Potter Carsten Barchmann, a partner at Nicholasville's Stone Fence Pottery, has been selected as an exhibitor and speaker at the 2010 International Ceramic Magazine Editors Association's conference in November in Fuping, China. The conference will feature 100 artists from all over the world at the Fuping Pottery Art Village.
A fifth-generation potter, Barchmann grew up in the family business in Germany, where it had been established in the 1700s. After coming to the United States, he apprenticed with master potter Fritz Wolff, eventually becoming a partner. Stone Fence Pottery produces and sells works at fine art and garden festivals across the mid-South. Items include functional wares from vases to inventive roasters.
Barchmann creates morel mushroom vessels. The height of the tall jugs requires they be thrown in three sections, then blended together.
"It was very important to let each section dry and go forward in the throwing process without collapsing," Barchmann says. The thickness of the clay that's needed for sculpting texture adds weight that might cause a collapse. The narrow neck must be put together carefully. Special drying tents are built to control humidity and prevent cracking. Hand sculpting produces the surface pattern.
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Nine glaze layers, including a Spanish iron oxide mixed with a white satin glaze, are applied.
"That gives the whole piece the very unique color look, with different shades in it," he says. The finished product clearly resembles a morel, with an organic, contemporary style.
"I want to create the highest quality ceramic objects with emphasis on design," Barchmann said. "Shape, color and throwing technique are my goals."
Want to know more? Go to Stonefencepottery.com.
9/11 memorial trees
In the past few weeks, the first trees have been planted in the project for the Sept. 11 memorial in New York City.
Great care has been taken in planning the work there. You can follow the day-to-day progress by friending "Project Rebirth" on Facebook.com.
Trees have traditionally been planted to commemorate life events. They stand for hundreds of years, giving permanence to memories that will outlive us. I remember being amazed when visiting relatives in a small Eastern European village as they pointed out an ancient pear tree that had been planted to honor my grandmother when she left for America in the late 1800s. And I've been comforted by sitting under a sugar maple tree bearing a memorial plaque for my father-in-law at The Arboretum. No wonder I'm a tree hugger!
One little book holds a lot of information on trees and their care, culture and ceremonies: How to Plant a Tree: A Simple Celebration of Trees & Tree-Planting Ceremonies by Daniel Butler. (Penguin Group. 128 pp. $15.95.)
Illustrated with simple, antique-style black-and-white sketches, this book details how to incorporate tree plantings into various events, beginning with birth and progressing through life-stages including engagement and marriage, fertility, an anniversary, retirement, prosperity and in memoriam. Interspersed are segments describing particular trees and their cultivation. There also are instructions on growing from seedlings, coppiced woodlands, fungi, and fertilization. Reading through it will broaden your familiarity with arboriculture and inspire you to plant an arboretum's worth of life-affirming memories.
Put your lawn to bed
Cool weather is settling in, and drought-stressed grass is begging for attention.
Stephen Hillenmeyer, owner of Weed Man of Lexington and a fifth-generation descendant in a line of nurserymen, has suggestions for steps you can take to prepare your lawn now for healthy growth in the spring.
Feed your lawn. Fall fertilization helps to maintain your lawn's root health and replenish nutrients that were expended during summer months. It is important to fertilize your lawn when plants are still absorbing nutrients.
Air out soil. Thatch buildup and foot traffic can compact soil. It cuts off oxygen and nutrient supply to the roots. Aerating your lawn will help loosen soil and air out the earth. Signs that your lawn is in need of aeration include balding turf, matted-down grass, sparse new growth, pools of water and tough ground.
Level and reseed. You must fill ruts and low spots where water collects. The best time to level and reseed is early fall, so turf roots establish before winter. Loosen soil with a de-thatching rake, add a soil amendment, and evenly apply seed.
Pick up leaves. Cleaning your lawn of leaves will prevent the heavy, wet foliage from suffocating the turf. Dark, moist environments are a breeding ground for disease. Want to know more? Go to Hillenmeyers.com or call (859) 255-1091.