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vince: woodfire workshop?

updated sat 15 jan 05

 

primalmommy on thu 13 jan 05


I am physically drooling at the thought of a woodfire workshop at ACC,
and it's not a pretty sight, let me tell you.

I am just home from my teaching gig at the guild, and still have clay in
my hair. The good thing about teaching is that it pays for my habits
(like NCECA or expensive workshops). The bad thing is that I spend a lot
of time week after week looking at really bad, ugly, dorky beginner
pots. (appreciate your promising grad students, Tony... ) Which is why I
need the workshops to recharge my batteries GOOD pots... do you see the
self-perpetuating cycle here?

Vince, is it ten days because the kiln will be loaded, fired, cooled and
unloaded? Do we really bring pots? I don't know where I'll carve out the
extra bucks -- I got a scholarship to help with the last couple of trips
-- but it's summer solstice week, and my 44th birthday right smack in
the middle of it, and I can't think of anyplace I would rather be.

Details, please, Vince!

And for those of you who have never been to ACC: it's a wonderful place.
Woods and trails, a sparkling blue reservoir all around, luna moths and
deer, twilight bats and daytime hummingbirds and blue tailed skinks and
--what do you call those southern grape trees?

The cabins look like little mushrooms that grew out of the hillside, you
get a roomie who might be a glass blower or weaver or blacksmith or wood
turner, and the 4 double rooms in each little building share a kitchen
with a big table and fridges (of course, alcohol is NOT permitted, as it
is a dry county... so you certainly wouldn't want to stop at a mini mart
before you cross the county line and pick up some ice cold beers, or a
bottle of wine, to put in the fridge or enjoy on the porch in the
evening. Noooooo. You wouldn't want to do THAT.) Party's on MY porch ;0)

You get up in the morning and head to the cafe for a lovely breakfast..
maybe stroll around the gallery or pop in the library but mostly you
head for the studio and immerse yourself until lunch.. then more of the
same until dinner.. then you choose between slide shows of various
artists, hikes in the steamy green, going back to the studio until the
wee hours when -- did I mention the party's at my porch?

ACC is to clay what immersion programs are to language. No distractions,
phone calls, tv, though there is a computer squirreled away in a lounge
somewhere for a quick clayart fix.

I went to ACC as a big time beginner, some lady named Dannon Rhudy ;0)
and a big guy named Mel. They rocked my world. I was clinging to a thick
walled, dorky pot with both hands, afraid to go any farther, and he
asked me what I was waiting for.

"I'm afraid I'll ruin it", I said. He put a big hand on my shoulder and
said, "Kelly, you're NOT THAT GOOD." When I caught my breath he said,
"You could take every pot in this studio --mine, and Dannons included --
and throw them down that gulley out back, and the art world will have
lost nothing. It's just a lump of clay. See what you can do with it."

I threw 60 pounds of clay that week, pot after pot, and then scraped
them into the slop bucket. They kept getting better. I thought, well,
it's going into the slop anyway, let's see how tall/wide/thin/etc. I can
make it before it dies.

The next year it was Ancient Clay with Vince, who is ten times more
hilarious than he seems on line.. I have a great photo in my studio of
all the women in the class saluting in a secret and somewhat bawdy
ancient ritual :0D

Mel taught me stuff I still use -- or say -- every week when I teach my
beginners. I can stand behind a student trying to center a wild lump of
clay and press my knee (with permission, of course) to their elbow, and
push it to center for them -- "if your elbow doesn't move, the clay
won't either".

At ACC I laughed myself silly with Lana Wilson -- I sat back-to-back on
a cooler (full of ice cold non-alcoholic beverages, as it is a dry
county) with Chris Henley, telling stories.. I sat on the same porch a
few years later with David Hendley, feeding sardines to a little raccoon
-- David, remember walking on the buoy line at the swimming hole all in
a row like some bad scene from "the Monkees"? I met clayarters like
Susan and Anabelle and a host of others..

I met so many cool potters at ACC -- Frank and Polly Ann Martin, last
year -- but also amazing craftsmenandwomen from the various studios,
mastering different skills.

I know there are big name places like Arrowmont -- and I am sure that
some day I'll check them out. But for my budget, and based on my good
experiences (first as a beginner, and now as a not-so-beginner) I'l
probably go back every year. I like that it's small and the people there
remember my name.

Unlike clayarters, who couldn't pick me out of a lineup unless my name
tag said "primalmommy"...

So, Vince, spill details please. What's the schedule for the 10 day one?
I may have to sell the children to gypsies to make tuition...

Yours
Kelly in Ohio, off to bed.. like Joyce, casting a wary eye at the
weather, for travel early tomorrow. Two feet of snow on the ground a day
ago made way to thunderstorms last night -- a river running through my
basement -- and now ice it rattling onthe windowpanes. Sounds like icy
highways on the way to the robotics competiton at Wright Paterson Air
Force Base in Dayton.. Send good thoughts to my son's little homeschool
nerd team.





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Ken Nowicki on fri 14 jan 05


Oh Kelly... I so enjoy reading your posts! You made me laugh right out loud
today... smiling... reading your tales... Thanks for sharing with us... you
MADE my morning! :-)

And this... below... CLASSIC Mel... just classic! ...lol

- Ken

"in rainy, wet Long Island... where temps are starting to drop like a
stone... looks like a dry week ahead though... with brrrr-cold temps. Winter is
back... and can't seem to make up it's mind this year... whether it is coming or
going... Wishing I was in Mendo with all the other fortunate clay addicts...
but wasn't in the cards for me this year... 'sides... I have fish to fry...
heading back to L&L next week to finish my 'hybrid kiln' up... whoo hoo!..."

In a message dated 01/14/05, primalmommy@MAIL2OHIO.COM writes about Mel at
ACC:
"I'm afraid I'll ruin it", I said. He put a big hand on my shoulder and
said, "Kelly, you're NOT THAT GOOD." When I caught my breath he said,
"You could take every pot in this studio --mine, and Dannons included --
and throw them down that gulley out back, and the art world will have
lost nothing. It's just a lump of clay. See what you can do with it."

Vince Pitelka on fri 14 jan 05


>I am physically drooling at the thought of a woodfire workshop at ACC,
> and it's not a pretty sight, let me tell you.


Ahhh, Kelly, that may be the best testimonial we have everhad for workshops
at the Appalachian Center for Craft, and it's all TRUE. You have captured
the essence.

Regarding details for the Davis/Mallow woodfire workshop, I will have to
gather some details. I suggest presenters every year, but after that our
beloved Workshop and Events Coordinator Gail Gentry takes care of all the
details - god bless her. But I will pursue this.

Kelly, you are such a peach -
- Vince

Vince Pitelka
Appalachian Center for Craft, Tennessee Technological University
Smithville TN 37166, 615/597-6801 x111
vpitelka@dtccom.net, wpitelka@tntech.edu
http://iweb.tntech.edu/wpitelka/
http://www.tntech.edu/craftcenter/