May Day can either mean May 1st, a day to celebrate or May Day May Day a distress signal. Thankfully in my case it was a celebration, as in my line of work it could have gone either way. Yesterday was the Open House and Studio Tours event at Peters Valley Craft Center and I was asked to fire the raku kiln as part of the festivities.
Knowing my schedule would only permit me to make enough ware for 1 or 2 loads I reached out to teacher, potter, and good friend Sharon Pflug-Moench to make ware and join me in the effort. She did not disappoint. We had enough work between us for 6 loads, a full day of firing fun!
Sharon and I are the clay version of Lucy and Ethel. We’re soft-hearted tough cookies. We work well together. We get into scrapes. We generate alot of laughs. To temper us and provide support were my husband Bill and her husband Paul- Ricky and Fred, although none of us could decide who was who of that pair.
True to form, like every other time I have raku fired at Peters Valley, it poured rain all day long. You can set your watch to it. You want rain? Call me, I’ll either schedule an outdoor picnic or a raku fire at Peters Valley. I’m so used to it I don’t think I’d know what to do if the sun was shining.
Visitors came and went and pots went in and out of the kiln.
I was nervous about firing hot and fast in a kiln set up differently than my own, but it’s alittle like riding someone else’s horse: the basics are the same I just had to learn its nuances and how to get along with it. Everything worked out fine and the kiln saints and devils smiled upon us. The pieces survived the firings, the glazes came out great and the humans came out of the experience unscathed, just filthy, tired and wet, but very very happy.
I had the good fortune to meet many people touring through the studios, show my work, eat a great meal from a food truck (fish tacos with the most divine fries!) and even get interviewed by a reporter at the NJ Herald. Look at me, I wound up the lead article in their on line edition the following day!
For my next Peters Valley trick I will be teaching the 3-day raku workshop Raku Rodeo the first weekend in June. Get out your umbrellas and galoshes and come fire with me!