Category Archives: inspirations
I got a job! And then I got another job! And then I got ANOTHER job!
Yep! I am am busy girl these days. I am still working with Rob the Potter. I threw my first two pound pitcher and a oil burning lantern. I took a bunch of pottery with me to Los Angeles and sold almost every piece! I have also started an Etsy store for Rob and have been working on my own Etsy store as well. My site is still in progress, but please check out Smoke in the Mountains Pottery. I shot all the photography and wrote all the descriptions and am quite proud of it. It’s been one month since our launch and we have already sold 8 pieces, which I consider to be a great success.
About three months ago, I was hired by Blue Moon Elise (BMe), a wonderful store right in the heart of downtown Murphy. BMe is a a soap/bodycare store, yoga studio, soap factory, and massage studio all in one. The company was started over a decade ago by Rachel Sylvester, a passionate and fiercely motivated gal with a dream and vision; she is such an inspiration to me as a yoga teacher and a business owner. I am learning a ton about essential oils and natural bodycare. I go home reeking like lavender and patchouli everyday. It’s the kind of place that sells Dr. Bronners and ear candles, but it’s still boutiquey and lux and on the main street. In addition to all the BMe products, the shop sells other natural body care lines and lots of cool jewelry, crafts, food, clothes, cleaning supplies, and yoga gear. I have really amped up my yoga practice too; I am taking 4 classes a week. Another perk – I can ride my bike there!
About two weeks ago, a started working part time in the Folk School Marketing Dept. The job is just temporary for now, but I love it so far. I am doing graphic design, web updates, and blogging on the Folk School site. The marketing department is in Tower House down by the blacksmith shop. Tower house was built in 1933.
It is surrounded by rolling fields and the occasional cow strolls on by. It is rural, majestic and pastoral – the complete opposite of the grey congested smoggy concrete land of Commerce where I used to work. Sometimes when I walk around the Folk School grounds it is so beautiful I just want to cry. Coming to North Carolina was one of the best things I have ever done for myself.
So the question on everyone’s mind is… are you staying out there? Well, my answer is that yes, I am staying here for now. I will be here through the summer and then I am going to reassess where I am at. I am horrible at permanence. I have a hard time committing out loud. I feel pretty committed to being here right now, and that’s all I have to say about that.
I do feel like the world has lots of adventures out there in store for me. One of the nice things about living out here and working various part time jobs is the flexibility of time to travel. Speaking of that, I booked a trip to Ireland in July! I am going for two weeks to meet up with my parents and Aunt Ann to go to the McAuliffe Clan Rally in New Market. My father’s mother’s maiden name is McAuliffe and that’s how I am connected to the McAuliffe linage. I am so excited to return to Ireland after 13 years.
Yep, life is pretty good right now!
When I took 3D art in college, it was NOT a pleasant experience. As Studio Art undergrads at UCSB circa 2000, we had to take 3 foundation classes: 2D, 3D, and 4D. “2D” included all things flat, like drawing, painting, photography, and printmaking. 2D art is my forte. “4D” was the fun performance/conceptual time-based/video art class where we could run wild and turn any craziness into art. I was enough of a weirdo to love and rock 4D. “3D” was my dreaded foundation class. I remember staring at the lump of clay in front of me and thinking, “you want me to make art out of this?” I was just not into it and drug myself through the quarter. I really embraced the idea of “found object” to get me through!
Who would have guessed that over 10 years later, I would find myself in an apprenticeship position with North Carolina potter, Rob Withrow, of Smoke in the Mountains Pottery? You may remember an earlier post I wrote about face mugs and Rob; this is how my interest in clay began. I love Rob’s style and work; it is so beautiful and functional at the same time. Looking at clay from a folk art perspective as opposed to a fine art perspective is incredibly different.
Rob makes face jugs, which are a signature product of many north Georgia and western North Carolina potters. Rob is known for his really tall face jugs, some measuring out at over 6 feet! Rob makes everything from beautiful bowls, to steins, to goblets, to plates, to mugs, to life-sized piggy banks (plus anything else you can make out of clay I surmise). I fell in love with his big bowls at the folk school dining hall; they are used to serve soup to eight people. Like so many other crafts I learned at the JCCFS, I love the idea that I could make my own plate set, or lasagna dish, or incense holder.
