Tuesday, July 17, 2012

More Friends and Farmers' Market Fun

 Foggy day in Lubec, Maine
©2012, Joe Phelan photo

 Kayaking on Rocky Lake in Whiting, Maine
©2012, Joe Phelan photo

 Fog in Johnson Bay, Lubec, Maine
©2012, Joe Phelan photo

 Summer harvest: swiss chard, lettuce, basil, oregano, sage, thyme, rosemary, and Tide Mill's kale.

 Roasted kale chips
©2012, Joe Phelan photo

 A Monday morning hearty Lubec brunch with our friend Joe:
Eggs from Lynn Bradbury and Nancy Briggs' chickens, Boot Cove Breads, breakfast sausage from Olde Sow Farm, and greens from the Wheelock/Crittenden garden.
©2012, Joe Phelan photo

 Gardenside Dairy has yummy samples of their goat's cheese at the Lubec Farmer's Market.
Saturday, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., downtown Lubec
Check out that awesome duct tape mural in the background!!! You must come see for yourself! 
Forty feet of colorful duct tape - who'da thunk it?!

 The Sunrise County Ramblers provided some toe-tapping knee-slapping live bluegrass music for the Lubec Farmer's market this past weekend. You can hear their music on Facebook!
Music for the Lubec Farmer's Market is booked through Fred Pierce of Cobscook Bay Music
Check out his website for upcoming music shows in Washington County.

 A glazing bonanza!

 Speed drying the greenware for several firings this week.

My Sunday blog seems to be falling a couple days behind lately. Weekends have been pretty full balancing the farmers' market and the stream of company that has come through. Maybe instead of Cobscook Pottery we should change our name to Wheelock/Crittenden B&B! I was glad for Chris' return (he'd been away visiting family) and the cats are happy to have their quirky playmate back. Life on the this clay-wheeling homestead is back to "normal" if there is such a thing.

This past weekend for the second week in a row I vended at my spot on the corner of Water and School Streets, nestled once again between the delights of Boot Cove Breads and Herbminders of Maine. A new local farm joined us that had some delicious greens while others provided meats and cheeses and birdhouses. Chris and I did a hefty bit of shopping while listening to the bluegrass sounds of the Sunrise County Ramblers and have been enjoying the fresh market edibles the past few days. Our friend Joe visited from central Maine and after a robust kayak in the beating sun we enjoyed various local treats in a feast that would please even the most critical of the Gods.

The hours in the "cave" have been long. Now that I have put my pottery "out there" the demand is challenging. It feels like everyone called with orders all at once this past week and between those galleries/shops that I sell in as well as my own shop and now the farmers' market, I need to work double time to keep up with it all. I'm not complaining though! It's a good thing! I love what I do and know that as far as work hours go, the summer will be the most strenuous pottery regime. I have been trying to keep the throwing at a steady but reasonable pace, knowing that pottery is tough on the body and I that want my body to be able to handle the production long term. I will admit, though, that my right index finger did get a wee bit sore after carving four herring tumblers in one day. But damn....those tumblers sure look cool! (And I'm pleased to report that my index finger is back to normal and able to assist in typing this blog just fine!)

I worked on glazing and mug handles in between kayaking and meals. We just unloaded the kiln and all but two pieces made it through to my specs. The glaze on the new wine chillers is gorgeous! I only made a few to get started but suspect that they will be a popular item this summer.  The work will go fast as I divide it for deliveries amongst six venues. There is plenty of work in progress, drying, and awaiting firing over the next two weeks, as well as a list of items that I need to throw each morning.

Pottery is touchy. There is a fairly precise moment when it deems trimming or handling. I have to plan out which items I will throw on any given day based on where I plan to be in two to four days. If I know that I will be out of town, I have to wait to throw certain items lest I lose them to overdrying. Even the best of wrapping in plastic bags can be unpredictable. For this and many other quirks of the craft, completing a piece of pottery takes weeks. With the farmer's market, I have had several orders for items in specific colors that I may not already have in stock. If the patron is lucky, I will already have the item thrown and bisque-fired, a blank canvas for whichever color they desire. But most times, it takes three to five weeks to see an order come to fruition. I'd like to think that my work is worth the wait.

I will load the kiln again this evening and if the weather forecast looks good (no major thunderstorms on the horizon) I will set the kiln to fire tomorrow morning. The glaze firing only takes about nine hours (bisque a good twelve to thirteen), but the cooling process is another twenty. It's kinda like a five year old waiting for Christmas morning. You know the goodies are under the tree, wrapped beautifully in shiny paper and all decked-out in bows, but you're not allowed to touch the presents until mom and dad get out of bed. That waiting sure is tough! Most times, there are delights. Sometimes, huge disappointments. Last summer was particularly tough and ended with a whole new set of very expensive elements and relays. Things are looking good once again, and thankfully, with some modicum of predictability.

I best get back into the studio and load that kiln. Thursday and Friday I will be choosing which pieces go where and packing boxes for orders. I think I have outgrown my kiln. I sure would have loved to have fired all these glazed pieces in one load. Funny how when I bought this kiln about six or seven years ago that I thought it was so huge! At the time, I didn't think I would be making seven foot sculptures or distributing functional pottery to outlets throughout Maine. 

You just never know where life will take you.

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