wheel drive pickup. Norris said that his truck would make it and be simpler and cheaper than the rental.We went for the simple solution. It was a day made for cowboy hats, snake boots, and GPS breadcrumbs.

Now, when you talk about a tour of the backroads of Scott and Campbell counties in Tennessee, things get a little complicated. First, once you leave the State highway, there are absolutely no  road signs.Second, there are absolutely no accurate consistent maps, third there is absolutely no pavement. There are some washboard gravel roads that turn into steep rutted dirt roads about 6 feet wide. There are many creek crossings but no bridges. After an hour or so of driving through the woods, we did get as far as Bairds Creek Cemetery where our grandfather is buried. This sits at the bottom of the mountain about a mile from our place. The trail ended and we could drive no farther. We turned around and made it back to the road. So far, so good.

Next, we tried a couple of routes that looked promising but did not go far enough west to get to our property. We decided to go up by the route that we knew, but that we also knew had been washed out in May. Well, it is still washed out. Last year, it was a rough gravel road. With this spring's rains, it is now a deeply rutted dirt road that resembles a creek bed climbing very steeply up the mountain. As we made the first creek crossing,we heard a loud scraping sound. Was it a muffler? Was something stuck under the truck? We looked and did not see anything. As we went farther, the scraping got worse on every bump and the trail was all bumps. We stopped again and saw that the rear spring hanger on the driver's side had torn itself in half. For those of you who may not be mechanics, this meant that the end of the rear spring was not attached to anything and the end of the spring was rubbing against the underside of the truck bed.This put that corner of the truck10 inches lower than it should have been and gave us some risk of leaving the rear axle assembly on the side of the mountain. We crept down the mountain intact and slowly drove off in search of a garage. A garage that had a specialized part on had and a mechanic with nothing else to do at 3 PM on Friday afternoon. It was a fool's errand but we were just the men for the job.

Jacksboro was 15 miles and held some hope of a repair. We found a shop and waited a half hour in line behind a guy who was paying his bill but also talking about who was related to whom and where they used to live. We finally got our turn only to find out there was no way to get a repair in Jacksboro that day. We were sent to Clinton to see the Ford dealer. This is another 20 miles in the wrong direction but we got there. We also noticed that the bed of the truck was humped up about an inch and a half right over the end of the spring. If that perforated we were, umm ,I guess screwed is the proper term. The guys at Ford were very nice but said they could not get a part until Tuesday. It was looking like a long weekend in Clinton Tennessee. Upon close examination, the mechanic said it was as bad as it gets but that meant it probably would not get any worse. With that assurance, we slowly headed north. with a close eye on that hump in the bed. Since I am writing this, you probably guessed that we made it home. All in all, we had a great time. At least I did, it wasn't my truck.We did explore the land of our roots and got our bearings around the area. I also picked up several GPS readings to plot on my topo map of the area that may help us toward at least a rough plat of the property. Somehow though, I can't help thinking that maybe next time we should go for the All Terrain Vehicles.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Art on the Lawn

All last week was beautiful in Ohio. All week storms had been forecast for Saturday. (show day). I was so tired of rainy shows that by Thursday, I didn't even want to go. Lo and Behold, Saturday morning the 5:30 AM forecast called for the rain to hold off til evening! I made some coffee and headed up the road to Yellow Springs Ohio for Art on the Lawn. I picked up my packet and found that I was in a corner spot that I could drive right up to. Woo Hoo! Actually, I had a three sided booth because there was a small tree that prevented a booth on my left as well. With no rain, I left the sides of the tent open and had 270 degree of visibility. I had arrived early enough that I could take my time with set up and not feel pressured. About 10, people started showing up. About 11 people started buying a few pots. My friends Ed and Donna stopped in about noon and watched the booth while I went to grab a sandwich from the food booth. About 1:30 I finally got time to eat lunch. As soon as I had gotten back to the booth people started pouring in and buying pots. I sold baking dishes, mugs, more mugs, bowls, plates, and several big jars, and more mugs. I can't speak for anyone else who was showing because I didn't get a chance to see anyone else but I had a great day. I started packing up at 5 and was driving at 6:30 with a lighter load and a pocket full of cash. It helps prove my theory that if the show has Art or Pottery in the title sales are better than Sweet Corn festivals. Thanks to everyone who came out. I've got to go now and make more pots!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


