After a fine day of ornament-making frivolity, it was time for other hijinks. After all, I had been in New Jersey for all of two days--there was still much to do, and see.
Luckily, on the same day that I had finished teaching a soft cloth ornament workshop, there was also a car show in town. So after my students had packed and carted off their newly birthed cloth ornaments, I went out into the fine sunlight, to see some old cars (and old cottages).
This car show is not a new thing, and it's annual arrival into town plays Pied Piper to a whole slew of different types of folks. They flock in droves: the young and curious, the young-at-heart car enthusiasts, rowdy bikers, families of all shades and striped.
The cars line the middle of town, proudly polished and showing off their fine pedigrees. I'll be honest: I didn't know what I was looking at, half the time, but I was impressed. All sorts of fine old historical automobiles shared space with muscle cars and bikes, slick hot rods, cute and curious chuggers, and strange contraptions on wheels.
Look at these wheels!
Yellow VW trveling van. My wandering heart was in love!
19th century building that now houses the antique store Finder Keepers
The lovely little cottage that is Endless Treaures
In the middle of town was this funny VW beetle. The idea was part of a fundraiser. You paid $5 and got to paint a little bit on it. The money funds the local theater...
Seems like a clever idea!
In the meantime, I had one more class to teach, a red hot scorcher to take place the next day. It was a wood burning class, of course. I had been a pyrographer (or wood burner) for a couple of years, and had created and sold wood spoons, boxes, plates, and ornaments. To be able to teach this strange, pyromaniac habit to others was something new to me, but I had some excellent (and humorous!) students.
To be fair, this was really done through a favor of the cottage neighbor of my hostess. Holly's next door business neighbor (and friend) Mary and her husband Rich own the Pinelands Folk Music And Basketry Center. Inside are amazing mountain music instruments, baskets that Mary weaves herself, gourds, gems, crystals, and all manner of native or primitive objects. This place makes my heart sing. Mary is a kind and creative soul--heck, most of the shop owners here are friendly and helpful. They pay for brunch, pay for my classes, talk to me in an encouraging manner.
I also meet her son, a fellow vagabond like myself. Stephen is as lean as a wire, and he travels 'round, making and teaching basket making to people in various places. It's noble, carrying on his parents' legacy, and it's a thing of wonder to know that I'm not alone in my strange wanderlust lifestyle. He tells me about his Memorial Day plans of going out with friends to train-hop from Philadelphia to Virginia. My eyes, widen, incredulous. "You mean like the hobos in other eras?"
"Yep," he says simply, guilelessly. I realize, then, that he probably has an honest love for this type of radical living and even I have to admit, I'm not sure I'd pull of that risky and illegal stunt. He may actually out-vagabond ME.
The class I am teaching consists of Mary, her friend Ronnie, and Rosemary, an enthusiastic local. Since it is rainy, we decide to hold it indoors in Mary's work studio, to avoid fumes in Holly's immaculately kept store. While the subject matter might seem unnerving, anyone can be a proper wood-and-fire-starter. It really is just about the right kind of wood, burning tool, and hand/wrist technique.
My charges were enthusiastic enough. After basic instruction, it was time to get to practicing. Confession: the wood we were using was probably more rough hewn than useful for our class, but we all dove right in.
Mry, rocking the wood burning...
Rosemary gives it her best shot.
Ronnie's finished tree burning....
Soon enough, the class was finished. It would be time to go. I had spent an amazing four days at this place, locked away in it's own little magical world.
Holly was kind enough to send me away with a sweet care package--they included wood pieces, a mug, and other fine things from Jersey Made. The knife there, was a gift from my uber-vagabond friend Stephen. Apparently when not train-hopping, he give knives to girls as gifts, in this case, a handmade knife with a wooden hilt. I couldn't help but blush and laugh... and realize that my charmed life has weird edges. I can't help but smile--I wouldn't have it any other way.
Thank you, Jersey Made!
What a grand Jersey adventure...I strongly suggest you see these fine artists and vendors--support local businesses and fine creations when you can!
But my travels were nowhere near finished! I was about to see a fine author, farmer, and fellow Vagabond, in a mountain tale as fabled and fun as the beekeeping class I would be teaching there!
TOMORROW: Cold Antler Farm in Upstate New York!