Wednesday, December 9, 2015

6th Annual Black Cat Pottery Holiday Open House

We're getting down to the wire getting ready for the 6th Annual Black Cat Pottery Holiday Open House. We'll be getting the studio (which is unbelievably dusty - unless you're a potter) cleaned up and prepped for the event tomorrow with the help of my good friend and Official Left Hand Theresa tomorrow and many of the vendors will be setting up Friday afternoon and evening. I'll be heading out to secure the ingredients for our traditional mulled cider and any other odds and ends so we'll be ready to welcome you all at 10:00am, Saturday, December 12. In the meantime, I wanted to take a moment to remind you of the great vendors we'll be featuring for 2015.

We are always delighted and privileged to open our studio to Don Schulte of Notable Greetings. Don and I met eight years ago; since then, we have become the best of friends and ongoing collaborators. Don, who is a graduate of the College of Creative Studies, has his own photography business, providing services for corporate clients as well as local and regional publications. He also shoots frequently in my garden, including images of butterflies, traditional garden favorites and, most especially, Michigan wildflowers. Don will once again feature his lovely notecards and fine art prints, including the debut of his newest set of Michigan Wildflower Notecards, Spring 9, including images of Swamp Buttercup (Ranunculus septentrionalis), Wild White Indigo (Baptisia alba), Rattlesnake Weed (Hieracium venosum), Early Virgin's Bower (Clematis occidentalis), Red Honeysuckle (Lonicera dioica) and Virginia Waterleaf (Hydrophyllum virginianum).

2007 was a very good year: I not only met Don; I also met Chris Hopp of Farmbrook Designs, another "best of" friend and collaborator. Chris - who is self-taught - takes humble bags of Portland Cement, Peat Moss, Vermiculate and Perlite and turns them into amazing garden and home decor. From candleholders and block letters (you can spell out all sorts of cool things with these!) to gorgeous, one-of-a-kind fountains and troughs. His garden pieces - including lanterns and planters - are frost proof and designed to withstand our severe seasonal fluctuations with aplomb. I particularly like one of his more recent designs - his columnar candleholders - which work beautifully in both formal and informal settings.

Returning for her second year, Eve Hyde of E.H. Knits brings her lovely knit creations. I met Eve less two years ago at an artists market and immediately connected with her - at least partially because of her delightful Catnip Mice. Eve's talents with needles and yarn yield warm and wonderful results, from whimsical children's hats and sweaters to daring fashion statements for us grown-ups. Eve uses the finest materials in her work, guaranteeing years of enjoyment: Hers are definitely "Happy Knits for Happy Humans". But my favorites are those mice - one for each kitty, please. Being a cat lover myself, I have a lot of cat loving friends; so, get to the Open House early if you want to bring one of these lovelies home for your resident fur person!

Also returning for the second year, Green Mitten Jam specializes in locally-sourced ingredients for their unique take on toast toppings. Focusing on small batches using the very best seasonal ingredients, Megan and Josh have created a delectable new take on preserves. I can personally vouch for the Peach Melba, Red Haven Peach and Mango Cardamom but don't take my word for it: stop on in and sample everything to decide which are your favorites to take home or gift (buy extras just in case). Due to seasonal availability of local produce, we're never really sure what exactly Megan and Josh will be bringing - it's always a treat, though!

Joining us for the first time, Debbie Groat of Saverine Creek Heirlooms has been my host on my travels to Midland more times than I can count, opening her home and feeding me the best meatloaf and chicken and biscuits I've had since I left home. Really. Debbie makes beautiful jewelry using heirloom and exotic seeds, many of which she grows herself, as well as semi-precious stone beads. (She's also a champion home-canner who has introduced me to the delights of Corn Relish and Dilly Beans, among other yumminess.) Debbie's attention to detail is expressed in every one of her designs, from a spare pair of earrings to a complex multi-strand necklace. Each piece is hand-made, from selecting and drilling each seed to mounting, resulting in one-of-a-kind conversation pieces to complement jeans or an evening ensemble.

Since 2011, we have featured a local author at our Holiday Open House. This year, we are pleased to welcome Anita Pinson, who will be sharing her new children's publication, Voices Across the Lakes: Great Lakes Stories and Songs. Anita - a music teacher as well as an author - combines original stories with genuine songs, creating a narrative that defines the Great Lakes States. Anita will be signing her book - the perfect gift for that favorite child or grandchild - during the open house.

And, of course, we'll have Black Cat Pottery products as well, including our new Winterberry Serving Suite - bowls, trays and other designs perfect for entertaining all year long.

Hope you can join us!