Yesterday, Fall unfolded - literally - before me as I drove up through the Pocono, PA region. I spent the day with my friend and fellow potter, Robin Nidelcheff, as she exhibited her work at the Fall Foliage Festival in Jim Thorpe. (The cover photo shows Robin and some of her beautiful work!)
The festival was small but lovely, with live music, exceptional crafters and plenty of food. I resisted the temptation of freshly baked delectables, roasted corn and other goodies, reserving caloric room so I could stop at one of my new favorite ice creameries on my way home. For those who don't know yet, I have a thing for ice cream. It's a big thing, and I'm happy to share my discoveries as I search for the ultimate ice cream. Yesterday's stop at Longacre Modern Dairy in Barto, PA is just another stop along the journey of ice cream discovery I so enjoy. I sampled pumpkin ice cream, deemed it a worthy companion for rum raisin, and ordered up a double dip in a waffle cone. Then I grabbed a half gallon (yes, a REAL half gallon!) of Coconut Supreme to share with Steve.
Sated with the sweet creaminess of one of this fine state's best ice creams, I continued my reflections of the day as I made my way home. And I realized that - ice cream aside - getting out of the studio for the day had helped to bring several things into clarity for me:
1- Clay has brought so many wonderful new friends into my life (many of whom are reading this, I’m sure!). As Robin and I discussed yesterday with two of her customers, there's just something about people who work with the earth. I have a theory on that. Like many of my theories, it may be way out there. But still ... it works for me. Here it is: I like to think that the spirit of all who came before and all who will ever come are part of the material we work with (it is, after all, earth, and we return to the earth when our souls leave this physical place). As potters, we engage so many of our senses as we intimately create with clay, and I feel like that collective spirit finds its way into our beings and somehow unites us as makers.
So to all my new (and old) clay buddies, here on earth or departed, I say thank you! It’s such a privilege to delve joyfully into new ways of making, celebrate successes, commiserate over failures, and simply spend time with people who love clay as much as I do. You all enrich my life beyond words, and I’m so very grateful for our friendships and for the wisdom you’ve all shared with me in my own journey with clay.
2 - As I watched my friend Robin interact with her customers, I realized how much I’ve missed that this year. True, scaling back on my own shows has been essential so I can focus on exploring new ways of making. But, like most things in life, there's two sides to that coin. Showing my work connects me with my customers. Your feedback helps to inform my work. And your support validates my efforts, despite the fact that I know art shouldn't be something that requires validation.
So, knowing that I've missed that connection, I made plans to open up my home studio and new first-floor gallery space for you all on Small Business weekend: Saturday, 11/30 (10-6) and Sunday, 12/1 (11-5). My home studio will be full of giftables for your loved ones (or for yourself!), home decor, and holiday items. I hope some of you will stop by to say hello, catch up, and enjoy some cider and my famous homemade gingersnap cookies!
And, dear blog reader, if the cookies aren't enough to compete with the deals that abound on Black Friday weekend, here’s a special offer just for you: Print this post (or - better yet! - screen shot or bookmark it on your phone and show it to me at the sale) and you’ll receive a bonus coupon for 10% off any item (except prior sales, workshops and classes). Bring a friend along with you to the sale, and you’ll each receive a 15% coupon you can use toward another item. You can score another coupon by coming out to hang with me this Saturday (10/19, from 1-4pm) as I make my debut as an Artist in Residence at Papyrus in the King of Prussia Mall. While I often tend to view coupons as marketing gimmicks, for my small business these coupons are really my way of saying thank you to those who take time to visit my little gallery on Small Business Saturday or Sunday.
3 - As I drove north en route to Jim Thorpe in the wee hours yesterday, it was mostly dark. The sun rose about 30 minutes before I reached my final destination. As I emerged from the Lehigh Valley Tunnel on the turnpike, the colors previously hidden by the dark exploded around me. Coming home, the opposite occured. Although I live less than two hours south of the Poconos, our trees are only just beginning to turn. It was like I hit fast-forward and then re-wind all in the same day!
I'm a Spring / Summer girl, and Fall is, inevitably, followed by Winter (sigh). You may accurately surmise that I find it difficult to wholeheartedly welcome Fall each year. BUT, there is that magical window of time when Fall puts on a stunning display on the East Coast. I enjoyed the fast-forward version yesterday, and I'm determined to make time to get out of my basement studio to enjoy all that Fall offers as it descends in my neck of the woods.
And - to that end - I’ll sign off for now and go play with Bandit. He’s already wagging his tail in eager anticipation. :-)