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Insider’s View From Clothesline Artist

By Sabra Wood, Clothesline Artist from Crocus Clay Works

totem3For most people, the Clothesline Festival is a month away.

But if you’re a potter, like me, Clothesline is MUCH closer. At our studio, Jennifer Buckley and I will stop making things out of wet clay 3 weeks before Clothesline, so that pieces can dry (it’s been a little muggy) and get fired in the kiln 2 times.

So, let’s see, that means one week left to work in clay. The big question: what to make?

Our focus is on garden totems. We set up a long table with different finished pieces (Rochester’s largest a la carte buffet), and folks assemble them until they have their very own totem creation.

gardentotem3The first year that we brought totems to Clothesline was an amazing experience for us. We hoped folks would like them – after all, we did! But it never occurred to us that total strangers would help each other design their totems.

Now we know to expect this: 2 days of watching nice people become friends over totem creations. There’s this weird, unexpected community that just happens.

So – one week left. What additional pieces should we make for the totems? Character beads: birds, fish, frogs, turtles?

I recently was thinking about crows, and decided to take a small departure from our normally pastel birds. My bird doesn’t much resemble a crow, but I like its dark, brooding quality.


Then there are flying saucers: discs that are multi-colored, often with additional decoration. We’ve always liked the way these look on totems. But then a customer put 3 on one totem. WOW. We never thought of doing this, and loved the result. So – let’s make a lot more flying saucers, remembering, of course, that there’s one week left.


And while we’re rushing to get everything done, we’re visited by memories of past Clotheslines. That broken resolve NOT to buy a huge bag of Kettle Korn. The guilty pleasure of a tube steak, late Sunday afternoon. And yes, there are some non-food thoughts. The bathroom breaks, made wonderful by waiting in line inside the museum and stealing a few moments to explore the Rochester-Finger Lakes Exhibition. Meeting lovely new people, and catching up with old friends. Getting great new ideas from customers who see our pots in ways that we don’t, and hearing back from folks who received one as a gift.

Clothesline is the season’s last hurrah for outdoor art events. And it’s just a glorious way to say goodbye to summer.


Comment from Jennifer
Time: August 26, 2009, 9:54 am

Great color for the garden…..Fun.

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