Millennia Antica 



The Gift

On February 8,  I received this email message:

Aloha, Amma Vicki!

Your new works are an inspiration. They inspire me to make bold. We frequently serve a simple green tea to special visitors here in the press building, as you know from experience. But we have nothing decent for the gesture. What if we had a simple tea pot and four or five cups from your hand? I would feel so proud to bring them out. And they would carry your amazing gifts of design and finish. Something tropical? Or Asian? Or fusion? Am I too bold?

Om shanti, Palaniswami

By way of explanation, my youngest son is a Hindu monk living on a monastery on the island of Kauai for the past 11 years.  Paramacharya Palaniswami is my direct contact there.  He is one of the most twinkly people I know.

I accepted this request and have thus far begun 4 teapots.  My hope is that when they are all completed, I can choose the best teapot and bring it with me when I travel there on March 3.  I am working fast and I hope I am working smart.

You may wonder at the title of this post.  This is a gift for me as well as my gift to the monks.  There are times when the skill and love I put into what I do are just a titch (technical term) more precious than other times.  This is one of those times and I am grateful.

I began with the parts of 2 teapots and 2 sample teacups. 

Trial #1 cup, teapot body, and three lids

   Trial #2  cup, teapot body, and three lids

I then continued with 2 more teapots. Teapots 2, 3 & 4 will have woven reed and willow handles.  Teapot 1 will have a thrown clay handle.

Teapots 3 and 4 with spouts and handle lugs

To be continued….



Friday Cat Picture: The Kiln Sitter

The Kiln-Sitting Cat (click for larger image) This fellow watches over the gas kiln at the Moshier Community Art Center in Burien, Washington, where Vicki is an instructor, part of the “firing squad,” and also a resident potter. 

While it is not Friday, the photograph was taken on Friday, January 30, on the occasion of the Empty Bowls event there.  The folks there tease me over the number of photographs that I take and that none get to see.  So here’s one as a promise of more to come.

This is cross-posted from Orcmid’s Lair because it is appropriate to a theme there.  It was also my inspiration to post this photograph, as an earnest for more to come.



Oh, Pardon My Dust: Repainting the Office Door

There are still a number of steps needed to clean up this blog template and have it stitched into Millennia Antica the way we want. 

Meanwhile, I finally noticed that I called it The Kiln Sitter’s Digest when I first created this blog for Vicki.  It is not a digest at all, but a diary.  So this post inaugurates the correction to the name.  Not a big deal, but something to account for. 

There are other irregularities around using tags and categories, but we’ll smooth that out with experience.   The template is also not polished yet, with placeholders that need to be rearranged.

The biggest missing is regular appearance of photographs.  Watch for that to change as we move into Spring 2009.




Wayyyy more Empty Bowls!

We did it!  Yes we did.  It’s 10:26 pm on Friday, January 30.  I am bowled (excuse the pun) over by the grace and generosity of the 800 (yup!) people who showed up at this event today – 20-40 minutes waiting in line during the lunch seating and not one complaint!  328 people and $4000 for the food bank.

The dinner seating began at 4pm.  By 8pm 462 more people had come through the door, chosen their bowls, eaten their scrumptious soup and made their donations.

Ginny O’Flynn played the harp during the dinner seating, Janet Crawley threw bowls on the wheel during the lunch seating and I threw bowls on the wheel during the dinner seating.  There was at least one set of parents who were amazed that their 7 and 9-year old sons were motionless and quiet for an extended period of time while they zoned in on the spinning potter’s wheel.

We proudly and excitedly presented the Highline Food Bank with over $10,000!  Last year, the representatives of the food bank were in tears over the $4100 we took in.  This year, it’s me – I am so moved and the tears are mine.

It was a very long day; a day filled with organizing, talking, eating, serving, cleaning, making bowls, seeing old friends and making new ones.

