Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Blue Heron and family

To The Great Blue Heron

Teach me to stand alone in cold water, to wait
poised for nourishment to drift my way
Show me how to bend my legs
so I move deliberately, looking neither right nor left
Teach me how to swallow without chewing,
to hold a fish in my gullet until its scales become wings
Show me how to puff down into a secret
so only those who know me can find me
Teach me how to open my wings and fly,
unexpected and perfect, a crone in the sky.

----Joyce Lott

These photos were taken in the Edmonds, Washington marina, June 2010.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Father's Day/Forty Years

My dad, Joseph Bell Rawlings. He was, without a doubt, the best dad ever. (No, I am not biased.) He took me fishing, read me bedtime stories (Justin Morgan Had a Horse was our favorite) and let me walk the golf course with him, not so I could caddy or play along, but so I could chase the bunnies that would come out from the woods along the edges of the fairways in the late afternoon. He made me do chores and save part of my allowance, he praised me with abandon and corrected me gently, punished me in proportion to the level of my bad behavior and loved me profoundly. He had a wicked sense of humor and he was easy on the eyes. I adored him. I still do.

Happy Father's Day, Daddy. I miss you.

Besides being Father's Day it also happens to be the 40th Anniversary of my marriage to DH, pictured above. Good grief, we really were young once....Anyway, that is us, cutting our cake. I am a lucky woman. My DH has stuck with me through it all---dirty diapers, college tuitions, teaching the kids to drive, burned dinners, sometimes no clean underwear or socks, my grumpy mornings (and noon-times and evenings and even, sometimes, while I sleep), some hurtful things said in the heat of anger that I would give anything to be able to take back and lots of good and great times. We raised three children of whom we are exceedingly proud. DH took the business he bought from his father and nurtured it and has run it well, to the benefit of our employees and ourselves and now is passing it on to our son, who will, I know, follow his father's fine example. We built a home and a family and a life. We are NOT done yet! Here's to my DH!

Thanks for 40 years of life, but I will not thank you for all the puns. Those, honey, I could do without.
I love you.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Train has left the Station....

As one of the Board members of the Edmonds Arts Festival always says, "The train has left the station and there be a Festival whether we are ready or not." I say it's the beginning of Hell Week....

For the last two days we have been accepting art that has been juried into our show. It's a boring process, to be honest, as the artists sort of dribble in, one here, three there, and in the interim, you sit and wait. I am not good at sitting and waiting. I get antsy and scattered and grumpy. (This is, most assuredly, not a good thing for a volunteer director, but hey, I'm one half of what they have got for volunteers!) We now have a lull until Wednesday evening when the Preview Party takes place. I have things to do all week, but not so much that involves the public. Starting with the Preview Party, however, it's GO GO GO.

The juried show this year is going to be great. The art that has come in is amazing. If you are in the Edmonds area next weekend, the 18th through the 20th, be sure and come see for yourselves. Besides wonderful art in the juried galleries we have live entertainment, a children's area where the younger ones may make art of their own and have a great time doing so, a wine grotto to soothe your thirst, over 20 different food vendors, and approximately 250 vendors selling their arts and crafts (paintings, photography, jewelry, clothing, foodstuffs, candles, garden art, pottery and on and on and on) on both the main field and the library plaza. Entry into the Festival is FREE!

It is going to be a GREAT Festival.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Ain Nokbi Pottery District, Fes

Fes has beautiful ceramics and pottery. The city is famous for its blue and white pottery designs and I can attest to their beauty. We got to visit one of the potteries in the Ain Nokbi district, where the potteries are now located. As with most arts and crafts, pottery used to be made in the Medina. All the potteries have now been moved to the Ain Nokbi district because of the air pollution caused by the kilns. (They use a combination of wood and olive pits for fuel.) I was told that the potteries in the future may be moved even father out because of the smoke produced by the kilns. It was smokey at the factory, but being a potter, I have to say that the smell of the wood and the baking clay made my heart race a little faster as it took me back to my time in Japan when I was lucky enough to be involved with firing an anagama (a traditional Japanese kiln). Wherever the potteries are located, I would encourage anyone visiting Fes to make a stop to see the lovely items produced there.

Above are some little thrown bowls in raw clay drying. Once they are completely dry they will be decorated with glaze and fired. I was told that Fes, unlike the rest of Morocco, has stoneware clay, which is much sturdier than earthenware clays found in other locales in the country. Stoneware fires to a much higher temperature than earthenware so it resists chipping and hard use.
Each item is decorated by hand. This glaze, which looks purple in its unfired state, will become the lovely blue of traditional Fes pottery once fired.

These little bowls are ready for firing.
I was told that they fire at high temperature for about nine hours, then close the kiln up tightly and let it cool down for three to four days. Because all the oxygen in the kiln is burned off when the kiln is sealed, they are achieving a reduction firing which helps with the durability of the stoneware.

These hand thrown tajines are ready for decorating.

This coffee service will be the Fes blue once it is fired.

This is the blue glaze.

This photo shows individual zellij tiles in the traditional Fes blue. I had no idea that the zellij tiles are chiseled from finished, glazed tiles. Each shape, and there are hundreds, are traced onto the tile and then chiseled out by hand. It is a laborious process and one that requires much skill. And then they put them all together to make the intricate designs that make up traditional zellij tile work.
Here we have a zellij tile shape being chiseled from the glazed tile
The above and below photos show zellij tiles that are being arranged upside down into designs that will be cemented from the backside to form tiled table tops. This way, the table surface will be perfectly flat.

Here is an example of zellij work. (This was on a wall.)