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Friday, March 26, 2010

Finally Home

We finally got in around dinnertime on Thursday evening. We left 14 days earlier, 3900 miles later, we were road weary and ready to be home with our kids and creatures.

Our journey started in Port Matilda PA went to the Lancaster Area of PA, then on to the SCA's Gulf Wars.

Along the way we spent the night in a couple hotels and visited our dear friend Kerry Kennedy who is a potter in Tuscaloosa AL. It was a short visit we saw her studio at the Kentuck Art Center and had dinner at the lovely Ruan Thai Restaurant before continuing our journey and arriving early the next day at the event.

Gulf Wars was a long cold week. Only 1 night of rain, but for the most part the weather was in the low 60's in the daytime and in the mid to high 30's at night. It was a fun event for the most part. we had many friendly faces and very much enjoyed certain aspects of the seeing our friends, eating breakfast at the on site bakery and crawling deeply into the 7 layer bed we made up each night to stay warm. We also had a fun evening in nearby Hattiesburg when we had dinner at the Seasons restaurant and Rowan got to experience fried green tomatoes for the first time! We both had the same meal, Fettucinini Alfredo with fried green tomatoes, but she had the addition of a craw-fish sauce on top of her tomatoes. It was excellent! We also had a talkative server by the name of Johnny who endlessly refilled my iced tea and gave me the story of the demise of my last favorite Hattiesburg restaurant Penninos which was apparently sold to someone who made it a French Cafe and then without warning to his staff closed the place and left the country.

So sad, it was excellent food.

When we left Gulf Wars we packed down in a hurry because we were expecting rain. When you have a canvas tent it is really important to pack it down dry or you can end up with mold and mildew problems which can eventually consume your tent. We made it just in time and a deluge opened up just as we pulled onto the highway.

We were excited for this little excursion because neither of us had ever been to New Orleans, but we were also a little nervous because all of our possessions were tarped and strapped down to the back of our pickup truck and we were towing someone elses trailer containing someone elses stock! We luckily found a hotel with a security guard and a security fence. We had a lovely nights rest and then got up and out to try to find a parking space which is incredibly difficult in New Orleans. After an hour of rolling around and nearly giving me a nervous breakdown, we found a fenced in lot that clearly stated "no over sized vehicles" to which Rowan said I'll bet they'll let us and went to ask the attendant. She was right, we just had to pay for 2 spaces. So we got a secure lot to park our stuff in too and it was completely unmolested while we traipsed through the French Quarter enjoying shops, street music and restaurants.It was a lovely city, with amazing music at every turn. I'm not sure how I would handle it when it was crowded and busy, but on a Sunday in the early afternoon it was wonderful.

After a few hours in New Orleans we pulled out to head to Pensacola to see my Sister and her family in Pensacola as a quick stop on our way to Tampa to drop off Pottery at the Bay Area Renaissance Festival. They have a great house with a bright red roof. Here is a picture of my brother in law and my niece Beth and her youngest daughter. I don't know how to spell the daughters name, so I am not going to try. It was a nice visit if fast and we moved on early the next day to head to Tampa.

I really wanted to spend some time in Tampa and the St Petersburg area, but we were starting to feel the call of home and responsibility and the pressure of 18 hours of driving home so we opted not to hang around and instead started immediately in the direction of home with the plan for one more pleasure stop and one more business stop. The pleasure stop was at Wakulla State Park near Tallahassee. I love this place. I've been there 3 times and will go back as often as I can. It was Rowan's first trip, but I think she enjoyed it nearly as much as I did.

After a couple hours in Wakulla we headed for Atlanta to return the borrowed trailer. We arrived about 10:30 at night and despite a warm welcome and invite to spend the night we pressed on to try to reach into the Carolinas as far as possible so we could shorten the final drive to Lancaster, PA and home.

We made it to South Carolina and stayed in a Day's Inn. It was the best hotel of the whole trip It was a little overpriced for the area but at $75 it was well worth it. It was beautiful and new and had a king sized bed and in the morning the continental breakfast included fresh make them yourself waffles. It was worth the price just for the free breakfast. I figure it saved us $20+ at a Waffle House, and I got a tasty breakfast and didn't have to worry about bad service since Rowan took over as waffle maker and made us a nice breakfast..waffles, fruit, coffee, juice, toast and a piece of fruit for the road.

