Monday, April 27, 2009

Busy Week's End

After a busy four days in Washington, DC and a typical Monday at school, I have some time to sit and catch my breath and jot down some thoughts. The NCTM (National Council of Teachers of Mathematics) convention was great - I have already been told I am a nerd to get excited about having been to a math convention. And, I was able to fit in a visit to the Smithsonian Craft Show and to the Torpedo Factory in Old Town Alexandria. I came back pumped up in a number of ways for teaching math and for making pottery, but also tired from the pace and all the walking and driving I did in the last few days.

What I really enjoyed about the Smithsonian Craft Show was the chance to see so many different styles of ceramic works in one place and to be able to talk with the artisans about their work. I especially enjoyed the examples of sgraffito and spent a good deal of time talking with Ron Geering from up near Cape Cod and with Steve Lloyd of Clyde, NC, about their work with slips and design carving. Steve conducted a demonstration at one part of the afternoon, showing how he throws the bottles and other ware that his wife Becky carves. Watching someone else throw pottery was really beneficial in helping me think about how I work at a wheel. There are always people throwing pots at Dan Finch's studio, but I am usually so engrossed in trying to get my glazing completed that I do not take the time to just sit and watch others. There is so much you can learn from just watching! Anyway, the craft show was a very enjoyable time and I came away inspired to try all sorts of new things with my pottery. The Torpedo Factory was, as usual, enjoyable, and probably more so because I took my Mom down with me to see the different art work.
Steve Lloyd demonstrating at the Smithsonian Craft Show

My own pottery was sitting waiting for me when I got home - now bone dry. I knew that I was going to miss my regular Thursday evening because of the convention, so I had worked on a few pieces that I would have ready to take this week for bisque firing in order to keep the routine going. The three main pieces - a bowl and two different vases or urns - are more examples of my attempts to try and produce larger ware. One of my sons just came back from spending a year and a half in Osaka, Japan, teaching English, and he has been tutoring me on what a typical Japanese place setting would look like and what I should make for different types of Asian meals. Besides the normal rice bowls and tea bowls, he was explaining what a bowl looks like that is used primarily for curry dishes. He was explaining this as he cooked us a delicious dinner of curry chicken. I would have included a picture, but we ate most of it!

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