Friday, July 27, 2012

I blinked.

This was taken in 2006. Yeah. Six years ago. Such a baby face. Such mischief in those eyes!

Not quite the same kid. Pushing her way through her teenager-hood. Sometimes kicking, sometimes screaming. Always with those eyes.

I guess that's all I wanted to say tonight.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Images from Hoovstock 2012

Trying to describe last weekend is tough. We left Trumansburg to avoid the crowds that arrive for the Grassroots music festival. Ironically, we drove 5 hours to spend our weekend listening to music at the Hoovstock. And it was AWESOME!

Three years ago, my friend, Joe Streno flew back from Seattle to attend the first incarnation of the Hooverpalooza. Music, fun and friends in Asbury Park NJ. For Joe, this was home. These were his friends from his college days. This year, Joe wanted to share that fun with Nancy and I. 

 Here's the blurb from the FB event page:
Magicians, Comedians and Drummers welcome! 

Every single person (and dog) was having a good time.

  Geoff Hoover, Matthew Hahn, Paul Crane, Prof. Damage and Mandy Libman Guagenti at Asbury Park.

My dear friend Joe Streno, and Dorothy Morrison.

Matthew Hahn!

Geoff Hoover (our AMAZING host and master of ceremonies!) and this wonder-kid on guitar... 13 yr old Jack, who tore up the place!

This band was called : FUN, With Fred Delacruz, Prof. Damage and Paul Crane.

Marian Porges, Indiana Hoover, Duke Hoover and Téxas Hoover

Marc Freidlander, who played the meanest Spanish baroque guitar I have ever heard. AMAZING.

Joe Streno ripping it up with Fred on drums. Awesome!

Jack giving us the most amazing rendition of Carlos Santana you could imagine!

 Robert Brunswick Jr and Caitlin Allen. Great guitar and wonderful singing!

  Cid Rivera and Geoff Hoover, rocking the stage!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Cary Joseph's Latest Anagama Woodfired Pottery

These are just a few of the amazing pots I shot this week for Cary Joseph. I think most of these are from the anagama at Corning Community College, in Corning NY. One of the things I love so much about anagama firings is the effect that such long firings have on the range of colors on the clay. In some kilns, the accumulation of wood ash tends to make the pots look like they are covered in drippy snot. I can't imagine Cary's pots that way. They demand the subtlety that comes from flashing over a heavy iron clay, and many many hours of slow cooling. I think this firing was also reduction cooled, which influenced the greys and blacks in these pots. Fantastic firing. I would love to see more of the pots that came from this kiln, just to see the whole range of effects that comes from the variation throughout the kiln.

It is strange that after nearly three years of not making pots, I feel almost as engaged in the clay community as I did while I was throwing pots every day. I guess it just shows that there is so much that goes into being a potter that has precious little to do with the day to day "making" of pots. That part just never goes away.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

On Your Head Be It

Over twelve years ago, Lee put his enormous hand across my shoulder and said: "I just spoke with Zan. You can move in with us when we get back (from the NCECA conference)." Everything changed that day. At a point in my life where my divorce had just begun, where my concepts on family were shattered, when all hope for the future were dashed.... and all of a sudden, someone said they cared enough about me to take me in. I didn't even know I needed taking care of.

Fast forward twelve years.

Last weekend Lee called, and let me know that he was on the road and might be stopping by that afternoon/evening. I was flabbergasted. I didn't even know he was on the East Coast. Surprise!

Around 10pm Lee showed up in his spiffy bright yellow racing-car truck, larger than life. With his cat-that-swallowed-the-canary smile spread from ear to ear, he stood in my doorway. I couldn't have been happier!

Reflection: It is a strange thing to be cared for. It would seem an obvious thing... everyone needs care. Right? Yet how do we practice receiving care? This was something my friend Leon Ginenthal introduced me to via the eloquent words of Milton Mayeroff's book: On Caring.  Mayeroff talks about all the various aspects of caring for someone... but what was so incredibly striking about his (very brief) book is that in order to care for someone, you must, in return, be able to receive care.

What does that mean?

I think that in general, most people don't really know what care they need. Granted, sometimes, you may know what you want... but need is different. We tend to avoid addressing this need for care because of the fear that we might not receive what we really need. That fear and shame of needing care tends to leave us frustrated, embarrassed, ashamed, or worse.

When Lee took me into his home, he didn't judge me. He didn't offer to solve my problems. He didn't offer conditions for moving in... (except he asked me to tone down my sailor's blue streak). He didn't try to drag me off to church with his family on Sunday.

How does this reflect on our visit this past weekend?

Lee and I are like twin brothers from different mothers, as he is fond of saying. In many ways we couldn't be more different. In other ways, we truly are like twins. There are times, where we can finish one another's thoughts. We find humor in so many similar things. And that zest for life and the willingness to wring every last drop of vigor out of each day... Yeah, we share a great deal.