And now we're home. the truck is unloaded and we have to sort out the mess of camping equipment, bedding and get started producing again. Home sale in May and Etsy all the time. Speaking of which, we received 9 orders while out of town. Thank you all for your patience, we shipped this morning!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

All Done

At least I am all done. I trimmed rice bowls, cereal bowls, cannon mugs and round mugs and got all the handles on the muggy items. Ro likes the detail work so I called her in to do the Oak Leaf and Acorn sprigs and promptly abandoned her. We're going to let these pieces dry for a while then get the kilns started.Then I think we might head out for some dinner and drinks, it's been a long week and having someone else cook and bring me a beer sounds very nice.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Next to last day of wetwork

I spent today making all those last minute pieces I should have made weeks ago but just realized I needed more of. And I finished up the trimming on a bunch of plates. Ro started loading the kiln today, tomorrow we'll finish.
Today's work:some small round mugs which will all get oak leaves and acorns.
In the back some slightly larger ones.
and in the way back some "cannon" mugs. I haven't made these for a while but I started making them back in 2006 when the starting cannon at The Bay Area Renaissance Faire exploded and I got hit with a chunk of it. It knocked me over but fortunately I got hit with the rounded bit, not the sharp bit.

These bowls are slated to get decorated with Oak Leaves and Acorns too. In the background you can see some rice bowls with chopstick rests. I've already cut the notches and turned them over so the bottoms can dry before I trim them.

and here are two sugar jars with notched lids for spoons. I plan on throwing more of these in the morning. By the time I trim and handle and decorate all the rest they'll be ready to trim and handle too.

And here is the massive platter, I've finally uncovered it to let it dry the rest of the way. The guy who ordered it has been waiting for months for was the most challenging project I've done in years. This is the fourth one..I think it'll make it. Believe me when I say it will be well earned income.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Countdown to War

Busy days as always here at Hughes Pottery. I've been building stock for the last month for week long event with the SCA called Gulf Wars. It's held near Lumberton Mississippi. It's usually a fun event, often there is some rain and one year it was really cold and rainy, but mostly it has been mild. This year it looks pretty good via the extended forecast. Rain towards the end of the week, but not bad. I'm really starting to look forward to it but at the same time I am starting to dread the time away. Lots of things happen when we go parties in the house.

I made a pledge at the beginning of the year that I would make stock continuously so that I never had to rush for a show. So far so good, but as usual there are a few things I really want to have done before we leave, but if they don't get done it'll be OK. Stock is looking pretty good, I'm very pleased with what I have made. The one thing that has depleted my stock more than I anticipated is the Hughes Pottery Etsy Shop it has turned into a wonderful sales venue. I am very pleased. It's a really nice venue because it is nationwide and we can showcase each piece so that each piece can be considered in full and under ideal lighting which is not always the case at a show under cloudy skies and a tent. However I am a little upset that we will have to leave it for 10 days. We strive for exceptional customer service including lightening fast shipping. We usually have it at the customer's post office box or doorstep within 3-4 days for a very good shipping rate. Folks will have to wait until we get back for anything they buy while we are away. I think that is a better solution than closing the shop. Of course we'll warn everyone and put a notice up.

So this will be the last weekend of throwing and we'll have everything out by Thursday and ready to go in the truck so we can get on the road Friday morning. Whew.

We just made 6 more of these plates, The initial posting on Facebook garnered 3 inquiries so I guess I'll be throwing more of these too.I'm so pleased people love these because I do too. It's really nice to be able to put the extra time into pieces and have people want them.

Time for bed :) A long day of throwing awaits me tomorrow!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Flotone and new pictures

I know I posted about the backdrop when we first got it, but it keeps making life easier on us.

This backdrop combined with Rowan's photo skills are making a difference. We now have it set up permanently in a corner of the office so pictures can be taken in a moments notice. We prefer mornings so we can get good ambient natural light, but in a pinch we can use lamps.

The backdrop came from I'd recommend them, this shipping was fast and the product wasn't very expensive.

Our next step is a lightbox to reduce the glare when we use lamps.

We're posting these on Etsy over the next couple days.