So here I go, ready to delve into the world of clay. Instead of the clay feeling like a burden or a chore, I feel like the possibilities are endless! Thanks to Rob and Julie for inspiring me! I can’t wait to get started…
Visit Rob’s website: www.smokeinthemountainspottery.com
THE VILLAGE IN THE MORNING [Merritt/Robert Scott]
by the magnetic fields
Outside the rain is coming down Inside it’s warm and dry
You’ll never find a cab uptown so why not stay the night?
Why don’t you call in sick tomorrow let’s sleep the day away
I’ve got pyjamas you can borrow let’s take a holiday.
You can’t leave the village in the morning
when the radio writes poetry for avenue pi
You get tangled in the wheels of old queen river
and you can’t find the breath to whisper goodbye
Why don’t you stay until the weekend It should clear up by then
As your resolve begins to weaken we’ll become such good friends
And you could stay until the summer and we can sleep through spring
And I can telephone my drummer and have her get your things.
Why don’t you stay until we’re old and fall in love with life
Why don’t you stay until we’re ghosts We’ll only seem to die.
I don’t read as much as I used to and that needs to change. I fell into the habit for reading pretty heavy political and cultural studies books and I think I lost the joy of reading. This summer I’ve been reading bestsellers and I have decided to read all the book on the Newbery Medal list. I am going to highlight in red the ones I’ve read and even if I read the books long ago, they don’t get to be red until the re-read. I’ve reignited my love affair with the public library. xo c
Newbery Medal Winners, 1922 – Present
2010: When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead (Wendy Lamb Books, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books)
2009: The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, illus. by Dave McKean (HarperCollins)
2008: Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices from a Medieval Village by Laura Amy Schlitz (Candlewick)
2007: The Higher Power of Lucky by Susan Patron, illus. by Matt Phelan (Simon & Schuster/Richard Jackson)
2006: Criss Cross by Lynne Rae Perkins (Greenwillow Books/HarperCollins)
2005: Kira-Kira by Cynthia Kadohata (Atheneum Books for Young Readers/Simon & Schuster)
2004: The Tale of Despereaux: Being the Story of a Mouse, a Princess, Some Soup, and a Spool of Thread by Kate DiCamillo (Candlewick Press)
2003: Crispin: The Cross of Lead by Avi (Hyperion Books for Children)
2002: A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park(Clarion Books/Houghton Mifflin)
2001: A Year Down Yonder by Richard Peck (Dial)
2000: Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis (Delacorte)
1999: Holes by Louis Sachar (Frances Foster)
1998: Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse (Scholastic)
1997: The View from Saturday by E.L. Konigsburg (Jean Karl/Atheneum)
1996: The Midwife’s Apprentice by Karen Cushman (Clarion)
1995: Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech (HarperCollins)
1994: The Giver by Lois Lowry(Houghton)
1993: Missing May by Cynthia Rylant (Jackson/Orchard)
1992: Shiloh by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor (Atheneum)
1991: Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli (Little, Brown)
1990: Number the Stars by Lois Lowry (Houghton)
1989: Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices by Paul Fleischman (Harper)
1988: Lincoln: A Photobiography by Russell Freedman (Clarion)
1987: The Whipping Boy by Sid Fleischman (Greenwillow)
1986: Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan (Harper)
1985: The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley (Greenwillow)
1984: Dear Mr. Henshaw by Beverly Cleary (Morrow)
1983: Dicey’s Song by Cynthia Voigt (Atheneum)
1982: A Visit to William Blake’s Inn: Poems for Innocent and Experienced Travelers by Nancy Willard (Harcourt)
1981: Jacob Have I Loved by Katherine Paterson (Crowell)
1980: A Gathering of Days: A New England Girl’s Journal, 1830-1832 by Joan W. Blos (Scribner)
1979: The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin (Dutton)
1978: Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson (Crowell)
1977: Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor (Dial)
1976: The Grey King by Susan Cooper (McElderry/Atheneum)
1975: M. C. Higgins, the Great by Virginia Hamilton (Macmillan)
1974: The Slave Dancer by Paula Fox (Bradbury)
