Saturday, January 4, 2014

2014...HERE I COME!!!!

It has been an interesting couple of years, and challenges, physical, emotional and financial, have changed the course of my life.  I try to look for the signs the Universal being sends me (once the panic, tears and anxiety have subsided) believing that every challenge has a purpose and a lesson. 

After careful thought, I will be using the coming year to plan a motor home trip to the 48 contiguous states. The plan will involve visiting at least one potter in each state, creating a pot and moving on. There will be photos and blogging and with any luck a book.  I will call upon the potters with whom I am friends, through Facebook or classes and conferences, to make a place for me at a wheel or a table    and hope for an interview as well. I don't know what my focus will be yet but I will let you know ahead of time.  I am hoping that this will be a welcome opportunity. Feel free to let me know if it would be an imposition. I will go south in the fall & winter, north in the spring and summer.  If any of you reads this post and would like to say yeah or nay, please feel free to comment below or message me on Facebook.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Keep It Cool!

Well, this has been a very disruptive spring and summer.  Without going into all the details, illness kept me out of the studio From mid-April through May and debilitating heat kept me out most of June and half of July. 

So now it's cooled off for awhile, so I'm trying to take advantage before another heatwave strikes.  Starting with testing new glazes and clay.

Throwing new Havdalah Sets, Candlesticks, kiddish cups, etc.  My new assistant Andrew has been worth his weight in gold and if it stays cool I will finally have enough inventory for the fall.  So, in spite of the vicissitudes of life, I push on!!!
Taking time to daydream along the way.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Shavuot and Ruth: Chesed and the Letter of the Law

In today's Huffington Post, a wonderful midrash (interpretation) of the Book of Ruth and why we read the book at Shavuot, discusses an obvious contradiction in pairing the two together.  In Judaism, there can be as many midrashim on one portion of Torah, as there are people reading Torah.  

Rabbi Laura Geller, Senior Rabbi of Temple Emanuel in Beverly Hills, California, begins with the following:
It is the anniversary of the giving of Torah at Mt. Sinai. Strange, isn't it, that on the holy day we celebrate the Giving of the Law, we traditionally study a book about breaking the law! We read the Book of Ruth, the most transgressive of the Bible, the book that explicitly defies a Divine command.
 Deuteronomy 23:4-4 says explicitly: "No Ammonite or Moabite shall be admitted into the congregation of the Lord; none of their descendants even into the 10th generation shall ever be admitted into the congregation of Lord because they did not meet you with food and water after you left Egypt.
Yet the book of Ruth is a story about a Moabite woman who was the great-grandmother of King David, from whose family will come the Messiah. 
After a discussion of the story of Ruth and her many kindnesses, Rabbi Geller asks what would happen to Ruth in America today if she were an illegal immigrant as she was in the story.

I would ask:  What if Ruth was the Lesbian wife of Naomi's daughter.  What if the child she bore, from a donor seed was Oved, father of Jesse, father of King David from whose family will come the Messiah?

 Rabbi Geller concludes that Ruth's acts of kindness transcend the law.  
The Book of Ruth teaches, something that gatekeepers of the law often miss: God wants us to act out of kindness and empathy; God wants us to challenge convention because we see divinity in the faces of other people.
We are given challenges along the road of life.  Moral challenges that test our very souls and our beliefs...our faith.  And yet, within the confines of the strictest laws, Judaism gives us a way to challenge the challenge God, as Abraham did, as Moses did.  It is our heritage.  It is the way we participate in God's creation.

Saturday, May 26, 2012


Tonight is the beginning of Shavuot (Weeks) and the end of the counting of the Omer.  We have counted every day from the first day of Passover until the day before Shavuot.  This period of time is 7 weeks or 49 days.  It signifies the 49 days it took the emancipated Hebrews to get to Sinai for the receipt of the Torah, represented by the Ten Words that were written in stone.  We now call these Ten Words the Ten Commandments.   The rest of Torah was written on animal parchment over a period of time in the desert, according to Orthodox belief.  Archeologists believe Torah was put on parchment during the Babylonian exile, after the destruction of the First Temple, approximately 600 -515BCE.  It was, at that time when the current Hebrew script and scribes were developed and the study of Torah began to take the place some of the rituals reserved for the Temple. It wasn't until the destruction of the Second Temple (70 CE) that the  sacrifices and rituals surrounding the Temple were postponed until the building of a third Temple, which has not happened, to date.

