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Well, if you are looking for new pots, I have to disappoint you. I have been barely making. I feel bad, but I have "my hand in the dog's mouth." I have been involved in some money making endeavors that will shortly pay off and I should be free to make pots for a few years. Though I am successful in making and selling pots, it does not meet all my $ needs. I expect to be "free" near the end of February. I have been busy as you will see below.
Here are a couple of winter inspirational photos.
I love snow and shadows.
Here is a "before" picture of a big "Spring" bowl.
and the "after." It is meant to be a table center piece. It turned out nice, but I may yet glaze it once more just to push it a bit.
I am subject to a strange illness. I love to collect ART in any form. The odd part of my affliction is that when I make ART, I don't buy art. Making satisfies the need to have some new and wonderful object around upon to which gaze. When I am pottery productive, I always have something new and beautiful to gaze upon. But as I mentioned, I have not been making, therefore I have been buying! Well, here is something I mentioned in my last update. It is a soup tureen by Ellen Shankin out of Virginia. $265. Cheap.
Another recent "fix" I scored is this 24x26 painting by Arthur Lingquist. He was a painter up in the North East and this picture is a wonderful mid-century painting that shows the influence of that area and the Cape Ann painters that painted in this manner. I feel fortunate to have found this on ebay. It had a "buy-it-now" price and I was the third person to look at it. I knew the price was cheap since I have bid on Lingquist paintings before and never won. This one was a true steal.
And of course, I am playing volleyball and poker on a weekly basis. It is better than religion.
I had some visitors come visit the studio. John and Betty Fry from Keokuk, Iowa stopped by and walked with the best piece I had available. I hated to sell that pot, yet I am glad they have it. They are knowledgeable and serious collectors. Thank you John and Betty. Anybody reading this is welcome to stop by the studio. If you are interested in clay, you are welcome. You don't have to buy anything.
And there is a bit of Boy Scout activity.
And now for something COMPLETELY DIFFERET! My wife, son and I went for a 10 day whirlwind visit to Egypt for Christmas! And yes, I am going to subject you to some of my travel photos. And I will give you a lot of info about Egypt, just in case you have ever thought about visiting the "Land of the Pharaohs."
Ok, it may be a bit classically corney to ride a camel in Egypt, but when you do it around the stepped pyramid at Sakara, it is wonderful. One of our goals was for Chris to ride a camel. Well, I had never ridden a camel, so I hopped on too! (My wife, Kath, had ridden one in India, years ago.) Two bucks a ride. Can't pass that up.
A monolithic carving of Rameses II found buried in the sand at Memphis. How would you like to see that nose sticking out of the sand? On that note, I have to subject you to one of my favorite all time sonnets by Percy Shelley. It was written in 1817, just when things like this massive sculpture were being dug out of the Egyptian sand. It is a beautiful 14 lines on the mortality and ego of men. A reminder to us all.
I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: "Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
`My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings:
Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!'
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away.
It is hard to describe the Pyramids at Giza. Trying to get an all encompassing photo is like try to describe them. The scale is so huge, both are impossible to do. Photos and words fall short.
Everybody stands in awe.
Here is the collector in me- trying to buy Tut's sarcophagus! A friend asked me to pick it up for him!
They say the population of Ciaro is 29 million. Like the pyramids, the scale is difficult to grasp.
Abu Simbel, built by Rameses II, south of the Aswan dam is a stunning sight. This entire monument and the hill it was carved into - and another neighboring monument for Rameses' wife, was moved in the late 60's because it was going under water because of the Aswan High dam. It was moved up 180 feet and back 600 feet.
No photos allowed inside. This was taken from outside the entrance.
Turn around and you see the lake created by the Aswan Dam. Nassar built it with Russian help. A wise move. The dam supplies all the electricity for Egypt and when water becomes a scarce resource- as it will- Egypt will have a lake 500 km long and 180 feet deep to draw from.
The lake submerged hundreds of archeological sites. Pictured is a coffer dam around a site being excavated and elevated. In the distance is another temple that was raised out of the lake.
Some of the dam's specs.
A garden of delights in the middle of the Nile.
