The snow was blowing and the wind howling up on the Hill yesterday and Tuesday night, it felt very wintry (think Doctor Zhivago or Little House on the Prairie) despite being March. Hard to believe that in just a couple days it will be up to 60 degrees and Spring Concentration will be starting. Despite the weather School staff came creeping up the hill yesterday with 4-wheel drive to continue the preparations.
The preparations in the clay studio have been focused on tearing down the old wood kiln ahead of the incoming kiln building class, and after three days of work by a few strapping young lads and lasses (including yours truly), and several dump truck runs, we're done...all we need now is an ice free road for the wood truck coming down from the Buladean Sawmill tomorrow with the rest of our wood for firing the new kiln.
Kiln After (with Allen Brooks, one of our strapping young lads)
On second thought- Kiln? What kiln?
Since the campus delayed opening until noon yesterday due to the weather, I took the opportunity to sleep in and then have a fabulous brunch: Orange Juice mixed with Fizzy Water, fresh Strawberries, Bacon, and the piece de resistance: French Toast fried in the Bacon grease topped with Sugar...beautifully presented on McKenzie Smith dishes. I'd never done french toast this way before; this time was due to having only one pan available and conveniently pre-greased from cooking the bacon, but this was the crispiest, most wonderfully tasty french toast I've ever had- certainly something one should have only once or twice a year, but Oh. My. Goodness. is it a fabulous something.
Last Saturday, after a week of cleaning and setup, was Penland Community Day- that's when the school opens all the studios to the community with different activities to try. I spent the day in the clay studio helping people to throw little pots, which they could decorate and take home- we were so busy that I have no pictures (though the School should have some up on their website soon) and no idea how many people came through, but it was certainly a lot... I was told that an average Community Day brings in 500 attendees. Other activities were roller printing bracelets in the Metals Studio, forging a garden stake in the Iron Studio, Making a paperweight in Hot Glass or beads in the Flame shop, a small weaving project in Textiles, or a small musical instrument in the Wood Studio.
Looking further back...when I first arrived back on the Hill it was for the last week of winter studio rental- I hit the ground running, and came away with a pretty impressive collection of bisque-ware -eight small/medium pitchers, one very large pitcher, six cereal bowls, two large serving bowls, four tumblers, and around 40 mugs- especially impressive considering I only had three days of throwing (I spent two more days slipping and carving everything). It was nice to not worry about the clay bill (I finally used up almost all of my stash of reclaim clay from previous classes), and to just throw until I was so tired that I had to stop. At the end of winter rental I fired Julia, my favorite kiln on the kiln pad -a medium downdraft soda/salt- full of some of the auction mugs and kitchen pots I made last summer, the pots I threw at home this winter, and some bowls and mugs made by my friend Molly Spadone, currently a Core Fellow at the School. These pots below are the ones I brought with me from home...just beautiful! (Note the bisque-ware covering the table in the background.) Now all I have to do is take some pretty portfolio shots of them...to be posted.