It's been a long time since I posted something personal that wasn't travel-related (and yes, I still owe my loyal and legion readers the last Greece post). I should do it more often, mostly because a huge chunk of my readership are friends and family. (And as another side note, it's always flattering when someone I know from long ago or someone I rarely see tells me they read my blog - especially considering it's almost entirely strangers' wedding photos! So thanks those of you that fit that bill.) Getting on with it! Today I am going to share just a very small bit of what I am up to every week, sometimes multiple times a week: ceramics. I don't know why, but as a kid, I always wanted to learn how to throw pottery ("throwing" is what you do on the wheel - "hand building" and many other terms are what you do on a table or with various tools). It may have been the damn scene in Ghost that spurred this interest (shame), but it was there gnawing at me for a good 15 or 20 years before I finally sat down at a wheel about a year and a half ago. My first class was with the Arlington Public School System. I had a lot of fun and walked away with a few pieces, most of which I realized were made almost entirely by the instructor. He is used to teaching middle school students, and therefore giving them quite a hand with their work. It wasn't until I started taking classes at the Torpedo Factory that I really started to gain some skills. I highly recommend their ceramics program to anyone. Each class I've taken has had a great mix of beginner and extremely advanced students - so that everybody can learn from each other. The facilities are excellent and there's tons of open studio time to come in and work. It's really great for me to have something to do with my hands, away from any screens, and really get focused on creating something physical. My world - photography, editing, emails, phone calls - is all digital, ethereal. It's really nice to get my hands dirty. I was never very good at meditation, but I can make a pot. And now a giveaway! Of sorts. Because I have given away tons of my pottery, to basically anyone that will outstretch a hand. In the course of learning to make pottery, I have made tons of it. Scads. And it has filled up my house and I don't honestly know what to do with all of it. I've made crocks, numerous small bowls, lots of "flower pots", mugs with ugly handles (still working on handles) and even a few pieces I really like. For a while, I was focused on building small cylindrical objects and managed to create a set of five tumblers. I glazed them all to match and I really like them. They're a set, and they should live together. Hence, a giveaway! I'd love to see these tumblers - great for serving cocktails, I think - off to a good home. If you're interested, leave a comment. The only catch is you'll have to pick them up or pay for shipping - ceramics are not light. I hope somebody wants them. My ceramics babies. They deserve a nice life on somebody's bar stand. And PS: the dents are not mistakes - they're thumb prints for easier holding. Theoretically you could put hot beverages in them, but they heat up pretty quickly so I wouldn't recommend it for scalding stuff or tea you're brewing in the cup.