Saturday, January 30, 2010

A taste of home

Some of our good friends from home flew into town Thursday night for a quick visit. They are on their way through to Maui for a well deserved month of relaxing by the seashore. We were totally stoked that Ian and Steph made the effort to make Logan a pitstop, it was a great couple days of catching up and talking about the future, and we convinced them to pack along a pound of our favorite Oso Negro coffee beans. 

We first Ian and Stephanie over a decade ago through the ceramic circles, and then really got to know them once we moved to the Kootenays. Steph has since moved out of clay and into the realm of community development, which she is fantastic at and continues to inspire me with her ideas and commitment. I was lucky to have worked with her on a project in Nelson, developing a permanent historical exhibition for the local museum, Touchstones Nelson

Ian has too (somewhat) moved on from clay and is deep into the realm of mixed media these days. He has spent the last 3 or so years travelling the world, participating in residencies and finding inspiration in materiality and making statements about the excesses of our consumer society.  His latest exhibition, Refuse Culture: Archaeology of Consumption is a group of eight installation pieces examining our relationship and impact on the environment.  Parts of Refuse Culture will be showing at the Touchstones Art Gallery in Nelson, B.C  this March and then at the Surrey Art Gallery in April. But as for this month, Ian and Steph will be soaking up some sun and R&R. Happy holidays you two, and thanks for the coffee! 

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


The week seemingly started off on a good note, but in the course of it's first 48 hours the DuPont family has acquired not one, but TWO traffic tickets. EEK! The ironic part was that I got pulled over Monday night for having a burnt out headlight, to which the police officer gave me a warning but proceeded to slap me with a ticket for driving without my license. THEN, this morning on the way to delivering the Jeep to have the headlight replaced - Robin was pulled over for speeding!!!! How ironic. 

On a side note, someone recently sent me an email forward that included a threat of bad luck if not forwarded. HMMMMMMMMMMMMMM (To all friends and family: for the future, please refrain from sending bad luck forwards!) 

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Weekend Report

The storm we've been eagerly waiting for finally arrived on Friday, helping to push out all that stinky stale air we've been breathing the last couple of weeks and we're now sporting goggles over noseplugs! 

It also left behind a heap of snow, which warranted not one, but two trips to the ski hill over the past few days. On Friday I took the kids up with our friends Kate and her two little ones. The snow had already started to fall heavily which slowed Isla and her pal Finnegan down substantially on the bunny run. They spent more time jumping in the snowbanks and catching snowflakes on their tongues than actually skiing, but was fun to go up regardless. 

Saturday we shifted gears and hit the pool in the afternoon, and then spent the evening hosting Sushi Night with our friends Trevor and Donna. Isla attempted her first roll and would have eaten the rest faster than we could make them if we'd let her. 
The same storm kept up throughout the weekend, and by Sunday morning there was some considerable POWDER to be skied!!! Robin joined us at the hill for a family day of skiing. I didn't have any problem convincing Isla that she was ready for the chairlift run. She managed three runs on the chair, and would have gone up again if her little legs weren't so tired. We are fast becoming a bonafide ski family! 

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Life without pots

Sometimes I wonder what my life would be like without pots? Funny thing to wonder, I know. 

But really, I have on occasion tried to imagine drinking out of factory molded mugs, tried to envision my mantel filled with photo frames instead of rough and burnt looking vessels, my cupboards bare of mismatched forms and a multitude of surface patterns and colours - each yearning to be chosen from the eclectic grouping each time mealtime comes round. 

I am not a potter, nor do I have any desire to feel the material between my fingers or experiment with it's versatility or potential. But I do realize that I have a deep rooted relationship with clay that began over 12 years ago when Robin started bringing home wonky handled mugs and droopy lipped bowls.  In only a matter of time our shelves overflowed with his work and that of his peers and mentors. A culling process became necessary to make space for new acquisitions (which by the way, a process that continues to be necessary every so often). Mugs in particular seems to multiply and proliferate on their own in our cupboards. But the pots got better, and our collection more interesting, and I  began to understand the connection Robin felt with the material.

