Sunday, February 18, 2007

Houseblogging Small Group Discussion

We are here in the Magnolia Lounge for the blogging small group discussion. The view is nice.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Visiting the Ephraim Faience Pottery Booth

We made our annual visit to the Ephraim Faience Pottery booth yesterday. This is our favorite contemporary pottery studio. They have about 6 crafts people hand throwing, decorating and glazing all the pottery. It is stylized designs that are made in limited editions. They seem to have put a considerable amount of work into recreating the look of the old glazes and derivatives of old forms by Grueby et al.

In the second picture Kevin Hicks (pottery founder and head potter) is answering questions as people make their purchases. What is great is that a majority of the people at the pottery come to the conference and they have lots of variety to choose from along with some limited edition pieces.

This year Stephanie and I went crazy and each purchased a piece of pottery. Mine is the Star Fern with a great molted green glaze. Stephanie's was green with a yellow glaze around the top.

During the morning talk by Martin Eidelberg, a Emeritus Professor of Art History at Rutgers, he talked about the factory type production of pottery in the Arts and Crafts movement of the 1890's to 1920's and how the companies would make it look like they had craftsmen who would pursue their artistic freedom, but instead many firms would set up assembly lines where one person would throw (or even cast) the piece and another would apply details and another would glaze it. The idea was to have items that looked like they were individual pieces of art but with exacting consistency as far as the form and color go.

I think Ephraim Faience Pottery is a production shop but they allow its artists to pursue forms and designs that they like while still keeping a decent consistent quality product. As an example, a few years ago the company stopped producing art tiles when their potter who did the tiles did not want to make tiles anymore. So the company stopped offering tiles even though they were popular and I guess added to the bottom line. They could have easily had one of the other artists do the tiles.

Stoking the fire at the Grove Park Inn

As the weather stays cold in the mountains they are continuing to keep the fire stoked in the main hall. With the last round of wood put on there was a round of applause.

Friday, February 16, 2007

GPI 07 - Bloggin' next to the fire in the main room

We made it to the Grove Park Inn and the 20th Annual Arts and Crafts Conference last night after a long trip. It was supposed to be a 3.5 hr drive from Chapel Hill and we decided at the last minute to come one night early. Stephanie called and secured the room and all was set. The only problem was that I was in NYC for a conference Monday through Wednesday and my flight Wednesday night was cancelled. They offered to rebook the flight for Saturday evening. Normally it would not be a problem to spend a few extra nights enjoying NYC but we needed to head for the hills, or the mountains the the case may be.

After a night in a hotel next to Penn Station my coworker and I took a slow train back to North Carolina and after about 10 hrs on an overbooked train we got in around 7PM last night.

When Stephanie and I got to the GPI around 10:30 we were very surprised to find out that we got a room in the elusive main inn. It is the original section that has original figures and furniture by Elbert Hubbard and the Roycrofters. To be fully transparent, some of the case work was made by the White furniture company in North Carolina and then the Roycrofters applied their hardware.

There are only 150 rooms in the old section and they tend to be difficult to get. We figured out that it had to do something with us leading a small group discussion on Houseblogging on Sunday. Thanks Bruce!!!

As I type this entry they just stoked the fire and put some more logs on it. It is an enourmous fireplace with an opening that is 6 ft tall and about 12 ft wide. There is no better way to spend a "cold" afternoon or evening in the mountains.

Well it is time to plan the remainder of the day and figure out which sessions to go to. Feel free to leave me a comment if there is something that you would like us to cover over the next few days as we roam the place with computer and camera in hand.

Joel and Stephanie

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

A clean MRI and a whack of logs.....

Stephanie finished 24 weeks of chemo last Tuesday and had a final MRI on Wednesday and a few days ago we got the results back. The report came back clean. Yes that is correct .... clean. We are so blessed and it is an answer to prayers. In one sense it has been one bad fall and winter but we also have learned how we are blessed with friends and family .... and incredible network of support.

If you can see from this picture and the one from the previous one that Steph has a full head of hair, while it is short it is full.

Okay, since this is a house blog we need some building content.

We fired up the sawmill and Coleman has been cutting wood the past few days while I am at work. He cut 2000 linear feet of 1x4's for a friends roofing project. It was a great way for him to get him back into the swing of things after about 4 months away from the mill.

The night of our good news about the MRI we decided to get the ball rolling regarding our proposed pole barn to store all of our junk under including the pair of pickup trucks and tractors. It is amazing the "tools" you accumulate when building a house. I started drawing the 4 pages of plans using Powerpoint around 8 PM and submitted them to the county building department the next morning. It was a lot easier process the second time around. We should break ground in a week or two. It is going to be 36x46 feet. Nothing fancy, just pressure treated 6x6's and pre-fab trusses.

The big news today is that the log ferry left us a present today. I got home from work and we had 24 logs in three nice piles. The large tree is a red oak in four or five 8.5 ft sections. It was about 36 to 40 inches on the the butt end. The logs are knott free. There are also smaller white oak and elms.

Well the log ferry actually was Ed M., our good friend who has been helping us along the way as we built our house. He is 80+ years old, still runs equipment, and knows a thing or two about everything.

This should provide us with a few days of milling and some nice quarter sawn oak.

Thanks Ed.

P.S. He has another lot to clear shortly and we should be getting another whack of logs. Bring em' on!!!

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