Friday, February 26, 2010

Potter Blogger

The kiln was our language and we all came to speak it fluently. ~ Josh Copus

Recently when talking on the phone to my Asheville potter son Josh, he spoke enthusiastically about watching blades of new grass grow. I thought it was a reference to his stopping to take time to smell the roses and was glad that his workload was lightening.

A week later I spoke with him again and began our conversation by joking, ‘how’s that grass?’ He answered in all seriousness about how well it was doing. The next day I read an update about work at his Marshall County property, home of the three-tiered Community Temple woodfire kiln that Josh built:

Combining the heavy machinery with ingenuity, grit, and pure determination, I was able complete my goal of being able to plant some grass by this spring. It’s springtime now and the grass is growing.

For four years I’ve been blogging about everything from Josh’s wild clay dig, His BFA Building Community show, the building of the Community Temple, and his gorilla suit escapades – with blog titles like Josh of All Trades, He Gets a Kick out of Bricks, Clayspace Potters Strike it Rich and The First Annual Pot Party.

Now he’s the blogger, writing firsthand in preparation for the Carolina Kiln Build to be held on his property in August. The blog will be a collective one, documenting a three week kiln building workshop, in which eight potters will be selected to live on site and immerse themselves in kiln building in a rural mountain setting. It’s modeled after a similar type of extended workshop that Josh attended at the Hurricane Mountain Center for Earth Arts in Keene, New York, one that shaped his life as a potter.

He writes about his hopes for the Carolina Kiln Build: The idea of working closely with other artists, fully immersing yourself in the project, eating and drinking together, swimming in rivers, creating lasting memories and funny stories for years to come is what this thing is about.

There’s more than grass growing on the property.

Along with fellow Clayspace (the potter’s coop that Josh founded) member Eric Knoche, Josh will be heading up the construction of two Anagama type wood-burning kilns. One will be a large simple tube, built with a flat floor to accommodate firing larger work and the other will be an egg shape climbing Anagama buried in a hillside, the CKB press release says.

Josh writes on the blog: Eric and I both learned how to build kilns by actually building kilns and we believe that there is really no substitute the type of education that occurs when you are working with bricks and mortar … We saw this as opportunity to build momentum and add energy to the work we have already begun. We wanted to form new friendships and continue contributing to the ceramics community. Those were just some of the ideas behind the Carolina Kiln Build.

May the ceramics community and studio potter model continue to grow strong, like the new grass on Josh’s property.

Post notes:
Check out the introductions and participant details on the Carolina Kiln Build blog HERE. The above was originally posted on Loose Leaf Notes on May 5, 2009.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Josh of All Trades

Sometimes on weekends my Asheville potter son Josh buses tables at a restaurant named Table. As a working artist with school loans, he's learned to make a living in a variety of ways and has become what I call a "Josh of all trades."

In one recent week he transported a load of brick seconds 400 miles on Monday, was hired by a friend to haul sod around in a trailer on Tuesday, did a pottery demonstration and a slide show lecture at Haywood Tech (one of the places he went to school) on Wednesday, volunteered his time teaching 3 classes at the Madison County Middle School on Thursday, made pottery and manned the gallery at the Clayspace Coop he founded on Friday, and bused tables at the Table for Valentine's Day (one of the busiest days of the year for restaurants) on Saturday.

A few days later he called from the road while making his sixth trip home from the brick plant down south where he's been hauling seconds to his Madison County property. He fired off these stats: 6 trips, 4 pallets a trip, and 400 miles each way.

Bricks are made in kilns made of bricks. As a potter who wood fires in kilns made of bricks Josh values and uses a lot of them. He's handmade his own on occasion but these plant seconds are firebricks in a quantity that Josh could never hand produce. After six trips back and forth to the plant, he now has enough (and then some) to build two new kilns on his Community temple compound to compliment the 3 chamber Noborigama kiln. Why so many kilns?

Every type of kiln creates a different product, Josh says, and a smaller one is needed for smaller firings. Josh and one his Clayspace mates are planning to build two different shaped single chamber kilns this summer and teach an immersion kiln building workshop as they do. Eight students will be chosen by letters of intent and informal interview. There will be a nominal fee for lodging, but the workshop will be free, Josh said, adding, "I want people like me five years ago to come to this workshop."

"What an opportunity. I bet you wish you came across something like that when you were starting out," I said.

"I did. That's why I'm doing it," he answered.

