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Friday, July 30, 2010

Bass and 'Boo and a good old fashioned fish yarn.

Not all together glamorous, but this fat little bass found it's way to the other end of my fly line yesterday afternoon. It has been so hot lately and the amount of time I have to catch fish has been slight and slim lately that I have been visiting the family pond lately for a quick tug. I've also been having such fun fishing this bamboo rod that I recently built that I cant seem to even break it down to put it away. Such a great little rod at 6 foot. I got really great satisfaction when I first caught a fish on a fly of my tying, and the experience of catching a fish on a self built rod it tenfold. I also love the fact that it was this neglected antique bamboo rod that needed a bit of modification that has been brought back to new life. Super satisfying for sure.

I am going to share a fish story now. I know that these sorts of things are sometimes hard to believe, and the myth is that the fish get bigger the longer the time from the event, but I am going to tell this because it is an awesome story. Not only was it awesome when it happened the first time, but it was even more awesome when it happened not just once, but twice this last trip to the family pond. So here goes...and remember that this story is 100% true.

My wife's family has a great place located in the rural hills of Tully NY, about 30 minuets south of Syracuse. The property is about seven acres or so plush with a great garden, the place where Sarah and I were married, room for the kids to run and someday will be our home and the potential place for a small gentleman's farm that Sarah and I dream about not to mention the studio/pottery where we will get all of our work done. The other thing that the property has is a great pond equipped with zip-line, swim dock and a plethora of hungry Bass that have been thriving for over fifteen years. Deep within the depths of this pond (calculated to be about 8 - 9 feet at the deepest) is at least 1 monster Bass. No I don't tend to go out searching for bass in my pursuit of fish species. But this pond is a place that one can go when they have been skunked on local waters by wily trout, in order to regain a bit of self respect and feel an end of the day tug on the line. This was a day that the kids were sleeping after a morning of play and swim, and the rod was rigged and in the car. Why not.

Now I'll flash back a few years to the start of the story proper and my first encounter with the aforementioned fish. I was fishing one afternoon with a one weight rod and little micro poppers and had brought several small six inch or so sized bass to hand but nothing larger than that. There are a number of larger fish in the pond, and occasionally the will take, but they have smartened up over the years. And a six to eight inch fish on a one weight is a pretty enjoyable time so I kept on fishing. Another cast and another small fish...but this is when it gets good. As I was letting the fish play a bit as I was stripping it in, and all of a sudden my rod doubled over and line started pulling back out and even started taking line from the reel. My eyes got big and had no idea what was going on but whatever it was it was big. So I managed to get a handle on things and started working line back in and managed to make it to the butt end of the leader, and as I looked down into the water I saw the nose of a pretty heafty bass look up at its giant mouth...and spit out the small 5 inch bass intact with my fly still stuck in it's lip. The bass-a-gator turned and swam back don to the depths of the pond. I would probably venture to say that it was 14 - 16 inches and as big around as my calf. I know that the water's surface refracts light and changes how we perceive things, but I would say that was a conservative estimate.

Fast forward to this past weekend. I am standing at the same pond, different rod (the new old bamboo) and different flies but the same mentality. I am looking to get a hold of a few sure thing fish and call it a day. On the fourth or so cast and the second fish, as I am bringing it close to shore, there is a boil at the surface, the line goes tight and then nothing. Whatever it was it snapped me off and now has a bit of jewelry in his lip. Re-rig, another cast, another fish, another boil. My line goes tight and I play the fish and then BANG! The wake from the fish was huge, the tine goes tight and then SNAP! Second fly gone along with the second sacrificed fish. I caught a couple more fish with no more sightings of the loch-ness basster but he is in there. Some day I will find him and I look forward to the event with relish. Soon...very soon. Besides, how long can a fish with no other predators in the water live? I figure I have a number of years to be able to shoot for him.

It was an awesome day, and I can't believe that the experience would repeat its self not only twice, but three times.

"Drink" upcomming show at Roswell Art Center West.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Aurora in the studio!