We were on a tour that booked everything. Therefore we wee in a rarified atmosphere and had little contact with the locals. However, everytime we stepped off the bus, local hawkers were on us like ducks on a junebug.
Here are a couple of temple shots. This one is of Philae at Aswan City.
Massive columns. No understanding of the arch.
Edfu. I never heard of it. The next four photos are of Edfu.
Youy can take a sunrise hot air balloon ride over the Valley of the Kings.
We just took a boat to get there. All the tombs are on the west side of the Nile. The sun rises in the East- a sign of life- and sets in the west. All tombs are on the west side.
We were on the river Nile for five nights. The cruise boat was very nice. It held 130 occupants and we were told there were 217 of them on the river.
Life on the top deck. One Sakara beer please!
We left for the Valley of the Kings at 7 AM. It was crowded when we got there and REALLY crowded by the time we left. We visited inside 4 tombs- including Tut's. Unfortunately there were no photos allowed in the tombs proper.
Here is a photo out of a book that shows an overview of the Valley of the Kings.
I took a couple of photos out of books that might give you a glimpse of what the tomb looks like inside. As I was flying to and traveling in Egypt, I was reading Howard Carter's book, "The tomb of Tutankhamun." Carter discovered Tut's tomb in 1922 and this book is his telling of the event. I thought it would be dry reading, but I was wrong. By the time I saw Tut's tomb and all that came out of it, I knew the tomb layout and were most of the objects were found. Tut's tomb is very modest and plain. He died unexpectedly and they put him in the tomb of his high priest. Pharoahs had to be buried with in 70 days of their deaths. They didn't have time to carve out a tomb for Tut. Here is a book photo of Carter opening one of the seven layers protecting the mummy of Tut. That is all gold that you see. Tut's tomb contents are in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. Again, no photos allowed in the museum.
Here is the inside of part of Rameses IV' tomb in the valley. We did get to tour this tomb and it was stunning.
Another photo out of a book of a burial chamber.
Here is the temple of Hatshepsut- they call her "hot-chicken-soup" because it is easy for the visitors to remember her name. To pronounce her name, you drop the "en" in chicken. Here is some travel info for you. In '97 there was an Al Quada attack here where 62 people died. Tourism fell to zero. The Egyptians call it "their 9/11". Tourism is all Egypt has for bringing foreign funds into the country. While they are strong in agriculture, they don't export cars or computers or TV's. They need tourism and Mubarek started a new "Tourism and Antiquities" police. They were everywhere. Every tourist site has armed police and metal detectors. Our guide- "Big D" who is a PhD in History, said that in the eight years he has been guiding tours, he has not had one full tour group. Ours was 30 people and it was the biggest he has had in those eight years. Forty is a full tour. Now everyone in our tour said that when they were booking the tour, they all heard something like "there are only three slots left." You got your check book out and they want you to sign. Keeping in mind that tourism is huge- six million visitors a year- if I was booking a tour I might be tempted to say, "call me back with a discount after the booking deadline." There are no shortage of tours to join. Our tour was with Globus and called "Egyptian Splender." When we arrived in Cairo, we found it was farmed out to a company called "Avalon Waterways." We had no problems and everything ran very smoothly.
What can I say? I am a potter. I was trying to figure out how to get one of these water jar home.
The Colossi of Menmon
This is the Hypostile hall of the Temple of Karnak. I have always admired this temple and never thought I would see it. In 1991, I was making a series of lamps called "Delights of Western Culture." I completed two- a Greek lamp and the second, a Roman lamp. The third- that I have plans for- is an Egyptian lamp modeled on the temple at Karnak. The last lamp in the series is to be an "American Lamp." Will the last two ever get made???
There are 134 of those columns. Everyone goes around with mouth open and gaze up.
The last temple we visited was Luxor Temple.
The population of Cairo is 20 million give or take.
Here is the Citadel Mosque.
And the inside of the mosque.
Security was always tight. Metal detector at all tourist sites. Whenever we walked in the city, we had armed plain clothed police along with us.
Here is the old Cairo market.
Cairo is one big city.
A last picture of our guide, "Big D." He was a wonderful guide- knowlegdable and attentive.
That's it. Wanta go to Egypt?