Sunday, April 3, 2011

Lucky Buckeyes

When the Lady of Willow Manor makes a request, one complies. Like her, I do not consider myself a lucky person.  I was born on Friday the 13th...go figure. I've taken some hard knocks, had some significant, occasionally heartbreaking disappointments, and am the worst stock trader of ALL TIME! I made my own luck as a grad student, worked to make myself as marketable as possible, and applied for jobs that seemed like excellent fits for me.  After several years and a couple of "close but no thanks" experiences, I got my tenure-track position. While I am fortunate to have a job, I didn't exactly "luck out" in getting it, and it is far from the best-paying or least stressful position I could have landed.  Lucky? Not so much. 

I take the good with the bad, I ramble on, I have been known to speak in song lyrics, and so on occasion I think that "if it weren't for bad luck, I'd have no luck at all," with one supreme caveat: I am the luckiest man in the world to be married to The Bug!  Thus it is natural that when she and I were on a getaway weekend up at Marblehead Peninsula (of course The Bug blogged about Marblehead/Lake Erie :-) and happened upon some new-fallen buckeyes, I had to pick up an even dozen, just in case.  Should I have picked up thirteen? 

They lived in a pottery bowl for months, thoroughly drying out (they have an oily feel to them when they're fresh).  But last year, The Bug and I traveled to Charleston, SC (follow link for pictures from that week, including one of The Bug with the lady who crafted our basket!), for a conference at which I delivered a paper, and there we found a new home for our buckeyes.  I wasn't much into conferencing once my session was over, and so we spent a lot of time touring this lovely city.  On one of our rambles, we found Meeting Street where women sell their world-famous sweetgrass baskets (next to St. Michael's Church :-).

We found one within our price range and are very, very happy to have such an exquisite piece of African-American folk art in our home (There are also Native American traditions of weaving sweetgrass, one should note, but the Gullah tradition is mostly West African).  Our treasure lives on a shelf with a couple of pieces of North Carolina folk pottery: a pitcher and basket from Latham's Pottery of Sea Grove, NC (love the color scheme!), and a complimentary vase thrown from Catawba Valley red clay by our cousin JP.  

The sweetgrass basket seems like it might even be a magical vessel for our buckeyes.  We'll see.

So there you have it, Tess: buckeyes in a basket! I aim to please :-)
And now, for your viewing pleasure, some more pieces of folk pottery courtesy of cousins SF and JP, otherwise known as Hog Hill Pottery (you won't regret checking out their website):

And finally I present my small but fun collection of pots thrown by the late great Burlon Craig, who helped resurrect the pottery tradition in the Catawba Valley of NC. He made exquisite face jugs but is equally well known for his utilitarian pieces with swirl glazing.  These two pieces (center and left, below) were from later in his life and thus of uneven quality. Still, I do consider myself "lucky" to have them (I paid a fair price):

The large, darker pinch jug (right) with cap was thrown by Craig's student, the left-handed Walter Fleming, thus its swirls go in the opposite direction.  Walter is still throwing pots, including face jugs, far as I know.  I have a number of smaller pieces, mostly from Sea Grove potters, but I'll save those for another time.


The Bug said...

You forgot to mention that Burlon was my grandmother's late-in-life sweetheart :)

Tess Kincaid said...

I don't know which I like more, the buckeyes, the basket, or the pottery. Combined, they make one delicious post. My Native American, pottery loving, DNA is tingling away, here in the land of the buckeye. Thanks, Dr. L. I thoroughly enjoyed this. x

Gerry Snape said...

Don't know anything about buckeyes except that they do look like our horse chestnuts....but I know a bit about ceramics and those are wonderful. Greast shapes and superb glazes. Thanyou for this lovely post sweet lady!

altar ego said...

Great post! I adore pottery, and though it would be a stretch to say that I collect it, I DO try to acquire some whenever I see a piece I can't live without, or that I can afford and can use. I have some great pieces that were gifts, as well. The basket is fabulous. One of these years when we finally make a trip to Charleston, I will have to remember Meeting Street!

NCmountainwoman said...

We are blessed with many talented potters nearby. In fact, "our" section of US 276 is known as "Potter's Row." I love the basket and pottery. I have a cousin in Lincoln County and next time I visit I'm going to go by Hog Hill Pottery.