Post notes:
Read "He Gets a Kick out of Bricks" for background to this post. Photos above are of Josh at the Brick Plant and him building a treadle wheel. Read more about the summer kiln building workshop, dubbed The Carolina Kiln Build HERE.

~ Originally posted on Loose Leaf Notes on March 4, 2009.

Monday, February 15, 2010

He Gets a Kick out of Bricks

My Asheville potter son, Josh Copus, is a self-confessed brick geek. He collects found bricks, recycles old bricks, makes his own bricks, and builds wood fire kilns with bricks.

It’s been more than three years since he harvested a lifetime supply of clay from a tobacco farmer’s field, and more than two years since his UNCA thesis show that featured his wild clay pottery and several art installations made from his handcrafted bricks.

Now, in what Josh calls “a defining moment,” he has manifested an infinite supply of bricks, more than enough to build a couple more wood fire kilns on his Marshall County Community Temple compound, a three acre property that already houses the three-tiered Noborigama climbing kiln that Josh built. Because of the Noborigama kiln, the property has already begun to be a destination for potters from all over the country.

A friend put Josh in touch with one of the owners of a major brick plant down south. Josh had just finished visiting the plant and was hauling a truckload of seconds (bricks slightly under company standards) back north to his property when he phoned me. “It’s an absolute goldmine, a shinning pile of light,” he said with excitement.

Describing the plant operation, he said, “The volume and operation is hard to fathom.” Twenty-four hours a day bricks of every shape and size you can dream up are made on train cars and fired in a train kiln the length of a football field, he explained.

Josh’s enthusiasm was contagious, as he expressed his liberating sense of support, gratefulness for having had the opportunity to talk shop with a fellow brick geek at the plant, and appreciation for the alignment that allowed the fortuitous turn of events. His respect for the tradition of bricks was apparent.

“Nothing would have happened without bricks,” he said. I remembered the BFA show, the theme of which grew from a found clay pipe (power), a clay vessel (food) and a brick (shelter), and his12 foot tall and 20 foot wide brick wall that demonstrated the strength of a collective with the word INDIVIDUAL stamped on each one. Other bricks stamped with the word COMMUNITY continued the theme and reflected the name of the show, “Building Community.”

I thought about the role that clay has played in civilization, and then about the Industrial Revolution as Josh explained that the plant makes bricks that can withstand the high temperatures of furnaces. They supply an aluminum smelting ore company and other industrial refractory plants, like those for making steel.

I jotted notes as he talked. His knowledge of clay and firing began to go over my head. Soon he was sounding like an alchemist/chemist using phrases like “melting points relative to partial size…” and words like “flux.”

“When they write the book, this will be a whole chapter,” Josh said with the excitement of a chocolate loving kid who had just visited the Willie Wonka factory. As far as he was concerned the cargo he was hauling could have been bricks of gold, or the gold at the end of a rainbow, payday for a few years of non-stop hard work.

Post Note:
Click and scroll down HERE for archived stories and photos recording Josh’s career as potter, kiln builder, and ClaySpace Coop founder.

~ Originally posted on Loose Leaf Notes on February 2, 2009.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Sixteen Hands Sneak Preview Story

1. I'm working on a story about Floyd's 16 Hands Studio Tour for the next issue of The Compass, a local visitor's guide. This year was the 10th anniversary of the event and my Asheville potter son Josh was a visiting guest artist. It was an honor for him to be invited to participate and a homecoming too, since he grew up here in Floyd. He knows most of the Sixteen Hand members and has great respect for them.

2. Josh is the founder of Asheville's Clayspace Coop and the builder of the Community Temple, a three tiered woodfiring kiln on his property in Marshall, North Carolina. His artist statement for the 16 Hands show reads: I was raised in Floyd County, Virginia, and the experience of growing up in this close- knit community of farmers and artisans has been the single greatest influence of my life. My inclusion in the 16 hands fall studio tour is a homecoming for me. I am excited by the opportunity to share my growth as an artist since leaving home with the community that nurtured my creative spirit for so many years.

3. At one time there really were sixteen hands, those of the eight members. Some members moved away and twelve hands remain, working together to host the bi-yearly self-guided studio tour. Floyd members are Rick Hensley and Donna Polseno, Ellen Shankin and Brad Warstler, and Silvie Granatelli; all potters except Brad who is a woodworker. Stacy Snyder, another set of hands from Blacksburg, is a potter. Each studio site hosts a visiting guest artist. Josh was hosted at Rick and Donna's and showed his work beside Donna's (above), which made for some exciting contrasts.

