Feb 1 2011

Presenters and Conferences on the coast

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What a nice way to start the day.. watching a pottery demo. This is North Carolina potter and glaze guy John Britt. He was one of the main presenters along with, PJC instructor, Bill Clover, at the Gulf Coast Clay Conference I took part in last February.

John Britt's Shino test tilesDo you get tired just looking at this? I took a glaze course with Ron Roy back in the mid 1990s, but seeing John’s impressive array of shino glaze tests spread out on the table at the clay conference like this, bowled me over and was a reminder (!) that we need to get back to testing regularly.

Shino first or be cursed!Here are Larry Manning (of Magic Kiln Pottery, and the conference coordinator) and Chris Greenman (Asst prof at Alabama State) hamming it up for the camera. Chris’ button bears the warning “Shino First or be Cursed!”

Regarding the 2011 Gulf Coast Clay Conference ..I learned this morning that this year’s conference will be taking part over in Mississippi this year on May 26-28th. I’ll post more on it later as I get it.

Speaking of clay conferences, the Alabama Clay Conference will be taking place in Mobile this year, February 17-20th, smack dab in the middle of Mardi Gras. The featured presenters are Christa Assad, Misty Gamble, and Chris Gustin. Other things associated with the conference are gallery exhibitions downtown (I’ve heard good things about the one at Space 301), and on Sunday, a demonstration at University of South Alabama’s new glass studio.


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..