Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Romance of a Visit to Costa Rica

Looking out the plane window on the way back to Tulsa.

Small towns and gorgeous land of Costa Rica

Susan "gets that picture" as we walk the beach looking for sea shells.

The view from our room.

photo by Susan

I don't ride horses but this ride looked real tempting.

our room at Hotel Iguana

A great pool at the hotel. Loved that swim!

Easy to build outdoor shower.

Best hammock spot in the world.

Tom and I motion for Susan to "Come on In! The water is great."

Two lovelies on the beach after a fun swim.

Tom having a good time.

Susan loves Willy and Willy loves Susan.

Willy taking in the sights on vacation.

I am home now, doing my taxes so my daughter can get her college scholarship and I have a dental appointment this afternoon. Teeth and Taxes. So I take a break and travel through my photos back to Costa Rica which is now becoming a daydream. Susan, Tom, Willy and I had a very peaceful trip to the beach at the end of my trip. It was a lovely trip to the beach and I am sure it will influence my new spring pottery making. I picked up many shells on the beach will be inspiring for spring garden pots to come. We all had fun taking these pictures on the beach.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Pottery Class Begins at Brookside Pottery in Tulsa

It is time for class again. We have a good time and there is always more to learn. We will work together and create pieces inspired by the ancients for gardens this session. We made Holiday gifts last go round and I loved what everyone made. That is the way it ought to be in my humble opinion. The pictures above are not my new shop although there are some similarities. No heat and not air and a bit primitive. Those photos were taken by friends as I worked in a pottery in Costa Rica last week! We have large work tables and electric wheels.

So we need new goals? We will produce items for the garden based on ancient designs. For example, Mexican, African and Native American images and designs. And, you will discover it can be done but their simple designs are not as simple as you may think. It is really fun to use ancient designs as inspiration.

If you are beyond collecting things for yourself and have loaded your friends down with stuff as well, no problem. You are invited to join me in the herb festivals in April and see if you can sell your work. This is another aspect of becoming a potter and is a new dimension in our class.

And not the nitty gritty details:
3 spaces left
6 weeks long
$150 plus materials $40
beginners welcome but most have a little experience
creative juices (wine) welcome
Call or email to hold a space, 697-6364 or claylady00@aol.com

First come, first serve or we will start another evening if have more students.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Coffee and Smells of Costa Rica

Rainbow in Costa Rica reflects the romance of the whole experience. The rainbow was so close.

The Coffee Coop I got to visit.

Scales at the coop used to weigh the coffee.

Susan made homemade bread the entire time I was there. No Bimbo bread for us!

Wood fired Blackened Chicken Tom cooked on coffee wood. Later we had wood fired pizza from the same grill. What a treat. We all loved the food and loved to cook. Susan will publish a cookbook before to long and I can highly recommend it.

Yes, I am back in Tulsa but I brought a lot of coffee with me. I used to just go to Whole Foods or other fancy coffee places and maybe choose Costa Rican coffee to brew. Now, I cherish my stash and remember the sweet rich milk I sometimes added as well. The coffee is a good rich everyday coffee that I find myself addicted to. And, of course, there is the romance of having bought it at the coop and seeing the farmers in line waiting to sell it to the company. Oh the food was divine in Costa Rica. Tom and Susan were great cooks with great basic ingredients. I joke with my friends that the most difficult thing was to get hungry enough for the next meal. What a luxury.

Living in the buckle of the bible belt, talking from my heart

At last, I hear it from the pulpit. There are others as well who have never understood or thought that a good God would kill his own child to save others? That never made sense to me. Why would a loving God bonk his or her child on the head with a wooden cross, nail them up and make them suffer to forgive me for something I did not know I did. I really could not think of anything I did that could be so horrible that would make a loving God kill someone. I have never been able to make the connection or know how that works. And, I really don't like singing "Onward Christian Soldiers." Just call me a Unitarian Quaker or a peacenik. I just never understood Easter except for the Easter egg hunt. And no one ever had a very good explanation until today.

