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Janel

Minnesota Potters Tour and Sale

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Hi all,

 

Behind the scenes of TCP, and in addition to my carving work, and parenting, I am the spouse of the potter - Will Swanson - (and was one of those potters in my earlier life). We are in the final week of preparation for the 14th annual pottery tour.

 

To learn about the tour, check out this site: Minnesota Potters Tour.

 

Janel

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Thanks Jim. Yes I did. Will has bowls!

 

It would be nice to see you here but frustrating at the same time. We see over 1,500 folks in two days and offload 4,000 cookies, ten gallons of lemonade, ten gallons of milk and copious quantities of stout coffee. Another potter on the tour puts on a very fine smorgasboard (buffet) of remarkablely interesting foods. The trillium are just blooming, the fruit trees are still with petals today, but may be just done by next Saturday. The warblers should be passing through then too. If anyone does try to make the tour, find me and be sure that I know that you are visiting!

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Yes! It will be wide open, and I will have a case with my limited inventory. Maple Leaf is returning this week from a show out east and will be in the case. Cicada is gone, sorry. If you visit you will see the latest piece, a collection of carvings placed in a walnut half clam shell shape: ebony crow's feather, boxwood polyphmeus moth wing quarter, a bit of amber sort of like a pod, peapods with a spring peeper, and a partially completed little moth (forgot the wood type). I'm not really expecting to sell, but those who remember me as a potter, then porcelain carver, are still interested to see what I am doing these days.

 

I may put the sharp tools away to keep them and the visitors safe though.

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we will try to stop by for a look if nothing earth shattering stops us. Keir put in a fern garden for a mother's day gift before he leaves for Crater Lake. the wild orchids will be blooming soon and the trilliums are in full bloom now.

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I'll try! When push comes to shove, the photos are not that interesting, but maybe I will get lucky this time. There are a few photos of the tour on the potters web site on the individual artists pages, if you thumb through those. All pages have the pots of the artists on them, but a few additional images were added.

 

I've been running since before six this morning, dropped our son at school and went shopping, shopping shopping. Now I am home, and making the guest beds, getting the rabbits ready for stew and looking forward to the guests arriving. Another trip to town to collect our son after tennis, and on into the evening. I have not got my studio ready yet, but at least collected the few old carvings from the bank safe box. Zoooommmm, time to go again. It is good to take a break and read the posts.

 

Photos sometime next week if I get time for taking any.

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stopped by Janel's studio around 11:30 am on a cold and rainy saturday morning. we knew by the number of cars parked on the road that we were at the right location. inside the studio was a wide variety of pottery pieces,also a few stacked tables outside the back door. after spending about 20 minutes talking with Janel and then viewing all to be seen,we attempted to leave by the front entrance. we were not able to reach the door from the crowd of people trying to enter the studio,but were able to slip out the side door. i don't know how sales were,but it appears to have been a good event based on the number of people at the time we were at the studio.

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The first day was hugely successful! Intensely busy for hours! The first 45 minutes and the last half hour were quietly paced the rest of the time, from 11-4 we had shoulder to shoulder crowds with the line for sales sometimes 25 or more feet long! We had three folks writing receipts and taking money, and three wrappers, working as rapidly as possible! The four potters were all quite pleased and amazed at the great turnout on a really crumby weather day! Other recent years, the helpers were able to handle the cookie plate and refreshment refills, but they were so busy that I was running back and forth filling the platters, ice cold milk, lemonade and coffee. This was definitely a hot coffee day! When I got a break from the platters, I had a chance to speak with a few people interested in the work I do, which is just a side show to the pottery tour. It was a pleasure to meet Dan M and his wife today, and thanks Dan for the review/post!

 

The thought crossed my mind at one moment when the line for the pots was so long and there was not any free floor space, but I could not manage any time for photos, sorry Kathleen. I do have some images from another year with people in it, but won't search for them now. I am beat, my feet hurt and everyone else in the house is asleep. I will add some images though, from Friday.

 

The Cookie Pile = about 4,000 pieces. For perspective the trays on the upper left are lids to the generic cardboard office boxes. The weight of this pile was awesome. I used 45 pounds of flour and 22+ pounds of butter, and sugar and chocolate chips, nuts, eggs and what ever else that makes the cookies unique. The fare was much appreciated today. The tour does not find many eateries along the way.

cookiepile_w.jpg

 

Ellen Shankin pots:

es_w.jpg

 

Malcolm Davis pots:

md_212_w.jpg

 

Silvie Granatelli pots:

sg_w.jpg

 

Will Swanson pots:

w_215_w.jpg

 

There were a great many kinds of pots that I did not photograph for y'all. This is just a taste. Great pots and potters!

 

Thanks for indulging me with this update. I sure look forward to getting back to doing my own work soon!

