Sunday, December 30, 2007

Monday, December 17, 2007

Fresh Plums


John Glick writes a blog on photographing pottery. Very useful information, specifically for the potter, on digital media, cameras, lighting and not a little humor. Mr. Glick is a potter in the Detroit area with 40 years plus studio time. Beautiful website, amazing history and an artist I am glad to reconnect with for permission to publish this photograph. Check out his website here.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Holiday Busy-ness



Things here in the shop are a bit, how shall I say, all out?? It is always like this this time of year and every year I try and shift that somewhat. It is starting earlier this year. Does that mean it will taper sooner? This is a good problem, as I have lots of work. Which ought to translate into lots of sales (yes) but profits? I will know more when it is over.

I am in the process of regrouping and planning now for next year and drafting an over all 3 year plan. I had a 5 year plan I wrote in 2002 which would put me at a million dollars a year right about now. That didn't happen. Why? What is it about business, about art, about making pottery for a living that makes real profits so elusive? Real profits which afford steady help. Real profits which allow the development of civic giving. Maybe it is time. Patience. Persistence. All that. I have a feeling yes, that is part of it, but I think there may be more to it than that. What do you think?

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Sunday, November 11, 2007

Changes at the American Craft Council

Just read this on Dennis Stevens blog after I got an email alert from Natasha Wozniak.

Carmine Branagan has resigned as Executive Director of the American Craft Council effective Friday, November 9th. Carmine served the Council with passion and dedication since 2002. Under her leadership the Council re-launched American Craft magazine, presented a national leadership conference in Houston, TX, revitalized the Council’s show program, and developed a strong, committed staff. Carmine believes many of the goals set during her directorship have been achieved and she looks forward to pursuing other interests.

We are grateful for her vision for the Council and for the critical role she has played to help secure the future of the field.

It will be very interesting to see how thing unfold there.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

MAD in the Times


Breaking the Pattern in Tableware
Published: July 22, 2007

(This article with pictures of 2 of my pieces was in this summer's NYT. I just figured out how to put it here. Wow! That was very easy.)

REMEMBER mix and match? Keep the concept in mind when buying a wedding present for couples who have registered for white dinnerware. The main course may look best on white, but a mix of colorful — and patterned — soup, salad and dessert plates will dress up what would otherwise be a bland dining table.

SALAD From left: Classic Confetti Dot saucer, $22, by Maryann Davis, www.davistudio.com, (518) 392-7308; Rococo Cumberland, designed in 1763, is hand-painted and decorated with 24-karat gold, $5,120, from Nymphenburg at Moss, 150 Greene Street (Houston Street), (866) 888-6677; Contre-Jour by Raynaud, $58 at Takashimaya, 693 Fifth Avenue (54th Street), (212) 350-0100; Cristobal by Raynaud, $75 at Bloomingdale’s, www.bloomingdales.com or (866) 593-2540; Verde salad plate, $3.95 at www.cb2.com, (800) 606-6252; Hunt Scene bread and butter plate by Wedgwood, $20 at www.wedgwoodusa.com, (800) 955-1550.

Dessert
DESSERT From top: Pocket-watch dessert plates by Ralph Lauren, $27 at Bloomingdale’s; a bowl in the Big Black Dot pattern, 7.5 inches, is $48, by Maryann Davis; Girl With New Bracelet, by a California artist, Toby Judith Klayman, $80 at www.klaymanart.com, (415) 285-7987.


Monday, November 05, 2007

Guild Studio Tour



Our guild is holding its 5th annual studio tour this weekend, November 10th and 11th. Tour goers can traverse the country side and visit 12 studios to view the work of 20 artists and artisans. I have much to do to get the studio ready!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Going Local

Where things come from, what they are made of, by whom and how are becoming increasingly important questions as we learn just how much distant or huge manufacturers let things slide. This week alone these stories are revealed; the Gap lets an outsourced contractor use children to make clothing in horrible conditions, Japan's famous candy maker Akafuku is sloppy and Chinese drugs are found to be completely unregulated.

