“Linda, it is a SUGAR bowl.”
“So what would you use it for?” I asked her looking at the $40+ price tag.
“Uhhhhh…..” She gave the little one shoulder shrug, “Sugar?”
“And the last time you used a ‘sugar’ bowl?”
“well…ug….it’s really pretty.” I stared her down and she said, “A few years, okay!”
I had to see this bowl (bottom right) which she went on and on about when I had given her money to go and buy some pottery from Katy Fogg of Living Earth Pottery at the James Bay Market. She had bought stoneware vases and a small vinegar dispenser. I still ask her, as she takes it out to admire it, what she was planning to use that for. Spending spree was one of the gifts I gave her for her birthday. But it seemed that Katy had more pottery Linda wanted to buy than she had money. Katy had used the winter to make lots of new and nice mugs, vases, decanters, plates in a variety of colours: lots of new and wonderful things like the milk jug pictured below.
The two vases, blue and green in the original picture above were newly shown this week and only because it was a cloudy day did they not sparkle (like the milky way, when in the sun or the right indoor lights) with the iron and other crystals in the entire body of the vase. The tops of the vases are coloured by geodes of Willemite (made of silca and zinc and grown through 16 hours of 1000+ centigrade heat. The top of the milk jug uses a glaze of Rust Crystals which during the 14 hour constant heat firing turns into different colours and strands flowing slowly over the surface.
After travelling around Europe and driving down to San Diego, I realized that Victoria has so many artists that those here are under appreciated. I write this after having my Amarillo and brandy in cherry heated over my vanilla ice cream, another mix by Whimsical Jams ($5 a jar, and make diabetic flavors on demand – hand picked organic berries) picked up at the same market.
I had tried for a month before I could get out to see Katy Fogg, because the Market only runs in the summer and I wanted Linda to have the largest selection of choices she could. Towards the end of summer tourists and locals, find buying a $20 stoneware mug pictured below crafted with clay from Medicine Hat Alberta and Northern California is better than one from ‘tourist alley’ at the same price. Katy uses local beeswax (Salt Spring?) in the glazing, all of which are non-toxic. They are durable for oven, dishwasher and microwave (not the iron ones please!). Remember these pictures do not show how beautiful they are, due to poor lighting. The large pieces and vases are the kind we saw in Oregon and California for two and three times the price (or in Laguna Beach for five to ten times the price) without the elegant and functional ‘cool’. Much less the durability of being used and washed by different care workers daily.
Essentially there are so many good artists, organic growers that we are spoiled an used to seeing eight pottery artists on a Saturday. For me, I am exacting. I need pottery which is like a swiss knife, a waterman fountain, a Thermarest or Danner Boots: it needs to be always work, it needs to be something made beyond profit: functional obsession. In pottery that means Good clean throws that are consistent and easy to use. To find someone who has spent 14 years going beyond that, adding the beauty but keeping the basic form and firing which made Stoneware so popular in the 18th century and sells them for $12-75 is astounding.
Before I was ill, I slept on the floor because of the scoliosis (using lung pressure to stop my spine from locking while sleeping) using only the Therma-rest lite. I used Therma-rest for over 14 straight years. Every night for over 5,000 nights whether camping, in open air, in bedrooms. And if it failed, they replaced it (the lite didn’t fail, through it did fray in fabric after 9 years so they replaced it free). And that’s what I experience in Kate’s work. And that's why I keep coming back.
With the summer here the flower and organic food sellers had come out with stalls. Linda and I we picked up some basil for the small window garden we are going to try. We also saw Laura Victoria who does handcarved and handsculpted soap (all soaps without artificial perfumes for those sensitive or with skin conditions) had created a new flavor, the lime. It was delicious in scent. Laura-Victoria has been making soap for 28 years. Linda took a lemon of hers into work, to help create a nice aroma in her new office (those who work with her couldn’t believe it was soap, actual all natural, hand-milled soap). I got some bars to send out as presents.
Linda’s work? Well, while it doesn’t quite cover the costs it does have some advantages like going off to check out a light-house. Linda works with the Islands Trust, the go-to person for asking questions about the 400+ islands in the ‘Inland Passage’, the space between Vancouver Island and the Mainland (and 400+ is only half way up the island). So if you want to clear trees, you have to apply (someone clear-cut too many trees against regulations and later there was a landslide – that’s why there are regulations). Each inhabited island has their own rules and regulations. One of her first questions was whether there should be a blue badge disabled spot in a parking lot on Salt Spring (one of the Islands nearest to Victoria). The answer was yes, 5% of all parking lots need to be blue badge. In contrast with Victoria, BC there are 28 designated parking spots in downtown Victoria’s multi-thousand spaces (in James bay there is….one, in Fairfield there are none): “The City recognizes that the demand for the 28 new dedicated spaces may, at times, outstrip supply.”
As a perk, Linda gets to go to any island for free once a year (no ferry charge), but also there are trips to islands for meetings or lunches. She went last week on an office trip to Salt Spring, then a boat to Galiano, on which she saw two eagles.Here is one, you can see him on the top of the tallest tree, the water far below and he is a bald eagle, the dark form and white head atop the highest branch. In Galiano there was a trip to Montague Bay, a park leading to the ocean. Some officers in the Island trust work with residents who want to turn the land they own into a heritage of a park. Remember, this is the ‘new west’ out here and while the government is still selling off parts of islands, first and second generation people who bought government land on islands are still figuring out what to do with the land they bought. So new parks all the time.
This is VERY different from our last home in Cardiff, where the nearest notable park was Roath Park donated and built by the Marquis of Bute in 1887 (with odd clock tower in midst of lake with boating and all). It also has a very small conservatory with horny turtles (we came in upon a turtle orgy…in slo-mo).
The Marquis not only owned all the land (including where our Victorian House was built) but many older widow women spit after saying his name. From the 18th to the 20th century the Marquis grew vastly wealthy on ‘black gold’ and still runs trainloads of coal right UNDER the university down to harbor. Since so many died in the mines that during WWII accidents you had a greater risk to casualty as a ‘conscripted miner’ in Wales than you did in the Armed Forces (which created a huge strike). The Marquis, simultanous to Roath Park built Castle Coch, a fairy tale castle which, in the end, was never lived in.
So you can see how different it is when you buy 5 acres for a few thousand and 60 years later there is so much development you can leave a park as a legacy (thankfully no wacky castles except the two in Victoria, Hartley Castle, also built through coal money was covered in a previous post). And with lots of neighbors, someone has to answer the questions and settle disputes. Linda is that first step.
The next day we worked on Postcards, and passed the next 100 mark (6,200?) with 22 postcards and 8 presents. I have been using up some of the stickers from Japan, Sinapore, France, Brazil, and parts of the USA including those bought in Hawaii. Here is a combo of stamping and stickering for a summer festival look.
I have a lunch date tomorrow so off to bed with me. Hope you had a good weekend also.
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