Sunday, June 20, 2010

Remembering Dad

When I was about 5 or 6, I used to brag that my Dad was soooo strong that he could bend metal with his bare hands ! He seemed like superman to me.
Now that I have been a parent for many years, his cape hasn't faded that much. It's tough being a parent. Yet he parented well, with wisdom, generosity and humor. All the while running a large sheet metal business, employing many people and being an active member in the community. He was well respected in the business community and held those old fashioned values like hard work, honesty and integrity.
We love and miss you a lot, Dad.

Only A Dad 
By Edgar Guest

Only a dad with a tired face,
Coming home from the daily race,
Bringing little of gold or fame
To show how well he has played the game;
But glad in his heart that his own rejoice
To see him come and to hear his voice.

Only a dad with a brood of four,
One of ten million men or more
Plodding along in the daily strife,
Bearing the whips and the scorns of life,
With never a whimper of pain or hate,
For the sake of those who at home await.

Only a dad, neither rich nor proud,
Merely one of the surging crowd,
Toiling, striving from day to day,
Facing whatever may come his way,
Silent whenever the harsh condemn,
And bearing it all for the love of them.

Only a dad but he gives his all,
To smooth the way for his children small,
Doing with courage stern and grim
The deeds that his father did for him.
This is the line that for him I pen:
Only a dad, but the best of men. 


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Arts Without Borders

This past Saturday my daughter and I went to the big city (little chuckle here) but it is Canada's only border city so it does have that claim to fame. An organization called Arts Without Borders were putting on a Summer Street Fair. We really enjoyed it, lots going on and the weather was unusually bright and sunny - haven't had much of that this spring. The areas local artists displayed their work in several locations and vendors with greenhouse selections, jewelry, quilts, handmade fabrics from Pakistan... even puppies and kittens from the SPCA were in attendance on the streets and parking lots in the closed off section of downtown. Buskers on street corners, cotton candy, corn dogs, popcorn, really cool restored vintage cars on display. A large stage was set up in another parking lot with lots of tables for relaxing and enjoying a wide variety of entertainment. It was fun - a good afternoon. Oh yeah, and my daughter got a henna tattoo, isn't it great ?  I'd love to see what this lady could do with a slip trailer and some greenware.( photo credit to Caela)

Friday, June 11, 2010

finally... an afternoon in the studio

Yesterday was wet and rainy so there wasn't much we could do in the fields. I don't think seeding will progress from here. We still have several hundred acres that will probably be left fallow due to the amount of moisture and lateness of the season.

On a positive note though, I had some time in the studio yesterday afternoon. Feeling quite rusty but I did make these bowls. They are of medium size, around 2 1/2 to 3 lbs in weight.

Here are a couple of low shallow bowls from the last glaze firing that are kinda growing on me. I think the one with the green frame has a lot more punch to it.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

John Leach, then and now.

I've been meaning to post these pictures for a while now...

Back in March, my friend Lillian and her husband Lyle were in England and stopped in to visit John Leach at his pottery. They sent me these pictures:

Standing by the kiln which had just finished firing. Left to right: Himself, Lillian, Lyle's' English cousin 
( sorry I can't remember her name ) Mark Melborne and Nick Rees. Too bad Lillian couldn't have come back for the opening ! Lillian says she "picked me up a little something" So, once we get the spring work out of the way I'll have to go for a visit and collect my treasure ! ( can't wait !!!!)

John and his wife,  I think her name is Lizzie,in the gallery at the pottery -  please let me know if I've got that wrong.

Years ago, I think it was the fall of 1996, I had the pleasure of attending one of John's workshops in Edmonton. After seeing Lillian's pictures I dragged out my photobooks and here are a few pictures from waaay back:

The man is aging well - don't you think ?

Pulling a spout. 
I wonder if he ever takes the hat off ? Would we recognize him if he did ?

Karate chopping a handle lug to get just the right angle. The handle will go on a baker. 

Cleaning up the inside of a squared baker.

Putting the handle on one of his signature saddle jugs

Work in progress

Sorry the 1996 pictures aren't that great but, it was before the days of digital cameras and, I'm not that great with the scanner and all things technical.... I consider it quite amazing that I've managed to get them onto the blog.

So, impressions from a workshop I took 14 years ago:
John spoke a running commentary while he worked : very intimate about his growing up in the Leach pottery tradition funny stories and life lessons learned beside his father and grandfather. Things that are important to him such as preservation of the land and wildlife, how form must function. How being a potter is a lifestyle choice that permeates everything you do and how you move about in this world. His hands never really seemed to touch the clay - they hovered above it and magical things just seemed to happen in their vacinity !


Thursday afternoon we received a record amount of rain. In 2 hours there was 3.5 inches. Needless to say, the already soaked ground was not able to absorb any more. 
This first picture is taken looking toward the road at the south end of our yard.

Make a 180 degree turn to the west and you see this:

Now you are looking to the south along the line of grain bins:

East side of bins:

My sons 16 inch tall boots.

We didn't take any pictures out in the fields but there is water running everywhere, washouts and more damage. It'll be real difficult to get on the fields to finish an already late sowing season. 
Jeeze, what next !

p.s. - photo credit to my daughter, Caela.