Thank you, thank you, everyone!  Thank you to Gina, Jim, Janet, Esther, Rick, Susan, Missy, Barbara, Judy, JoAnne, Kris, Dana, John, Rochelle, Alisa, Alyce, Fred, Hilva, Maurice, Debra, Rose, Alex, Aislinn, Kendel, Gael, LaVonne, John, Linda, Nancy, George, Dianne, Denise, Kathy, Mary, Gayle, Joan, Victoria and at least a dozen others.  We are all blessed.



Empty Bowls….

This will be year 4 of the Moshier Art Center Annual Empty Bowls fundraising dinner/event.  With a lot of assistance from Moshier potters and a few folks outside Moshier, we have managed to produce over 1100 bowls.  I am amazed.

This event is organized in concert with the Highline Food Bank and every dollar taken in goes directly to the food bank.  The minimum donation is $10.00.

Last year, we figured that the 550 bowls we produced would be sufficient.  662 people showed up.  We ran out of bowls and we ran out of soup!  Some folks gave their bowls back so that others would have something from which to choose.

This year (well, beginning in February 2008) we knew we’d need to have many more bowls and began to question whether or not we’d be able to hold the event at the art center.  Our fearless leader declared that we’d have 1000 bowls for the 2009 event.  Some of us chuckled, and some of us got busy.

So, this year it was decided to have a lunch seating in addition to the dinner seating.  Perhaps this would work to avoid some of the crowding (and folks standing around eating soup).

We are now set up with 75 gallons of soup donated by local restaurants, over 1000 freshly baked rolls, over 1000 freshly baked cookies, coffee donated by Cafe Vita, and other drinks.

Last year volunteers from the Highline Food Bank were in tears over the $4100 they were to receive as a result of the amazing generosity of the Burien community and the surrounding areas. 

This is all happening tomorrow (January 30) and I cannot wait to listen to the conversations, and find out the results.  Welcome to human being!



“We are makers of things..”

Yes, I’ve spent most of the day watching this day’s events on CNN.  I cried some.  No, I cried a lot – from joy and from relief.  We all watched and listened to this extraordinary man detail out for us what needs to happen in the days and years ahead, and WE are not only invited, but challenged to participate at a level unheard of in recent times.

In his inaugural address, President Obama talked about who we are as citizens.  Here is an excerpt from the inaugural speech:

“In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of shortcuts or settling for less. It has not been the path for the fainthearted -- for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame. Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things -- some celebrated, but more often men and women obscure in their labor -- who have carried us up the long, rugged path toward prosperity and freedom.”

  One of the things that struck me most was his statement that “we are makers of things.”  My heart jumped and I knew immediately that he was speaking directly to me.  I, too, am a maker of things – it is in my bones.  As I listened to the unspoken, I heard the possibility of the return of jobs to America – jobs that I once took for granted:  farmer, mechanic, auto worker, customer support (imagine!), craftspeople.

What does this say about the arts?  I am an artist – a potter.  I am a maker of things.  I am inspired, and I am excited!  Are you a maker of things?  What will you do with this awesome possibility?  I invite your comments.



Possible ways to look at cups…

A few days ago, I viewed a video about cups.  A cup is a cup, right?  No big deal.  A cup holds liquid and we drink from it.  Well, I watched this video of a talk by Pete Pinnell (one of my personal/ pottery heroes) on cups!  It is fascinating.  I recommend it.

He speaks about what is invoked when a cup is held.  How a cup is held could easily be categorized in a gender way…or not.  What are all the elements of a cup of which we, as consumers, may not be aware?  What do we look for?  How many fingers must we be able to fit around the handle?  What will we drink from it?  Is it comfortable enough to hold on to it while we consume the entire contents, or must we set it down between sips – lovely though it may be, is it not comfortable enough to hold on to for the duration?  Perhaps that lack of comfort may promote something else.  Maybe, instead of drinking all the coffee (or tea) without noticing and then all of a sudden, it’s gone, I’d be present to that I’m drinking, and what I’m drinking.  Hmmm.

After many episodes of “I’m done with cups…not making them anymore.  They’re so pedestrian,” perhaps there is more to the cup than I’d ever imagined.

Thanks for listening.

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