Grace, my character in “Peace, Love, and Misunderstanding” is an artist. She paints and sculpts in ceramic and uses a potter’s wheel and kiln and so I want to learn to do it. I used to paint and I’ve always wanted to learn to throw a pot—that’s what they call it when you use a potter’s wheel to make bowls, pots, cups, etc

Judy Zeichner is a Sagittarius like me only she is Dec 1st. I, like her son, am Dec 21st. She’s terrific and we really got along. She’s from Queens (“not The Queens” she said. “Just Queens.”) Came up to Ulster County in 2001. Knew she’d found her place when she mowed the lawn naked for the first time. (Her house is in the woods.) Imagine how good that would feel!! If I lived here I would study with her. She is a wonderful teacher and I really learned a lot in a short time.

In the studio of Artist Judy Zeichner who is helping me with the oil painting

Then I went from Judy’s to the potter’s studio of ceramic artist Brinton Baker. Again, a great guy who was a wonderful teacher. I could have stayed all night. I threw 3 smaller pots and a larger bowl and loved it. Besides learning a little about how to use the wheel and handle the clay (which I want to do more of), I learned a lot that is good for the character and how she dresses. For instance, it’s your pants and feet that get covered with clay, not so much your torso. Soooo, instead of wearing Grace’s interesting sandals, I should wear Crocs that can be washed. Since I am working outside I also need a visor or some such. All this will affect how I play my first scene when I am discovered outside working on my potter’s wheel. I want to go back to Brinton’s in August and glaze what I made cause I feel quite proud.

Learning to use the potter’s wheel in the studio of potter Brinton Baker. That’s a pretty large bowl to have thrown for a first timer. Those other cups to the left I also did.

My camera ran out of batteries or I would have also photographed his wife who is a drama teacher at the local community college. She and Brinton spent 4 years in Japan where he studied pottery and apprenticed. While he was doing that, she became the only American woman (and one of the very few women in general) ever to study and actually perform Noh theatre, an esoteric, ancient form of formal, ritualized Japanese theater…done wearing a mask, speaking ancient Japanese, moving in a highly stylized manner. Because she paved the way, some Japanese women who studied but not performed , got the courage to perform. That’s something to be proud of.

I also met their two daughters who went out with a young woman who is studying film at Bard College and works in the costume department of our film.

What this does for me, living here in the woods in between these very small towns, is give me a sense of what it was like when there were fewer people in the world and people knew each other.  Yes, there are problems here—like not enough jobs. But the people I have been fortunate enough to meet and spend some time with are really nice and interesting and warm—and creative…many artists up here, and I can see why!!

See you next time. It’s after 8pm and I have to go to bed.

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