Sunday, December 27, 2009

It's still Christmas....

Growing up I never decorated a Christmas tree. Both my parents are of German lineage (my Dad's parents were both immigrants) so we have strong German traditions in our family. On Saint Nicholas Night (the 5th of December) we hang our stockings and open whatever St Nick thought we deserved the next morning....On Christmas Eve morning my folks would hang a curtain blocking the room, where the tree was to go, from view. My brothers and I spent the day concentrating on not peeking while St Nick and my Mom and Dad decorated the tree. By evening we would eat a quick meal and head to church for Christmas Eve services. We would do our best (!) not to fidget TOO much....As soon as we got home we kids changed into our pjs and waited patiently while the final touches were added to the "room behind the curtain." When the advent candles were lit and we heard the German church bells ringing on the record player the curtain would come down and the magic began!

I still believed in Santa Claus until my first Christmas as a married lady and he never showed up to help ME decorate the tree. Despite my late introduction to tree decorating I think I do ok...and probably that is why I enjoy it so much! Greg and I buy Christmas ornaments on our vacations as souvenirs, so our tree is a big scrapbook.

This year was just too busy. So instead of hauling out our boxes of Christmas stuff I decided to use only the ornaments I have bought as LibertyTown. Below are a few pictures.

Aline is Dan's right hand girl. She swears she's not an artist but she is magic in the garden. She plays with pressed/dried flowers and makes amazing cards. Mine is on our tree.
(You can see a ceramic snowflake in the background by Scarlett Pons. I confess to having several of these...meant for gifts. Oh well.)

Elizabeth Seaver is our Artist in Residence and she loves "anything bird!" Her collage birds this year were a real hit!

Neil Reed was LibertyTown's first Artist in Residence. Now his studio is down the hall and though he is a stay at home Dad still manages to produce fantastic sgraffito pots. The tree above is his from last year. (I have several in my windows year 'round!)

Remember "Shrinky Dinks?" The guitar above was a gift to my hubby last year made by Rob Landeck. The wooden ornament was made by my studio mates son on his lathe. He should sell these!

A tree of LibertyTown ornaments would not be complete without a birdhouse by Stephanie. She makes a different one every year.

Last but not least (I could take tons more pictures!) is a multi-media bird by the talented Elizabeth Woodford. Her work is available in our Emporium.

Couldnt resist a picture of our dog celebrating with her new stuffed soccer ball. She LOVES Christmas and just wants to open EVEYONES presents!

I hope everyone has had a fantastic holiday!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Winter a little early, quite the distraction!

Well, Virginia finally got a major snow storm. Greg and I measured various places and came up with 19 inches! All in one day. It reminds me of my high school days in Iowa.

Friday night Dan Finnegan had a thank you Happy Hour at LibertyTown. After checking some pots (which were too wet for trimming but just right for slipping...) and making a brief appearance at the shindig, I headed home amidst large flurries to hang with Greg. While the snow gained momentum we opened our Christmas present to each other early....and ended up playing Wii till 3 AM!

Saturday was spent watching the snow falling and decorating the Christmas tree (nearly all the ornaments purchased at LibertyTown. I promise more on that another day.) We also were considering the fact that we had to head to Williamsburg in time for Greg to make work related meetings in Hampton, VA on Monday and Tuesday. Plus I had Christmas goodies to deliver to my folks in Williamsburg.

Of course that meant Sunday was all hard labor!

Now we are in Williamsburg full of my Mom's quiche and plenty of Sierra Nevada Celebration. Nothing but a dusting of snow in sight here. Amazing how Mother Nature can be so selective with these Winter storms (though this one fell in Fall!)

Monday, December 14, 2009

What to do....

My Studio Mate, Linda George gave me a present last week. I feel as though this picture defines me!

(This picture entitled "Hairy Potter" was done by the talented Conni Togel)

I love throwing pots. After quitting my job as a real estate paralegal I headed straight to LibertyTown to take classes with Neal Reed, a talented potter and very patient teacher! I love how centered I become when I work with clay. My mind generally is full of swirling thoughts (what do I have to do today? where is the cable for my camera? is it still raining? what's for dinner tonight??) but when I am playing with clay my mind settles to the project at hand.

I have good days and bad days. Sometimes the wheel just does not cooperate and thats when I settle down to build by hand. Faces, generally. I love noses for some reason....I'm sure someone could have fun with that....One of the great things about LibertyTown is that when things don't seem to be flowing as they should, walking around the main gallery, talking with another artist or visiting the pottery workroom can help recenter my energy and offer new opportunity or focus.

On one of those days I met several women practicing their throwing skills in the Pottery School area. We started talking, they asked questions, I offered tips. It turns out they were all part of the local fiber guild (Fredericksburg Area Spinners and Weavers Guild- ) Within the week they were teaching me to spin!

Over the last 3 or 4 years I have since joined the Guild. I have taken weaving lessons. I have purchased two spinning wheels and two looms. Though I share my current studio space with my weaving teacher, Linda George, there is a small space for me to keep my smaller loom. The rest of my equipment lives at home in what used to be called a dining room!

The fiber arts are an interesting balance for my clay work. I cant throw pots at home so fiber allows me a creative outlet at the house. They are both an art based on such basic organic materials, but clay creates more dust! The key for me is to balance the two interests against each other. I am always thinking of ways to combine the two....but have not come up with many ideas.

I love throwing pots. My loom calls me. The wooly fluff floats thru the air as my spinning wheel hums.....Its all good. Because it all makes me happy.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Ok, here we go....

Alright. I am addicted to blogs. I have learned so much from so many out there, as I lurk in the background (and sometimes not!) My freinds know this and ask me regularly when I am going to start my own. My reply has always been the same: "Maybe when I can think of something to say...."

Well, I have decided that for 2010 I will become more goal focused in my work. That is to include a blog to get my work out there. But to also, hopefully, get some feedback from outside my circle of freinds. So here I am! And for once AHEAD of schedule.

Just remember. I am a beginning blogger. My photos will hopefully improve over time and I am expecting quirks and kinks in the process of learning how the blog writing (as opposed to reading!) world works.

So join me, and hopefully you will see something useful, enjoyable or at the very least just plain funny!