Daily Archives: August 19, 2011

Montana’s Continental Divide, Clay, and Culture

Super busy the last several days. Scheduling is working out well and no complaints. My Mom receives dialysis three times a week and this trip was set up well in advance because clinics were involved. It turns out she likes the clinic here better than her own…it’s smaller, well-staffed, and a friendly place to be. I am so happy my Mom’s had such a good experience here. She’s a trooper, has done very well this trip and it’s been very gratifying to see her having such a good time. This week, we met some of my blood relatives for lunch, saw the Montana Shakespeare in the Park’s production of “All’s Well That Ends Well” in Kalispell, and took a whirlind tour of both sides of the Continental Divide. Yesterday, our main destination was the Paris Gibson Art Museum, in Great Falls, to see three ceramics exhibitions. We were not disappointed and I will be writing a separate post about the shows. My teacher has passed away and seeing his work was a very emotional experience for me. I prevented myself from breaking down altogether, but I don’t know if that was such a smart move or not. It was the first time I saw anything he’d made since 1988 and it would have been okay to have shown more emotion.  He’d thrown the raku pieces that were shown in 1970, when he was teaching ceramics in Bozeman, at Montana State University. In an instance of pure synchronicity, it turns out the parent’s of the museum’s receptionist had been his neighbors in Bozeman. What are the odds that I would meet this woman who had known someone who had been so influential in my life? She broke protocol by allowing us to photograph his vessels and I can’t tell you how grateful I am for her decision. In addition to seeing John Takehara’s work, I saw pieces by David Shaner, Rudy Autio and Peter Voulkos. I have taken workshops with each of them through the annual guest artist events Mr. Takehara organized at Boise State University. I am only just now realizing how lucky I was to have been exposed to these stellar figures in the art field. Seeing their work was very affirming, very comforting and very motivating. Seeing Mr. Takehara’s work was touching beyond words. In addition to this peak experience, we skirted Glacier National Park, saw the amazing Izaak Walton Inn, the Eastern Rocky Mountain Front, and much evidence of ancient glacial flooding. We ate breakfast in Kalispell, lunch in Choteau, and dinner in Seeley Lake. A truly lovely day.

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