Thursday, December 15, 2011

Egg Cups!
I just made a slew of egg cups thanks to my new fascination and favorite breakfast of the soft boiled egg (3.5 minutes for a room temperature egg, 4 for a refrigerated one).  I love to knock the top off with my spoon and then dunk toast "soldiers" (toast cut into little slices small enough to fit inside the opening) in the luscious yolk.  Delicious!  Then I scoop out the cooked whites with my teaspoon while admiring the lovely packaging of the egg shell itself.  Such a perfect container!
  I've been wondering what to do with these molds I got from a guy on craigslist, and I've found purpose for them in egg cup companions.  I have owls, chickens, ducks, turtles and frogs.  Of course I had to paint some octopus, trees & bees.  I figure some people may use the more chalice-like designs for shot glasses, or olive pit holders, stud earring cups, or cumin seed dispensers....  suggestions?  More photos and designs are on the way....

Sunday, November 6, 2011

 People often ask me where I get my inspiration and I usually answer something like, "It's all around me."  This week the SF Chronicle had these humpbacks and happy kayaker on the front page (SFChronicle).  I imagined myself in his place- the overwhelming majesty.  Only last month, we saw humpbacks at our beach, Goat Rock, where I go several times a week for exercise and visual refreshment.  We call it going to church.  We observe and praise as many creatures as we can find.  There are always the GDD (God Damn Deer... moderately demonized for their rose and garden-eating habits), hawks, kites, bunnies, osprey, crows, bluebirds, a rare bald eagle, occasional dolphins and great blue herons.  A bobcat who lives out there was admired twice.  The pelicans that cruise the waves in calm synchronicity are like prehistoric muses. When we went on my birthday, the beach was littered with bright scarlet starfish and gulls choking them down whole.  In my own little story, they were a gift from the sea.  I hope that my pottery recalls, cultivates and connects such stories.
The pots pictured here, under the latest inspirations, are freshly painted, pre-bisque firing.  The grey color will blacken under the glaze in the next firing (and they'll be available for purchase at the upcoming Celebration of Craftswomen show this Friday-Sun, 11/11 -13).

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Though I felt required to attend, I’d been avoiding the Occupy movement in Santa Rosa.  I couldn’t agree more with the concept and the near miraculous fact of its nationwide existence, but I didn’t feel up to a protest.  I’ve been angry, I’ve marched, I’ve carried signs, and even shut down a freeway.  The emotional impact of being in that mass of chanting, angry people is increasingly overwhelming not to mention that it’s difficult to point to any direct effect of all the drama.  Now it’s the busiest time of the year for me, kilns to fill, pots to throw and paint… But the fact that people are finally standing up to point out the gross disparity in wealth distribution and lack or proportional representation needs support.  I had to be counted.
     I also had to do something.  I couldn’t just meander with a sign.  I cut two National Geographics into 6x6” squares to fold 99 cranes to represent the 99% who are losing jobs, homes, health coverage, and social programs (plus 1 greedy little one with 34.6% of the nation’s wealth). While I attached handles and trimmed butter bells, Joey gathered together a portable sawhorse table, created signs, a T for the cranes and a cooler full of sandwiches.  His vision was to provide the PB&J brigade: Peace, Brotherhood & Justice through free sandwiches.
     We arrived while the marchers were still looping the town so we claimed the shade of a tree to set up.  We were soon joined by Mia, who began folding cranes with me.  We had 12 strung by the time the parade arrived, fronted by a man dressed like the Monopoly millionaire and a sign declaring, “This is class war.  We own you.  Pay up”.  “Some of us are just worth more than others”, he chuckled.  Others signs included, “Democracy not Corporatocracy”, "What's more important, Paper or People? [drawing of dollar bill next to "paper"]", "1% fat, 99% milked".  I do love the signs.  Much more than the drum circle. 
     Folding the cranes provided a calm focus and there was always at least one other person at the table with me.  Photographers snapped away.  Joey gave away 70 sandwiches to big smiles and gratitude.  By the time we packed up, we had 81 cranes.  I even stumbled through an interview with KSRO.   The Occupation wasn’t a scream-fest, instead the feeling was relieved and playful, and being so close to Halloween, there were costumes.  A marked awareness of the recent violence at Occupy Oakland may have contributed to the city government officially allowing tent camping on the lawn.
    We’ll be back next week.  As the sign said, “The Beginning is Near.”

Thursday, October 20, 2011

When the rain begins, our “backyard” forest blooms.  Throughout the winter we see Oyster Mushrooms, Chanterelles, Hedgehogs, Lion’s Mane, Boars Head, Matsutake, Porcini and a million more we don’t know the names to.  We don our camel packs, knives and bags and go out hunting.  There’s a maniacal glee in the expressions of all the hunters in our fungi bible, All the Rain Promises and More, and it bursts from even the most sedate hiker we bring along with us.  Today we were already fat on the first load of oysters I found on a tree the day before and turned into delicious gratin ( which we will probably be having for Thanksgiving.  The rest I sautéed in butter and froze.
     The hike is a bit rugged, the paths are abandoned, overgrown fire trails from the logging days.  I have patches of poison oak on me already from the eager green leaves that embody “ubiquitous”.  But the joy on sighting that angelic glimmer of white, a glowing cathedral in a misty forest, overpowers the itching (and fear of it).  The oyster mushrooms form magnificent bouquets along dead and fallen trees.  I murmur, “Beautiful”, “Amazing”, as I cut them down and hand them to Joey for cleaning.  There’s a similar sense of awe and living community to that of the bees.  We clean the log so that the next bloom will have room to thrive and won’t suffer from rotting mushrooms.  Over the years, we have feasted off particular logs repeatedly, up to three times a season from the same one.
     The first log we found this morning just recently fell to the ground.  But the second one was still wedged against the dead stump and another tree 50 feet up in the air.  I gingerly harvested from this beauty, careful not to stand below it.  Then Joey mounted it to capture the luscious ones just out of reach. 

       In all, we captured 10 lbs of perfect oyster mushrooms.  There were many that were already past their prime and we spread these about so that their spores could do their magic.  Home to breakfast and a hope that we can share our abundance with a local restaurant in exchange for a meal.  Bring on the rain!