Mar 27 2011

Spring is here

The pecan trees have finally started to leaf out so its fair to say that spring is here and there’s no turning back. As the weather warms up other visitors come out as well. Here are just a few of the guys that have come out here in last week or so.

Tree frog at nightGreen Tree Frogtree frogGeckoWater mocassin - cottonmouth


Jan 31 2011

Down by Billie’s

On particularly nice afternoons, its nice to take a break and do a little exploring. The other week, instead of going straight home, we took a little side road that took us down near Billie’s Seafood in Bon Secour. Luckily, I just so happened to have my camera in my bag with me. Here are a few of the pictures.

Brown Pelicans
Pelicans
Black Crested Night Heron on Shrimp Boat rigging
Brown Pelican closeup
closeup
Pair
Endeavor Shrimp Boat
In front of Swift House


Jan 22 2011

Back from the great beyond

new roadHere it is, 2011.  I didn’t realize, but (egad!) its been over a year (!) since I’ve posted on my blog or done any maintenance to my web site, short of renewing my domain and making sure the site would still be hosted.  That’s not much of a way to keep a blog alive or peek interest but.. it is what it is. With a fresh year ahead, I’m hoping to make good and have more regular new entries with photos of work and life around the studio.

As I remember saying in one of my previous posts, I discovered Facebook and Twitter 2 yrs ago and, I admit, its been responsible for a good bit of my negligence here.  (For those of you who are on Facebook already, our page is http://www.facebook.com/WebbPottery.)  Let’s face it, some days its a lot easier to microblog than come up with a full post. Despite some reservations, its been a great way to network and I’ve connected and reconnected with  so many people, old and new friends alike.  It seems the world has become an increasingly small place.

So what happened last year.. well, I demonstrated at the Gulf Coast Clay Conference in Pensacola in February, I made it back to Canada this summer for a rejuvenating visit, and started giving lessons again this fall. Those are kind of the highlights of the year.

Now for the not so high points. Last year was actually a particularly rough year for us.  I don’t usually mention much about our home life here, so you are probably not aware that we have a developmentally delayed daughter.  She’s 8 years old but functions more or less on the level of a one year old.  Last year she started to have some serious behavioural and social issues which really put a strain on life at home and school (she’s been in a special ed program since the age of 3).  It was essentially a whole year of her going ballistic, hurting herself (and others, including beating up on her sister, classmates, teachers, and whoever else came in her path), and breaking and destroying things in her tirades.  She could go off in an instant for no apparent reason and needed constant care for her own safety.. exponentially moreso than usual.  It was impossible to find a babysitter or caregiver who felt up to the challenge of dealing with her, and with no family support, the tension was constant and overwhelming. …sigh.. Let me just say, it was pretty rough time on all of us and it really took a tole. Many things were neglected and suffered as a result. Anyways last August there was finally a breakthrough and, with help of her wonderful teachers, doctor, and a consult to a neurologist, she is back on a more even keel again, restoring at least some quality of life for all of us, including her. ..phew! Its not “normal”, but its definitely better. Recently, she has been moved to a smaller class which seems to have helped enormously, as well.

Oily tidal pool at Orange Beach July 4th weekendSo on top of that, then came the BP oil spill last April, taking a further toll on an already waning Gulf Coast economy thanks to the recession.  (Here is a picture I took from the pier in Orange Beach AL on July 4th. As you can see the normally snow white sand is covered with tar balls and disgusting brown sea foam. While you can’t see in this shot, some of the tar still on the beach were about 3 to 4 feet across. I haven’t been to the beach not 20 miles away since.) Key industries this area relies upon are fishing, construction, real estate, and tourism, and everything just trickles down from there.  Most realtors in Baldwin County have had to seek properties elsewhere to deal in order to survive because nothing is moving here. Building had come to a standstill for months.  One land surveying company rep told me that things better turn around by spring, or there will be no surveying companies left in this county.   So here we are left in the aftermath, trying to regroup and figure out how to deal with the mess we’ve been left with… ecologically and economically. ..regardless..

It will be interesting to see how the year unfolds for those working in the arts down here as well..


Feb 10 2009

Looking to Nature

zengarden

This weekend we were out on a forage for interesting and unusual driftwood. One of the nicest spots around here for this, is down at the Gulf, off of Fort Morgan Road (west of Gulf Shores).

I love these little jaunts. The beach is just full of unusual finds, interesting patterns, and unexpected textures.   It is a great place to seek inspiration and come up with some fresh ideas.  Check out the section of  sand in the photo above, formed by the ebbing of the water.  It reminded me of a Japanese Zen Garden.

Here are a few other photos.

branches

Upended Roots
Shoreline off Fort Morgan


Aug 20 2008

Along came a spider…..

