Notes From a Pandemic

Field Notes from a potter in a pandemic:


The apocalypse apparently continues apace. Club Mud's pop-up parking lot sale, scheduled for this Saturday, has been postponed on account of smoke. We've rescheduled to Saturday, October 10, when we will present our postponed Club Mud Summer Sale in the Maude Kerns parking lot. Twelve potters--including myself--will participate, with individual booths and enough space to properly socially distance. The sale runs from 10 am-3 pm at 1910 E. 15th Avenue, Eugene.

Clay Fest Online

Clay Fest's online presence is ready to launch! We're doing a soft open this week, publicity to ramp up as we get closer to early October, the traditional time for Clay Fest. The website will remain open and operating through Christmas. Check out Clay Fest Online!

I shot a little video, just for my Clay Fest page.

I've also continued to make new process videos: Coffee Mugs, Batter Bowls, Covered Pitchers, and a look at Glazing and Decorating. You can find all of them at my blog under the video tag.

Pattern of the Month:


One of my biggest thrills, as a Wisconsin boy moving to Oregon for graduate school, was the chance to see the ocean. I mean, I'd seen Lake Superior, visited Split Rock Lighthouse, but that paled in comparison to the real thing.

I took a circuitous route, driving out from La Crosse, with side trips to Glacier National Park (past, actually. They'd had two feet of snow Labor Day weekend, so I made a hasty retreat), Tuscarora Pottery School, and the south San Francisco Bay area, visiting an old friend from college.

It was while visiting Barb that I saw my first sea otter; saw rows of sea lions basking on the lower levels at fisherman's wharf in Monterey; watched in amazement as waves rolled in from across the Pacific.

But I didn't see my first whale until Oregon.

I'd been in grad school for a couple of quarters, staying pretty close to Eugene, but when someone said "Whale watching," I was hooked.

I drove down to Newport, stopping at every overlook along the coast highway, but without binoculars, or, really, a clue what I was looking for, all I saw was waves. So I bought a ticket on a whale-watching tour.

I don't remember much about the boat, except it was mostly white, and didn't pitch or rock much more than a hay wagon, so I kept my footing and my lunch. The sea was all glassy and rolling, and then suddenly, a humped back rolled up out of the waves, and back under again. We followed for a good half hour, watching the back, occasionally catching a glimpse of the flukes. Never had the classic tail-up experience, but I still have, somewhere in my desk, an envelope of 35 mm prints of glossy grey back in grey-green waters.

I don't know that I'd do it again--these days, whale-watching feels more like wildlife harassment than eco-tourism--but it was an unforgettable experience, one I've only occasionally brought into my pottery. So far, the current incarnation only has humpback whales on dessert plates, but I suspect they'll migrate onto pie plates or baking dishes at some point.

Unless, of course, it's just a fluke.

See other patterns...