Wednesday, December 19, 2012

This is the first post from my new contributor, daughter Lily, who is an occasional collabortator in our studio also.

Once upon a time…


I went home for thanksgiving with Colin, recently back from China eager to revisit the Morris Estate and shmooze with my fascinating parents.

As is customary for visits home, especially those with guests, and even more so when the first fat snowflakes of true winter are falling, we took a walk around the path.

At the edge of the dense wood, before breaking into the old pasture, I yelpled in surprise at the sight of a creature very close a foot.

It was a robin. Robins, as a whole have long left this land for the more sustainable south, yet this one remained. As I walked forward, it became clear why this little bird lingered in the cold: it was Broken Wing Robin.

Broken Wing Robin graced our land all summer, flopping laboriously down the driveway after his friends had flown from auto traffic, rustling about in the undergrowth in futile attempts at camouflage, and presenting a generally sorrowful existence. The fact that Broken Wing survived this far without already being caught by the laziest of predators was astonishing.


I did not wish to upset Broken Wing, and I especially did not want to alert our hounds, Bug and Peanut of his helpless presence… But I had to move forward. When I did, Broken Wing made a flopping attempt at flight, simultaneously awakening the “destroy vermin” instinct in our lackadaisical house pets.


It was the end of the road for Broken Wing. My urgent calls could not stop Peanut’s jaws. After the initial strike, even though life still coursed through his delicate body, the ethical thing to do was let the dogs commit the final blow, and release Broken Wing from the suffering of this life.


I brought his Earthly shell back to the house, and did my best to honor his life by studying the intricacies of his body, interring him forever in my sketchbook.


This is the story of Broken Wing Robin.



The first to arrive in the spring, the last left singing at night.

Symbols of new life, new beginnings, new growth.

Dead at winter’s first snow.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

natural pest control and holiday decoration

I don't have to decorate for Halloween, I have an amazing architect in my window.  I wish I still had a kid at home for a great science project!  This crafty spider is accumulating an array of insects that I don't have to chase or spray, totally organic bug control.
 I appreciate my indoor wildlife as winter approaches , and I keep something blooming at all times here year round. I love my indoor plants and have a big array right now after bringing them all back in , they were crowding us out of the kitchen! 
Good thing  the spiders are decorating the house because I am busy decorating pottery,  getting animals ready for winter, and reorganizing the inventory to accommodate more items in my etsy stores.   I am adding a vintage store to etsy in the near future. 

Friday, September 14, 2012

Really? May 22? I am such a terrible blogger.  Where is it written that everyone is a writer??
I am on a self imposed exile from the Etsy forums and am on day six.  I realized that although I felt I needed to read to keep up with the changes that the site implements constantly, that immersing myself in it was ruining my day, and therefore stunting my creativity. I was feeling bad about my work and unmotivated to go to the shop.  "The Artists Way " by Julia Cameron has a name for what Etsy was doing to me and that is called the "crazymaker".    When I quit reading I started writing in my routine again.  Actually writing in my journal, a habit I had kept since I was twelve, had fallen by the wayside over the years as I got sucked into the online offerings for my attention.
I realize I have an addictive personality, and that I dive whole hog into things, and have to remind myself of that sometimes, and pull back and get perspective.  

Well it is going pretty well so far.  The work in the studio couldn't wait for my excuses any longer, and once I got rolling I am having a lot of fun and look forward to getting down there each day.  I also made a goal to list at least five new things each day, with a goal of 300 items in my shop by Nov 1.   There are also a couple of live shows left for us to do this fall.
Paul will be at the Fresh Art Tour again this year as a guest of Peter Deneen at Pepin Farm Pottery.
We are also organizing everything here at the homestead, and are planning a studio sale of our own in November or early December.


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Lessons on the road

Lily, me and Peanut at Ha Ha Tonka state park

I am back from my road trip to Missouri with Lily.  We wanted to take a week before she started her jobs to visit my family.  It was great having the time to visit and relax, Mother's day found the whole family at grandma's, and that was a rare and special occasion.