The Bogstompers had their local debut this past weekend, and were met with good response from those in attendance. The show was on a monday which was tough for a lot of people, but the turnout was good. Nothing like a small town to be able to drum up enough people to come out and enjoy some old time music. For all of those that missed the show we will be playing on August 13th at Kellish Hill Farm in Manlius NY. Not sure of the billing or the time as of yet, but keep it on your calendars so you wont miss it. I'll send out reminders as the time gets closer. I'd love to see everyone and have you give a little feedback. We have a great time and all of the tunes are nice foot stompers. Stay tuned to the launch of our myspace page and soon you can all be friends/fans on facebook. Nothing like a little social networking to provide free publicity and visibility.

The studio has been cranking and I keep getting invites for shows. I feel like at some point I will need to say No just so I am able to get things finished, but for now it is keeping me busy and the ideas are new and the forms are fresh. I also go notice last week that a piece was selected to be included in the 2010 Strictly Functional Exhibition in Lancaster PA which is a great show. It's always nice to have a piece in that show as it has great visibility. Aurora has been showing her interest in making things lately and has spent two consecutive days asking to come out and work in the studio with us. She has been carving a tile of clay over and over and she loves it. It's also been fun being able to work while she is occupied and I can keep an eye on her. The picture above was taken the other day with one of the new vase forms that I have been working on seen in the foreground. Today was spent sigging the pots to get color on them in order to go into a bisque.
Well, the end of the day has come and all of the pots are in the kiln. Time for some well needed rest, and to get up and fire some pots and start the process all over.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Encore!: Upcoming Show at Baltimore Clayworks

If any of you are in the area for this show, it will be a good one. Baltimore Clayworks has always been a steady as far as great exhibitions as well as outstanding support to the local community of Baltimore as well as the clay community as a whole. Check them out if you are not familiar, and go see the show if you are able. Support handcraft!


August 14th – September 25th, 2010
Opening: August 14th, 6-8

Baltimore Clayworks is proud to host Encore! an exhibition celebrating thirty years of bringing clay to the Baltimore community and beyond. This exhibition runs August 14th – September 25th, 2010 with an opening reception on Saturday, August 14th, from 6 to 8 pm. Admission is free.

This exhibition will feature artists who have been an integral part of our legacy and advanced our mission of showcasing outstanding ceramic art. They are part of an elite group who have supported and strengthened our artist-centered community that promotes the best of established and emerging ceramic art.

Invited Artists: Doug Baldwin (MT), Jason Briggs (TN), Ben Carter (FL), Doug Casebeer (CO), Linda Christianson (MN), Richard Cleaver (MD), Michael Corney (NM), Patrick Coughlin (NY), Kevin Crowe (VA), Malcolm Davis (DC), Bruce Dehnert (NJ), Paul Dresang (IL), Lynn Duryea (NC), Melody Ellis (IL), Shanna Fliegel (MT), Debra Fritts (GA), Krista Grecco (GA), Giselle Hicks (NY), Rick Hirsh (NY), Bryan Hopkins (NY), Nick Joerling (NC), Peter Karner (CO), Reena Kashyap (NY), Matt Kelleher (NC), Kristen Kieffer (MA), Jeff Kleckner (PA), Maren Kloppmann (MN), Stephanie Lanter (KS), HeeSeung Lee (PA), Suze Lindsay (NC), David MacDonald (NY), Linda McFarling (NC), Kent McLaughlin (NC), Laura Jean McLaughlin (PA), Brooke Noble (NY), Richard Notkin (MT), Jill Oberman (IL), Lisa Orr (TX), Sarah Panzarella (NY), Brenda Quinn (NY), Jeremy Randall (NY), Allison Rednour (OH), Justin Rothshank (IN), Frank Saliani (NY), Brad Schweiger (OH), Virginia Scotchie (SC), Andy Shaw (LA), Nancy Selvin (CA), Eric Seritella (NY), Tim Sherman (MD), Debbie Sigel (PA), Linda Sikora (NY), Gertrude Smith (NC), Bill Stewart (NY), Shoko Teruyama (NC), Bill Van Gilder (MD).

September 12-25, Solo Gallery: Baltimore Collects
An exhibition of distinctive art pieces donated by contemporary artists and collectors. Artwork will be available for purchase at the Collector’s Dinner and Auction on Friday, September 24, 2010. Tickets available by calling 410 578 1919 ext 17.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

My new favorite tune.