I don't know though, I don't really eat local food and use locally made crafts because I am afraid of this other stuff. I do it because I feel better on many levels for eating fresh organic food, living in a mostly DIY environment, etc. It is environmentally better for my family and the planet and it is ethically easier to discern the treatment of who's making my stuff. I am far from perfect. Actually, perfection isn't my goal. Far from it. There's so much fun good stuff out there. But, I am on a path. A path many others are streaming onto and that feels very good. Maybe, just maybe, the world isn't going somewhere hot in a hand bag. Maybe, our kids and grand kids will have something to work with when we are gone.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Local Currencies

The ideal of locally made in order to create a sustainable community, society and world is not new. I have lifted the beginning of a narrative from the E.F. Schumacher Society application for the Buckminster Fuller grant. Local currencies are part of this equation. Shifting to more local and regional ways of doing business is in everyone's best interest in the long run. I have posted the rest of the article here: Local Currencies

Buckminster Fuller Challenge
Application Narrative

Urgent Issue of our Time

E. F. Schumacher argued that if we are to achieve a sustainable economic
system (what he called an economy of permanence), then the goods consumed in
a region should by and large be produced in that region. With shorter
supply lines and fewer intermediaries between the producer and consumer,
fuel use is less and carbon dioxide emissions decrease. Individuals engaged
in their local economy may rely on more trips downtown but on fewer trips
across oceans and countries.

Consumers are more likely to tolerate poor labor conditions and
environmental degradation when they are made invisible by the distancing
effect of the global economy. Incorporating production into the local
economy helps to illuminate poor practices and their impact on the
community. Ultimately we learn that content workers, sustainable farming
practices, and a healthy environment lead to increased productivity and
decreased true costs to the consumer.

Monday, October 15, 2007

New Chargers


I have a new 14" charger I am using like a work on paper- glazing as I might a unique painting. This size and format is suitable for this approach and I look forward to more of these in the coming months.

The background glaze is a new white satin matte that works really well.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Alice Waters


After hearing Alice Waters (of Chez Panisse fame) speak last month in San Francisco, I have been on a bit of a kick. I bought her new book, The Art of Simple Food and am reading her biography. More importantly, I have deepened my commitment to eating high quality, locally grown food and have also invested in some expensive olive oil. The results are delicious meals even my 12 year is willing to eat!

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Monday, September 24, 2007

Paul Hawken, Blessed Unrest and WiserEarth

Paul Hawken speaking at a Bioneers event about his book, Blessed Unrest. Worth a look, about 5 minutes.

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International Day of Peace



This past Friday, September 21, was the International Day of Peace. Here in Chatham, NY a group of us gathered for poetry, a bit of song and a bit of prayer- T'was a lovely thing.



Paul Nowak is holding a sign made by Jillian O'Connell.

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Sunday, September 23, 2007

All Edibles



Sara Weihman and Kirk Saunders set up a display at Dwell on Design, San Francisco, representing their company, All Edibles. Revolutionary idea of making planting an edible garden into a business. Leave it to Berkeley!! This is an idea that could spread. It's a good one.

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Saturday, September 15, 2007

MAD at Dwell





Have to post some images of my booth. With huge thanks and hugs to Liz McIlvaine for help with the dotted backdrop fabric, George Gruel for the stunning photographs and large prints of them, Jan Gruel for her lighting expertise and John Wallner for his lights and friendship. Thanks also go out to Millie Rossman-Kid for help with new business card and look, Sara Weihman and mostly, Doug Cohen, who helped me set up and continues his networking magic....

Friday, September 14, 2007

Michael McDonough



Michael McDonough spoke this morning and what an amazing guy! He has a project called e-House. He has been working on the project for 7 years and said he'll probably continue developing it for the next 30. For the first 5 years he sourced everything. "Invent nothing, Google everything". He also said that "in the past 15 years, more building innovations have been made than in the past 15,000".