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Saturday was so intensely busy that I only had a fleeting though about a photo, but had no chance to find my way to the studio for the camera. Sunday was quieter, but I was still involved with greeting and talking. I took photos of the crowds other years, and the effect is not the same as being elbow to elbow with the pots and the people. Nope, I've looked and the impact is just not there. I don't know how to convey the intensity through the photos.

 

This is from '04, with different guest potters than this year.

04modcrowd.jpg

Now imagine two to three times the number of people, plus a line of customers with armloads of pots standing in a line that might have been 20+ people long. Hardcore pottery collectors, for sure! We had three checkouts going and baggers wrapped and bagged as safely and quickly as they could. You've got to be a bit careful with pots! Given this year's crowd, the potential for the future is causing us to consider a better next step with a few things!

 

We did have Will's pots outside, and the guests were in the studio, glazing area and showroom. Sunday Will's pots were moved indoors, to make it look like there were some pots available in the building.

 

I've cleaned the studio, and my room is ready for me to find my way to the bench. Soon I hope!

 

I really did want to take photos, but it just didn't happen, sorry. There are a few cookies left, and are going back to the freezer until leaner times. My eyes are about shut, I guess it is time to retire.

 

Oh, people flew in from all parts of the country. What an amazing event! When all is tallied and expenses paid, the potters group donates approximately 5% of the gross to various worthy organizations. The potters have supported visiting ceramist workshops and lectures through the University and a clay center. This year a chunck goes to the art department of the middle school in our neck of the woods. In order to say “thank you” for the support and enthusiasm we experience every year with this event, a portion of the proceeds from each sale will be donated to North Branch Middle School Art Department, Potters for Peace, and the Craft Emergency Relief Fund (CERF).

 

My eyes are rolling...

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Ack! You caught me with my underwear showing! My room was the catchall for what ever was left Friday night in Will's space that had not found a hiding place in the out building, and the same sort of time was left to give to my display! I regret the uninspired presentation. Hmmm, another topic taking form here... Did you get any crowd shots Dan? You arrived just prior to or during the first great wave, for which I am grateful, because I had time to chat with you and your wife (Ann?).

 

The weeks before the tour I began to rearrange various pieces of furniture. Now the workbench is on the outside wall by the carving bench, and is bolted to the wall which makes it possible to use both hands for sawing if I need to. I used to have to steady the workbench/vise, a dumb thing to have to do. I could use some shelving, for wood storage especially, and for other materials.

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Don't be embarassed! :blink: Everything looks great from the studio on down. A topic about display practices would be nice. I like your latest collection of 'findings'. Will await the more academic studion photographs in due time. :)

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So you've been wondering why I have not shown any new work lately? The usual reasons apply, but here is one of the black holes that takes a lot of detail coordination! I have updated the Minnesota Potters Tour website and it is now on line for the 2007 season. Phew, my bottom is flat! Maybe I'll see the studio tomorrow! :huh: Yippee! Glad to be done with this for another year!

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The Tour is in it's final preparation days, so there is a reason for my un-presence here on the forum! I've made the dough for 3200 cookies and 500+ little toffee bars. I got smart and am paying a woman with two ovens and a helpful husband to scoop and bake the little gems, which has freed me up to do other things. I have not been carving for a while, though I did finish the centipede. I am not happy with the photos of it, and have not had the time to reshoot, so there is nothing to share with you yet. I have been spending some glorious spring weather hours digging perennials and potting them for a plant sale at my sister's in mid May. Those hours are a joy in this busy time! Here is the url for the tour again: http://www.minnesotapotters.com

 

That is it, and this is not a blog but may look like one! Please forgive my silence here. You all do such a good job of keeping the forum going!

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It is that time of year again! I have returned from the Smithsonian Craft Show, weary and with a cold, and a huge amount of work to do. The SCS was affected substantially by the US economic concerns. Many lookers, few carrying bags, very few purchases made in my show neighborhood. Some artists went home with having made no sales. Some did well, some just got by. The show was beautiful and the work of the 120 artists was exciting to see.

 

I returned home a week ago, and dove right into preparations for the Minnesota Potters' Tour and Sale which takes place on May 10 & 11. Because of financial need, I am making pots, visiting the olden days of making useful stoneware pottery. The tour is not a place where my carving work sells, so pots are it. I am delightfully surprised that I was able to sit at the wheel and throw pots like I had not had a ten year break from such work! It feels great to have retained my skills, but it is more like a job this time. I would rather be carving, but I would not be able to have the peaceful mindspace to focus on the quiet work with the ever present turmoil and pressure of the tour preparations. Next week I will bake the cookies, mountains of cookies.

 

Thank you all for keeping the forum going while I dropped out of site. I had no computer access while I was away, but now I will check in when I can, until the tour is over.

 

http://www.minnesotapotters.com for more information.

