Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Jersey Wild III


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!

I walked the streets, sort of proud of this little place. I know it wasn't my town, but the bright charm and interesting events around here make for an interesting stay, even to a temporary foreigner, like me. I wandered 'round, like those slurping cold drinks and chomping on ice cream, gawking at the pretty cars, and perusing the magical little shops in town.

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, wood burning  a tree design.

Some cool and lovely work came out of that session, and even though a fire tool seems like a daunting thing to use, it made me proud to see everyone giving it the old college try!

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!

1 comment:

Georgina said...

Whew girl, you sure do get around!! Love the old cars and buildings. Around here, they demolish the old buildings and put up strip malls..oey!!

Anyway, I'm glad I had a chance to come by and read about your adventures. Never been to NJ...almost had the chance when I was out that way in '06 while working for John's Hopkins...was in NYC and was going to spend Mother's Day in NJ with my buddy's mom and aunt, but something came up and my work partner and I had to be in New Haven by Sun. night since we had to report to work, a day earlier than anticipated, in New London, then 2 days later, off to Albuquerque, NM for further testing there...she and I were exhausted...we crossed 3 time zones in a matter of a day!! LOL

Take care, lovely lady, and I just love your work...need to learn how to wood burn without burning myself.