How We Got Together

It was the Lake Eola Arts and Crafts Festival in Orlando FL in 1990. I had set up my booth with my plaster castings of castle and unicorn mirrors, my pewter castings of wizards & witches and my lamps shaped like fantastic fish & frogs. And, of course, the life sized paper dragon head was ready to lunge out of the top of the booth to frighten & amuse the patrons.

An unusually tall & precocious ten year old red head named Kate appeared & we began talking about the art work, favorite music, world events, relationships and life in general. Her mother's fused glass booth was on the far side of the lake so we did not meet but Kate felt we would "get along ok". Soon, Kate was doing my act & making sales. She was already a veteran craft show kid.

About a month later I rolled into another show in St. Petersburg FL and there was Kate in the back of the Subaru ahead of me. Moments later, I was standing in line waiting to check in & a beautiful tall, blue eyed blonde woman walked right up to ME and said "Hi, I'm Kate's mom!" I shook her hand and answered "Do you want to get married?" and 7 months later Claudia moved to St.Augustine where we got married under the oak tree in the back yard. The Good Times Dixieland Band played "Love is Here to Stay”, we honeymooned in Cozumel, Mexico and hurried back to be in (what else?) a craft show. Claudia returned to being a potter & developed her line of casual & elegant stoneware.

In 1991 we bought an old Victorian house & opened "The Temple of Great Art, No Spitting" where we sold only our own work. It was a hit. At last we stopped doing shows. Gallery owners from all over came to buy and by 1998 we were able to sell the building & stay home to make art & ship orders. In 2002 Rob Mitchell invited Claudia to share kiln space in a gas reduction kiln he had built at Sydney McKenna's gallery and studio in St. Augustine. This rekindled her desire to fire in a gas kiln.

In 2002 we traveled to Asheville NC to visit our friend, Diane English , and fell in love with western NC. What an amazing collection of galleries, museums, suppliers & artist's studios! Plus it was Claudia's home state & she wanted to return home. We decided to look for a place to live & work. After four trips we found our "spot" in Burnsville: Home, Vacation Rental, two studios and a beautiful pond. The town is charming and swarming with artists and craftspeople since it is so close to Penland School of Crafts. We sold the Florida real estate & moved in late summer of 2003. We named it Yummy Mud Puddle like my previous stores which were in Provincetown MA & Nyack NY.