Today, John and I were walking to the shuttle bus, to hitch a ride to church. We had barely got out our gate and here come to shiny faced ladies with Bibles under their armpits trying to save the neighborhood. Jesus knocked and I did not hear him. Or was it the ladies knocked and I was already getting ready to go to church and did not hear them. We tried to act civil although the hair on my neck was beginning to stiffen. "The neighbors are out of town and the house next to them is an illegal business in a residential neighborhood." We said as they knocked on the doors next to our house. And to keep from having an in depth conversation, I replied, "And we are on our way to church, Unitarian Church." Or do we always dress this way on Sunday morning and look we are on a mission. I figured the words Unitarian Church would make them step back as the fundamentalist think we are heathens.

Yes, we live in the bible belt and we had a second incident today as we headed to lunch for a burger and a cold draft beer and another semi-homeless guy handed us each a little white slip of paper that said "Jesus is Alive, Are you?" and on the back it said, Please pray this prayer out-loud,
"I know that Jesus died for me at Calvary, so that all my sins could be forgiven......" Not again!

I hardly had a moments peace before the Jesus fan club was after us again. The fan club would not bother me so much if they were kinder and a little more (or a lot more) open minded.

Paradise in now and here according to the soft and lovely words at my church today. And, it is all about history. The sacrifice information as well as images of Jesus dieing on the cross for us started in the 12th century. Get it? 1200 years past the life of the life of Jesus. That is a lot of time for translation and misinformation. Before that, the Jesus message was life is great now and you don't have to wait until later. And, the political implications that "war in the name of God" is OK became popular then as well. Before that God and Jesus appeared to be more loving. OK, this is in a nutshell but I intend to read the book, Saving Paradise by our guest Rev. Dr. Rebecca Parker, first female permanent head of an accredited theological school.

This is my muse and yes, I have probably offended plenty again. That is not my intent. Generally my religion is my business and I respect the rights of others to choose their path.
There is no new religion. Over all these years every type of religious belief has a label.

Blogs are a bit weird. This is journal writing for public eyes. This is publicly looking inward. This is sharing my private joy that religion does not have to be threatening to be effective. If you just live a decent life and treat others with love and kindness that ought to help.

Paradise is here and now if you please. My God is kind.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Pottery made by Linda Coward in Costa Rica and more to come.

Bug Bowl. We had fun after a little vodka pushing bugs in the side of pots. This may be how the eternal swirl began as a symbol all over the world. Think so? Playing in clay is what makes things happen.

Tom and Susan placed a bamboo pole by their water spicket and it looked like a place that needed additional art work. After thinking a while I decided to make a fat toad like I spotted trying to come in the house. He was not easy to chase out the door. This one has a fat fly in his mouth as well. This will be mounted on top of the bamboo post.

Willy, my friends standard poodle is ill with serious kidney problems and I could not resist a portrait of Willy. He is the most loved dog in the whole world. Everyone loves Willy and he is as smart and polite as any dog I have ever met.

Willy and Susan a beautiful bond between these two souls.

I swear Willy smiles.

One of the most fun pots I made during the trip with Miguel in his studio/shop.
Old dog, new tricks. Bicycle parts wheel operated by hand and a corncob tool.

Platter for Susan to use at her B&B. Still drying.

Future lamp globes for an iron chandalier.

Up close sun goddess face.

Sun Goddess made for the garden holding bird and bird on shoulder. She will be in the garden facing the ocean.

Sun Goddess back and feet.

Palm influences.

Susan needed some large platters. Still drying and 21" across. She will fill it with good food.

