April 18, 2011

Spring morning in Tye River, Virginia.  Sun just up and my wife Linda out the door.  Ron Philbeck, a potter from Shelby, NC arrived last night and is still sleeping upstairs.  Ron is here to rendezvous with Dan Finnegan and three visiting potters Dan hosted at his Libertytown Arts Center, where they gave a workshop on English slipware.  The presenters were Doug Fitch- Devon England, Hannah McAndrew- Scotland, and Angela Walford- South Australia.  They’ll arrive for lunch and then be carried by Ron to Seagrove, NC to continue their rapid immersion in American clay culture.

Meeting Ron for the first time last night, we turned over the many issues potters everywhere chew on, including blogs; of which I am both ignorant and skeptical.  I found Ron so good-natured and informed and up to his hips in the blogosphere that my skepticism softened.

Later in the morning, my apprentices, Lisa York and Susannah Goodman, arrived and we began prepping the workshop for 3 days of wadding.  Ron pitched in and raised the bar for wadding conversation.

I invited Nan Rothwell, old friend and fellow potter, to the impromptu gathering.  Lunch was 3 hours of food, tea and talk of all things clay. Doug, Hannah and Angela proved to be the best of company; engaging, curious and open.  While standing in my workshop, Doug mentioned that he’d never seen a hummingbird, just as the first one of the season landed on the window feeder.   Doug motioned for Angela and Hannah to join him and there they were – three potters having just crossed an ocean, mesmerized by this tiny bird, just arrived from Panama, staring at them.  Good as it gets.

After kiln talk and trading tales and pots, Ron herded his charges for the haul South.  Dan said his reluctant farewells and then they were gone.  The workshop suddenly quiet.  I felt a tribal connection to those potters I may never see again.  Grace.

We put dishes and teapot away and returned to our wadding; touched and changed by the intimacy of this community of makers.  I recall Ron telling me that the English Slipware event was made possible by their blogging relationship.  If blogging is capable of making afternoons like this possible – I’m in.    Peace,  Kevin Crowe


About kevincrowepottery

I am a wood-fired potter and live in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains near the Tye River.
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13 Responses to April 18, 2011

  1. Grace Lynt says:

    Welcome to the blogosphere Kevin! 🙂

  2. Michael Pappas says:

    This is great! The blogosphere is a better place for your presence.

    • lindalcrowe@hotmail.com says:

      Mike…Linda .along with prompting from you and others…convinced me that the blog is a valuable tool to keep the soup stirred. Its good to be eating with you.. Peace, Kevin

  3. Fran says:

    Thanks, Kevin.

  4. Krista Loomans says:

    Oh, my, how I miss Tye River Pottery, the tea and conversation, the music, and the dogwood blossoms of the Virginia spring. We just finished a 7-day firing with Ken Bichell… very good. Except for the snow. Unloading on April 30. Ron Philbeck has several fans in our community! Joe and Christy Cole and Aaron Weaver and I all love his work! Happy firing, Kevin! Happy wadding, apprenti!

    • lindalcrowe@hotmail.com says:

      krista….you left a big footprint for others to follow…firing was perfect, glad Ken was there to lay down ash and drop the cones….you were due a good firing with a fine team….keep the faith…Kevin

  5. Kevin,
    I can hear your voice as you write, and love the sounds. Keep up the writing as time allows. Ron is an old friend and I was sad not to participate and meet his fellow slipware friends.
    8th firing in a week; they keep getting better as I slowly learn the ropes…
    All the best,

    • lindalcrowe@hotmail.com says:

      David….Just paddled the Potomac with KIrk , Linda and my uncle Leo…..just us, osprey, bald eagles and herons and the stillness of the “ghost ships”…..back to Patty’s kitchen and tea out of one of your bowls….put my feet up and there you were. keep the faith..Kevin

  6. Hannah says:

    Hi Kevin,
    Fabulous to meet you the other week, thank you for sharing so much of your time with us. My jug of yours has safely crossed the Atlantic and is now sitting on my kitchen table with the bundle of acquisitions that I brought home with me, I love it.
    Thanks again for showing us your place, it was wonderful.
    best wishes,

    • lindalcrowe@hotmail.com says:

      Hannah..it was a gift to cross paths with you on the collective journey we are all making. Your pitcher gets a lot of use and attention and carries an interesting tale to tell as a bonus. Keep the faith, keep in touch….Kevin

  7. Ron Philbeck says:

    Just learned from Hannah that you had made this post. I look forward to future installments from you here. It was really delightful being at your pottery and home and spending time w. you and Linda the evening before the others arrived. Thanks again. See you soon,

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