4. It's hard to believe that this was my first year to take the tour, although I've been familiar with each Floyd member's work and know them and their children as part of the Floyd community. I'm enough of a Floyd Countian that I didn't need to use the fold-out brochure map provided, but I did need, in some cases, to ask about directions, and I was happy to see that the route was marked with 16 Hands arrow signs. As a tour-goer, I enjoyed the hot herb tea and cookie conversations about politics, how each member found Floyd, and catching up on family news as much as I enjoyed perusing the showrooms of masterful functional and sculpture ceramics, along with Brad's fine woodworking (all of which I hope to write more about in The Compass story.)

5. The Sixteen Hands artists are renowned and together they represent volumes of credentials, honors, and teaching experience, which can be reviewed on their webpage HERE. Over the years their hard work has paid off and their country studios have become destinations. When they open to the public twice a year, collectors and art lovers take advantage of it. Except for Sunday when the county was hit with sleet and ice, this year's tour was well attended.

6. I never got to talk to Rick but did spend some time getting lost in the mandala patterns of his porcelain bowls and platters. I caught a glimpse of him once in his back yard with chimney sweep tool in his hand. The chimney had backed up and was forcing smoke into the house, his apprentice's girlfriend told me. Such is the character of a country Studio Art Tour, I thought.

7. Kent McGlaughlin (on the left), a North Carolinian guest potter at Silvie's place, thought I wasn't tall enough to be Josh's mother. Kent was teaching at Penland School of Crafts the same time Josh was in May. He recalled one evening when an unanswered question prompted Josh to pick up the phone, saying "My mother might know the answer." None of us could remember what the question or answer was but we all agreed I was Josh's Millionaire life-line that night. It was fun to meet Kent (who Josh calls Chet) in person.

8. Between Asheville's recent River Arts District Studio Tour and the Sixteen Hands show, Josh has had a great month, and he still has his Clayspace Annual Holiday Show coming up. He says, "It isn't about selling objects. People want an experience ... and meaning." Most who buy Josh's pots make a connection with him personally. When they learn that he works with locally dug wild clay and that his pottery is woodfired in a hand built kiln, most are able to feel the relationship between that and the finished product, pots that look born from the ground, guided by hand and transformed by the elements.

9. And this is the moral of the story and what it's all about in the end: Joe eating lunch in our kitchen using one of Josh's new pasta bowls.

Photos and post note: 1. Josh in front of Rick and Donna's studio. 2. Josh's new work. 3. Donna's work. 4. Sylvie's studio. She's in the center. 5. Ellen's showroom. 6. Rick's showroom. 7. Kent at Sylvie's. 8. Tour sign. 9. Joe's lunch.

~ Originally posted on Loose Leaf Notes on December 2, 2008.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Asheville Potter Son

Part I of this update is HERE.

The Community Temple Compound isn’t the only thing that was improved upon this year. ClaySpace, the studio coop that Josh started in the Wedge building in the River Arts district of Asheville got some spiffing up. The front entrance has been painted and a new gallery showroom was added to the warehouse space where half a dozen potters throw pots at their workspaces.

Other events in Josh’s life as a studio potter took place this year that didn’t involve building or remodeling. Last May he put in a two month residency at Penland School of Craft as an assistant teacher for a class on woodfiring pottery made with local materials. Although living at Penland pulled him away from ClaySpace and Community Temple projects, the experience was enriching. "The amount of time it takes to test materials is limited, but in the class it was the topic. And you have students available to work for and with you. I honed my big jar making skills. Everyone learns," he said. Near the end of the intensive class, the students trekked out from the Mitchell County school to the Community Temple in Marshall County to see the impressive 3-tiered kiln and to witness the unloading part of the woodfiring process.

The Community Temple was also a destination for potters around the country. A constant flow of them visited the site throughout the summer. “The ceramics’ community is a small world. People keep an eye on each other,” Josh said about the visits.

Building projects, pottery firings, shows, and ClaySpace work aside, Josh was able to spend a freewheeling day with us. We watched the first presidential debate together at the home of one of his friends, visited a nearby Japanese garden, spent some time in downtown Asheville and Marshall, and went out to eat a few times. As we were leaving, he was ready to get back to work. Weed whacking was on the schedule, followed by preparation for the arrival of a Track-hoe, which will be used to fill in the demolition site where the property’s original house was. Materials from the March 2007 demolition were salvaged and used in the building of the kiln shed. The demolition was the first step in arriving to where the site is today.

