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Sunday, November 7, 2010

Roger comes to New England.

Roger came for a visit after Dollywood.  Roger is from Minnesota. We went off to see our New England Roots in Plimoth Massachusetts.

It was a cold and bleak day the beginning of November.
Very few tourists. So after visiting with the potters shop
for me and the wood joiner for Roger, we went down into the village to talk to the locals.

It is fun to talk to and listen to the people from 1627. The reenactors there are in first person, so you cannot get them to break out of their roles. This is fun and yet frustrating if you want to know something about what they are doing, you may not get an answer you will understand. 

We got over to the Mayflower just before closing to get a tour above and below decks. Roger is decended from Thomas Rogers I believe who was on the original Mayflower.  His family wandered out west to Minnesota, and mine from Boston, stayed here in New England.

We saw the big trees in Connectciut. Cathedral in the Pines was an old strip of forest in Cornwall CT not too far from me. Most people don't realize our old trees were all torn down for firewood and houses. The "old" trees you see are a mere hundred year old or so. The Pines in Cornwall are only 200 years old but some stand 140' tall.  In 1989, a rare tornado blew through and took down most of the tall pines. Before the Plimoth settlers, most of our land was primeval forests. Think of it, dense forests of trees as large as these last two really old trees still standing in Connecticut, Granby Oak and Pinchot Sycamore in Simsbury. While the Pinchot Sycamore is the biggest at 300+ years, the Granby Oak is older by 100 years.

Cathedral in the Pines
Pinchot Sycamore

Granby Oak

But then, read about the oldest tree found in Sweden...

Friday, November 5, 2010

Off to Dollywood, Tennessee!

My first year demonstrating at Dollywood!  Some of my good friends got me in at the last minute to Dollywoods Harvest

 Month.  For years, the month of October has been the month to celebrate tradesmen and women and their crafts.  My good friends Roger, John, AK, Cindie, Bob and Nick have been down there every October for years.  They put me up in a cabin with Rosie the weaver as my room mate for the month. A really nice place to stay. With my friends nearby to share good times on our off hours, and the nice folks and immaculate grounds of Dollywood, I had a very nice time.

No, I did not meet Dolly, although I heard she had stopped by the week before.  I had my own "workshop" in the park, and a new friend Donna, a Dollywood employee, helped me out with my booth and I taught her how to pot.  I met some new tradesmen that I now keep in touch with, expanding my large circle of friends. Besides Rosie, I met painters,
dulcimer makers, fiddler makers, wood carvers, rug hookers, chair caners and a lot of other old time and expert tradespeople.

We all had lots of time off. Besides the many wild roller coasters ( I only went on one that scared me to death), the great places to eat, and the interesting Gospel shows and music, we were free to explore Pigeon Forge, Smokey Mountain National Park, and the surrounding country side and its' people.

Alwine pottery where I met the owner and got a behind the scenes tour,

The strip that runs through Pigeon Forge TN, is a cross between a theme park and Las Vegas. Mini golf, hair raising rides, theme restaurants and exhibits, the Titanic, gift shops, breweries, outlets and the Dixie Stampede.... just among a few of dozens of things to see and do.

We stuck to the out of the way eateries, the Smokies, antique and fellow craftsmen.

Cades Cove in the Smokies was a favorite, but there are too many photos of friends having fun.

It is a wonderful life!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Big E.... Eastern States Exposition 2010

Just another great year. My 6th Year!  Every year I look forward to pretending the year is 1820.  Every day for 17 days, I live in an old house, my friends live within walking distance, we cook over the fireplace, we share our crafts and skills, we eat together, we go out into the "world of the fair" together, old friends stop by.

Its a good time. So this year, I think I will just post photos!

And another fair is over!  The last evening.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Mini Sgraffito ready for the Big E... next week!

Time for the Eastern States Exposition in Springfield MA!  17 days of food, farming and fun!  I have been attending this for... well, many years. When I was small, I looked forward to the Giant Slide, and plan to go down it again this year with my little grand daughter. 

Traditions such as the Giant Slide and the Storrowton Village, among other things during the next 2 1/2 weeks, keep us coming back to the fair year after year, fighting the crowds, getting stuck in traffic, eating too much junk food and smelling animal poop, but boy, it's still fun! I will be at the Storrowton Village Green demonstrating pottery in my old fashioned dress, playing the part of an Early American Tradeswomen! See you there!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Burlington Tavern, Burlington CT

The tiny town of Burlington has a little event every year at the old tavern.  Burlington Tavern Day, second Sunday in September.

Few can drive through Burlington without noticing the Brown-Elton Tavern on the Town Green, painted in the historically documented shade of pink. This beautiful Federal-style house, built by Giles Griswold in 1810, served as private home, public house, and inn during the next 164 years, until the Town of Burlington purchased it in 1974. Now listed on the National Register of Historic Places, it is headquarters for the Burlington Historical Society. Giles Griswold was the son of Jeremiah Griswold, a farmer who settled in Burlington prior to 1770. Griswold is listed on the town assessment for 1806 and 1807 as a merchant.  It is likely that Griswold began construction on his new house (the Tavern) in either 1809 or 1810 with the monies he received from the sale of his store. It is most probable that the TAVERN was substantially completed in 1810. The Grand List for the Town of Burlington reveals that Giles Griswold did not own a house until tax year 1810 when the was taxed a total of $103.75 for a house with a total of nine (9) fireplaces. This house is undoubtedly the TAVERN. The house (Tavern) was definitely standing by June 1810 when he bought a small piece of land adjacent to his dwelling house (the east side yard) from Joseph Lankton. Market value of the new house (Tavern) at this time was about $1150.