Seeing Lee standing in my doorway, then sitting at my dinner table, reminded me that I am loved. In the past three years, I have had to walk away from so many things I thought would be permanent in my life. I have plummeted to the bottom of life's ladder and hit rock bottom. No question. But when Lee called me while I was in the hospital, recovering from my coma... that voice, that low growl coming through the line... that voice calm but so unsure that I was really on the other end... so uncertain I would survive.... that was caring. There was nothing Lee could do, either from Utah or if he had come and stood by my bedside. But that phone call was a massive hand across my shoulders, letting me know that I could survive.

When I think about the friends I have surrounded myself with now, I realize that every one of them, no exceptions, all embody that same caring. Without a doubt, we are so fortunate to know the friends we do... and to have them care for us so well.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Posting old platters today (from Glaze Tectonics)

This is another one of those platters that exceeded my expectations by first disappointing me, then frustrating me, until finally revealing something so amazing as to be sublime. Go figure.

Looking at the glazed surface now, you would have no idea that this platter had a very textured and rippled bottom surface. It appeared much like a tidal sandbar after the tide had pulled out. My plan was to glaze it with some opalescent blues and purples... expecting to see tons of depth and ripples. Yeah.... that didn't work out so well.  (to read more, check out Glaze Tectonics: )

Friday, July 6, 2012

My Darker Side

The title for this post is only slightly ironic. Today qualifies as a pretty rotten day. Everything I touched turned to shit. I found myself unable to talk to anyone without feeling like my foot was firmly shoved in my mouth. Nothing worked the way I needed it to. In the end, I couldn't even fall asleep because my body was wracked so hard by the frustration.

Taking it out on my family was the worst part. I have tried so hard to keep my depression, anxiety, etc from ruling my life. Sometimes the PTSD rears its head. When that happens, all bets are off. The best thing I can do is to just go away for a while. Find some place where I won't be in the way, or have the potential to say or do something awful. It takes such a long time for the emotional hurricane to pass.

I know that everyone is entitled to have a bad day now and then. I would certainly expect that of anyone I know. I guess I just didn't expect this day to suck this bad. My hope is that when tomorrow begins to wrap up, and the weekend peeks over the setting sun, I will feel better about the week as a whole.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Scorched Earth Policy

Over the past three months, I have been exploring different ways of utilizing the simple lighting modifiers and arrangements in hopes of figuring out exactly what aspects appeal to me. I have been trying to find my style or voice. After over twenty years of making pottery, I had found a very solid voice in clay. It didn't matter whether the pots were fired in an electric kiln with bright orange glazes, or fired with shino in a woodfiring anagama. The pots were of the same cloth. They spoke with a common refrain. That is what I am looking to create with my photography.

Some people rely on Photoshop effects to create their style, or worse, the rely on things like Instagram to create their image altogether. As a result, Facebook is inundated with images that all look the same. I don't know that that is a horrible thing, but it definitely put me off from considering a tilt-shift lens for the time being. All of that: let's make the world look like a tiny diorama-crap was making my head hurt. Some folks can pull it off. Most just make really cheesy images.

I was reading a photo-blogger from the UK this afternoon. He was trying to convince folks that his style was exclusively monochrome. A few inquiring minds wanted to know if he actually shot in B&W, and his reply was: Of course not. He changes it all in Photoshop. That is his style.


Made me wonder if my work stood on its own regardless of what I do in post production. Are the images good enough, in camera, to stand the test of time? I don't know. So far, some of the images I have made since leave the ceramic arena have been exceptional. Some have been great. Some have been downright so-so. Since the beginning of June, I have been progressing through my database, removing any images that are so-so or worse. If they don't rock my world now, I doubt they will rock my world in ten years. This has been my scorched earth policy of the summer. Burn out the bad images. Don't look back. Push on, and make new images, better images.

 Some certainly disagree with that idea. Some friends would rather see me save every single image I shoot. I just think that results in hoarding. The last thing I need in my life right now is clutter... emotional, physical, digital... heck, I don't even want a cluttered kitchen! I would like to think that as space is made physically, it opens up the potential for space emotionally and spiritually.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Nearly Ten Weeks Out

With nearly two and a half months behind my surgery, I am feeling better with each passing day. I meet more and more people who have had similar bariatric surgeries... and no matter what complications they may have experienced, I have yet to meet one who would take their surgery back and go back to their life before surgery. I have to say I agree too. This has been an almost magical experience.

Today I went swimming with my family at a party hosted by our friends. It cracked me up that for the first time in almost 2.5 yrs someone asked me what was up with my stomach. I have lost so much weight now, that my herniated ostomy is so prevalent. The protuberance really projects from my waist/belly. Everything above it has shrunk dramatically and it really does look odd. Having a rash-guard shirt over the top of my hernia/ostomy belt didnt make it any less odd. Trying to explain what the appliance was and how it would soon be removed was an interesting discussion. It was all the more interesting because I have had so few of these conversations over the past two and a half years.

Bit by bit, my shame over my appearance, my life and my experience are starting to slip away.