To consolidate what he has learned from this project, he boiled down 5 learning points:
1. Conventional building materials are good conductors - bad for insulation.
i.e. metal, glass, ceramic; all materials we use to cook with. Better to use aerated auto-clave concrete or other high insulation product whose inherent quality is to insulate.
2. Remove dampness.
3. Light - daylight combined with artificial light - use a dimmer. Watch where natural light falls and take advantage of good exposures. Be conscious of what you want to see.
4, Be where you are.
5. How do you want to live? Think about the site and what is there.

He also mentioned that many Leed certified high rises have an r-factor (insulation defense) of 2-3 (40 is optimum, 10 is barely hanging on). I found this confusing so asked him abut it later. He told me that Leed certification, the US Green Building Standard, does not do post occupancy studies. Building Science is a rigorous scientific study team which analyzes post occupancy r-rating and determines, though physics, the long term insulation standard of buildings.

Fascinating stuff, this.

Dwell on Design


Dwell on Design has just opened in San Francisco. As an exhibitor, I am currently sitting in the audience listening to John Hockenberry and others talk about architecture and social change, with a particular focus on sustainability, bubbling up as the highest levels of leadership are abandoned. It is a promising start to what is clearly going to be an exciting weekend. I will be blogging more than usual in the next 3 days, so stay tuned...

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Social Networks

There is a lot of really cool social networking going on online. Unfortunately there is also some major creep stuff happening too. I joined Quechup at the invitation of a trusted contact, only to find out the site will spam your entire address book, possibly after you quit! Sorry if you got an invite, please disregard. I do like Facebook, though.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Venus Vessels



Here are some new bottles I am working on, photo courtesy of George Gruel, photographer extraordinaire. We took a bunch of shots on location at Dog Park, Jan and George's refuge and botanical oasis. The rocks here are part of a dry river bed Jan created. It was a gorgeous day and some beautiful shots were made.

The photographs are part of the show in San Francisco I am getting ready for, Dwell on Design. More new work is coming out the kiln in the next days, will post.

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Monday, August 27, 2007

The Unknown Monet at the Clark


Yesterday I went to the Clark Museum in Williamstown, MA to see the Monet show. What was especially interesting about this show is the fact that his drawings were little known until recently. The high point for me of the exhibition was looking at his sketchbooks, which are available to view, page by page, on a computer in the galleries. I love drawings...

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Thursday, August 23, 2007

Sustainable Thursday




Last week while I was in New York, I got a ride from 5th Ave. and 55th St. to Penn Station on a Revolution Rickshaw- Liandro was my host and it was a very different exprience than a cab. Being an open vehicle, I was exposed to the intensity of Times Square in the middle of traffic. Think extreme sports... It reminded me of a science fiction book I forgot to write ;-) about New York after fossil fuels are forbidden on the island of Manhattan. Green, tree lined streets abound because all vehicles are human driven or electric. Ah, to dream...

Did you know that the average life span of a tree in Manhattan is 7 years because of the carbon monoxide of the automobiles and trucks?



Anyway, the human rickshaw experience is wonderful and is in danger because opposition from a lobby of taxi cab and horse and buggy drivers. Seems to me there is room for all of the above in New York and the human factor is especially important in Michael Bloomberg's PLANYC, greening New York City. George Bliss apparently has a campaign going on about this, but I couldn't find anything online today. I did find this article about ominous regulations for this industry.

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Thursday, August 16, 2007

New York Gift Show



I dipped my foot back into this huge gift fair held in New York twice a year. I was very recently approached by an old friend to have me as part of his booth in the handmade/fair trade section of the show. John Wallner, of Anohka, kindly sold my things in his booth this past week at the Javits Center.



Being at this show for the first time in 4 years was a refresher course in several areas. I met another old friend, Carole Waller, a fiber artist who lives in bath, England and it was a reunion of wonder. She and I went to Cranbrook 25 years ago and lost touch shortly after graduation. Seeing her in New York was like knowing her all along. I am grateful to be back in touch and her work is, as always, amazing.

