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Friday, April 30, 2010

What a week!

Well, this week sort of kicked my tail. It's the last week of the semester so classes are working on final projects and I am running around trying to get my crap together. Some nice stuff had been in the works, and we were in the middle of an Anagama firing at the Syracuse University kiln plus raku mania during class wednesday. All in all pretty eventful. I even managed to get the floor framed up for the chicken coop so the chickens will be able to move into their new house and I will be able to have the studio to myself again. I thought clay was dusty, those chickens take the cake there. This post will be a photo post so enjoy!

Evan, a great student who isn't even an art major.

Raku firing with my ceramics class.

Chicken Coop floor getting leveled up.
All framed up and ready for plywood and some walls.
Even had a little to try to fly a kite. Not enough wind but some great time spent with Aurora.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Ahhh humans. Such funny creatures.

This was found on the happy homesteader blog from mother earth news. Aren't we an interesting group of animals. Funny stuff.

Help for Aggressive Roosters

fighting roosters

People often ask me how to handle difficult roosters. They tell me, “I went out to the chicken yard to collect eggs, and the rooster attacked me. Of course, I had to show him who’s boss, so we had a fight and I won!”
And I assure them, “Sure, I can show you how to fix this, and it’s worth it. Imagine how much more pleasant your life will be when you never have to worry about a rooster again. But first, I want more detail. So you’re out in the chicken yard, and there he is. He acts in a threatening manner. You act in a threatening manner back. He acts even more threatening, and before you know it, the two of you are fighting, right?”


Then I ask, “But did I just describe what happened from the rooster’s point of view, or from yours?”

Maybe you’ve heard that a stage hypnotist can make you think you’re a chicken. That’s nothing! Even a chicken can make you think you’re a chicken! In these barnyard fight scenes, the rooster is in charge from start to finish. First, he decides what’s going to happen: a fight, right here, right now. Then he gets you to join the fight. How does this happen? And how do you make it stop?

But let’s not give too much credit to the rooster. The issue isn’t that the rooster is powerful, but that the human automatically accepts whatever role is thrust on him, and that means that even a chicken can redefine who you are! … at least for a minute or two.

Of course, everyone makes mistakes, and the first time a rooster attacks you it’s a big surprise. You can’t expect to do your best decision-making when startled, so the first time doesn’t count as far as I’m concerned. We’ve all been there. But what’s the long-term solution?

Don’t forget, a rooster who thinks that you’re a fellow rooster is mistaken! And by fighting him, you are not only participating in his delusion, you’re reinforcing it. First he was convincing you, and now you’re convincing him.

Suppose you win. What’s the payoff? The glory of vanquishing an eight-pound bird? Sort of a foregone conclusion, wasn’t it? And what is all this fighting going to look like to the neighbors? Are you sure you can explain it to your kids … or the cops?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Thoughs on "stuff"

Why is it that our mindset is based on the accumulation, personification and the inevitable sentimentality of stuff? I have been reading a Blog lately called "Wet Fly Dry", which is a really great attempt on the writers part to re-evaluate the need for stuff, and basically sells everything that won't fit into his truck and any unessential fishing gear, and is about to embark on a journey of a lifetime, one that is unencumbered by work, equity, furniture, object, real estate and the like. His words really allow one to process what it would actually be like to go through this purge because he is doing it...or rather I assume he is. I think about this idea of stuff more because I am a generator of it, and funny that this post is on Earth Day. I make things. I love to make things. I make pots, I make fishing paraphernalia, I have made two wonderful and amazing children (with the help of my wonderful and amazing wife) who hopefully will one day grow up and change the world. I love the idea of people living with and using things that I have made to effect their daily activities.
I think that the human people on some level, be it genetic/physiological, social, cultural or whatever, need stuff...and it's funny that that idea bothers me, because I am adding to the stuff. It's amazing how over the course of our lives we accumulate so much stuff. It's like the remnants of life's existences swept into the corners of our memories, all attached to some tangible thing. I am a month out from having to move a life's worth of stuff with my mother, all of which is so connected with her life, or more importantly her life with my Dad. These things are the embodiment of close to twenty four years of living in a house. But I guess the thing that I find so interesting is how the memory overpowers the object. They become one.
Hopefully I will be able to purge the unnecessary, hold on to the important, and find the things that need to remain on a lot of levels both mental and physical. I will never stop making and I embrace that. I am a crafts person, and the only way to be good at something is to do it, repeatedly, until it is right. And even then when it's perfect, I'll do it again. Happy Earth Day and hopefully everyone can find a way to simplify.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Short Hiatus...

