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Wednesday, November 13, 2019

A Writer Goes Back to School

I signed up for a spring class last week. Another pottery class. If you're counting...my sixth. It's my third independent study (officially individualized studio) class. I'll confess, the flexibility works well with balancing the minions and the rest of the family. And I like spending a term going in my own direction. Professor H. makes a great advisor. He offers opinions and some direction, but let's me be in the driver's seat. I'm already feeling sad about spring being my last ceramic's class. Of course, by the time the class is over, I should have my own studio up and running! Yep. I've got studio glee!

But here's what being a class of one is missing...reports. Yeah, I know, some people might think that's a plus, but over the out-of-school decades I forgot how much I love doing a deep dive on a topic.  We have to do a report on a ceramic artist in a week. I did a presentation on Rob Bernard my first term. It was supposed to be five to ten minutes, but I had pages and pages of notes. Interesting facts I was sure everyone should know. (My daughter assured me that not only did the kids in class not want to know, but there was a chance my glee over reports annoyed them! If it did, they were kind enough to feign interest. LOL) I did manage to keep it to ten minutes, but would have loved to have gone longer. I left so much unsaid. This time, I'm doing a presentation on Burlon Craig. I'm trying to keep it short...but it's still hard! He's equally interesting and exciting. He is known
Holly Face Jugs
 for his face jugs in the Catawba Valley in NC (my southern roots are firmly planted just north of there).  I bought a great book, The Final Kiln Opening, about his last sale which was so cool. And I bought a book on that folk tradition, based more in Georgia called Brothers in Clay. Equally engrossing reading...alright engrossing in a totally geeky way. LOL I've got pages and pages of notes.

Ten minutes?  I have to fit all this in ten minutes? The trouble is real. LOL

To add to my condensing everything into a less than ten minute presentation, I found YouTube videos from a PBS show called Folkways. They showed Burlon in his studio and firing his kiln. You can find them at Burlon on Folkways. They were fantastic! The second video talked to other local ceramic artists who were related to, or knew, Craig. They watched him work. I wish I'd discovered him sooner and could have visited his studio as well!

I fell in love with face jugs my second term. I wrote a bit about them here.

Holly's Game of Thrones inspired Face Vase
Holly's Jug
 I've done a bunch since then. For me they're a connection to my southern roots and to be honest, I just think they're ugly cute! LOL And art inspires art. School inspires study. I've been trying my hand at some folk art painting and one of my favorites is Burlon's kiln firing. It's obviously rough, but I've done a few versions of it. I love the flames!
Holly's Burlon's kiln painting.

I've been wanting to buy a Burlon Craig face jug but they're a little rich for my blood. But I did find one of his swirl teapots. It should get here soon. I'm soooo excited! I'll post a picture when it arrives.

I don't know what I'm going to take up at school next fall. Maybe some more art classes. I'm working toward a degree...maybe. I plan to just continue taking classes that interest me, and if I get close to a degree, I'll take some of the must-take classes. At this rate, it'll be a decade from now. But hey, for me, it's not really the destination (a degree) that matters. It's the journey. And so far, I've enjoyed every step of My Novel Freshman Experience journey!

Holly


PS Just in time for Thanksgiving, another school story...this one from a PTA mom's point-of-view. Once Upon a Thanksgiving is on sale!