1973: Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George (Harper)
1972: Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O’Brien (Atheneum)
1971: Summer of the Swans by Betsy Byars (Viking)
1970: Sounder by William H. Armstrong (Harper)
1969: The High King by Lloyd Alexander (Holt)
1968: From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg (Atheneum)
1967: Up a Road Slowly by Irene Hunt (Follett)
1966: I, Juan de Pareja by Elizabeth Borton de Trevino (Farrar)
1965: Shadow of a Bull by Maia Wojciechowska (Atheneum)
1964: It’s Like This, Cat by Emily Neville (Harper)
1963: A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle (Farrar)
1962: The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare (Houghton)
1961: Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell (Houghton)
1960: Onion John by Joseph Krumgold (Crowell)
1959: The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare (Houghton)
1958: Rifles for Watie by Harold Keith (Crowell)
1957: Miracles on Maple Hill by Virginia Sorensen (Harcourt)
1956: Carry On, Mr. Bowditch by Jean Lee Latham (Houghton)
1955: The Wheel on the School by Meindert DeJong (Harper)
1954: …And Now Miguel by Joseph Krumgold (Crowell)
1953: Secret of the Andes by Ann Nolan Clark (Viking)
1952: Ginger Pye by Eleanor Estes (Harcourt)
1951: Amos Fortune, Free Man by Elizabeth Yates (Dutton)
1950: The Door in the Wall by Marguerite de Angeli (Doubleday)
1949: King of the Wind by Marguerite Henry (Rand McNally)
1948: The Twenty-One Balloons by William Pène du Bois (Viking)
1947: Miss Hickory by Carolyn Sherwin Bailey (Viking)
1946: Strawberry Girl by Lois Lenski (Lippincott)
1945: Rabbit Hill by Robert Lawson (Viking)
1944: Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes (Houghton)
1943: Adam of the Road by Elizabeth Janet Gray (Viking)
1942: The Matchlock Gun by Walter Edmonds (Dodd)
1941: Call It Courage by Armstrong Sperry (Macmillan)
1940: Daniel Boone by James Daugherty (Viking)
1939: Thimble Summer by Elizabeth Enright (Rinehart)
1938: The White Stag by Kate Seredy (Viking)
1937: Roller Skates by Ruth Sawyer (Viking)
1936: Caddie Woodlawn by Carol Ryrie Brink (Macmillan)
1935: Dobry by Monica Shannon (Viking)
1934: Invincible Louisa: The Story of the Author of Little Women by Cornelia Meigs (Little, Brown)
1933: Young Fu of the Upper Yangtze by Elizabeth Lewis (Winston)
1932: Waterless Mountain by Laura Adams Armer (Longmans)
1931: The Cat Who Went to Heaven by Elizabeth Coatsworth (Macmillan)
1930: Hitty, Her First Hundred Years by Rachel Field (Macmillan)
1929: The Trumpeter of Krakow by Eric P. Kelly (Macmillan)
1928: Gay Neck, the Story of a Pigeon by Dhan Gopal Mukerji (Dutton)
1927: Smoky, the Cowhorse by Will James (Scribner)
1926: Shen of the Sea by Arthur Bowie Chrisman (Dutton)
1925: Tales from Silver Lands by Charles Finger (Doubleday)
1924: The Dark Frigate by Charles Hawes (Little, Brown)
1923: The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle by Hugh Lofting (Stokes)
1922: The Story of Mankind by Hendrik Willem van Loon (Liveright)
I love square dancing. A lot.
I have been thinking about why I like it so much, hence this long blog about it, which you may or my not be interested in reading, but I mostly just wanted to say thank you, so much so being part of this community and help to get the squarevolution established in Los Angeles, a city where it is challenging to be connected to people on a basic face-to-face essential way. I totally love you and I hope to see you at the dance tomorrow.
these are some thoughts I’ve had lately about dancing…
I talk to people all the time about how square dancing is so revolutionary, and how Los Angeles desperately needs more social events that involve participation and interaction. Hesitant curiosity and the rehashing of junior high memories are the most common responses to my case, but once folks make it to a dance, they are converted. When I design flyers for the dances we throw, I use tag lines you might see on a QVC infomercial like: “Feel great! Lose weight! Find true love! Cure depression! Make friends!” In this case, the taglines are absolutely true. Dance connects people in a simple, yet essential way. The dances we create in our community fit into a larger movement focusing on sustainability and process. They are also an expression of joy and happiness, creating balance within the larger whole.
