Anybody got any Elmers?

Me and Mary on a much-needed break

It's been a whirlwind of activity here in Ireland the past month and a half. We rebuilt the chimney to the wood-fired kiln that we built last year (chimney was blown over during a storm in February), set up the workshop, purchased clay and glaze material, made pots and fired them, and now we're finishing up preparations for our first ever kiln opening in Ireland.

Sometimes, I ask myself why. Why did I set up a shop in a foreign country where not a lot of people know me, where everything seems to be done in a different manner with different names for things, like kiln batts instead of kiln shelves, 4 x 2s instead of 2 x 4s... like going to the store for messages instead of groceries. And then there's converting metric measurements and centigrade. It was 28 today... that's 82 (dreadfully hot, here).

I think I love a challenge. I love to figure things out. And a challenge it was setting up here. Try walking into an Irish hardware store and asking for a pipe wrench (it's called a strainer here, I think because you strain a lot when you use it). Or how about some Elmer's glue for gluing wads on the bottom of pots when loading a kiln? Nope, they use glue sticks around here (Sure, don't you know everybody calls it Evo-stik?). I had to buy some white wood glue from the hardware store after driving around town and checking every convenience store in the area.

Looking for a vacuum for the shop. Everything's a hoover here, and you won't put a hoover in the trunk of your car. That's a boot - opposite end from the bonnet, you eejit.

So, it took a bit more figuring than usual, but Mary and I managed to get up and running in a few weeks, and tonight Mary's walking down the road she grew up on sliding kiln opening flyers into the mail slots of all her childhood neighbors.

We've set up some old pub tables Aunt Noreen gave us on the former rhubarb garden out back and we'll be covering them with tablecloths we purchased at the Eurostore and setting out the first pots fired in a kiln heated with deal wood (a christmas tree like pine grown here). Mary's driver's ed teacher, Eileen Leonard, is coming for the opening night to play her fiddle. We got a friend in County Clare, David Levine, who may come with his concertina and flute. I've got a bottle of Jameson, a few cans of Harp lager. There will be tea of course, and some coffee and lots of baked goods (God, I've eaten a lot of baked goods lately).

So, wish us luck. I'm still trying to figure out why I'm doing this, but it's been great.

A small vase paddled with a tiny hurley

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