Tom and I had fun working in his clay studio at VistaValVerde and these are a few of the pots I made there. I left some there and brought a few home as well. It was great to make pots in a new environment and see what happened.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The End of a Peaceful Journey in San Ramon, Costa Rica

I wake up too early, 3:30 a.m. not a time to be anywhere but sleeping and resting. As my friends and I call it, "The hour of the Goddess," a time when life makes no sense and any little thought can be blown out of proportion.
My time in Costa Rica has been wonderful. An awakening of the senses. Time to think, time to concentrate on making art and to write. This is one of life's rich moments. This is when I know I have what I want.
I wake up trying to appreciate the journey of a wandering soul. I could probably travel the rest of my life and be satisfied. I am curious beyond compare and then I try to interpret what I have seen and make it make sense. Try it in clay, try it in writing.
As I pack my suitcases trying to fit in small gifts, Costa Rican Pottery, coffee, chocolate and a few pots I made as well, I am both thankful to have so much and burdened by stuff again. Free spirits cannot feel comfortable with a lot of stuff. I guess that is what the "stuff issue" here and at home are all about. I just want to see stuff, not own it all. I will have to work on balance to be at piece with those ideas. I will be OK when the suitcase is fully packed.

It has been great to be in a place so calm. There is a paz or peace here. The peaceful nature of Ticos spirit claims this land and anyone willing to feel it and join in it as well. My friends here stay with, feel this too. There is a great feeling of love and peace in their home. The told me many times before I came they were very "Laid Back." I agree and appreciate it. It cannot happen easily this way at home. Our society generally does not praise relaxation unless you are doing something to relax. Paying for yoga class works for some.

Being from the United States the aggressive parts of our personality here only comes out in growth. They build comforrtable houses for shelter, building homes of relaxation with great natural light and views of the sunsets. They plant gardens in the spirit of growth and regeneration. The gringos reground themselves here in many ways. There is a peaceful creative spirit is in these hills. And, it is not done with haste or aggression. They respect the people and respect the land.

I am thankful. What a lovely trip, a month being both long and short. I wonder if I really will get to come back again. I hope I can find enough students to join me in a class here and I can help them explore their wanderlust and thrive in the creative and peaceful spirit of Costa Rica.

Now I gotta go pack and get in the big hectic silver bird that takes me home. I hope I can take a piece of Costa Rica with me.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Could it be we are pottery cousins? Cooper Mays Pottery

Martha's pottery is located right next to the beach and she walks the beach every morning before she begins creating her dinnerware for the day.

We may be related and we both ride our bikes as significant transportation. Martha has no car and gets around on her bike. I prefer to ride my bike to work and to the grocery.

Tom, Susan, Martha and I talk outside her studio.

Sometimes you just wonder. I come all the way to Costa Rica to visit and make pots at my friends beautiful newly being built B&B, Vista Val Verde. It is a lovely place to be and what delightful friends to be with. So before I leave we decide to go visit a couple of pottery places in Costa Rica.
Tom found Cooper Mays Pottery about 5 hours away from San Ramon and sent me her web site before I arrived in Costa Rica. I noticed she mentioned the Ohio River Valley and growing up there as a child and Rockwood Pottery influences. Rockwood was a pottery located in Cincinnati many years ago. That is close to where I grew up. I thought about it and wondered if there could be a connection.

Life is strange and connections all over the world are strong.

We find and visit Martha the owner of Cooper Mayes Pottery. She is gracious and delightful. Here work is lovely production pottery. Visit her web site and see examples of her work. She is only a few years older than I am and has a son, as do I, who is a potter as well,just like me.
It turns out our "little girl" hometowns were only a few miles apart. I drove through her town to go to the Lutheran Church in Bear Branch Indiana. Many of my relatives are buried there. If we are not cousins "my people must have talked to her people." When I get home I will get out the family history and see if there is a connection.

The world is smaller than I thought. This is such a similar background and unusual meeting far away from our original homeland.

What an incredible surprise. Do look at her website. www.coopermays.com and she has a blog spot coopermays as well that you can visit via her web site. She has a lovely gallery and customers around the world.