As we drove away, I thought about how much Josh has accomplished and how much work still needs to be done. I can only imagine what the Community Temple Compound will look after the passing of another year. I can hardly wait to see.

Post Notes: The photos above were all taken at ClaySpace. You can see pictures and read about house demolition in a post titled "The House That Josh Un-built HERE.

~ Originally posted on loose leaf notes on September 30, 2008.

Friday, February 12, 2010

The Community Temple Compound: Fall ‘08 Update

It was a year ago last September that my Asheville potter son, Josh Copus, wood-fired the first pots in his newly constructed Community Temple kiln. It’s been that long since I visited the kiln site on the two acre Marshall County property where Josh lives.

The year-old 3-tiered kiln was still hot from its 7th firing when my husband, Joe and I arrived with our truck camper for a weekend visit. It would be two days before the kiln’s full cool down, followed by the unloading of wares. Josh was a little blurry eyed from tending the fire overnight as he showed us around.

The structural changes around the site since last year are many. Most notable is the newly built pottery studio that Joe helped Josh frame in early June. Constructed from salvaged wood, doors and windows, this studio will eventually be the pottery showroom when a larger studio is built. A village green and a house are also a part of future plans.

I’m always amazed by Josh’s self-taught accomplishments and his keen appreciation for and ability to manifest recycled building materials. This time it was his masonry handwork that impressed me most, a stone wall around the studio building, stairway steps built into the hard packed clay dirt around the kiln, and a stone ledge and sitting bench.

He referred to his masonry work as “hardscaping” and explained how many of the bricks and cobblestones used in both projects came from the streets of Asheville, which he collected when city workers dug up a road to build a new sewer line. Old brick stamped with logo words from Josh’s private collection also figured into the work.

There were several newly constructed wooden ware racks around the kiln, staging stations for loading and unloading pots. The blue striped couch from when Josh lived in the warehouse loft apartment at Clayspace, the Asheville studio cooperative that Josh founded, was prominently placed in front of the kiln, offering rest for potters during the intensive tending of woodfirings that can go on all night.

Josh’s living space has also undergone changes. A roofed porch now extends from his Airstream trailer headquarters along the creek that rushes through the property. Bamboo blinds on one side and a small paned window frame on another close in a sitting and sleeping space. A beige couch faces the roofed cooking area, which includes a long wooden counter and a large grille with and propane burner. Josh plans to further close in the porch for the winter, which will transform it into a small cabin, not unlike the one on Zephyr Farm that we lived in one summer when Josh was a boy.

The portajohn, a fixture during last year’s kiln building and first firing, has been replaced by a composting toilet outhouse, situated behind the Airstream. “The outhouse was practice for building the new studio,” Josh said. His cat “Jean Claude Meow” charged down from a hill, where a bathtub was waiting to be a wood-fired hot tub, and into the raised bed vegetable garden. “He’s doing his job,” Josh said, which meant that Jean Claude has been keeping the mice population down.

Post notes: See a video clip of Josh showing Joe the newly built kiln ware racks HERE. This entry was originally posted on Loose Leaf Notes on September 29, 2008.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Clayspace Potters Strike it Rich

When my Asheville potter son, Josh, was a baby he had a shirt that said “Good as Gold” on it. At first I thought it could refer to his towhead blonde hair and his baby innocence. I later came to think of it as a premonition for his infectious enthusiasm, his ability to attract good fortune, and his love of making art out of everything around him. I’ve often described him to others as “a bright light” with a “big presence.” But as the mother of an artist, at times I’ve wondered about him burning his love of art at both ends. I’ve also seen his hard work and passion manifest surprising results and support from unlikely places.

The fourth firing of The Community Temple, the 3 chamber kiln that Josh built last summer, wound down last Friday, March 8. It was documented by an award winning photojournalist, Frank Bott. Frank is an Asheville River Arts District neighbor of the Clayspace Co-op studio that Josh founded, but he could be another one of Josh’s fairy godfathers. The Clayspace warehouse loft room where Josh once lived has been renovated into a gallery, a showcase for the finished pottery of all the Co-op members. During a recent studio tour, Frank showed up at the gallery and was drawn by the play of light in the new room, and maybe by the light that emanates from Josh when he puts his whole heart into what he’s doing. Frank took his first batch of pictures. Others would follow.