Shavuot also marks the time of the late harvest in Jerusalem and is one of three major festivals in Judaism.  It's purpose is to give thanks for the Torah and the harvest and to have a period of intense study.

But the story of Shavuot, as told in the Talmud, is about the beginning of a nation of laws, it tells the story of the human resistance to obeying an authority, the fear of accepting responsibility for our actions and a kind of resignation with which the Hebrew people accepted a great responsibility - The Law of God.

By the time God offered The Law to the Hebrews, it had been offered to all of the other nations of the world, who had rejected it, out-of-hand.  The Hebrews didn't want it either, to tell you the truth.  God had to use a little technicolor persuasion.

But eventually, the people came to understand the message God was trying to send.
They would understand the significance of The Law and its Holiness, by following the law.  It's a process and a partnership with God. Doing without understand why is following a commandment.  The understanding will come in the doing.

Na'aseh v'nishma -  We will do and we will hear (understand) is what the Hebrews said.  And that is how the Hebrew people became the chosen choosing.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


So, April was a month of forced reflection and contemplation due to the unfortunate exposure to two different viruses.  My studio has been left untouched, and but for one very small firing, no work has been done.  However, several decisions have been made which, I believe, will improve production and leave me with time to be more creative and improve my product.

I have hired a part-time assistant, Andrew, whose experience and enthusiasm will be a great addition to my studio.  I have not seen his work, but he's a student at Warren Wilson, in his last year this Fall, and will be a summer resident at Odyssey.  I am looking forward to his help.

I have also acquired a small jewelry kiln, from Dawn, and fully intend to create a PMC Judaic line of pins/pendants, together with porcelain jewelry boxes for Pots & Pins.

Following up on one of my prior posts, my office/jewelry workshop/guest room is just about finished, and is looking really cool.  Just some finishing touches and clearing out of my daughter's things will complete the project.

My studio, as well, should be completely user friendly with the addition of a Scott Creek 4" extruder and an assistant to help organize, organize, organize!!!

On a personal note, my sweet Sophia became a 4 year old in April.  Aly-Rose was accepted into the nursing program at AB Tech, and Dean is two tests away from his GED and classes at AB Tech in Digital Graphics.  

Until next time, be kind, study and pray with your legs.  There's work to be done!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Yom HaShoah

This evening is erev Yom HaShoah - the night of Holocaust Remembrance Day.  Around the world people will gather this evening and tomorrow to remember a horrible time in our human history and pray that in our remembering will come the wisdom not to allow genocide occur again.  We know from our most recent history that it takes more than remembering, because we are still killing our own and the "other" in record numbers throughout the world, by war and by starvation.  We pray tonight and every night for peace and freedom ...until everyone is free, we cannot be free.  This is our fervent prayer.  It is the obligation of every Jew to create a space for peace and freedom to enter our lives and the lives of everyone.  We know it takes more than prayer.  It takes, "praying with our feet" Abraham Joshua Heschel called it.  Today and everyday we must speak truth to power about all of the policies that keep our fellow humans oppressed, ignorant and enslaved by fear, hunger and poverty. This is why we remember. This is why we must never forget.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

So Much Going on at Once

Well, spring has come to the mountains so early this year, there was hardly a winter for reflection.  Bears hibernate, people reflect.   Perhaps the push into spring is a good thing.  There is also a push in my studio and my home to get things organized and welcoming.  This is the year my house becomes a place to invite people for meals and gatherings.  I am tired of being so isolated and reclusive.

Of course, these decisions create such a mess to begin with, but out of chaos, beauty, they say.  Whomever "they" are.  It is also said that if you write it down, it's easier to get it done. So, here is the list of things to be done:


Sand and paint new work table.
Wash all tools, bats molds and surfaces.
Sort out used tools from idle tools and trade.
Discard (in the easiest way) un-reclaimed clay.
Discard (in safest way) all unused glazes
Transfer all glaze materials in tightly lidded jars.
Clean and repair kiln brick, shelves and apply kiln wash,
Organize, organize and then, yes, ORGANIZE!
Install the under the shelf radio/CD player.



6 Hanukkiah
6 Seder Plates
6 Shabbat through Havdalah Sets (12 candlestick, 6 wine cups, 6spice boxes, 6 braided candle holders, 6 plates/trays)
12 Tzedakah Boxes
12 Mezuzah Cases
24 "Ancient Shards" for the Celebration Israel Excavation
24 Cups
24 Bowls
24 Plates

Tomorrow I'll start the list for the Office and Dining room.  :-{  help!