#15 summer solstice 2015

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When we are stacking the kiln we have a kind of short hand for how we refer to different series of pots. Generally one of us is in the "driver's seat" stacking, another is wadding as we go and a third helper is outside the kiln handing us pots. I might say, 'bring in the largest of the bird vases or the rest of the poem cups or the skinniest tulip vase." Our helper said, "usually I get the names, the bird vases look like birds, the poem cups have a hieroglyphic-type text on them, but I don't get the tulip reference." I had to explain that when I first started my studio Korean stores in NYC were just taking off and I loved the tulips they sold. I wanted to make vases that held a bunch of tulips with ease.

Now that the tulips are long gone in Virginia I have been putting all sorts of other things in these vases including bolting lettuce. I don't know what my assistant would have thought if I said, "please pass me the fattest lettuce vase." I often let some lettuce go to seed. They grow into three or four foot towers of color and sculptural blossoms that, in turn, self-seed for next year's salads.

"It began in the cold light of the A&P by a rotating seed display that had been placed beside the lettuce bin. There, side by each, the lettuce and the lettuce seed. I stood dumbstruck. This lettuce and this seed had something to do with each other. I knew, of course, that the seed made the lettuce. But I had never once wondered how the lettuce made the seed. I suddenly needed to know. I decided to buy a packet of seeds, plant a few, and watch very carefully."
--Mary Anne Mclean, Mary Anne's Garden, page 7.

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