Little Signs

Little signs that summer's ending: Apple pie. Acorns on the sidewalk. Blackberries in the fridge. Clay Fest.

Clay Fest is only a month away. After two years virtual, the potters are going back to the Fairgrounds for a sale in person.

It will look a little different. When we planned out our show, back in January, we had no way to determine how the pandemic would be progressing in October. We decided not to include anything that would cause people to congregate in one place for any length of time.

So no Demonstration stage. No Kid's Clay Area, though we're preparing take-out kits, with clay and simple tools for kids to play with at home.

And no centralized check-out. Long lines, waiting to pay, were deemed an unacceptable hazard, so we're reverting to a more traditional craft fair structure. Individual potters will take sales in their own booths, wrap and bag your purchases. We will still have a holding table, though, where you can park your treasures before going to look for more.

Still the same: The central Gallery, where we each display an exemplar of our work. The People's Choice awards (cast your vote by Saturday noon). And over fifty local and regional ceramic artists, bringing their best work for you.

See you there!

Clay Fest will be October 14-16 at the Lane Events Center Auditorium. Hours are 5-8 pm Friday, 10 am-6 pm Saturday and 11 am-5 pm Sunday. Admission is free.

Funny You Should Ask

I've just updated my Occasionally Asked Questions page, after someone pointed out that I hadn't covered one of my most frequent inquiries.

I suppose these have to be hand-washed?

In fact, no. My dishes are fine in the dishwasher, high-alumina glazes resistant to etching or wear in the hot, soapy environment. In fact, they're probably safer there than in the sink. You can't bang a rim against the faucet in a dishwasher.

Pattern of the Month:

Let us Prey

Long ago, Denise and I lived in a little cul-de-sac just off of Chambers Street in west Eugene. The nearest grocery store was a Waremart (since become Winco) just six blocks away on West 11th. They were cheaper than Albertson's, the other nearby choice, and we were poor (though not starving) artists, so they had our weekly custom.

I don't remember what the building looked like--it's long since been converted into office space--but I remember the parking lot, because it was surrounded by a hedge of some sort of dwarf bamboo, trimmed to about elbow height.

About this time of the year, the plants had gone to straw gold, and I stopped to admire the effect, when a leaf moved. At a closer look, it wasn't a leaf at all. It was a Praying Mantis. There were actually dozens of them, the size of my hand, the exact shade of gold as the bamboo leaves, which their wings resembled. I'd never seen one before, and wouldn't see another for over twenty years.

Last October, we decided to celebrate my birthday--and the lack of a Clay Fest to stress about--with a trip out of town. We didn't go far, just out to Richardson Park, across the highway from Fern Ridge Reservoir. I used to stop there sometimes, coming back from delivering hummingbird feeders to Slippery Bank Pottery.

They've expanded the park considerably since then, added a bunch of paved paths that we had a lovely time exploring, trying to identify the plants and trees (mostly so we wouldn't touch the poison oak). We were just on the last leg, returning to the car, when we spotted it. An emerald green praying mantis, right in the middle of the path. Its dukes were up in a "fight me, bro" pose, and the afternoon sun cast the most amazing shadow. I took a picture, of course. Drew it in my sketchbook. And eventually, decided I had to try it on pottery.

I've only done dessert plates so far, and only a few, but they sell almost immediately. I'll have to try them on something else.

But what, pray tell?

See other patterns...