USA Slipware Tour Volume I

So here I am back at home in a stunningly sunny Galloway. When I left the mornings were thick with frost and the daffs were just about ready to burst out with their glowing yellow that marks getting through another winter. I’ve been away for what feels in some ways like a lifetime and in others like I just had a really good dream. I keep having to pinch myself. It’s made more real by reading all the blog posts from fellow bloggers that have written about meeting me and Doug along the trip or about the workshops that we gave. The response has been wonderful, I am so pleased that so many people seemed to really enjoy the workshops that we gave.

The Cape Cod installment was spent in the wonderfully warm and welcoming home of Hollis and Dee Engley. Hollis collected us from the airport and drove us to the Cape in a highly amused / bemused state at our gasps of wonder and awe at the fact that everyone was driving on the wrong side of the road and not crashing, that the school buses are just like they are on the Simpsons, and our regular break downs into fits of giggles at the fact that we actually were in America. Dee found her Silver Jubilee tea towel to hang outside the house in our honour.

Hollis’s beautiful little gallery out in the garden behind the house. He had a whole stack of lovely pots and more upstairs in the newly decorated gallery space AKA Doug’s bedroom. Most of those upstairs I think were ready to head off to his “The Potter and The Painter” show. Hollis and Dee are in a beautiful area, lots of trees and pretty quiet, I slept really well there and that’s from a girl who doesn’t often sleep well and generally even worse when in a strange place. The pair of us though were fairly exhausted after the run up to traveling, trying to get a million and one things ready, you know how it is, working up to the last minute. Then there was the jet lag issue that seemed to attack us at about 3pm each day and knock us for six.

I think for a while we had poor Hollis a bit worried. Not intentionally. I am known for my ability to flap and worry and Mr Fitch I think is made from the same worrying mould. We kept putting off and putting off pricing our pots in dollars and then the day before the workshop both of us ended up sleeping away the afternoon. I certainly was just utterly exhausted and worrying about the workshop and Doug had a bad head – some say it was a migraine, some say that Hollis’s whiskey the evening before may have added to the trouble, who am I to say?

PG Tips available in your local supermarket in the “ethnic” section. Highly amusing to the Brits in the party.

Lovely big lake near Hollis’s house. It was a warm sunny day when we were here and I was sorely tempted to take a dip but ended up just paddling instead which I think you’ve probably seen pictures of already.

On the thursday evening Hollis and Dee hosted a party and lots of their friends and fellow potters come along to welcome us. The star of the show though was this very fine chocolate and black berry cake, heavenly! Made by Tessa Morgan who is also a potter not far from Hollis who we’d popped in to visit the first day we were there.

We also were lucky enough to be able to visit Ron Geering who was himself visiting the Lake District (I can see the Lake District on a clear day from that lovely hill near my house). He had told Hollis where the key was though so we could pop in and ogle his intricate sgraffito. We also visited Gail Turner and a host of others too, we dined at Hyannis with the softball crew, popped in on Kim Madeiros to borrow a gas torch for Doug, watched ospreys nesting, sorted out the technical things with film showing at the high school and saw the fab ceramics set up there where the workshop was to be. Ann and Jim’s place was another stop, the lovely Ann is a potter too and came to the workshop and Jim has a machine workshop that is out of this world.

The workshop went ok, I was stupid nervous before hand as per usual but it helped having someone else alongside me, it lessens the load somewhat. I think we got into a good routine too, it became a bit of a performance, we’d give each other a bit of grief and take the mickey a little and then there was the his and hers gas burner amusement. It was good to have something else going on too while you were doing something less than exciting. We had made wee videos of where we live and our workshops and families etc so they were a lovely way to start the weekends and give people a taste of where we are from. The responses from the weekends has been phenomenal, I am thrilled and flattered and will treasure some of those comments for ever.
Sporting our Falmouth High School sweatshirts here we are after the end of the first workshop, great beams of relief probably issuing from us.

The institution that is morning coffee with Hollis and his gang of mainly merry women. Every morning, bright and early down to the coffee shop, hand made mug in hand for coffee (tea for the Brits) and much chat and amusement and Janet’s cakes. Hi Janet! The first morning it was an apple tart, melt in the mouth full of butter and deliciousness, the day we
left (the blurry picture above, sorry) was a chocolate pecan tart thing which again was to die for. What a gang they were in Coffee Obsession, unfortunately I am not sure whether they have taken Hollis’s comments about my dancing on tables after a whiskey or two with the pinch of salt they deserved. Hmmm. I may have earned a reputation in Cape Cod.
Thank you to all those on the Cape, I would love to come back one day and visit for a holiday, there’s lots of sea that I didn’t get to swim in that I would love to. I’d love to show Paul the place too. Oh and the lovely little Cleo cat, hmmm, what a sweetie.

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5 Responses to USA Slipware Tour Volume I

  1. Ron says:

    Wonderful recap Hannah.

  2. Dennis Allen says:

    Thanks for posting.

  3. Paul Jessop says:

    Sound like you guys had a ball. eagerly awaiting the next installment.it would make a good article for ceramic review.

  4. Dan Finnegan says:

    Excellent reporting, Hannah! …m-m-m-m-baked goods at the coffee shop!

  5. Peter says:

    Just lovely being able to follow the progress of your tour through the States. (As you know, I planned to get there myself last year, but didn't make it… so it is extra special for me just to catch a glimpse). You met some terrific people and the workshops that you two did will have brought a great deal of pleasure to everyone that attended. Looks like potters and their followers are great cooks too! Yummy food! Guess that you will be trying to get back into work again, and to catch up with things. Enjoy those spring flowers and warm bursts of Scottish sunshine! P

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