Comforts of home and hometown

April came in fast: surgery for Chance on the first, and then constant mostly effective efforts to keep him quiet for a week, which had to include The Cone.  I attended training class without him, and it was very good for me to have time to observe the other pups working.

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I resolved all but one last exhibition, cleared out my office (used as literal cold storage during what has been officially proclaimed the coldest winter that has ever been recorded in Chicago), got taxes ready, packed and loaded up work for the Morganite show, and had a sweet, fast trip to Cleveland, where my only regret was that I didn’t get to see Aimee’s solo show (and also check out its location).

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It was a Morganite convergence weekend. Time there Saturday was short but rich: dropping the work, hanging a wee bit with Julie, Tom, Bruce, Mason as they all worked away, and seeing the working beater room, all the stuff happening with the Asian Paper Center, the latest fantastic donation of a superb collection of binding tools, a Kensol, brass type and a very sweet smaller working Washington hand press, and to take in the fallow garden, the winter-aged ears (I’ll write more about those soon). That evening there were twelve for a lovely dinner cooked by Mike and salad by Julie (massaged by Mason).  The Morgan is one place where I can always enjoy that sort of gathering: time to have side talks with everyone I want to see, and it absolutely doesn’t matter how much I do or don’t hear at the table: what I do hear is great, and when I don’t, I’m just plain pleased to be watching so many people I like so much relaxed and enjoying each other, and feeling the warmth that provides (even when everyone is a bit tired, including me).

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The Morgan garden, waiting. I didn’t take many photos there and none during the party. At the Morgan, I’m often too busy talking and/or using my eyes to listen. With the Smiths, silences and images are a natural, easy part of the whole.

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Two good portraits happened; Smith writing above, Lady at the Market below.

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The rest of the time: my other warm hometown place to be, the gentle, sharp-witted, easygoing poetic energy of the Smiths and Mandikat. There, there are long, long friendships still unfolding, and this time the addition of Joanne and briefly, Wendy; and vicariously sharing in Lady’s full ongoing gathering of and intimacy with her environment and community energy. I so much like this chapter of the Smithstory: something long-deserved.  Saturday morning, a trip to the lifelong constant of the West Side Market.  Smith and I returned Sunday for a hometown farewell, viewing a mural of community by long ago colleague, cartoonist Gary Dumm, in excellent collaboration with spouse Laura Dumm.

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In the middle of the drive between (western Ohio, eastern Indiana) there were still big crusty patches of dwindling icy snow on the northern sides of the freeway ditches.

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At home, by Sunday, the cone was too full of duct tape repairs to be of any more use. The hind-leg bandage is frayed but still intact and will come off at the vet’s tomorrow, when Chance should be cleared to go for walks again and back to class in the evening. Today we began regular training again outdoors, Lupe had a long grand walk, and I planned my early garden work and pup-proofing for later this week. Spring.

And in the meantime, this show opened in Arizona, this class has only one space left, and this (larger) one has four spaces, and I am going to stick around after that for a gift to myself, and take this. Yes!

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(Oh, I also bought and installed a new kitchen gate.)

R & R

This is on one of my regular Penland walks…I call it the Lazarus door.

A three day weekend was absolutely what I needed.  I re-did the class demo schedule and left Saturday just before lunch.  It began raining just as I got to Mary’s. The house key was easy to locate; I hit the grocery and finished off a pile of nagging non-Penland office-type work during a thunderstorm, did laundry, played with cats, made my own dinner, watched a captioned dvd, did not set the alarm when I went to bed.

On Sunday… I…did…nothing. Read a novel out on the deck in warm sun accompanied by a perfect mild blossom-scented breeze, occasionally stopped and wandered Mary’s impressive, varied gardens, went for an early evening walk up the hill and back down, and was blissfully deaf. Ahhhh.

Mary came home later that evening from her mushroom-hunting foray with 150 morels! We shared some wine. Monday, we went to Asheville in her truck, picked up 300 pounds of sand, visited a few places including Asheville Book Works (very nice!) and ate a delicious Himalayan buffet lunch.  Back to Black Mountain for a few more stops here & there, a walk and some gelato…it was hot. My car said it was 86 degrees outside, but as I climbed back up to Penland, it slowly dropped to 79. I was so ‘busy relaxing’ all weekend that I didn’t take any photos, but spring is more advanced further down, and for this northerner, the most spectacular sight of all was wisteria running wild in full bloom. Today, it’s rainy and cool but finally not cold, and the class went well, and friend Eileen is here for a week-long class.

My favourite place in Spruce Pine:

Crunch & Stew

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Dang.  The spring break week is almost up, and I am now into full swing in the studio and do NOT want to stop.  Monday, bright and early, brings critique week, which now means four days, 10 hours each in crit, with a dinner break in there somewhere; they’ll be 13 to 14 hour days with my commute. It’ll be beyond grueling. My opinions about the reasons behind this are strong and I’d have to say, um, uncharitable, so I’ll withhold them.

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I finished up the juror stuff, wrote my statement, filled out paperwork, wrote things for upcoming events, took care of tons of daily work e-mail (even though it’s break), finished a making a gift, partied with a group of friends for two of our number who are emigrating to New Zealand, sketched and entirely changed my plans for the new piece, prepared the fiber, made the sheets, cooked the kozo, figured out and built the new mold, then stopped today and spent four hours at the alumni show/ Southern Graphics conference (seven hours round trip), missed hooking up with several people I’d planned to meet there but ran into a great many more, and just got home at 10 pm to eat, make walnut dye and blog while the dye simmers.

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The things I need to do in the next few weeks are legion; they include packing up and shipping off work for two shows, and tons of stuff I didn’t get to, including taxes.  Sheesh.

But all day tomorrow is an absolutely inviolable studio day, though, so even though the writing sounds panicked, I’m actually not: I have that, and only…seven…more…weeks.

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