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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

I am Carbon Neutral

OK, yes, there I go bragging again. But, I am amazed how easy it is to go 100% carbon neutral. This past Saturday, after realizing at this stage in history our priority is to go carbon neutral, I figured out how to do it. It isn't hard nor is it expensive. I bought my carbon offsets or REC's from Native Energy for $10 a month. If you are interested in a whole lot more info about carbon neutrality, David Suzuki has an exhaustive website about it with piles of links. He's totally cool and you can learn about about him there, too. Another carbon neutral potter I just learned about thanks to Emily Murphy is Soderstrom.

Creating a sustainable business, one which takes into account environmental and social equity while maintaining artistic integrity and making a living, all at the same time, has been a journey to say the least. When I wrote the previous 2 posts, the thought behind them came after years of thought and well, maybe not a little procrastination. Saying my work is eco, sustainable, and now carbon neutral is partly or maybe mostly due to the fact that I have been paying attention to the detail of what it takes to make those claims.

Years ago, after doing the New York Gift Show, I was approached by a multitude of "opportunities" to offshore my production. I made a decision early on to maintain the making of all of my things. It was a tough decision back then. Jonothon Adler had burst into super stardom after he started working with Peruvian potters and his days filled with building a business, not making pots. Since I do tend to be slow, I decided to keep making pots, build my business slowly and see what was what.

Today, I am still making pots. You know what? I love making pots. I do some business and I make a lot of pots. I have total artistic control of my destiny and I am eco! Carbon neutral! Mostly, though, I am doing what I love and making a living. Not a killing, but a living. That works for me. Growing old is inevitable. Growing old with a conscience, that takes a bit a planning, or maybe a little procrastination. Anyway, I just got back from the New York Gift Show, but will write about that tomorrow. Much fodder for the blog this week...

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Wednesday, August 08, 2007

My list

Here is the list I have created, a work in progress, which states why my work is environmentally acceptable? Superior to others? Preferable to purchase based on priorities of an environmental/future better nature? I list these reasons as questions because making a list like this indicates that I have a singular practice. Well, maybe just a practice. All the same, it seems to be important to be more transparent and more forth coming these days about how things are made, which I celebrate.

Anyway, here it is. I can't figure out how to upload a PDF onto Blogger, so this isn't as pretty as the actual. Oh well... Please comment-

davistudio :: fine eco-porcelain

"Let ours be a time remembered for the awakening of a new reverence for life, the firm resolve to achieve sustainability, the quickening of the struggle for justice and peace, and the joyful celebration of life."
The Earth Charter, 2000

eco-fine porcelain created by davistudio follows eco standards achievable by any and all small studio owners. It is my intention to share the understanding of what constitutes environmental stewardship.
As an eco-potter, environmental stewardship is incorporated into every piece produced in my studio. Everyone who uses and eats off of my porcelain will appreciate the enhanced health and well-being present in the wares. These ideals contribute to a more sustainable life standard on the earth.


Here’s how:
Reducing Energy Use
• davistudio is walking distance from my home, no commuter CO2 contribution.
• Efficient small kilns fire batch quantities of ware that are ordered by specific clients or in small numbers for samples.
• For firings, davistudio uses as much wind and solar energy as is currently available through the New York State Electric and Gas grid (New Wind Energy program). davistudio has a goal to be 100% solar, wind and renewable energy efficient by late 2008.

Using Durable, Non-Toxic Material
• Porcelain is made from a mix of organic grolleg, kaolin, and flint.
• All davistudio glazes are certified food safe and lead free, meeting the labeling standards of proposition 65, the highest standards for ceramic glaze labeling.
• Porcelain is a durable material that will last many lifetimes. As such, it is non-disposable making it an heirloom quality fine art object. Purchasing carefully chosen house wares of this nature encourages clients to buy better not more. In the event of breakage, the object can be disposed of, without toxic leaking or breakdown. It is like a rock. Reuse as a mosaic material is preferable, though!
• All porcelain is dishwasher safe and microwavable.

Maintaining a Clean Working and Waste Recycling Environment
• Studio is kept in clean condition – use of HEPA filter on vacuum and regular wet mopping as standard protocol, eliminates danger of air born silica dust.
• All waste materials are recycled – i.e. unused clay and all mistakes are reused as reclaim (standard practice in any ceramic studio).
• Any particles resulting from rinsing of brushes and buckets are caught in a special filter that isolates any materials for reuse or safe disposal.

