Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Politics and Other Stuff

Keep checking back for my online shopping site!
My current website will soon host online shopping for Cobscook Pottery!
I'm hoping to launch the site in early November with an assortment of my most popular items, just in time for the holiday season!
Don't forget these dates....
Herring Collectors Series,
 herring and weir mugs by Shanna Wheelock of Cobscook Pottery
November 3-4
Crafts at the Maine State Museum
hosted by the Maine Crafts Guild
Saturday and Sunday, 10-4
at the Maine State Museum
I'll be there with my functional pottery wares as well as my Herring Collectors Series work.
I love getting back to my old stomping grounds. Stop by and say "Hi"!
If you are in that Augusta area and are not on my mailing list and want to be, send me your mailing address via my website. You can message me from the "contact" section of my website.
November 9-11
Annual Cobscook Pottery Holiday Open House
right here at my studio in Lubec!
Friday 3-7, Saturday 10-5, and Sunday 10-4
Refreshments and holiday cheer while you shop for unique handmade gifts created here in downeast Maine!
For more details, message me via the "contact" section of my website.

 This is what I've been up to.

 Wine chillers, mini vases, tumblers, and bowls: trimmed and drying.

 Experimenting with the column form.

Here we are.  October is underway and the last bit of summer is heading south with the birds. The air is crisp and leaves are twirling and falling to the ground. The garden is slumped and brown and the windows and doors are closed. I'm thinking about carving pumpkins, warming cider on the stove, and spending long uninterrupted days in the studio.  Early evening walks at dusk have brought about the raccoon and porcupine sightings and the full harvest moon creates a mysterious ambiance readying us for howling coyotes and Samhain celebrations. I love this time of year!
It is surreal, not teaching. My schedules are now dictated more by my body's natural rhythms. Quirky sleep patterns don't stress me out so much as they used to and I am finding my productivity to be just as high as in past. With four out of my five retail vendors open through December and two other craft events to prep for, I have created a rigorous calendar to take me through until January. My MFA work is moving at a slower pace, but that seems to be the general transition expectation for me. When I first begin a semester, lots of the initial work is in my head, which I refer to as my "cerebral workout." Images fly at me and at times it can be overwhelming. It takes a while to sort through the ideas and narrow down what I need to say. In the meantime, my hours at the wheel center me and allow me free flow.
My blogging has quelled to a bi-monthly event mainly due to other commitments. I think often about what I'd like to say when it does come time to blog, which is primarily a whole bunch of political spewing since we are in the crux of election time. By the time I get to the blog entry, however, my thoughts have had time to mellow.
This election seems more important to me than any before. Maybe it is my age. Maybe it is because I am a woman. Maybe it is because I am more aware of what is going on in the world than I was when I was in my twenties, or even my thirties. Like many, I get frustrated when I hear the rantings that are hurtful, racist, homophobic, or sexist. It seems pretty basic to me when electing a person to office. I ask, is this person kind? Compassionate? Humanitarian? Honest?
I understand that everyone comes from their own perspective and experiences. Still, no matter your perspective or who you want to see in office, it doesn't make it right to slander groups of people or to knock those who are already down and struggling.
FACEBOOK is great for networking and keeping people in touch, but this election is bringing out what I consider to be the worst in some. People that I have known for years to be good, kind, compassionate people are reposting political images that are clearly hurtful and racist or sexist. It floors me because I never would have imagined that my "friends" posting these things would really want these things to be representative of who they are.
I see that as a nation we have made many leaps forward in equal rights, but at the same time, it seems we have so far to go. Sometimes it feels like we are taking steps backward. Too much brainwashing by mainstream media is taking its toll. This is why education is more important than ever.  People need to learn to think for themselves and how to search out truth. We grow up being told what to believe, by our parents, our churches, and our leaders so much that we forget how to really dig deep within to know our own values or to become solid and comfortable in our beliefs.
I anxiously await election day and hope for one of those life-changing moments that hits me at the core telling me that all will be okay. I had one of those moments when the supreme court ruling upheld the Health Care Reform Act. I thought, finally, support for what is right and ethical, for what is humanitarian. A lot is riding on November 6th. Not only do we have the opportunity to re-elect one of the most inspiring presidents of our time, but also, in Maine, an opportunity for marriage rights for all my friends and family. Crossing fingers, holding my breath, and wishing on falling stars for a humanitarian way of life to supersede all the negative energies that have been holding us back.
Assuming that my readers didn't bail on this blog entry as soon as I mentioned politics, I will now toss out some of the wonderful things that have been going on the past couple weeks. First of all, 2000 lbs of clay finally arrived! I had been pretty much out for about three weeks and when a potter is without clay, a potter gets a wee bit stressed! I was working with the remnants of past throwing sessions that required much additional wedging and that took a toll on my shoulders. The eighteen wheeler freight truck met us at the end of our drive last Tuesday morning where the pallet was moved out of the truck and into the dirt drive. Chris tossed 500 lbs at a time into the car to transport it to our yard where it then was put in the wheelbarrow, 100 lbs at a time, to be moved into my cave studio. (THANK YOU Chris!) In the past few days I have already gone through 200 lbs. and am hoping that this takes me through the winter. Once snow flies and the driveway gets icy, a delivery like this is out of the question. My clay supplier is over 5 hours away from here, so getting clay is no easy task! (Not to mention, our tiny economy car has a very low weight limit!) Oh, and just a shout out to our awesome U.S. postal guy, Al. He walked our mail up the long driveway which included a sizable box because the end of the driveway was blocked with clay. Neither rain, sleet, nor snow...nor clay apparently....will keep the U.S. postal service from delivering!