And I demonstrated my pottery in front of this lovely pink tavern. (The upstairs front room runs across the whole front of the house and was used as a ball room, as many old taverns in New England had a ball room upstairs, running the expanse of the house).

Saturday, September 11, 2010

September day at the local CT lake...

Some dear friends share some quiet moments at their lake cottage...



looking for spiders

The hostess with Meta
The host giving a fishing lesson

What more can I say?

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Goshen Fair 2010

Goshen Fair 2010... another three days in the "Town above all others"!  What a nice country fair this is.  Good local foods, all the right farm animals and country people having a good time eating, dancing and looking at critters, contests and the every interesting History Barn... where I am demonstrating pottery or eating another fair food.
Here is a friend playing his bag pipes again to the enjoyment of the crowds....

And the annual last night of the fair "Pickle Party". Thanks to Helen, we always have a great time sampling her delicious pickle varieties along with snacks and beer!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Cattaraugus and Erie County Fairs... A month in New York State

This year, I was invited to demonstrate making pottery on my home-made treadle wheel at the Cattaraugus fair in New York State. Cattaraugus is a lovely little fair in Little Valley NY, located in the southwest corner of the state. I camped near the livestock barns and woke every morning to roosters crowing and cattle mooing. The staff was very nice to my group of craft demonstrators. The people in that area of the state were very interested in learning about my craft and sharing with me their interests.

I had a lot of spare time and started to learn how to play the spoons with my friends Deb, Cindy and a local very talented young fellow named Sam.
Roger and Sam in my tent, Roger on the banjo and Sam on the spoons. Deb gave me this lovely old quilt. The quilt has become a conversation piece at my following demonstrations.

Its hard to call demonstrating a job. I spend my days with a great group of craft friends and dress up in costumes. I eat lots of great food, learn about alpaca and roosters and how to show a cow. I meet vendors from all over the USA, like the temporary tattoo couple who turned out to be potters and paint tattoo's on the side! I get to teach people about the history of potters and clay. I learn about different styles of pottery and techniques myself too. And... I make money doing it! 

Friday, July 2, 2010

Torrington's first Downtown Street Fair
Had a great time at Torrington CTs first downtown street fair for this year. Torrington is one of those great old industrial towns with great brick buildings so popular at the turn of the last century. The buildings have fine cornices and decorations, with old shops on the bottom floor and apartments and studios above. But with the influx of box stores and shopping malls, our downtown has gone a little shabby. People complain about the lack of parking and their are too many closed stores. After a battle with folks who want to tear down our lovely center buildings to put up cement box stores and parking lots, the Arts Commission, store and business owners are rallying together to get people to come downtown, meet their neighbors, relax and have some fun.

TheWarner Theater was almost demolished years ago. This art deco buildings' roof leaked, carpets torn and stained and paint was pealing everywhere. Some people thought it would be a new parking lot, but local folks got together and raised money to fix it and now, fully restored, it brings in great entertainment and patrons from near and far. This expanded to other businesses.  We are so glad that this icon was saved. We have a dance studio, theater studio, micro brewery, sidewalk dining and one-of-a-kind shopping that you cannot get at the box stores.

I was there last night with my pottery. I got there early, and their was lots of traffic, the streets had not been closed off yet. I considered going back home with my pots, but soon the police had blocked off the street, people set up tents in the middle of the road and I decided to stay. I am glad I did. Over 500 people showed up to hang out, eat, shop, be entertained by live musicians and meet friends. If you missed it, we will be back every Thursday through July and August 5-9 pm. See you there!

Friday, June 4, 2010

June in Connecticut... Sale on Sunday and I am almost ready!

My temp job at White Flower Farm is over for a few months. Can you imagine me in a cubicle? Answering phones and telling people how to plant daffodils and raspberries, what goes with peonies... tree or herbaceous... why we can't ship that plant to Nevada... tomorrow. Plant people are generally pretty nice and I will miss talking to folks across the USA, Canada and sometimes Europe!  The best thing is the plants. These  Iris I got last fall and they are coming up beautiful. What a joy it is to step out the back door and be greated by these lovely flowers.

These are some Scarlet Runner Beans. My grampa was a florist on my property, and left hundreds of little red clay flower pots up in the barn. I glazed some in bright colors and planted scarlet runner beans. These are one of my favorite plants as all my friends know. They grow 10 feet high, are easy to grow, have bright red pea flowers and then you can eat the long beans in late summer. Or save the pods and dry the beans for some winter chili.
Plants, Bird houses, Flower pots and my usual Yellow Ware with the lovely feathering pattern will be on sale Sunday, June 6 from 9-5.  And don't forget the seconds. Every year on the first Sunday in June, I sell off all the slightly imperfect pots gathered over the past year and sell them at dirt cheep-cheep prices. Get a bowl for $5! Pitchers, mugs... just take it away! Get here early for the best selection.

Happy Summer!