Say it aint so Jim! The end is near. I am now entering Week 6 here inside the Chautauqua Institution. I have survived past the midway point and am now entering what looks to be like the homestretch. There are 2 more weeks of classes left and my 5 resident students will have a pretty aggressive critique with a group of faculty in front of all their peers. They only have next week to get their work finished and to be prepared for the onslaught. It looks like I will be firing my ass off for them as well as for our classes. Speaking of our classes, we have new incoming faculty that will stay with us for the last 2 weeks...Justin Lambert and Neil Forrest. I'm looking forward to both of these guys...I met Justin last year here and also got to hear his wood firing talk at NCECA in the Spring. I know there will be some serious grilling and quite possibly a few cold ones consumed during his visit. I have never met Neil but I have seen his work in the ceramic mags here and there and I am very excited to meet and work with him.
This weekend we say goodbye to our buddy and morale booster Jim McDowell and also to Jim Connell and his lovely wife Paula Smith. I thought Paula did a great job teaching hand building for the week. I often think we should offer specific classes and hand building should be one. This is a great place for 97% of the folks who come to take the clay classes should start. They can learn how to properly join clay and learn a more sensitive touch, these skills can then be carried over to throwing. Often students in the week long throwing class are frustrated...lets be honest here, its hard to learn how to throw on the wheel and expect a glazed little something in that amount of time. Anyways, we also had a great time with Frank and Polly Martin for the first few weeks. They are always easy going and wonderful folks to work with... Polly hung out for 4 weeks and Frank took off to teach a couple weeks worth of workshops at Anderson Ranch. While Frank was gone Christian Kuharik filled in...he was great and we all enjoyed working together.
As this summer season begins to wane, I am finishing up the surface work on a group of fudge brown stoneware pots and wall pieces, loading and firing the salt kiln this week as well as breaking out some gold luster for the final firings. Oh yeah, and I am firing a cone 10 reduction in the Blaauw kiln as I type this out...sometimes I really like that kiln. I am also looking forward to getting back home...back to my own space. I am missing my garden and dinners on my back deck. I am also ready to get back into making working for the wood kiln...can ya' hear me Nancy!