Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Excuse Me, While I Kiss the Sky

"Excuse me, while I kiss the sky". For some reason this line from the Jimi Hendrix Purple Haze song popped into my head as I was gathering leaves the other day. I'm not sure what Jimi had in mind with the line, did he want to retreat into fantasy? I understand that feeling, I feel like that a lot lately. The line also makes me feel jubilant and thankful for the beauty of nature and the people surrounding me too. Hope you don't mind my documenting my thoughts and inspirations. I'm going to post them as I discover them. Later I'll refer to them when I'm creating something these leaves inspired me to make in clay. This blog is as much for me as it is for you.

At the Sierra Hills Gift Boutique this past weekend someone else was also kissing the sky. An 85 year old woman in a wheelchair rolled up to my booth and I noticed she was clutching something very gingerly in her hand. I asked her what she had. When she opened her hand, she revealed the most beautiful Bradford pear leaf I have ever seen. The leaf had orange, brown, green, and gold. The leaf reminded me of a Rorschach ink blot test. The leaf was perfectly symmetrical as if someone had clamped the two sides of the leaf together with various colors inside and then just opened the leaf to reveal the perfectly formed colors.
Of course I didn't have my camera to take a photo of the woman and her pear leaf, but Gary manned the booth while I went outside to gather a few pear leaves for myself. I didn't find a leaf just like the one the woman found, but I found others. Leaves are illustrated in clay quite often. For instance some folks at Beads of Clay also found inspiration in leaves.
Unfortunately there weren't many sales at the show; only lesser priced items were selling. I understand where folks are coming from only too well. The economy in California is stalled. Unemployment is running very high in the state as well. My local area has 15 percent unemployment. Even those with jobs are feeling the pinch. Earlier this year, Gary was cut back two hours per day and his salary was also reduced. Just the other day Gary's boss was saying when things pick up they'll be getting a raise. Gee, with a raise Gary will probably be making less than he was before. Somehow that doesn't sound like a raise to me.

Anyway, in spite of lack luster sales the Sierra Hills benefit for the local Boys and Girls Club was a success and worthwhile for many reasons. I had plenty of time to enjoy the company of visitors to my booth and people said they really appreciate seeing art handmade by local artisans. Others said they want to come up to visit my studio and several asked about my ceramic sculptures. Since my sculptures are harder to transport, I didn't bring any to the show. Live and learn; next show I'll be sure to bring a sculpture.

Hollyhock Plates by Linda Starr

Meanwhile I'm thinking about building a display stand I can use at shows to hang tiles, decorative plates, and the plaques I make. I could use two pieces of pegboard 2 x 4 foot. Then I'd put 1 x 2's on the edges to strengthen it. I'd make it about 5 feet tall and two sided with a hinge at the top. I'd set it up at the corner of my booth with some lettering at the top with my name. Ceramic pieces could be hung with S hooks. What do you think? Feel free to make comments, in the meantime Excuse Me, While I Kiss the Sky.


  1. Sorry the sales weren't so good. Your Hollyhock plates look wonderful! I thinks folks might have really liked to see some of your sculptures. Sometimes slow sales at shows can mean future sales at your studio and it makes people aware of your work.

    Booth design and display options are always a challenge. I have been using 2x6 grid wall panels, which is a total pain to haul but is necessary for my steel wall sculptures. I did learn a tip from another vendor -I now use quick zip ties to connect the panels instead of the time consuming hardware. Easier up and easier down. Though I found the grid is almost too busy of a background for my sea tiles and smaller clay pieces. I also need to find a better clay display...

  2. Hi Cindy, yeah, it is all about exposure. Those zip ties are a good idea, especially since S hooks could get knocked out, thanks - hope they'll fit through the peg board holes - not sure if that will work.

    I'll bet you need something real sturdy to hold your metal sculptures. I always worry about a big wind coming up and knocking things over in outdoor shows. I'm hoping the peg board would appear more as a solid background. I saw a folding bookscase at Target I think would be good for clay pieces, um - lots to think about.

