Wait, it's Fall?

When did that happen?

Summer is a busy season at Off Center Ceramics. We've got shows, and travel, and traveling to shows. Frantically making pots to replace those sold at shows, or anticipating what will sell at the next show. And in between, preparing for the holidays.

I reserved my booth for Holiday Market in June. I've already bought an ad in the guidebook, made two payments on my booth fee. And I've spent a good bit of the last two weeks working on ads and publicity materials for my other big holiday show, Clayfolk, which happens the weekend before Thanksgiving.

So you can see how fall can get...elided a bit.

But it's definitely fall out there. The rains have come back, and none too soon--the smoke in the air from the fire season was pretty terrible. Temperatures are dropping over night, and its a race to see whether all my green tomatoes are going to get ripe before it freezes. Last night, the furnace came on for the first time.

Our apple trees have dropped their last fruit, (the neighbor's Fuji will hold on until December) and their leaves are starting to yellow. Geese are flocking up in the sky over Delta Ponds, not yet stringing out into V-formations, but you can see they're thinking about it.

So I'm trying to celebrate fall right now. Go out for a bike ride in the crisp air, between rain showers. Pick the last of the summer's raspberries, then go inside and make an apple pie.

'Tis the season.

Clay Fest is coming!

Since I decided to pass on Corvallis Fall Festival this year, my only fall show before the holiday madness is coming up the first weekend of October. Clay Fest will be Friday through Sunday, October 6-8 at the Lane County Fairgrounds Auditorium in Eugene. We open 4 pm Friday night, and continue 10-5 Saturday, 11-4 Sunday. Admission is free, and we have demonstrations and the children's Clay Play Area in addition to the potters' booths, gallery, and convenient centralized checkout.

And not that far away...

Clayfolk, in Medford, happening as always the Friday, Saturday and Sunday before Thanksgiving. We're returning to our longtime location at the Medford Armory, 1701 S. Pacific Highway, Medford, Oregon. The show opens Friday at 4 pm, and in an attempt to alleviate some of the parking congestion, we've arranged for All Aboard Trolley service to the Armory from the nearby Walmart parking lot.

The new arrival

Isn't it beautiful? A potter in Ashland was selling her studio equipment, and I lucked into this nearly pristine Skutt KM 1227 electric kiln. Though it's nearly 20 years old, it spent more than half of that time in storage, and has only been fired about a dozen times. I had to repair a little damage from the movers (she'd brought it out from North Carolina)--replace a few bricks and a broken cord switch, hammer the ducting from the vent round again--but now it's like new.

Best of all, it has a computer controller. No more interrupting whatever I was doing to go turn up the kiln, it fires itself. A few Saturdays back, I found myself awake an hour early, so I went and loaded and programmed the kiln, and it fired itself while we were at Saturday Market. And it came with an EnviroVent, which pulls out the smelly sulfates and carbonates as they burn out of the clay and vents them out-of-doors.

Pattern of the Month:

Fly Like an...

I used to live nine blocks from the Mississippi. It was easy, in La Crosse, to gauge your distance from the river; just look at the street numbers: Front ran along the river bank, then Second, Third... you get the picture. I lived on Ninth and Cass, an easy walk from the riverfront. It was one of my favorite things to do on mild summer nights, get out of my (un-air-conditioned) apartment and go down to watch the lights on the river.

The first time I saw a Bald Eagle, it was a big deal. I was actually on the other side of the Mississippi, just north of La Crescent, MN, when it swooped across the highway. I nearly ditched the car, I was so excited.

After a while, though, you get used to them. Eagles on Pettibone Island--oh, that's cool. Eagle in the trees at Riverside Park? Well, that's different, but not that unusual. Watching eagles over the river from the patio of that BBQ restaurant on Front Street? Ho-hum.

Now that I'm in Oregon, they're less common. I'm more likely to see ospreys as I bike along the Willamette; there's usually a pair on the platform they built to discourage them from nesting on the freeway lights. and I've sometimes seen two or three fishing over the bike bridge.

Last summer, though, a young bald eagle took up residence right on one of the Delta ponds, along the bike path and a stone's throw from Valley River Center. I saw him perched there, or flying in and out, several days running. Also perched there were birdwatchers with binoculars, spotting scopes and enormous telephoto lenses.

So I've started painting eagles, on bakers, pie plates, dessert plates. They're not that common in my booth, but you don't need an eagle eye to spot them.

See other patterns...