Efficiency in Packing and Shipping
• Just in time inventory reduces unnecessary production, limited inventory and therefore low waste. No production overruns.
• Packing materials are all biodegradable or reused.
• Shipping is done in small batches, to specific clients in carefully ordered amounts.

Mary Anne Davis
Owner, davistudio

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Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Eco-Porcelain

"Let ours be a time remembered for the awakening of a new reverence for life, the firm resolve to achieve sustainability, the quickening of the struggle for justice and peace, and the joyful celebration of life."
The Earth Charter

The green issue. I just made a list of why I can claim my porcelain is green. It will be included in all of my promotional materials from now on. Sustainably handmade has been stamped on my pots for years and the verbiage included with each piece touches upon sustainability, handmade, community and all of the things I hold dear. But, a new intensity around what is green is emerging and I have decided to take a stand, thus writing a stronger statement.

One Black Bird had guest blogger Laura Zindel weigh in recently on what constitutes green ceramics and her post really got me going. I am just glad the conversation has truly begun. There are many points in her post I could address and would like to discuss with others interested in eco-production, ceramic or otherwise. It is a huge realm which we are only beginning to address. Pundits and neophytes alike need to think, act and speak according to available knowledge, which boils down to what you know. Colin Beavan recently wrote an entry on his No Impact Man blog called On not letting eco-dogma start the next war. I call it environmental fundamentalism and it just doesn't serve. Intensity is necessary, but there are myriad problems and solutions needing to be worked on and some of them may take years, decades even to resolve and shift. People need to be engaged, not preached to and alienated.

One thing those of us who are really thinking about this stuff can do, is make a claim! Then defend it. As we defend, we learn, we refine, we interact, and we expand our current knowledge base. It is my firm belief that we really don't know what we're doing. But, we are doing it and however imperfectly that is manifesting, we are doing it together. The most essential thing I have taken away from these years of working on environmental sustainability and community development, economic, social and spiritual is that we are all connected. That is what we need to focus on and develop. Perfection is well, just boring, IMHO.

Peace, love and welcome to the new reality...

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Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Set of Dishes



This set of dishes went out yesterday to couple in Chicago. Interesting living a life that hinges on making pots. Lots of quiet time spent making, punctuated by very intense, active periods of passionate interaction. Coming off of one of those- Will report on that shortly. Meanwhile...





Espresso cup on saucer, on saucer on cake plate on dinner plate...

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Thursday, July 19, 2007

Local Currencies

The BerkShares local currency program has been named a finalist for the
prestigious Peter Drucker Award for Non Profit Innovation. The winner of
the $35,000 Award will be announced in November.

BerkShares has also applied for the Buckminster Fuller Challenge, carrying a
$100,000 prize. A copy of the application follows for your information.

Either award would mean additional funding to take BerkShares from a simple
buy local program to a more complex citizen initiated tool for shaping the
future of the Berkshire economy in a sustainable manner.

What will a fully developed program look like? Well one quality will be
that participation will be so widespread that you and other businesses will
have multiple opportunities for recirculation making redemption at a
discount unnecessary.

In the meantime we encourage businesses to adjust acceptance in a way
appropriate for the your business while creatively finding ways to expand
the program in the local economy. We welcome your recommendations for new
BerkShare participants.

Thanks for being a pioneer of an evolving and innovative program.

Susan Witt for the BerkShares Team

www.berkshares.org

Buckminster Fuller Challenge
Application Narrative

Urgent Issue of our Time

E. F. Schumacher argued that if we are to achieve a sustainable economic
system (what he called an economy of permanence), then the goods consumed in
a region should by and large be produced in that region. With shorter
supply lines and fewer intermediaries between the producer and consumer,
fuel use is less and carbon dioxide emissions decrease. Individuals engaged
in their local economy may rely on more trips downtown but on fewer trips
across oceans and countries.