Frank’s website describes him as a “visual journalist of the human spirit.” His photos of the recent Community Temple firing show that there’s plenty of human and elemental spirit to be witnessed at a woodfiring. The potters look like gritty miners, earth welders, alchemists spinning straw into gold. With faces illuminated by fire, their captured expressions show the struggle of hard work and the wonder of creation. The Gold? It’s the vein of clay harvested from the earth; the inspiration it takes to spin it into form; the fire it takes to harden it; the finished pots; the photos, and the thread of magic that shines through them.

Post notes: The photos above are of the last Clayspace Studio Tour and were taken by Frank Bott. As Josh’s archivist, I received them from him the last time he was home for a visit. You can watch the slide show photos of last week’s woodfiring that Frank has titled “The Struggle” at his website HERE. Currently Josh is co-teaching a class with other potters on “Wild Clay and Precise Fire” at Penland School of Crafts. The whole class is going out to the kiln in Marshall, NC, on Monday to watch the unloading of the firing that Frank documented.

Originally posted on Loose Leaf Notes on March 12, 2008.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Got Pots?

The following is Part II of "The First Annual Pot Party," the nickname I gave to my Asheville Potter Son Josh's recent Hometown Pottery Show, which was held at my house this past weekend.

1. We awoke to what sounded like a war zone. What I first thought was Josh stomping around in one of the upstairs bedrooms was really ice falling off in chunks from the pitched roof of our log cabin. After being slammed with wind and showered with sleet the night before, the sight of the morning sun brought a sense of relief, but the sudden warming it created also caused an avalanche of melting ice.

2. Coffee brewed, tea was poured, fried eggs sizzled in the skillet. Joe pulled up a chair and ate his breakfast while watching the twenty minute slide show of Frank Bott's photographs, dramatic images of the Clay Space Gallery and the recent firing in the noborigama kiln Josh built this past summer. We all had a snow day mentality. Fulfilled from the previous day's events, we were ready to welcome any new pottery show guests but weren't really expecting any.

3. But the sun shone a new day, and all was not lost by the Pottery Show announcement not getting into the Floyd Press. The announcement did appear in the December issue of the Museletter and some who had read about it there came out to see Josh's new work. Our first visitor of the day, a family friend named Paul, held up his new pasta platter like he had just won a final match at Wimbledon.

4. "I don't know a single one of them," I announced as I looked out the window and watched a group of three walk towards the house from the drive-way. They turned out to be some new Floyd residents who used to live in Asheville. Two of them knew Josh from Warren Wilson College. While they all had an enthusiastic visit, talking pottery and kiln construction, I wandered around the house getting to know the new pots better, handling them, gazing at them, and taking photographs like a portrait photographer takes pictures of people.

5. Museletter readers, Rosemary and Walter hadn't seen a trace of the balloons I tied to a tree out on the Parkway to help visitors find our driveway. Had the wind untied them? Maybe the sleet ripped them to shreds. Rosemary, whose sister is a potter interested in wild clay, leafed through the article Josh wrote for Studio Potter about his wild clay excavation from a North Carolina farmer's tobacco field.

6. Sunday's attendance was lighter than Saturdays, but like Saturday, every visit was fun filled and rich with meaningful conversation. By evening, the living room glowed as if it was enchanted. Shiny pots and foil wrapped presents under the tree caught the reflection of the string of Christmas lights in the window.

7. Every pot had been made from the wild clay and then wood fired in the new kiln. Each one had its own personality. In groups, they formed families that looked like they belonged together. I still hadn't picked out my own Christmas pot. Which would stand alone? Which was ready for a new home? I kept moving them around to see how they looked in different settings.

8. The next day while Josh was packing up to head back to Asheville, I walked out to the road to investigate the missing balloons. The wind had not untied them. They still hung, deflated and sliced. I imagined how they sounded when they popped from Saturday's gusty wind and icy onslaught. They never had a chance.

Originally posted on Loose Leaf Notes on December 18, 2007.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

The First Annual Pot Party

1. It was the party I never let Josh have when he was a teenager. Although I think he had a few behind my back that weren't condoned by me. This one was not only condoned, I helped with the planning. "This is the kind of party I can handle," I said to him as he was setting up pots for a Hometown Pottery Show and I was warming cider on the stove. "It's constructive, has a theme, and a time frame with an ending."

