being a perfectionist, beginning is sometimes a challenge for me.  for some time, i have been thinking about starting this blog.  lately, i have tired of simply “thinking” about doing it, and i have realized that while i do not love this trait in myself, it may very well be a part of my process.  instead of wondering if i must now learn to love the fact that i sometimes think way too much, i will instead just begin.  the rest will become clear with time, no?   

in october i had thought that i would begin writing while up at st.john’s university helping to fire the johanna kiln.  richard bresnahan built what is (i believe) the largest wood-fired kiln in north america.  almost every fall the kiln is fired with an amazing crew of people.  i am so grateful to be a part of such a community year after year.   it seemed the right time and place to start the blog because it was in the studio of richard bresnahan, thanks to funding from the jerome foundation, that i first experienced being in the studio every day.  since i am mostly self-taught in ceramics, i never had the luxury of continuous time in the studio that academia provides.  that residency was really the first time that i got to truly be with my work, and it really feels like it was the beginning of me taking myself seriously as a maker, and for now, a ceramicist in particular.

it is now the end of december, so you may (rightly!) ask, what happened?  well, when playing with my camera,  my pal dan m. somehow managed to erase all of my most amazing photos.  you know how it goes…of course they were the best pictures ever, and nothing else would do.  that didn’t last long, but my requests from others from the firing for photos didn’t bring any results.  and since my disappointment got the best of me, again, nothing else would do. until, my mom, my wonderful mom who still manages to save the day so many days for me, reminded me that i do have some digital pictures from the firing.  they are not mine, but these will definitely do.

they are from 2002, the first year i helped to fire the kiln (good for this beginning).  kevin larson, a really great do all guy, took a ton of pictures and was gracious enough to make discs for everyone.  i had forgotten completely.  but now i have images.  and since it is really only the pattern and rhythm of the flame that changes from year to year, along with a few in the cast of characters, it seems very appropriate to include these images.  



Shumpei and Richard



 some of my favorite fire-men: Matt, Sam and JD.  where are the Dan’s?



 oh so pretty



Deaner, Amy, brother JD and me staying warm by the kiln 



my favorite dock to lay upon 



thanks kevin.   you are not only a great fire man, zen master wood splitter and really great guy, but a not bad photographer either!

here is a bit of an email i wrote to a friend just after this year’s firing that is worthy of repetition: 

i’m back home after an incredible week away.  i was in the wonderful bubble of the Johanna kiln.  the annual wood-firing is one of my most favorite times of the year…hard physical work stoking the kiln is balanced with the wonder and beauty of the flame.  walks in the woods, naps by the lake, good friends, better food and drink, and the familiar and comforting smell of hot leather and burning wood permeating almost everything i own.

it is always a wonderfully romantic and nostalgic time and place for me.   if any of you ever have the chance to visit, you must.  the woods and the waters are very special there.  there are also some significant buildings by marcel breuer for the  architecture fans.  so go, even if it is not for the drama of the flame.  

 webster’s says that the beginning is simply the first part of the action…the start of the process. 

i’m so glad to have finally begun.


Comments are closed.