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A Hop Across the Pond

A Hop Across the Pond

I was in Canada for a wedding, which was the awesome, but because of that, I got to drop by Sheridan, where I first studied glass, and talk to the current third years. I really enjoyed it, I gave a talk about my work, but most interesting was having a conversation with them afterwards, I got to see a bunch of their work, and it was really great to talk with them about it see where they were going and what inspires them. I also got to hold one of Marc Petrovic’s birds that he had done as a demo earlier in the year. They’re completely incredible.
I also got to go to SOFA in Chicago! I’ve enjoyed it in the past, it is often overwhelming, jam-packed and shiny, but full of awesome. Being inside, and since I only had my phone, the pictures I took were terrible! I was very happy to see work by Jeff Zimmer, Alison Kinnaird, Amanda Simmons, Keeryong Choi, and Misun Won at the Craft Scotland booth, which looked fantastic, and to be able to hear Jeff, Che, and Amanda’s talk about working in Scotland. Other highlights for me were Lauren Tickle’s “Currency Converted” jewellery project, Ljubica Knezevic’s “Analytic Concept of Breaking up the Game into Larger or Smaller Operations”, and Mel Douglas’ “Turning Tide #2, Gradient, Linear” (apparently I have similar taste to the people who were judges in “SOFA Selects” so I’ve given you the links to their choices, sine the pictures are of the actual work that was at the show).
On the way to Chicago, we stopped in Detroit. Look, it’s part of the Heidelberg Project:
School of Jiri Harcuba

School of Jiri Harcuba

 
After the Symposium, I was also able to attend the School of Jiri Harcuba. It was a smaller group of us, lead by Pavlina Cambalova that met at the Glass Centre in Sazava, just south of Prague. The week started with the opening of an exhibit of works by Jiri, and it was wonderful to be able to spend more time, seeing them change as the light changed over each day in the week. The Glassworks is a wonderful studio, and if you’ve got a chance to to a workshop there, it is worth going
One of the most amusing things we did over the course of the week was engrave glass slides and tell stories with them:

School of Jiri Harcuba 2014: Engraved Glass Slides from Ainsley Francis on Vimeo.

Put a Bird on it!

Put a Bird on it!

I fear I’ve been falling down on my blogging duties, alas. Anyways. Last weekend was Easter, or since I live in Luxembourg, “buy bird whistles and annoy my cat” day. Otherwise known as Émaishen, it takes place every year on Easter Monday, and it’s name is in reference to the story of the travelers that Jesus met on the road to Emmaus after the resurrection, though it’s so much more about pottery than anything else. The current incarnation of the festival is relatively new, with the market in Luxembourg City’s Fëschmaart (marché aux poissons) dating back to 1938 and the one in nearby Nospelt dating to 1957.
My favorite whistles! Made by Hildegard Schemehl, who can be found on the interwebs here.

Traditionally, Easter Monday corresponded with the celebration of the Guild of Potters that used to take place outside of église Saint Michel, and there is a 1827 document that references a market in front of the church, and recommends that it be moved to marché aux poissions, but there seems to be no reference to the bird whistles being particular to that market at that time (more info). The modern market is huge, spilling out of Fëschmaart into Kneudler and the streets surrounding them and Place d’Armes, and it lasts all day, so since I live downtown, I hear the chirping whistles from dawn to dusk, which I think is quite lovely, even if it does prevent the full enjoyment of a holiday Monday afternoon nap.

The whistles are called péckvillchen, and I’m told that the more typical one is a water whistle, that is has a vessel that is filled with water and sounds like a chirping songbird, though it seems that most of the potters today seem to make ocarina-like coucous, that are played dry and have a couple of tones.

Here’s a recording of one of the water whistles.

I met a potter once on Vancouver Island, I forget his name (edit: I think it was Victor Dufffhues of JoVic Pottery in Chemainus, and wether it was him or not, I have a mug of his that I love to pieces), but when I told him I work in glass, he told me that that he though that all potters are frustrated glass artists… I think the inverse applies to glass artists, at least to me, and going to stuff like this makes me feel it all the more. So I should probably learn to use ceramics. Then I will say I’m an artist who works with fire, which would be awesome.

The market is organized by the comité Alstad in Luxembourg and information on the festival in Nospelt, which goes all weekend, can be found at the Nouspelter Emaischenwebsite.