Wednesday, March 31, 2010
The other nice addition to the morning was the fact that the new three weight that had been completed mere days before was the rod that I had in hand, and christened it on those Pennsylvania waters. It cast like a dream, with accuracy and delicacy, once I worked out the first spring day on the water bush snags and wind knots, and got to feel it bend under the weight of it's first Brook trout. I can't wait to see the pictures Ben took of it bent right over and the smile on my face. It is pretty satisfying to catch a fish on a hand tied, and actually designed by myself, and a hand built rod.
We fished the Yellow Breeches for a few hours, made a quick lunch and a beer at the side of the stream and then decided to head over to the Letort for a while. This was a treat to be certain, and the Letort is legendary in terms of trout streams both for it's history of conservation, and it's place in the development of dry fly fishing and design as a sport. This was a true spring creek, meaning that it's source is spring fed from numerous springs along the length of the creek, and was classically picturesque. Due to the slow moving deep waters of the Letort, the trout that inhabit the waters have grown accustomed to the food sources and bugs that pass by them daily. They have time to look, scrutinize and select their meals which makes it hard for those of us floating little "bug puppets" (in the words of John Gierach) by their noses. Spring creeks tend to also have silty bottoms making it impossible to wade to get to fish. The above photo was taken by Sam, and shows a small Blue Winged Olive on his sunglasses. They were about the size of a pinky nail, and we were fishing with size 20 and 22 versions of these flies. Because if the cautiousness of the fish in determining their food sources, presentation of the fly has to be perfectly placed in front of the rising trout without spooking it and timed appropriately with the rising feeding action of the fish. Sam was the man on this one and brought two rainbows to hand. It was for sure a humbling experience and a chance to fish one of the toughest situations I've been up against. Hopefully the three corners of the country will find there way back onto the same piece of water soon, as these two friend are truly brothers to me. Thanks for the invite and congratulations to Ben on the upcoming wedding.
Sam on the Letort
Ben and I observing the Letort from above.
Thursday, March 25, 2010
Monday, March 22, 2010
I was asked by a good friend who accompanied me to the show, why I was drawn to Old Time music as the type of music I wanted to play. I answered him saying that Old Time is a type of music that can be played in the kitchen, with anywhere from a bunch of people to two people playing tunes that are familiar or not familiar, but it is relaxed and communal and people have a great time. I thought about it a little more as the evening wore on and started to think about some parallels to my pots and some of the references there. I thought about its tradition and history and the connections to a rich and complex oral history. I don't know how to read music and frankly, since quitting the french horn in elementary school the idea of reading music has completely left my mental catalogue. These tunes are tunes that were played by my ancestors either directly or indirectly, and they were carried with them as they immigrated here. They were passed to sons or daughters through playing or singing, not written down or recorded and I am continuing that history by learning and playing the tunes in the way they were meant to be played. They are stories and they are lives, and those stories would be lost if it weren't for people like Bruce Molsky and in a way, myself. I am physically connecting myself through this long string of notes squawked out on an old fiddle or banged out on an old banjo, and I am proud to be a conduit for those things.
To know where we came from is the only way to continue moving forward.
This tune is called "Bury Me Not On The Lone Prairie" and as Bruce said at the show, it is the saddest song ever, and I agree. But there is something beautiful about those old sad songs and there is a great tradition of these mournful tunes. They hold a nice spot in my heart right next to the great old murder ballads of the 1800's.
I also had the privilege of getting to play Bruce's banjo which is a beautiful example of one of Kevin Enoch's instruments. Awesome tone and amazing craftsmanship. The evening was such a treat on all levels. Check out Bruce Molsky's website for his dates or for booking and if he's coming near to you, check him out
Monday, March 15, 2010
Here are some clips from the most recent Old Time Jam at Joan Rooks-Mietz's place over in Manlius NY, which also took place over spring break which was great as I was able to get there on time. These people are some of the most interesting and enjoyable people I have ever had the pleasure of playing tunes with and every time we get together great times and tunes ensue. There is something to be said for sitting around the living room playing old tunes the way they should be. I was asked by the woman that taught me how to play banjo, before we sat down and played for the first time what type of music I wanted to play. She said "If you want to play music that fits right in with a bunch of people playing around the kitchen then you're in the right place." She sure was right. When I moved back from Florida I found two people, Dave Karam and Martha Jenks, to play music with and from that, our regular monthly Jam got started. Martha graciously opened her house each month for people to come and play old time music. She passed away almost a year ago, yet the music get-together as well as the tunes we played plus a number of forgotten new ones have lived on. There will always be a seat for Martha and we all hear that great rhythm guitar whenever we play. It's a great time and I always look forward to the second wednesday of the month. Old Time Music...it's the same but different. "What tune was that?"