Consumers are more likely to tolerate poor labor conditions and
environmental degradation when they are made invisible by the distancing
effect of the global economy. Incorporating production into the local
economy helps to illuminate poor practices and their impact on the
community. Ultimately we learn that content workers, sustainable farming
practices, and a healthy environment lead to increased productivity and
decreased true costs to the consumer.

Accepting the urgent need to change production patterns from global to
local, the question becomes, How can concerned citizens help create
conditions that foster more self-reliant local economies in a manner that is
socially, environmentally, and culturally responsible?

In her book ³Cities and the Wealth of Nations,² Jane Jacobs suggests local
currencies as an elegant tool for rebuilding regional economies in a
sustainable way. She believed that currencies circulating only in a defined
region encourage import-replacing businesses, which in turn create new jobs,
foster technological innovation, retain manufacturing skills, and further
regional capital.

BerkShares is the local currency developed by the E. F. Schumacher Society
for the southern Berkshire region of Massachusetts. The notes were first
issued in September of 2006 in cooperation with BerkShares, Inc., a
non-profit membership organization. The program was designed to create
consumer awareness about the consequences of spending practices, to support
local businesses, to facilitate the development of new productive
capabilities in the local economy, and to serve as a model for other
regions.

Implementation

BerkShares have transformed the way the Berkshire community thinks about
money. Over 1.2 million BerkShares have been issued from eleven branch
offices of five local banks in its first year of operation. Residents
purchase BerkShares at ninety cents on the dollar from one of the exchange
banks. Participating businesses accept BerkShares at full dollar value,
offering a 10 percent discount incentive to consumers for trading locally.
Businesses can then recirculate BerkShares at full value with other
businesses, or if more BerkShares are received than can be used, BerkShares
may be exchanged back to federal dollars at 90 cents for each BerkShare.

Beautifully designed and printed, the currency honors local historic figures
and features landscapes, streetscapes, and gardenscapes by local painters.
It reflects the culture and values of its place. Residents are proud to
handle and display the notes.

Once in circulation BerkShares provide much-needed support to the local
businesses of the region. BerkShares have helped to redevelop relationships
between producers, merchants, service providers, and consumers that had been
lost to the continued growth of the global economy. People are returning to
Main Street and experiencing new conversations about the important role
money plays in determining economic policy. They are seeing how BerkShares
spent at local businesses circulate through the community, creating value
beyond the initial point of purchase.

For both businesses and customers BerkShares provide a talking point about
supporting independent business, the importance of local economies, and the
possibility of regaining economic sovereignty.

Research and Development

BerkShares currency is in its research and development phase. In this
region with a population of only 15,000, nearly three hundred prominent
businesses are formally signed on to accept BerkShares and many more do so
informally. Growth in use is steady. Still BerkShares is only at stage
twenty of fifty stages in building a truly independent local currency that
will be an engine for local sustainable development.

Future plans include identifying new import-replacement business ventures,
making loans in BerkShares, fostering greater philanthropy in BerkShares,
and eventually creating a local standard for the currency independent of
fluctuations in the federal dollar. For example, Buckminster Fuller
envisioned a kilowatt hour currency backed by renewable energy sources.
These energy sources‹inherently local in scale‹produce a necessary commodity
with a relatively fixed value. In this way the value of the currency would
be directly tied to the ability of the community to expand local production
of renewable energy, creating value within the community for other
productive purposes.

Recognizing the importance of innovative sustainable development models, The
New York Times, The London Times, ABC World News, CBS, BBC, Reuters, French
TV1, NTV (of Moscow), Finnish TV, and Yahoo News have all carried prominent
stories on BerkShares. The E. F. Schumacher Society has been asked to
provide consulting to other communities including the Mayor's office in
Newark, the Martha¹s Vineyard Commission, and nonprofit groups in Baltimore,
New Orleans, Rhode Island, Houston, Utah, and several California towns.

This international and national attention to the program helps earn the
outside grant funding necessary for the current innovation stage of
BerkShares development. The Drucker Institute just announced that the E. F.
Schumacher Society is a finalist for the Peter Drucker Award for Non-Profit
Innovation for its BerkShares program.