Yellow Garden Spider found by the wheel

I spotted this *little* fellow as I sat down at my wheel the other evening. These yellow garden spiders usually live outside but somehow this one had made its way inside.

Spider set free onto elephant ear leaf outside

These spiders (unlike black widows, brown widows, and brown recluses , among others) don’t really concern me too much since they are not aggressive and just eat insects. Still… the size, especially if you are not accustomed to them, could be quite disconcerting (hopefully the photo with my hand will give some idea of scale). Thankfully I’m not petrified of spiders so I trapped this one in an empty yogurt container and put her back outside.

Anyone who does anything with clay in the south, I am sure, are already quite familiar with the mud dauber wasp that takes bits of clay and builds tube-like structures where its larvae can grow to maturity. Apparently they are natural enemies to black widow spiders! Knowing that, I will think twice about removing a nest that’s stuck to a beam, wall, or post the next time I see one, especially around the studio.


Jul 21 2008

Foundling

TweetLowell came in this morning with this little baby mockingbird he found hopping across the road with no parents in sight, no nest in sight, and on his way to getting run over. Pretty obvious he had fallen out of his nest. He is quite a skilled hopper, even for a little guy.

For now, we are spoon feeding him and hopefully we’ll be able to set him free once his flight feathers grow in. As anyone who has found little wild chicks like this can tell you, it can be a challenge to keep baby wild birds alive once you take them in. I hope this little guy, who my daughter has already nicknamed “Tweet”, makes it.

To feed him I am using a tiny baby spoon which is actually just a little narrower than the inside diameter of his beak. A teaspoon can also work well if you bend the edges of the spoon in and kind of over to fit inside the bird’s beak enough to get the food down its throat.


Apr 2 2008

Spring is here

Pink AzaleasI’ve been down here on the Gulf Coast now for about 8 years now. While I don’t care for the oppressive humidity in summer or hurricanes, I do like the fact that when I get the Feb-March gardening jitters and break out the seed catalogs, I know spring really is right around the corner. The unfortunate thing is it makes it very hard to be in the studio because you just know that if you don’t get out there asap, the weeds will take over and you never seem to catch up.

Our area is considered ‘sub-tropical’ which means we can grow certain varieties of citrus that will tolerate mild winter freezes including Meyers lemons and satsumas, as well as other plants too that could only be grown as houseplants or annuals further north. Here are just a few examples of what we have growing: a spineless yucca, a philodendron, and a loquat.

Spineless Yucca

Philodendron

Loquat tree



Nov 20 2007

In the Studio: Clay loving bugs


Yesterday I was just getting ready to cut and slam wedge some native clay that had been sitting on the wedging table to dry out, as I often do to pick out the odd little rock or left over hard chunks of debris. Found this little fellow “hunkered down”, as they would say here in the South. He had chewed and burrowed his way about an inch into the clay.

Earlier in spring and summer, we are pestered by some much smaller black beetles, resembling this one, actually, only about 1 to 2 millimeters in length. They come out once the sun goes down and make their way into the studio, seeking out leather-hard pots and damp clay. Groups of them will actually burrow right through the sides of pots. Sometimes I think they make a point to go for those pots you have spent the most time on trimming or carving a design into …pure coincidence, of course.

Since we don’t have screens on the windows and the studio is kind of open, we usually try and wrap or cover pots with dry cleaner’s plastic. We have to also make sure we turn the lights to the studio off when we leave, since they don’t seem to nibble in the dark.


Sep 18 2007

Potting outdoors today

Absolutely beautiful day out today, here on the coast. While I do miss my fall days in Canada, on days like today, they couldn’t be further from my mind. Low humidity, sunny, slight breeze, and in the 80s F.

The deck on the studio (all built from wood gathered from the beach after hurricane Ivan) was finally(!) cleared of the last bits of refuse scrap lumber today. Gave it a good sweep off, cut back the blackberry vines that were working very hard at taking over, and I was quite amazed at the transformation.

Once the spot was clear, I just went ahead and brought out my wheel. Not sure why I hadn’t thought of it before but I am so glad I did. Made for a much more productive day. I was able to be outside, have a clear view of my much happier 3 1/2 year old playing in her wading pool, and able to throw for a lot longer with relatively few interruptions. Even the dogs and cat were happier as everyone now had an equally prime spot beside my chair.

I think I may do it all over again tomorrow. No rain in the forecast until later in the week.


Feb 4 2007

First Saturdays Art Market – downtown Mobile AL

Mark Saturday March 3rd on your calendars.

Artists around Mobile and surrounding areas are getting ready for the first of four outdoor art market days that will take place in Downtown Mobile. We have a growing list of participants including painters, printmakers, folk artists, potters, jewelers, glass artists, sculptors, and more.

For more info and updates in coming weeks, please visit our website/blog: http://artmarketdaymobile.blogspot.com/

Hope to see you there!