Over the years I have developed strong affinities with certain pieces, new favorites have replaced old ones, and tears have been shed over casualties. Preparing a meal now includes the added step of selecting and interacting with bowls, plates and platters - to which I take much delight in. Even the washing up part has lost some it's chore implication, and instead becomes an opportunity to get a closer look at each piece. (OK, sounds a bit corny, but I did say some, not all!)

Our pots are like characters in our lives, enriching our daily tasks through simple interactions and reminding us of their makers or the places we visited.   I have tried, but cannot imagine my life without them. In fact I can't even recall the dishes we owned pre-ceramics, I'm not sure my mantel would feel complete without the odd burnt looking object and I do know for sure that without the mug dilemma, I probably wouldn't drink as much coffee as I do. 

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Making her mama proud.

Today made all those years of paying my CSIA (Canadian Ski Instructor's Alliance) dues worthwhile. It was Isla's second day out on downhill skis and the conditions were perfect - bright and sunny, soft snow, warm temperatures, two happy and healthy children and a little friend along for motivation. 

We headed up to the local hill, Beaver Mountain and spent the good part of the day hanging out on the bunny hill. By the end of the day, Isla was cruising the strip and had mastered the magic carpet, much to her mother's delight. 

Roscoe, strapped to my back, took it all in and was doubly excited to be skiing with mom, which made teaching Isla a whole lot easier than I had hoped.  He hardly made a peep the whole time, other than to request "more fast mama". 

Summer Days

There is plenty of snow on the ground, our apparel seems to be all about layers these days and the activity of the week has been skiing. Yet, all we seem to be talking about is summer! 

Our summer plans seem to be shaping up and it looks like we're going to be busy. Besides getting back into the studio and starting a new body of work this week, Robin has also been on email finalizing some details about a summer residence and couple of workshops he has been asked to teach. 

Robin has been asked to be the guest resident artist at the Medalta Potteries site in Medicine Hat, Alberta for the month of June. The Medalta Potteries National Historic site once produced over 75% of the pottery in Canada, and now has been turned into an interactive museum and clay residency program. It's an exciting opportunity, and the best part is that they are willing to put the whole lot of us up for the month. 

Right after Medalta, we'll head north to Red Deer (also in Alberta) where Robin will be teaching a woodfiring workshop as part of Red Deer College's Summer Art Series. There is another possible workshop in the works for out in Saskatchewan, and a memorial firing for our friend Tom Rohr that passed away out in Oregon too. Whew! Looks like summer 2010 will be the DuPont pottery travelling roadshow. As for today, we're off to the ski hill..........

Friday, January 15, 2010

Clean Air wanted

Cache County 3 - Day Forecast Jan 16-18

Friday        Saturday                  Sunday                     Day One


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Back to school blues

And I'm the only one that's got them! Both Robin and Isla started back at school this week. Robin, happy to be getting his hands dirty once again after an entire month off. And Isla, thrilled to be back at preschool twice a week, hanging out with her friends again. Me on the other hand -  I'm in the usual old funk. Robin recognized it as something that has come round at the beginning of every semester. I suppose this one is no exception, after having the daddy around for four solid weeks, plenty of hanging out and drinking coffees together, I'm sad it's over. Although I have no excuse to be cranky about it, and plenty enough projects to occupy my time, so today I'm trying to put on a braver face than I have the last couple of days. 
Something new that I plan to rely on as mental health food this winter, is that the golf course across the street has opened up a public x-country ski track. It's fabulous, all I have to do is grab our gear and hop the fence and away we go. Last winter I made the trip to Green Canyon several times, also a terrific spot, but it meant packing up the car and gear (including the stroller and ski attachments). This year Isla is bigger and eager to do a little skiing herself, she has a little pair of skis that work perfect on the groomed trail and Roscoe is still content to ride on my back, well.....most of the time. 
I've already been out a couple times this week, and hope to get some skiing in while Isla is at preschool too and perhaps even some night skiing equipped with a headlamp. The weather has been sunny since we've been back, although with an inversion and bad air quality. I'm hoping for a system to move in and clear it out soon, I like the sun, but I'd be happy with some fresh snow too. 

