Friday, March 25, 2011

The Potter's Hand

"This clay, well mixed with marl and sand,
Follows the motion of my hand;
For some must follow, and some command,
Though all are made of clay!"
(Henry Wadsworth Longfellow)

I've been thinking about pottery lately, especially since I received the unfortunate news this past week that the studio I had been working in will be closing soon. I have been on hiatus for the past several months, and will miss my pottery buddies and instructor, the feel and smell of the clay, the anticipation of seeing what my finished pieces will look like, and the creativity of it all.

If you are interested in taking classes or finding a studio, this helpful site provides a comprehensive comparison of pottery studios in the city: Pottery NYC. Pottery is a wonderful art form that can be ancient and modern, utilitarian and decorative.

Below are some photos of my efforts. I ended up discarding many pieces because I just was not happy with them, but I would love to continue on my ceramic journey in the future.

My Pottery

Cracked cup and saucer
Wide bowl
Mini bowl
Noodle bowl
Dimpled sake set
Rosette bowl
Ridged bowl
Ginkgo bowl
Scalloped bowl
Chip and dip bowl
Pots with altered rims
Fluted berry bowl
Chocolate flower pedestal bowls
Birdbath bowls
Fluted berry bowls
Ringed shino bowls

Saturday, March 12, 2011


"In the cherry blossom's shade there's no such thing as a stranger."
(Kobayashi Issa)

The fleeting beauty of cherry blossom season is almost upon us! Cherry blossoms are richly symbolic in Japanese culture, and in America, cherry blossom festivals -- also known as sakura matsuri -- commemorate Japan's gift of over 3,000 cherry trees to the United States in 1912.

There are festivals in the NYC area -- most notably at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, and even in White Plains and Newark -- but they aren't nearly as renowned or extensive as the National Cherry Blossom Festival held annually in Washington, DC. An estimated 1 million visitors flock to our nation's capital for the 2-week event, which will be from March 26 to April 10 this spring. Timing is everything. If you go after peak bloom (which occurs later in the north), most of the blossoms will have fallen off the trees.

It has been too long since I've attended one of the cherry blossom festivals, so I'm planning a day visit to Washington, DC on one of the first two Saturdays of April. Road trip, anyone?

White Cherry Blossoms

Sakura Matsuri at Brooklyn Botanic Garden

 Pale Pink Cherry Blossoms

National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, DC
My thoughts and prayers are with everyone affected by the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan and the Pacific Coast.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Spring Break

"To myself I am only a child playing on the beach,
while vast oceans of truth lie undiscovered before me."
(Isaac Newton)

On February 2, 2011 -- AKA Groundhog Day -- Punxsutawney Phil and Staten Island Chuck both predicted an early spring. I'm not sure about other regions, but the weather has been up and down lately and as I write it is still chilly here in NYC. I'm waiting for the flowers to start budding, for the trees to start leafing, for extended hours of daylight, and to put away my puffy down coat.

But no spring break for me. Life is pretty crazy/messy/hard, so for now I can only fantasize about a beach somewhere. Dream with me of escape to sunny paradise... Which coastal getaways are at the top of your list?

Next destination: Grenada
Wish list: Bermuda, Hawaii, New Zealand
Repeat wish list: Costa Rica, Greece, anywhere in Mexico

Seaside Travel Highlights: 2000-2010

St. John
St. Thomas
Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas
Puerto Rico
Costa Rica
Cancun, Mexico
Acapulco, Mexico

Although I'm currently focusing on beachy locales, I was inspired by a recent post on Home Design with Kevin Sharkey that got me pining for any vacation. If you're looking for a great travel blog, I recommend Nomadic Matt's Travel Site. Another informative resource is New York Magazine's Travel section. Slowly but surely, I'm learning how to find and follow good sites.