I was thinking the other day about going to see live bands, especially in LA, and how typically no one dances. Everyone just stands in a crowd perfectly still, staring. It has always driven me CRAZY!!! And I know it drives many bands crazy too. Bands love it when folks dance to their music.
eXample: I went to go see DeVotchka in the fall at the El Rey and was so disappointed that not one person felt inclined to dance; what’s the point of having a dance floor and stand if you aren’t gonna move around? – you might as well be sitting. This happens in countless genres in all sorts of venues. Even when bands ask the crowd to dance, sometimes they don’t.
For the most part, I think people are just shy, which can come off as “too cool for school.” Lots of times my friends and I are the first people to start dancing at a show, and before you know it many other people muster up the courage to join in. It’s taking that first plunge, the “I might look really stupid doing this and yes I might annoy people around me” plunge. Once someone breaks that barrier other people feel inclined to dance too.
Well with square dancing, you are the oddball out if you are not dancing! And the caller is there telling you it’s okay to dance, total encouragement. I think the only bad thing about calling is that I can’t dance. I love to see more folks dancing in a less formal way at live shows. Los Angeles needs more callers, are you interested in learning?
I like this quote by caller Dudley Laufman about how traditions can be flexible:
“My feeling is that as far as tradition is concerned let’s just do it and not waste a lot of time talking about it. You know we celebrate Christmas but we don’t waste a lot of time talking about the traditions involved, we just do them. We know we’re going to eat turkey, decorate the tree, open our presents, and other things. Well, it’s just the same with the dancing. We know one way or another we’re going to dance on Saturday night and that is tradition.” [Nevell, Richard. A Time To Dance 1977 p.112]
yep. let’s just do it and not spend a lot of time wondering how to do it or if we are even doing it right.
It reminds me of something that Vaginal Davis said about Bricktops and running a 20s/old-timey club. She said that people who take inspiration from the old time fashion, music, culture, etc. and make it their own are far more interesting than people who exactly copy the style and reenact stereotypes of days gone by. Museum pieces, she calls them. I couldn’t agree more and I know that’s why I haven’t found a good old timey club since Bricktops.
Most of the new clubs in Los Angeles are focused on form and etiquette, acting and reenactment, emulating a sort of fake persona of what they think went on in the past. It’s stale simulacra! I am just not cut from the same cloth as these folks. I do believe that history and tradition deserve respect and investigation, but it is far better to take this knowledge and apply it to the present instead of living in the past. DIY punk rock all the way! For the first time since Bricktops; I feel that way about the old time square dance scene. It’s all smiles all around; anyone can join the fun…
And I could go on and on, but I am going to leave you with this quote from a rad book about the history of American folk dancing that I highly recommend, A Time to Dance…
“We live in a furiously growing and frantically active country…. Almost, we have gasoline motors for hearts, and wheels for legs. We have become hardened to killing, both of man and beast; to destruction, both in war and in peace…. Always, we are looking for what is tangible, commercially usable, profitable, and immediate. We level the mountain and dam the river to serve our ‘needs.’ The arts of which we speak (music and dance) are not invulnerable. They too can be exploited…leveled down to the earth and replaced by something less lovely and meaningful. Inspired leadership will bring them back, only to be levelled again. The American folk dance has been going through a mechanistic period during the past few years, but leadership is bringing back to grace, slowly, almost slyly.”
From the Lloyd Shaw Foundation
(Nevell, Richard. A Time To Dance 1977 p. 210)
I finally figured out how to embed video into my blog… watch out this St. Patty’s Day may be a cavalcade of video updates. I’m overdue for some blog updating anyway, so you can bear with it!
Check out this fantastic video I shot of Fishtank Ensemble at Bordello for last month’s Malabomba:
Here is a video of Triple Chicken Foot with Ruth Alpert at the Old Timey Winter night that I curated back in December. The next HM157 squaredance is on April 17th 2010 – so mark your calendars for that
And this in a grand clip from 1928 of The Ingenues playing a tune on the banjo.So charming and cute! Thanks to Auriana for finding this gem.
I need to pick up my banjo more often! shame on me.
“Compassion is the ultimate attitude of wealth: an anti-poverty attitude, a war on want. It contains all sorts of heroic, juicy, positive, visionary, expansive qualities. And it implies larger scale thinking, a freer and more expansive way of relating to oneself and the world. It is the attitude that one has been born fundamentally rich rather than that one must become rich.”
- Chogyam Trungpa