Program Evolution

All the evolution of the program must occur organically with support of the
local community behind it. BerkShares board of directors is deliberately
staging this growth.

Our still locally owned banks have proven invaluable partners in the success
of the BerkShares program, providing, among other things, eleven brick and
mortar offices where the public can exchange federal dollars for BerkShares.
Berkshire Bank is taking the lead in developing BerkShare checking accounts,
debit cards, and ATM. These innovations will increase the velocity of
BerkShares trade between customers and businesses and from businesses to
business. Increased circulation of the currency between businesses is a
vital step in the creation of local enterprises producing for local
consumption.

Berkshire Bank and Salisbury Bank are encouraging BerkShares to expand
outside the present area of operations to all of Berkshire County. To do
this would require additional staffing and a larger marketing budget. The
bank is providing seed funds to conduct informational meetings for this
initiative.

While still dependent on the funding, staffing, and research of the E. F.
Schumacher Society, the directors of BerkShares, Inc. are assuming ever
increasing responsibilities and building their knowledge and practical
skills around currency issue. Once the currency has moved from the research
and design stage to program maintenance, BerkShares, Inc., representing the
businesses, banking, and consumer communities, will assume direction for the
program and finance operations through a fee to businesses. The board has
set a priority on continuing public education about the underlying
principles that guide local currency issue in general and BerkShares in
particular.

Potential as a Model

The E. F. Schumacher Society will continue in its role of providing
information to other regions about the potential and practice of local
currencies. To that end it has been diligent in creating a record of the
BerkShares program at www.berkshares.org. Included on the site are
documents and images pertaining to the design process, collaboration with
the local banks, outreach to businesses and consumers, launching of the
currency, innovations and changes to date, and plans for the continuation of
the currency.

Our intention is to demonstrate what is required to shape a currency
appropriate for an individual region. Local currency is a flexible tool
that can be used as a support mechanism for local business or as a step
toward economic self-reliance. BerkShares are creating a framework on which
these different initiatives can be based.

The E. F. Schumacher Society is being helped in this process by Excelsior
Printing‹a division of Crane Paper and printer of the BerkShares currency.
Excelsior has had so many inquiries about printing currencies for other
regions that they wish to co-develop an information package based on the
BerkShares model, including information about currency grade paper and the
incorporation of security features. Excelsior's involvement in developing a
platform for launching local currencies will facilitate the proliferation of
the model.

Innovative Program

Local currencies represent a trim-tab approach to enacting Jane Jacobs's and
Fritz Schumacher's vision for sustainable economies. BerkShares are the
leading application of the concept. When BerkShares are used it is assured
that the highest percentage of each dollar spent will remain circulating in
the community. This increase in community capital creates a positive
environment for new entrepreneurial ventures. New businesses sprouting from
this generation of wealth begin replacing the imported goods that were
originally drawing money and resources from the region. Instead of relying
on the products of a vulnerable global economy, transported over long
distances and using fossil fuels, the region gains greater control over its
own economic destiny.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Berkshare Bash



Yesterday a wonderful event took place in Great Barrington, MA, which, in spite of rain, speaks to so many issues of local movements; sustainability, handmade, modern and myriad in between. Berkshares are a local currency, in development for umpteen years, launched a year ago. Last week, the million dollar mark had been achieved and the currency is well on its way to being the most successful alternative currency in US history. Bill McKibben spoke at the event in ardent support of Berkshares and the historic nature of the community's effort.



I accept Berkshares for my work and plan to continue to report on developments as they are revealed.... Yet another way to remind ourselves of "where does it come from, what is the impact of its making on the planet, where will it end up?"

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Monday, July 02, 2007

Dotted Saucers...


I pulled these out of the kiln this past Saturday. A client ordered them last week, and I was able to glaze them and have them ready for her husband's birthday cake, Saturday night. Kind of cool.