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
Last night I watched Where The Wild Things Are, which was directed by Maurice Sendak and Spike Jonze and anyone who is familiar with the children's book probably saw the movie. I did enjoy it, and there was a nice departure from the book with some really wonderful visualizations. I couldn't help but think about earlier exposure that I had with Spike Jonze's film genius. The film was "Mouse", a girl and chocolate skateboards film back in 1997 or so. I was really blown away by this film at the time an still think they were some of the best skateboard videos. Good entertaining stuff for sure. Enjoy
Monday, March 8, 2010
Fly Anglers Online Archive
Came across this site recently and found it to be a great resource for both old and traditional fly recipes as well as some interesting stories. Good one to spend some time and peruse, it's worth it. Click on the image to get to the site.
Sunday, March 7, 2010
Interesting article in the NY Times regarding Ken Price's work in New York. Is ceramics actually getting some visibility in the art world? Viola Frey, Betty Woodman and now Ken Price...awesome.
"Elevated Cup Tray" Earthenware and Cast Porcelain, 2005
After last nights post I thought I should go through some old images and see what I came across of the older, cast work of mine. This was one of the pieces from my graduate thesis show in which I was making these buckets and tool caddies to carry porcelain slip-cast plastic solo cups. There were a number of cup shapes, most of which I could get at the grocery store, and a two liter bottle that were used in the pieces. The tables were clay as well, with cast legs to give the reference back to the domestic space as a space for ritual use. The buckets seem to be the thing that I held on to as I kept making work, but have been known to pull out the old molds and cast a few cups for special occasions. I was thinking about the way that material can change a persons perception about an object, and that importance can be added through a transformation of material. I was also thinking about how a specific material, like clay, can build awareness of action through the use of an object. For instance, someone using a disposable cup would be less apt to consciously think about the act of using therefore losing the chance to be aware of ones actions, the moment and the ritual. It was also a tongue in cheek comment on the ideas of consumption as in material, and the act of consumption as in food. Ahhhhh... graduate school. I really do like looking back though and seeing how the work has evolved. Seeing all of the references be boiled down into something that is a little more subtle, and still in line with my ideas about pots. Always fun. Enjoy the start to the end of the weekend. I am on spring break next week so the studio will be a busy place. Cheers
Saturday, March 6, 2010
Tee trinken, 2007
Just a little object of note. I have an affinity to things that have been transformed by clay, and these are right up my alley. I like to think about how materiality changes the way that a person might interact with an object, or read into it's place and purpose. I also love the juxtaposition of historic reference with pop culture iconography...the new cultural status symbol.
Thursday, March 4, 2010
Came across this video earlier on Cameron Mortenson's blog, The Fiberglass Manifesto and did it ever perk me up. It is a clip from RA Beattie's new project "Off The Grid" and it looks just as beautiful as "Nervous Water". Now that it is march, which for some reason I always feel like that means spring is near, I have been thinking more and more of the allure and excitement of rising trout. This film sure did hit the spot and I will think fondly of the sound of slurping fish untill I am able to be standing in the midst of flowing water. Can't wait to see the whole thing. Tight Lines...
Monday, March 1, 2010
Well, it seems as though winter came and I've spent the weekend trying to dig out from under 24 inches of new, wet heavy snow. This is always the time of the year when spring seems like a really wonderful thought. I am sure others feel this way too, but I get to a point when a green landscape would be nice and not having to wear four layers to go out would be a dream. I feel as though March should be spring, but am always disappointed that we potentially will get snow in April. The above picture is the "tunnel" that I needed to clear in order to get to the studio. Between roof raking and shoveling 30 lb shovel-fulls of snow I do feel as though I've gotten my exercise, but not mush else has gotten done. No wonder I put color on my pots. The below image is one that I came across recently. The photo was taken in poland and it about sums up my feeling at the moment.
Found out today that Red Lodge wants to keep the work that I sent out for my featured artist exhibition, and keep me on as a represented artist. I'm pretty psyched about it, and hopefully the work will do well over the coming months. Red Lodge has a great online web presence, and if you haven't seen the work yet, check out the Red Lodge Clay Center website. It's always good to pick up a new spot to have work.