  3. Oh Cindy, I meant to say thanks about the hollyhock plates.

  4. I sort of expect slow sales right now with the economy, back to school expenditures and other cut backs people might make this time of year. I suppose the good news is that some pottery was still selling! :)

    Loved the gist of your post and the Hendrix song have a way of tying it all together.

    The holly hock plates look a lot better than my real life holly hocks - they're pretty sad right now.

  5. Hi Cynthia, at least I had a few sales and I got positive feedback from folks visiting my booth, that always helps.

    Thanks about the plates. My hollyhocks look ratty too, but I know they are putting on seeds for next year, so I leave them.

  6. don't laugh at me but for yeras I thought he was singing excuse me while I Kiss this guy.....
    Mark corrected me about 10 years ago. Still makes me laugh.
    We have put together sheets of 2x2 sheets of plywood hinged to make sets.
    I am going to send you a picture of our booth. I use these to hang tiles.
    Don't know if it work for you- we also use the top boards for lights- I am sending you a picture.

  7. Hi Meredith, I am not laughing, apparently a lot of people thought he sang the same thing as apparently he was bi-sexual. I just know he was a great guitarist and I loved his songs. Like many talented people he died too young for all the wrong reasons. Artists are a sensitive bunch and sometimes the realities of life are just too much to handle.

    Thank you so much for sending me the photos. I had no way of displaying hanging pieces and I had time to think this past weekend. I also noticed that a booth with some height gets folks attention as they are walking by. thanks again.

  8. HUmmmm Sounds like CA is hurting and man that has to be tuff on the income at home! Well your garden is wonderful and should help in the veggie department! Glad to hear you had some sales ( that might be really good in a better market). I like the name somewhere in your booth idea!

  9. Hi Mary, yes, in a better market I would probably be doing ok. I've been looking for a place to display may name in the booth. I have it in an 8 x 11 inch placard, but something larger would be better. Thanks so much.

  10. Those are wicked cool leafs. I was reading about this way to use leaves to make sillhouettes of people or kids. And those would be just lovely to use.

  11. Hi Urban Craft and welcome, Making silhouettes of people with leaves, now that sounds interesting, wonder if I could make them in clay? I have so many wonderful leaves around here, heck the world has an endless supply of those not to mention ideas and inspiration.

  12. Hi Linda,
    Lovely to catch up with your blog. All the beautiful leaves give the feeling that autumn is on the way in your part of the world. Sorry that sales haven't been that good, it seems slow here this month as far as sales go too. According to the news today, the economies in Germany and France are starting to pick up again (much to everyone's surprise), so maybe we should all move over there! I've always fancied a nice canal boat myself, and sometimes think how enjoyable it might be to have a potter's wheel on the back of a canal boat whilst moving through the countryside at a walking pace! Sorry I'm not in touch as much as I was, I've been a bit worn out I think, but I do think of you and Gary often and hope that life will send more good things in your direction. Best Wishes to you both, it would be nice to meet up one day. P.

  13. Hi Peter, I too have been thinking about you and Laura and thought you must still be busy with some details on your studio remodeling. I know what it's like to feel worn out for sure. I've heard the economy is slowly getting better and your description of floating down a canal sounds wonderful. I was thinking along similar lines when I wrote my next post about fishing on Lake Davis, wanting to recapture some of the relaxing times I had in the past. We've just spent too much time working recently and need some quality time off away from it all, perhaps when the cooler weather comes very soon. The leaves do seem to be turning earlier this year and we've had a cooler than normal summer which I am truly thankful for. We have some folks coming to look tomorrow, hopefully they or some others will like to move here and we will be off on a new adventure. I would love to come visit you in New Zealand; I hope I get to and I can just walk in the door and surprise you. Thanks so much for your good thoughts.


I love suggestions, questions, critiques, thanks for your comment