July is here and with it warm days, summer camp and imaginative possibilities.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Nature Spencertown

My husband is a botanist who has been watching our yard for the past 5 years. He has compiled a rather extensive data-base of almost 250 species of plants on our one acre yard. He has also started a blog, which he is posting regularly about currently blooming plants. He is very funny to read and it would be cool to see other naturalists around the world connect about the plants in their neighborhoods.

Go here to see a botanist's renaming of the seasons based on observation. He is up to 5 so far, starting March 26.

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Monday, June 18, 2007

Euan Semple


Euan Semple, author extraordinaire of The Obvious, got a davistudio coffee cup because I like his blog and he posted about the Digital Earth conference where I presented Mala Meal 2 weeks ago in Berkeley, CA. The cup represents the start of my "Cup Project", like an award for high level coolness factor, IMHO.

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Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Blessed Unrest



Paul Hawken, one of my favorite authors, has a new book. Yup, the times, they are still a changin'...

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Monday, May 28, 2007

Mala Meal-bowls



Pulled 108 bowls out of the kiln today and packed them up to ship to Berkeley, CA for the Digital Earth Conference The kids (below) glazed these last week. Also pulled this other bowl out of the kiln for the center of the Mala Meal circle.

Contacting inter-faith folks on the west coast for sharing a blessing. Let me know if you know anyone who might want to participate...

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Mala Meal Project



I am going to UC Berkeley in less than 2 weeks to present my Mala Meal Project. Last night, 10 kids, ages 10 - 15 years, glazed 108 bowls in my studio. The bowls will hold a simple meal of local food and be fed to 108 people after a blessing in 10-12 different faith traditions. Mala Meal has been invited to be part of a conference called the 5th International Symposium for Digital Earth

The kids lit up my studio last night. Their piece is the first phase of realizing the project. I will post more about it as we go.

Google Earth is a sponsor. Here is a post about the Symposium posted on Google Earth News today -

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Monday, April 30, 2007

Albany Saratoga Pottery Trail








Vikki Crowell, of the Albany Saratoga Pottery Trail, graciously opened her home and studio to me this past weekend where we both showed our work to a public who followed a bread crumb trail though the Albany/Saratoga region of New York State. 5 potters studios participated with a guest artist in each studio, making a total of 10 potters on the trail. Here are some shots of my work in Vikki's home. Her husband Tom, an architect, did the flowers. My camera died before I could get shots of her work, but I will revisit that at a later date.

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Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Saving the World while Shopping

Seth Godin has a sweet piece on, how do I say it? The new reality? How do we live with peace on earth? how do we live for our kids to have an environment with fresh, clean air to breathe and dirt to grow healthy food on? Here is Mr. Get the Word Out talking about saving the world in just, well, tones I relate to. I just like this guy and this guy, the subject of his bit...

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Monday, March 12, 2007

Clay Forum

“Clay Forum/NYC”, an exciting event for members of the ceramics community in the Tri-State area. This year’s forum will feature presentations by local and international artists, demonstrations, and an opportunity to meet and exchange ideas and information with others in the ceramics field. All proceeds from the event will benefit
Watershed Center for Ceramic Arts.

When: Sunday, April 15th 1pm – 6pm

Where: NYU Department of Art and Art Professions
The Barney Building
34 Stuyvesant Street (Between E. 9th and 10th Streets and 2nd and 3rd Avenues)
Ticket: $40 Total, a tax–deductible donation to Watershed Center for Ceramic Arts

for more information email lcasbon@verizon.net

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Thursday, March 08, 2007

Dots





About 10 years ago I made a commitment to dots. I have been true to that committment for a decade. Here are some recent variations on a theme. Wonder if I will stray one of these days?

Friday, March 02, 2007

Kiln Opening




I am finally documenting a few new pieces coming out of recent kilns. Go here for more pictures. I am having a great time making new work and will keep posting in the weeks ahead. Some of this work is for orders, some is just experiments...

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Monday, February 26, 2007

Mad at Greenjeans


Visited New York this past weekend and stopped into Greenjeans, my favorite shop in Park Slope. Here's a pic of me and Amy Shaw, green craft advocate extraordinaire.

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Monday, February 19, 2007