So it seems as though I have been taking a bit of a hiatus from the blogging thing lately, and it's funny that I feel a little bad about it. Can't say as I haven't had a lack of things going on, but it is amazing how little spare time there is in the day right now. It is the end of the semester and that takes a bit of time to prep and get organized for, but I think my schedule is not conducive to spare time this semester. Teaching until nine four days out of the week seems to take a bit of energy out of the equation. Even more frustrating than not being able to keep on the virtual world is not being able to find much studio time. I have some things I really need to get done, not to mention some of the things I would like to develop and work on. Two weeks left in the semester and time will be on my side once again...I hope. This weekend was good in some respects and strange in others. I feel like this has been more of a fishing blog lately, which isn't a problem at all, but I have been able to fit in some of these things in between naps and bed times and early mornings.
I have had this old bamboo rod that I picked up in an antique shop somewhere, and it was in pretty rough shape, put had a feeling that it would make a pretty nice small stream rod. Well I finally started reconditioning and altering it a bit from it's earlier form, and I am really exited about how it is turning out. I made a simple cork ring clamp to clamp up the grip on saturday and got the rings all reamed out and glued up. The alterations on this rod mainly is the fact that I am only using the top two sections of the rod, taking it from a nine foot three piece to a six foot two piece, and from feeling it before stripping it down it had the feel and spring of a stiff 3/4 weight or a soft 4/5 weight.
Two summers ago on a trip to fish the Battenkill river and others around the Manchester Vermont area, we also coincided with the American Museum of Flyfishing summer festival. We came across a guy that I think was making rods called "Yoshida Rods". He was making Bamboo rods out of Japanese bamboo, or Madake, instead of the standard Tonkin cane and they were phenomenal. They were small, light, beautifully made and cast farther than any graphite rod of the same line weight that I had cast before. So in putting this rod together I decided to take a couple of ques from a couple of my favorite rods. The first was the reel seat from my Orvis one weight with the cork and double ring slide bands. Nice and simple. I also came across this one on one of those small bamboo rods and thought it would fit. Simplicity but class and the color of the bamboo wouldn't compete with or be competed with by an exotic insert in the reel set. And the little flash of nickel silver wasn't too bad either.
I then shaped the grip to a simple fat cigar shape, that is about five or so inches long, which was a new experience for me and am really pleased with how it came out and by how it feels when held. I can't wait to see how it handles a couple of casts. I'll post more pictures and words on the project as it develops, and would love to hear from anyone who might have any comments.

Thursday, April 8, 2010


This is a always a strangely glorious time of the year, riddled with frustrations and exitement. This is the time in the semester when things begin to heat up to tail out at the college. Projects in full swing, students stressed out, me pulling triple/quadruple office hours to put out all of the fires. Things are changing. Trees are budding and the fish are waking up, not to mention the studio ideas that are mounting on paper and in my head that aren't happening because of the never ending list of things that crucially need to get done, now that spring is here. The chickens are already beginning to get their wing and rump feathers...need to get on that coop building project. The hops are beginning to grow and I can already tell that they are just primed to explode when they reach the top of their climbing poles. I can already taste the end of summer pale ales that will be a reward to the harvest of bitter flowers. My brother in law leaves for Afghanistan in two days for another twelve months in one of the most unstable regions in the world. I can't understand how someone mentally prepares for that type of thing. To be faced with the prospect of leaving a wife and two kids, just to be faced with the idea of what is taking place there...double whammy if you ask me. I never have agreed with what is going on around the world and our involvement in military conflict, but ask him and it's a job much in the same way I have a job teaching college students how to make things out of clay. Not sure if I agree with him but I will hope every day that he comes home safe. I just hope that my teachings of art teach more people to be peaceful makers instead of angry souls. Soon it will be time to paint the house and roll out the grill and spend more time with the kids and I love that idea. Although I will relish every day of watching new growth popping out of the ground and smile as the landscape slowly grows chartreuse. I will also soon be watching mayflies and caddis being quietly sipped by frisky trout and hopefully I will fool them with my illusions of bugs floated over their noses. All of these things are dancing around in my head making me jump from one thing to another, thinking about the planning of another friday and another weekend of to do's. Tomorrow is not just any Friday though, it is the beginning of a new chapter in the lives of two wonderful craft galleries. One of which is eighteen years old and the other is less than a year, but they are joining spaces as one space and spending the next year or more enjoying what develops. Imagine and Imagine that in Skaneateles NY will have the grand re-opening party which as with any Panzarella/Randall party, it wont disapoint. The usual suspects (the old time band) as well as the usual people suspects will be there, and the art will be in full swing. It will be great to develop the ceramic representation that we are working on into something that will be deeper and richer and excite people with pots as well as other hand craft. Karen Thomas-Lillie will be exhibiting work and the paintings are not to be missed. Thanks for all who read these posts and I hope that your Springs are springing where ever you are and that the energy of growth and change is engaging all of you in whatever way you see fit.


Sunday, April 4, 2010

The chickens have come home to roost!

Well, we have taken the first steps towards our small gentlemans farm here in our little piece of the village in Tully NY. I went down to pick up the newly arrived chicks, ready to bring them home and get them set up in the studio. I laugh because Linda Arbuckle always kept her chicks in the studio in the brooding box to get them big and strong. They seem to be a happy bunch, already eating and drinking and running around the box. I got them home after Aurora was already in bed, and it is super exiting thinking about taking her out to the studio tomorrow to let her check them out. She has been clucking lately in preparation for them to arrive. Too bad she is only two or I would have her helping me build the coop. We got four Rhode Island Reds which are good for laying (actually we ended up with five), four Black Australorps, and three Araucanas. The first two are great layers and the Araucanas lay nice bluish green eggs so there is a bit of variety. This will be the first of many posts I'm sure of the development of our little clutch of hens. I'll have to get used to sharing the studio again, but the peep of little chickens will be fun as I am out there working. I'll put up the advance signup list for egg takers. We will definitely be eating a bunch of eggs before too long. Cheers!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Pictures from the Yellow Breeches

I told you that that rod was bent right over! Thanks Bean for the photos.