Last Weekend, my older brother Norris and I took a research trip to Tennessee. The East Tennessee Historical Society has a very nice museum in Knoxville that was having an exhibit of local pots made between 1800 and 1900. There are about 200 pots in the show and it is very well attributed and displayed. I was not allowed to take pictures inside the show but I did sneak one from the door for you as well as "LEGAL" shots of pots in the permanent collection. We were also able to go upstairs and review books, census, and property records of our ancestors.I was able to place my GGG grandfather in Tennessee in 1809 for sure but probably earlier.

We also visited the Museum of Appalachia and saw lots of nicely reconstructed cabins and implements of frontier life including a 750 gallon pot.

A visit to the Campbell County Historical Society yielded a deathbed letter from my great grandfather and a lovely tribute to him when he retired from office as county judge in 1921. He had been a scout for Burnside in the Civil War captured , wounded and exchanged several times. After the war he was elected Clerk of Courts and later Judge for 60 years of continuous service. Accounts say he was the most beloved kind and generous man in the county. We saw a mention that he owned a plot in the Jacksboro cemetery so off we went on another hunt. After about 30 minutes, we found his and his wife's graves atop a hillside overlooking the Cumberland

On our last day, we drove up to the Cumberland Gap and climbed the trail to the pinnacle overlook whre we saw the Gap that led to Ky. and the Powell Valley that our ancestors took to get to Tennessee.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

A Little Rant About Job Creators!

Washington has been very busy the last few years reinventing the English language with euphemistic code words." Revenue enhancement" has replaced "tax increases", "deficit reduction " has replaced "cutting services", " intelligencia" has replaced " people with a good education" and so on.

The one that has been driving me crazy this summer is that "Job Creators" is being used to describe the super rich and large corporations, many of whom are sitting on huge piles of cash that they have funneled into home offices at Swiss mail drops. Cash holdings by corporations are higher than they have ever been and they are not creating jobs with the money. If we can give them more tax breaks until they are just choking on $1000 bills maybe they will hire a new groom for the stables or someone to clean one of their homes. That seems to be the plan anyway. "Raising YOUR  taxes" is code for " raising taxes on the super rich who finance my campaigns while swiftboating my opponents". Most readers of this blog were never in danger of being included in the group whose taxes may have been affected by closing loopholes and special favors in the tax code.

It's time to get back to telling the truth. This spring I dipped into my life savings and bought a new car, a pug, mill, and a kiln. Guess what, I'm a "Job Creator"! I'll bet you've bought some groceries, had your car repaired,  paid your taxes,  bought fuel, maybe some clay or a set of tires. Guess what? You're a job creator too! Pam, when you bought that pitcher from me in Maysville, you joined us. Welcome to the club everyone.. Has anyone worried about taking money out of your pocket and crashing the economy? Not likely. Not unless you are a Job Creator of the paragraph two variety. The truth is, capital alone does not create any jobs. What creates jobs is demand. Period. If surplus corporate capital created jobs we would all be working .If there is no demand, trying to create jobs is like pushing a rope. There is no viable business model that supplies goods and services to people who can't purchase. If all the burden of getting out of this mess falls on the backs of the real Job Creators consumer spending and home sales will not be able to increase, our economy (and tax revenue) will be unable to grow and we will continue America's economic decline.

We cannot solve our problems by only cutting services to the poor, the school kids, and the elderly. I agree that we have too much debt and that we have to fix the problem.I agree with John Boehner when he says we can't take money out of the hands of Job Creators. I just disagree about who the Job Creators really are.