New solar power breakthrough out of MIT

I was heartened to read about this. We have so many great minds available, that if we just point the funding at alternative energy and green technology, carbon sequestration, ocean cleanup, etc., the breakthroughs will come.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the structures of life and politics while I’ve been in France. I like the sustainable ecosystem and social responsibility of village life, and I wonder if the obvious health and vigor of the French people might relate to having cheap, excellent health care, time to relax and enjoy life, fresh food, and no shortage of open countryside.

I can’t fathom a world in which America elects a corrupt troll like John McCain. I imagine his soul to look much like his body. He’s such a henchman for Sauron. Enough about him. Here is a picture of a unicorn to cleanse your mental palate.

So today in class people are really getting a chance to play with finished objects, we’ll be connecting a lot of things to things, bringing in images, color, and patina, going a bit further. Tonight Vero, Valerie, and Shevawn come over to play. Can’t wait.

Valerie.

Great day!

So many good things were made, eaten, laughed about. It was nice to have a relaxing day. I can’t wait to see Wendy’s little buildings, complete with ancient stucco and doorknobs. I love making super-detailed things but rarely take the time to do it. She has inspired me to carve out the time in class to make the stone-by-stone crenellated castle I want to do.

Things were very good today and I’m looking forward to tomorrow. I can’t believe that I am almost on my way to Barcelona. Wow!

Pix tomorrow of tons of pieces.

And apparently my desire for four chickens in my back yard puts me smack in the middle of a trend. Did you know that? That there is an urban chicken craze sweeping America? Check out the Madison Chicken Coop Home Tour, courtesy of Cathy Lybarger.

Neil is looking cute with his grey beard.

I like a boy who gets sweeter as he gets older. Neil Gaiman is definitely one of those. I’ve been reading some obscure stuff here, including some things of his.

And I don’t think I mentioned this, but I decided not to apply to teach at Bead and Button next year. I had to make a judgment call, and the bottom line is that the show flatly refuses to take the most basic possible steps to offer safe working conditions. Polymer and metal clay kilns are firing in classrooms, lampworkers are fuming metals onto glass, and soldering classes are going without ventilation. It’s not right, and at some point I just had to say “enough.”  I really think that what they are doing is wrong.

It’s like the PMC Guild refusing to put a firing warning on the project that has phenolic resin molded over Styrofoam as a burnout core. I can’t fathom the motivation to deliberately do these things, and to withhold even a suggestion for caution. I’ll puzzle over this forever.

Night market

It’s been a few days since I updated, hasn’t it? We’ve been involved in class, and it’s been oddly hectic, considering the peace of our surroundings. This particular group has a dynamic that I can’t quite get a bead on; so far the relaxed, easy atmosphere that I always strive for is eluding us.  There are only very minor technical difficulties; nothing that should come between us and success. Perhaps tomorrow I will find the magic key.

Tonight seven of us went to an evening market in Avignonet, kind of a mix of farmer’s market, flea market, pony ride, and village social.  It was a lot of fun, and it was good to get out and laugh.

On the way there we stopped at a field of sunflowers, and were shocked to find out how BIG the flowers were. They just don’t look that huge from the road.  Each flower was bigger than a dinner plate.  We got into the field and took photos. This is Sydney, looking beautiful.

Can you spot the Jennifer in the field?

Above, me cracking up when Adrianne said we were reminding her of the Children of the Corn. Below, Carin and Adrianne.

Below, Shevawn (the girl from NYC Jennifer met in Soreze, who is delightful and funny and has joined us for meals and trips) and who is always up for diving into a field, driving down the road, or having an adventure. I can’t imagine not having met her on this trip. And we saw Valerie at the market, in fact she was the reason we went. She had a table and was showing her jewelry. Vero, Valerie, and Shevawn are all coming over to play tomorrow night, and I’m really looking forward to it. All three of them are professional artists, and none of them has ever used metal clay.

And this was the view of the Avignonet village square, as we were coming in. Sheep, crenellated turrets, figs, flowers.

Here are Manuela and Hartmut, checking out Gwen’s green fig tree.

And talk about turrets! 

Here is Nese preparing one of our beautiful meals.

When I logged on to the world tonight, I found a stroke of very disappointing baseball news, I read that the Yanks lifted my favorite catcher from the Tigers, Ivan Rodriguez. Sigh. Steinbrenner strikes again.

class begins!

Cynthia, Linda and Di, at the end of a day of lots of show and tell and talk. Nese is downstairs making a beautiful dinner, people are out having a bit of a walk, going to buy wine, sitting on the terrace, you name it, they are doing it.

It looks like a storm might be coming in, the wind has been up all day, it’s really gusty now, and it smells like rain. I wouldn’t mind. I’ve talked myself hoarse and I’m ready for a night in bed with a baseball game.

Tomorrow night we are going out to dinner in Soreze, to Gigi’s, the one who makes the cassoulet to die for.

a new beginning

Well, now that everyone is here, and Nese has taken over the kitchen, it is like a new day. I’m just waiting to hear if Linda and Di are comfortable at Bernard and Vero’s, and then I can fully relax and move into the class rhythm.

Here are a few pictures from dinner at L’Horte, in Revel, last night. Cynthia says “Hi, Mom!”

Above, Carin and Manuela, below, Cynthia and Adrianne.