At the Oviedo Pottery Sale

UPDATE: Sale is also taking place Sunday, May 6, from 10 to 5!

I admire people who can do things with their hands, especially potters. Think of taking a heavy blob of wet clay and putting it on an electrically-driven (or foot-pedaled) spinning wheel; after awhile a dish emerges, or the beginnings of a sugar bowl, or a teapot. And they’re usually created in myriad textures and colors, with or without embellishments. Incredible what these people can create. Put ME in front of a potter’s wheel with a heavy lump of wet clay and suddenly Lucy and Ethel are in the room.

That’s Betsey Maupin above, displaying one of her yarn bowls at the Annual Spring Pottery Sale in Oviedo, which I visited today. Many knitters use balls of yarn which do not unwind neatly from the center of the ball; the yard lead is worked from the outside of the ball, causing no end of spinning and jumping and escaping if you’re not careful. Some balls of yarn have been known to travel great distances– remember that story about the woman in Danbury, Connecticut? Her ball of yarn got so far away from her that it took weeks before she found it– in Times Square! Yarn bowls keep the yarn unwinding in place, well away from Times Square, or your cat.

A talented group of potters gathered for this year’s sale, which goes on today (May 5th.) until 5 PM. It’s located at 356 North Central Avenue in downtown Oviedo– just follow the signs once you get to the block.

You’ll find mugs, mug trees, bowls of all shapes and sizes and hues, teapots that look like cottages, and a LOT of skill. If you get a chance today, drive on up to Oviedo and check out some excellent local artistry: kudos to Barbara Bailey, Susie Vey, Elizabeth Maupin, Carol Jones, Chris Heimlich, Barbara Estevez and Gilda Ali.

Artist Doug Rhodehamel in Eustis

I hadn’t been to Eustis in years. The last time I visited was sometime in the early 1980’s; I shot a roll of black and white because the town and the country around it were old and “wooden” and deserving of that type of film. It was a bright, sunny day and the shadows were great. I still have those pictures somewhere, which I will try and find and then post on here.

I went up there today, twice, once to wander around the old streets of town, and then to pay a call on artist Doug Rhodehamel, who has an installation at the Lake Eustis Museum of Art. His fascination with sea life and all things scaly and crustacean often finds these denizens of the deep (why are things living underwater always called denizens?) figuring heavily in his work. (Go pay a long visit to Doug to see what I mean. He’s also the mushroom guy.)

This current installation, running through November, features a true sea of blue and green fishes which you can walk through. They are plenty charming in daytime, but at night, when Kirk and I returned for the debut, they were magical.

 

Here they are being installed.

Like all of Doug’s efforts, you are compelled to get directly involved with his work: with fish floating above you, below you, and on all sides, you can’t help but get close to them. You find yourself making underwater swimming motions as you float around the room, or you stare at one face-to-face, blowing on it until it spins merrily. It’s all such innocent fun, yet there’s a note of seriousness: each fish is made from repurposed cardboard  and recycled container lids. Doug is truly a green original.

Eustis is another little town that seems to be doing pretty well downtown. There are lots of little local shops and independent business, and careful architectural restoration. I had no idea; I would definitely love to spend a long, loazy Sunday at Olivia’s Coffeehouse on Bay Street. When I went in, they offered me a free coffee– they and a bank were doing a cross-pollination– but, pleased as I was, I opted to buy a larger serving. Free coffee! It was like being in the Twilight Zone. What a neat little place!

 

Here’s the sign for Dunnston’s Shoe Hospital. Remember in more innocent days when things were named that way? When personal items were respected and not replaced every fifteen minutes, there were places to bring them to for reconditioning or repair: shoe stores, television stores… even doll stores. Where I lived in Bay Ridge was a Doll Hospital, its windows filled with dusty babies and shrunken adults whose limbs and faces had been repaired… it was a creepy kind of place and I never felt the urge to go in. Even If I did  have a doll in need of surgery, I probably would have let it expire quietly rather than go inside the sinister looking Doll Hospital…

I love this wall! Think of everything it’s witnessed over many decades. It also looks very fragile, though I am sure it’s not. It’s the sort of wall that might have starred in a 1952 newsreel:

WALL  FALLS…  BROWNIES PINNED

… though they would have all been saved thanks to the industriousness of the entire citizenry, who would have all pitched in and carried off a brick or two until the little girls were freed.

Here’s a house typical of the old neighborhood just south of downtown. The streets are named Lemon and Citrus and Grove and Key, and you’d swear you were in Pleasantville.

A dreamy sidewalk setting where Grove meets Key.

I love this little place. No Radleys here !

Lake Gracie, downtown.

Perfect. But does it look like the house in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre?

The stolid old Presbyterian Church.

And here’s Sea of Green at night, and you can see the shadows and the reflections. It really was like being inaide a tropical fish tank! It had everything but some grubby catfish feeding on aquarium waste.

Where to next… Palatka, I think !