   We decided to take two days to drive back, so I booked a motel halfway with a pet friendly room for Peanut, our canine travelling companion.  By taking two days, we were able to leave later in the day, so we arrived at our motel about 6pm.  I was just dozing off around 10 when the motel manager called the room and asked if I had a dog in there, I said yes I had reserved a pet friendly room. He started yelling at me that the room was not a pet friendly room, and he was billing me an extra $100 for cleaning the room. He even said he had me on tape. That creeped me out and I wondered if the cameras were spying on me in our room.
   Needless to say I didn't sleep well that night, and we were on our way by 5 am the next morning.  I tried calling customer care at the number where I made my reservations, and they were unhelpful, to say the least.  I was pretty disgruntled as I headed back  north, through Des Moines, and only about three hours from Minneapolis, my speedometer dropped to zero and I pulled off at the very next exit, which had a wayside rest stop.  I called my mechanic at home in Ogilvie, and he said it might be the speed sensor or the alternator.  With the possibility of alternator in the picture I was not going back up on the interstate, but across from the rest stop there was a new gas station.  Both of these, the rest stop, and the  gas station were brand new since my last trip, and they were in the middle of nowhere IA.  Just minutes, I mused, from where Paul and I worked and met 31 years ago.  When I entered the gas station, I was greeted by the counter lady who asked if she could help and I asked for an auto mechanic. She handed me a card, and I called the number, not realizing it was only 8am. 
  After a short wait, the mechanic appeared and confirmed my alternator was shot. I opted for a used part if he had one at his shop.  While he went back to look, I walked the dog, played on my laptop, and wondered how much this latest incident would add to the cost of my trip. I called my insurance company and found out I no longer had roadside assist. So I was glad to have my credit card, but worried that this might add two or three hundred dollars to the already expensive trip.  I consoled myself thinking It was just a miracle that there was a gas station,  and a mechanic two miles away, and I was off the freeway. 
   It did turn out that there was a used part at the shop, and after the part was replaced and it was payment time,  the bill came to just over $100.00.   Oh my gosh I could have hugged that guy!  The whole incident had only cost us a couple of hours off our trip, and we were safe and the car was running fine down the highway.
  So as I drove and Lily and Peanut snoozed, I realized that I had been taught a lesson. The first hundred dollars was a LOT to lose for a flea bag motel and a rude host, but a hundred dollars was a very SMALL amount for the great service I recieved while stranded at the side of the road in the middle of nowhere. Not to mention, if I had tried to do the whole trip in one shot, we would have been stranded in the middle of the night somewhere in the middle of nowhere!  After feeling like customer service was dead after the motel, I found out it is alive and well in Dows, IA. 

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

I am so happy to announce a new pair of hands at Morris Pottery. Paul's daughter, Rita has joined us to help out in the studio as well as the garden and animals.  These mugs are new out of the last firing.
I see it as a great start to the second generation of Morris Pottery.  Having this new creative energy in the studio is great.  I have taken some time off this month for cleaning and some 2D work.
Paul will be set up at Silver Bison Ranch this weekend participating in the Creative Drive Studio tour. Some of these new mugs will be on display there. These mugs are for sale and can be seen at my new boutique on SupaDupa  MORRISPOTTERY.MYSUPADUPA.COM

Sunday, February 26, 2012

It has been a busy week with my classes and getting my new computer set up. I went on Friday to get a back up flash drive for the computer, and also got an mp3 player for Paul. He has been wanting tunes in the shop for years  and his radio isn't any good down in the valley where the studio is.  So I have been busy filling it up with all the CD's in our collection.   Music for me provides very vivid snapshots of my life , just like looking through old photo albums only the pictures are all in my head! Deep down in the archives are the cassette tapes and the record albums.  Most of those I have found later in newer digital versions, but the one in the picture is unique, I have asked , and been told that the stuff they needed to make this digital is gone.  I will have to save up and get one of the gadgets that digitizes LP records if I want to get some of these archived.  I am liking Pauls mp3 player a little too much!

Well it looks like a bunch of snow is headed this way, and if I had broadcast television I imagine the weather guys are having a weathergasm over the big blob of blue in the west!  My teacher friend is hoping for a snow day, and although I am no longer affiliated with school, I still like snow days.  Poor Minnesota has suffered a snowless winter, and although most of us feel like we "got by" pretty easy this year, for me there is a bit of missing the white stuff. 

For instance there are all kinds of things I put off in the warmer months to do in the winter when you cant do anything else outside.  A snow day might prompt me to start some sewing project or re organize some corner.  One of my projects in the living room studio has been experimenting with ink and acrylic on my big stash of paper.   At an auction I got about 700 sheets of 80 lb card stock, and I have been trying different things on it.  It doesn't like getting wet much so I am using a dry brush technique and having some fun with that.  It is so liberating having so much paper because I am not afraid to screw it up.  I have had beautiful watercolor paper for years and I just don't want to wreck it.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Hoarders, my version

The above picture is my pack and ship after the holiday season.  The rest of the house looked similar.  It was obvious that the small area I had set aside for shipping was not functioning well.  I was having to wade through the boxes to get to my scale.  I was wishing I could have a professional organizer come in like on "Hoarders" or like on "Oprah" and get me organized. Well hiring a professional is not in my budget, and  I don't need a doctor appointment to tell me I have and organizational disorder, and it wasn't bad enough to get the hoarders team in, so I had to deal with it. Below is the same corner, waiting to be my photo corner, and my pack and ship has expanded to the back of the room.

I still have a way to go, but it is so much better to have the shipping area working smoothly again. All of this organizing and cleaning has kept me out of the studio for a week, and I am looking forward to getting back to my favorite part, the making of things!