As I was going through some recent recordings, this caught my ear and was happy that I had grabbed it on the recorder. This is a tune called Stinsons #2 and we jammed with Rachel Eddy and Kristian Herner the night before their Kellish Farm show. This was a great night and so many tunes were played. This was the first tune played that night, and it is one of the things that I love about old time music. The group assembled had never played with each other all together before, but the first tune out we clicked and it set the tone for the night. Stellar people and a great time.

The assembled were: Rachel Eddy, fiddle; Dave Karam, fiddle; Joe Trudeau, fiddle and mandolin; Andrea Asperelli, fiddle; Joan Meitz, fiddle and vocals; Kristian Herner, banjo; Jeremy (myself) Randall, banjo; Jason Borisoff, guitar; Rick Mason, Guitar; Dave Rybinski, Bass.

Enjoy, and as I go through these files and convert them I'll post more for you. This tune is great.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Pond Creek Bogstompers

For all of you out there that love old time is official. We have started a band and are ready to take the small world of Old Time music by storm. Well, maybe not, but we really are a band with real practices and everything (keep posted for the upcoming CD release and T-Shirts at gigs...hahahah) . We even have our first gig booked for the 26th of July here in Tully at the Tully Community Church. They have a coffee house type of venue during the summer and we were asked to play. We will be playing with the Salt Potatoes, a killer folk/swing band form Syracuse. The Pond Creek Bogstompers are myself on Banjo, Joe Trudeau on fiddle and mandolin, Jason Borisoff on Guitar, and Joan Meitz on vocals. We play old time music solely, and we love to play some of the more obscure tunes from Appalachia and the surrounding areas. We also have the possibility of potentially playing in Saranac Lake this summer, and an idle pass at playing in Burlington. Could be awesome. And after making $100 busking in front of Imagine in Skaneateles for their 1st friday opening (we were employed for the evening and it is my wife and father in law's gallery) we will probably be out there again for August.

The music has been happening a lot lately and I love it. It's been a while since my fingers hurt from playing and I played more than once a month. The last few weeks have been at least once a week if not a couple of times which has been fun. Our weekly practice session this past week turned into a great Jam that included Rachel Eddy and Kristian Herner and was awesome.
There were a lot of tunes played that night, and the best part was that there wasn't a tune that came up that we didn't all know. There were a number of them that really rocked, and a couple of really sweetly played tunes like "Lazy John" and the following version of "Cotton Eyed Joe".

This is the best version of the tune that I have heard, although not all that different from the standard version which I also really like to play and is one that we pull out every so often in Jams. Now, these are very different from the techno version usually played at weddings and such. I'll stick with the old time, thank you. Come check us out at The Tully Community Church, Meetinghouse Road, Tully NY 13159 on the 26th of July if you are in the area. Bring your Boogie shoes.
It has been a super busy week around here with family and studio happening full speed. Aurora and Jasper had great visits with great grandparents which is such a treat. We took the trip to long island to see Sarah's side of the fam, and then came back to spend some time with my side. My 93 year old Grandmother and Aunt (not at all close to 93) drove across the country to come visit for a few weeks which was outstanding. It's always great to see them, but is hard with little ones to have them away for so long. Las Vegas is a bit of a trip to make often, and the kids grow so fast.
Jasper, Aurora and Great Nana

The studio has been rocking, and work went out for the Motley Moxie show in West Palm Beach at the Armory Art Center that opens this Friday. Any of you in the area should go check it out as there is a great list of participants, all of which have ties to the University of Florida. Pavel Amromin, Renee Audette, Andrew Cho, Lynn Duryea, Magda Gluszek, Yumiko Goto, Holly Hannassain, Tammy Marinuzzi, Connor McKissack, Beau Raymond, Shawn Rommevaux, and Alyssa Welch will all be in the show. Should be an interesting assembly of work...too bad I can't take a road trip and head on down.

Some new forms have been coming out of the studio lately, and I am fairly pleased with them so far. I seem to have figured out the sig problems I have been having and the last batch looked great. I have also introduced a new slip which has a dryer surface and looks really nice with a layer or two of stain over it. When it rains it pours and right now the electric kiln is loaded and ready to fire, the test kiln is firing a couple of small cups for a show at Roswell Art Center West, north of Atlanta, and the soda kiln is full bore, soda in and about 45 minutes away from being ready to shut off. Slabs are drying and will be ready to get back to making tomorrow for the next batch. Have a good night out there, there is a beer with my name on it in the fridge which will be great after this long HOT day.