And speaking of packages...I have been busy packing orders and preparing to pack orders when the online shopping cart is activated. As you might guess, this involves mounds of packaging materials. THANK YOU David and Kathy for all that bubble wrap! I'm so glad you have moved to Lubec....for more than one reason! Mostly because you are awesome and you are a great addition to this community, but I must admit, six or so huge bags of bubble wrap is a nice fringe benefit!
Last week we enjoyed a delightfully delicious homemade meal at our friend Barbara's house. She outdid herself with  yummies that clearly are normally not within our budget. We felt like a Queen and King for a night! Barbara had been studying mushrooms and we were fortunate receivers of her newfound knowledge. I can't remember if she called them meadow mushrooms or horse mushrooms, but either way, they were so yummy stuffed with fresh herbs from her beautiful and abundant garden. It inspired us to pull out the mushroom guide books when we returned home. We are not foolish enough to think we can safely identify non-poisonous mushrooms on our own without a human guide, but we are confident in two chanterelle mushrooms that we have been enjoying even into late September. It is amazing how ritzy a meal can be on a tight budget if willing to scrounge a bit in the woods. One of our favorite new mushroom books, because of its detailed photos and relation to our specific area, is David Spahr's "Edible and Medicinal Mushrooms of New England and Eastern Canada." Check it out!
Chanterelles in late September make for a yummy dinner treat.
Last weekend the Harvest Howl was postponed due to rain which allowed me an unexpected two rainy days to dive into projects. Despite the weather, Lubec Arts Alive hosted a one-day fundraising art supply sale which was a huge success. For those in Lubec, or those who have worked with us on Lubec Arts Alive events, you probably knew Claudia Mahlman. Claudia was a founding member of Lubec Arts Alive and one of my right-hand-women who knew how to get things done when it came to community organizing. Sadly, Claudia passed away this past summer. She was a passionate artist who truly cared about community and even in her illness her generous spirit kept flowing forth. She wanted her art supplies to do two things; one being a support for LAA and the other to assist a young talented artist. Both of these requests were followed-through. Thank you Claudia!!!
Claudia Mahlman working on the Lubec Arts Alive kinetic herring sculpture, installed in downtown Lubec, summer 2010. While the community participated in the painting of the individual smaller fish, Claudia painted the herring head, tails, and fins for the sculpture. I must add, she did a phenomenal job!
It feels a luxury to be sitting here working on the blog. Right now I'm debating whether to get into my grungy work clothes for a late afternoon studio session or to just do some other odd project on the main floor to enjoy the house in one of it's rare moments of relative cleanness. (An early afternoon visit prompted the cleaning!) We'll see where I'm at once I get this entry posted. (yawning and thinking I know which will win out!)

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