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Sunday suppers

Might as well dive right into my cookbook project, I'm thinking, with plenty of recipes to perfect and as many more still to try out. The idea for a cookbook has been brewing actually for quite awhile, and was originally suggested by my dearest friend Kim way back last spring during her visit, as something I could do to occupy my time (like I'm not busy enough with two wee ones). 

Kim and I have an ongoing tradition of sourcing out and gifting one another with interesting cookbooks. This year, it was Robin, um I mean Santa, that picked out a couple of terrific additions to my collection. So today when the kids were both napping I was able to thumb through this one.  
Robin and I also have begun a new tradition of 'Sunday Suppers', where we pick a meal that we can cook together, and if possible even get the kids involved. So far we've had a couple of successful attempts at homemade pasta and pizza. Tonight we conquered the Peirogi! Isla and I made a yam & leek with asiago cheese filling and the dough from scratch while Robin bbq'd up some rubbed and glazed pork spareribs from a recipe we found in the other new cookbook: 

I have a feeling that we might be eating lots of slowcooked, fall of the bone kinda meats this coming year. Besides the books I acquired, there were also a couple of books under the tree for Robin....
and I'm sure once we're back home, this one will make it's debut!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

2010, Here we come

Here we are already into week two of 2010 and I feel like time is passing us by. Our impromptu trip north to visit friends and family this past week has given me a new appreciation for the time we have remaining in our graduate school adventure.

Despite me falling gravely ill and spending a good part of the trip in bed, it was still a terrific trip. Lots of cousin cuddles, hugs from Nana and even a visit with Papa Wes.  I did manage to make a full recovery from my death bed and was able to even enjoy a glass of wine with some friends. 

The spontaneity and the timing of our trip was perfect for many reasons. It was wonderful to keep riding the wave we first caught back in early December when we left for Mexico, an extended holiday that was focused on family time together. It was also wonderful to share our final week back in the Kootenays, a reminder of who and how much we have to look forward to coming back to. And, without having shared too many details about it beforehand, the trip also coincided with a potential job opportunity that had come up back home for me. 

The job would have been a fantastic one for sure, but the timing would have really sucked. It would have meant ultimately cutting this adventure short, for the kids and I anyhow, moving back to Nelson without Robin and somehow managing full time work and full time parenting until he finished his degree. Seeing that here I am, southbound for Logan again, I didn’t get the job. And I do feel relieved in many ways.

The experience has made me realize that the reality of going back to work is really not that far away, and that making the most of the time left should be my priority. So what does that mean? Firstly, embracing the tender ages of my kids and trying to make each and every day meaningful and memorable. Secondly, I’ll continue to love and lavish my hardworking husband with whatever I have to offer up for support as he gears up for his thesis. And finally, I’m going to throw myself back into the kitchen and combine my writing with the enjoyment I’ve gotten out of cooking and experimenting with recipes this last year and try and write a cookbook of sorts. “The Potter’s Wife Cooks”, how catchy!


Saturday, January 2, 2010

Midnight in Montana

On the eve before New Year's Eve, Robin and I decided very spontaneously to pack up the kids and the car and head north. So we spent our New Year's Eve in a hotel in Helena, Montana, equipped with a bottle of wine and cable tv! We didn't actually make it till midnight, after a long day's drive, a swim in the hotel pool and an inviting hotel bed....but it was fun to wake up in 2010 - on an adventure.

We've come north to visit family and hope to even get some skiing in while we're here. Robin isn't back in class until the 11th so we thought we'd make the most of our holiday time. It is blustery and cold here in Calgary, but we're all snuggled up here at Nana's house for a couple days before we begin part II of the adventure in the Kootenays....more soon.