2. My house was transformed to a storefront studio. Every surface was enlisted to make room for pots, teapots, bowls, bottles, platters, and plates. They spread throughout the living room and kitchen. A few were on the front porch.

3. "How did you hear about this?" I asked potter Tom Phelps, who along with his wife, Carol, was one of the first arrivals. "I heard it from you, Colleen," he answered smiling. I needed that validation after the announcement I wrote didn't make it in the Floyd Press. Tom, who was Josh's first pottery mentor, also saw one of the flyers I hustled to hang just days before to make up for the lack of press.

4. "Did you see the balloons I tied to a tree out on the Parkway?" I asked Jody who came with her daughter looking for mugs.

5. A slide show of photos taken by Frank Bott that were playing on Josh's laptop was mesmerizing. Frank is a photojournalist covering the growth of the River Arts District in Asheville where Clay Space Co-op, the studio and gallery that Josh founded, is located. The photos show the newly renovated Clay Space gallery, a warehouse space that was once Josh's home, and the most recent wood-firing at the Community Temple kiln.

6. A steady stream of people flowed in throughout the day. Quite a few were fellow potters, like Zack, who is Donna Polsena and Rick Hensley's apprentice. Later in the day Donna and Rick, two of Floyd's "Sixteen Hands" potters who also live on the Parkway, dropped by. Donna was happy with the plate she picked out to purchase and pleasantly surprised when I took her in my bedroom and showed her one of her ceramic sculptures on my dresser.

7. My living room chair got relegated to a hallway. "This is where you can sit and tell Santa what you want for Christmas," I told all the guests. "All I want for Christmas is a roof on our house," said Chris Deerheart, who with his partner Alina is living in a workshop studio while building a house.

8. By the late afternoon it was sleeting ice and the front steps on the porch were slick. Josh and I got back to our kitchen table Scrabble game while Joe, who had just come in from hunting, made us all supper.

~ Originally posted on Loose Leaf Notes on December 17, 2007.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Home for the Holidays

During the last couple of phone calls I’ve had with my son Josh, I’ve learned that a mouse was living in his pottery kiln and that he’s taken up Scrabble. I’m shaking in my boots on the second count because, according to the scores he’s been reporting, he plays Scrabble better than me, and I’ve been playing on and off for a couple of decades.

“But you never even liked the game growing up,” I questioned. He explained that he didn’t understand the strategy then. He had played once and didn’t like it. Occasionally Dylan, his younger brother, would play with me.

“But that was only because he knew how much I liked to play and Dylan is sweet that way,” I said. Josh, who likes to play games competitively, agreed.

No sooner had Josh finished the loading, firing, cooling, and emptying of a new kiln, the 1st Annual Holiday Sale at the newly renovated Clay Space Co-op gallery, which Josh was hosting, geared up.

And then he caught his breath, which came in the form of playing Scrabble with his girlfriend Anna. Anna is also a good player, but it’s hard to compete with a play that involves the letter Q on a triple letter box going in two directions.

I’m not surprised that Josh, a word lover who has been published in Studio Potter magazine and recently had his handwriting on the front cover, would catch the Scrabble bug. He likes to play Mad Libs and recently coined the word “chillaxing,” by mixing chilling and relaxing together.

We’ve been on the phone more than usual, making plans for his trip home this weekend to host a Hometown Pottery Show, Saturday and Sunday from 12-6. It’s an open house and the house that will be open is mine. I’ve been telling friends who know I’m a reclusive non-entertainer that now is their chance to finally see where I live.

So no more chillaxing for me. I’m going to vacuum and sweep the cellar floor.

Post notes: The first photo is one taken by photographer Frank Bott, who is documenting the evolution of Asheville’s River Arts District where Josh’s Clayspace Co-op is. The second photo is of a recent Studio Potter magazine cover, an issue on clay and words. It features Josh’s handwriting of a quote by Shoji Hamada speaking to a young potter. It's written on the ClaySpace wall and says: It is important for him to dig deep beneath his own feet to find the spring water. This is better than finding a section of the river of tradition that has already become unclear and weak. True tradition never comes from water flowing above ground: it comes from underneath the ground, from a man's own experience. Individualism is important, and without it one cannot do any good work in this age. To find real individualism does not mean the we should follow the new fashion, but rather the old way, the classic way. What is classic is always new. Fashions are always old ...

~ Originally posted on Loose Leaf Notes on December 11, 2007.