 

Janel

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We had a wonderful weekend! Saturday rain in the afternoon, but did not seem to dampen the enthusiasm of the pottery seekers! I made more than 3,000 cookies, and had about 250 left! That was cutting it close this time! Hot coffee, ice cold milk and lemonade fueled the shoulder to shoulder crowds on Saturday, and served as dessert after Mother's Day dinner tour goers on Sunday. Sunday, by the way, was about as beautiful a day as we could have hoped for.

 

Pots! I made about 240 pots to add to Will's big group of pots, which Will glazed and fired for me while I made the cookies. Three weeks ago Sunday I returned home from the Smithsonian Craft show, shopped for ingredients for cookies the next day, then launched into a week of making pots. Then shifted gears for the cookies for about a week, then cleaned house for the remainder of the third week. Show time hit with a fun fury, and crash on Monday. I am still tired, and the knees and feet ache from the constant need to be moving around and standing for hours on end. Now, I have pressing activities thumb.gif to accomplish so there is no time to flake out or enjoy spring in the garden.

 

I do hope to rejoin the forum with more active involvement sometime soon. This has been a wonderfully hectic year so far! I think that I have not really had a break from the 'need to get it done now' things since November. Somehow, I got some carving done during that time.

 

I won't bore you all with details, since this is a forum rather than a blog, but I wanted to let you know that I have been watching the forum, but not participating very much. Thanks for keeping it going in my absence from these pages.

 

Janel

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The Tour is just around the corner! May 8, 9, and 10, 2009 includes Friday afternoon/evening. We are gearing up in many ways. I am making pots for a week or so, as I am able to fit it in. The cookies are made, many thanks to my 17 year old son, who wanted to earn some $$ over spring break!!! He performed a huge job for me while I was away from home helping my mother, who has experienced a major change in her health.

 

This year The Tour will present 41 potters! Our studio alone will have five guest potters, up from two or three in past years. We are very excited about this great event!

 

I hope, but have no way of knowing if it will be possible, I hope to be able to leave our studio and go to the other locations with my camera and document this event. We'll see how it goes. A difference this year is that four of the guests are bringing their spouses, so there will be many more helping hands.

 

I hope to return to carving sometime in May. Meanwhile, the countdown is unstoppable!

 

Janel

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The event seems to have been a huge success! The weather was great on Friday and cold on the weekend. The host potters will meet on Wednesday to share stories and make decisions for The Tour 2010. I am exhausted, yet I have work to do and will not be able to yield to it. What an amazing weekend!

 

Janel

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Glad to hear of your success!

 

My friend Meg who visited was very impressed by the high quality of ceramics by so many people concentrated in your area.

 

Jim

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It is that time again! The 19th Annual - Saint Croix Valley Potters Tour and Sale (Minnesota Potters Tour) is on May 6, 7 & 8 this year.

 

We had snow showers yesterday, but the grass is just getting green and birds are returning, so the outdoor event will be in spring, just an earlier sort of spring time this year! The 46 potters showing this year are all pressing to fire their kilns one last time, the host potters are preparing studios and the guest potters are loading their vans with pottery for travel to converge in East Central Minnesota for a great event.

 

Personally, I am helping to glaze the pots and will have studio and house cleaning to accomplish in the next few days, along with baking more cookies to bring the total to 4,000, I will also be setting up my display for the carvings because some of the pottery audience knew me as a potter before wood carving, and are interested in what I am doing now.

 

You also can see a recently made Facebook page for The Tour. Try this link: St Croix Valley Potters Tour . Also, last year I made a photo journal of the potters touring day, one day before being open to the public audience. This has now been posted on Picasa. Click here. It includes photos of almost all of the host and guest potters, and some photos during the tour days as well.

 

This really is an amazing event, and has been the model for various other younger pottery and regional art/craft tours around the country. Thousands of people hit the roads next Friday, Saturday and Sunday and converge at the seven host potter's studios. The one week countdown has begun!

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The 20th Annual Pottery Studio Tour & Sale by the Minnesota Potters of the upper St. Croix River

May 11, 12, & 13 - 2012

 

I am up to my elbows in clay, spending two intense weeks, 14 hours a day making stone and porcelain pots to add to our offerings at this year's Tour. My hands are showing signs of repetitive stress, but there are only a few more days of wheel work. The next stage is to bisque and glaze everything. We are planning three firings in our large gas kiln, which means a heck of a lot of standing and glazing in the next weeks because there are a lot of pots!

 

The carving studio is very quiet, and looks inviting. I do look forward to returning to it, in the middle of May when this is all over. This annual Tour activity is a huge, seven pottery studio event! Each studio location hosts up to eight invited pottery artists from around the USA and sometimes from other countries. There are 49 potters participating this year. Take a look at the web site (I do the potters' web site) and/or Facebook to get a sense of it.

 

So, if I do not participate on the forum, know that I am being a little busy. I do check in at the beginning and end of the day.

 

Janel

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