Monday, January 2, 2012

New Year

Here is a review of where my head has been the last few weeks.It is a bit of a jumble but that is the way my brain has been working.(or not)

Last year, I decided to be more selective about which shows I did. Besides the expense, there is a tremendous amount of physical labor that goes into a show so it needs to be worthwhile. Things worked out well. There were a couple of shows that flopped but in general, my average sales were much higher by being more selective. This year will be the same. If it doesn't say ART or POTTERY in the show title, I'm not going. No sweet corn festivals.

This year's new resolution is to break more pots. I once went to a workshop with a BIG name potter who said he fired and tried to sell anything that came off his wheel. He did not impress me. I plan on upping my game and setting a higher standard by breaking marginal pots and the ones I can't quite break I'm giving to EMPTY BOWLS.

Mostly, I've been on holiday.since Christmas. Our son came in for a couple of days and brought me a cold from New York. It hasn't put me on my butt, but it has sapped a lot of my energy and kept me out of the studio. That's ok I've had other concerns.

The biggest thing that has kept me busy and away from pottery is a question has come up about the boundaries of the ancestral property in Tennessee.( see sidebar for a brief history). Unlike the Northwest Territories that were laid out by surveyors marking square sections, quarter sections etc, Tennessee was laid out by people making hatchet marks on trees. This has taken trips and phone calls to Scott County.The land has never actually been platted by survey. We have the old metes and bounds survey points(calls) that start at the big rock and go 35 degrees west of south for 80 poles  etc.....This is fine if you can find the right rock to start on but it's not easy. We have four deeds that total 140 acres in two counties that can't even agree on where the county line lies.The owner of a neighboring property wants us to agree to his property map. We can't tell if his is right until we have an accurate plat of our boundaries. It appears that some of the land in the area has been "parcel mapped" for tax purposes and some owners are using the parcel maps to define the property lines. Parcel maps are not a legal description of the boundaries. For example, one of our deeds describes a quadrangle with 4 sides and 4 corners. The parcel map on file with the county shows 11 sides to the same parcel. I have spent a lot of time talking to the Mapping supervisor in Nashville who feels that our parcel map is actually something made up 50 years ago that is based on the claims of neighboring landowners, not our deed calls. In reality all a parcel map seems to mean is that someone has a deed to some property in the general area. I'm waiting on more maps to be sent from Nashville to continue my research, Wish me luck. I'm certainly getting an education.


  1. I agree with your show and breakage plans, my head is in a similar place, let's demand better from these folks that attend these shows ! Feel better, I look forward to another year of your humor and wisdom:)

  2. Have you found any witness trees on your property? We had those and an abstract of our property in Arkansas and those were worth their weight in gold with locals, authorities, surveyors, etc.

    I've been reducing my inventory and trying to concentrate on the work I am drawn to emotionally, historically, and aesthetically from my own experiences within and outside my lifetime. Feels good to let go of some ideas, thoughts, and pieces, and concentrate on others.

    Wishing you and yours the best in the up coming new year.

  3. Linda and Tracey, As always, thanks for the comments.Linda, we have not been able to get to the property for a year due to road wash outs last year. A couple of complicating factors, the land has been timbered( with and without our consent) and it was strip mined in the 60's.I have the 1955 usgs topo maps from before the stripping and am waiting on other maps from the state.

  4. You might need a new survey. I think the latest survey is often or usually the legally accepted answer to the question of boundaries. Trees can fall down, rocks can move, etc. etc.
    With surveys, people often wind up with much more acreage than they thought; and the reverse can also be true; but I wouldn't sign away anyone else plot plan without having all the information you need about your own properly lines, from a current and modern survey.

  5. You've certainly got your work cut out there!
    Just seen your comment re clay you have a root store?
    Some Canadian and US potters put their clay in theirs too.

  6. as you know trees and rocks can walk- it has happened here. we had surveys done of the property and so did the neighbor- I think a fence moved in the night- at this point I don't worry because we have enough- but I hang on to what I have on paper and registered to the county.
    Good to have your blog on the roll!


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