Friday, November 6, 2009

Thank You Nina Weissmann

Years ago, during an otherwise insipid vacation in Vermont, I attended a craft fair. (Do not vacation in a rural inn, with a friend on a liquid reducing diet, who brings work with her. Just so you know, I hooked a ride with someone else to get there.)

Clear light steaming through large windows filled the barn like exhibition space. Near the entrance stood a potter’s display. The pieces, though finely done, didn’t particularly resonate with me. Except for two matching bowls. I touched one. Picked it up and cradled in my palms. Totally satisfying. Subtle finger ripples curved up the sides, glazed inside and out in black with grey-green speckles. Sigh. They cost the equivalent of two hours’ net wages. Iffy for a freelancer with spotty job prospects. I put it down, and turned away.

Nearby a fellow played a hammered dulcimer of his own design. Crowds wandered in and out of the space. I must have stood there fifteen minutes soaking in the music. Then we talked. He described how he started making instruments, how his paying job was carpentry. Because he liked to hike, he designed the very narrow backpack guitar. It sounded surprisingly good. But it wasn’t for me. Those bowls kept imposing themselves on my mind. I thanked him and walked back to look again.

They would be beautiful filled with carrot circles. Or steamed bright green broccoli. Even oatmeal. The glaze was a delicious background to strong and soft colors alike. And that curve, not too squat, not too sharp. I pushed past the pottery table and climbed an open staircase to view weavings and art quilts. My ride popped out of no where and said it was time to go. "Can you give me a minute?" I impulsively hustled downstairs, plunked down money, and scribbled a short note in the mailing list book. "To Nina Weissmann, Thanks for your lovely bowls."

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