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“Your real duty is to go away from the community to find your bliss.” – Joseph Campbell
24 June 2016

Open House Artist: The Brilliance of Deborah Glessner

By: Jon Katz
The Radiance Of Deborah Glessner

The Radiance Of Deborah Glessner

Deborah Glelssner is one of the fine artists Maria has invited to show their work in the Open House. The OH is a lot of different things, but at the core, it's an innovative and inexpensive art show, centered on rural life. Deb Glessner is a co-administrator of the Creative Group At Bedlam Farm and one of its many members to be honored with awards and other  recognition. She is a teacher, librarian, photographer, artist, and in recent years, a maker of beautiful earrings.

She also is co-director of a dog therapy group that helps children to read in Bucks County, Pa., where she lives. Deb is a remarkable human being and a passionate creative. She is always making beautiful things in one way or another.  She will also be on hand this weekend.

Posted in General

Cathy Stewart. Help Arrives

By: Jon Katz
Help Arrives

Help Arrives

This Open House has a special feeling about it, I'm not sure why. It is all coming together beautifully. One very important reason is that my friend – our friend – Cathy Stewart has agreed to be her for the Open House and help me with some daunting organizational issues.

In my mind, the Open House is divided into two parts – the inside part, which is Maria and her art show, and the outside part, which is me, the outdoor talks, the dogs and the donkeys.

It is exhilarating to working on the outside, it is also exhausting and confusion. Scheduling and organization are not my strengths and it is difficult for me to balance donkey tours, sheep herding,  poet and farmer talks, greeting visitors, signing books and giving autographs.

At times, hundreds of people come streaming through the farm, and I feel obligated to say hello to each one. We do four or five donkeys talks and visits and in the afternoon, the poets and me gather for some readings and presentations. I am not comfortable sitting in the house and resting while people are standing close-by outside waiting to say hello, I just can't rest at that point.

Sometimes, the press of the crowd and the managing of so many events is a crushing nightmare. I believe this year will be different.

Cathy Stewart is a friend – she is also a supporter of the New York Carriage Horses -and she came up to an Open House a couple of years ago. She lives in New York City and is a community and political organizer (for independent politics), so our Open Houses are not daunting to her. She  is also a gifted photographer and blogger.

She has devoted her life to supporting good causes and honesty in politics and government. Helping people is natural to her.

It has been very difficult for me to find someone who would help me organize the Open Houses.  One insisted she wanted to help, but mostly she wanted to yak with friends. Another said she would help but disappeared frequently to take walks or chat. Some people like the idea of helping, but would rather not when push comes to shove.

Cathy is the real deal, she said down with Maria and me this morning, and re-organized the schedule of events, moving people from one time to another, and limiting the time of talks. I can't tell you how good it feels to have Cathy around. This is something I needed badly. She is one of those people that lives to help others and means it. That has been her life.

I take the Open Houses seriously, I want people to enjoy them and bring something home that is worthwhile for them. Sometimes that is art, sometimes it is encouragement and inspiration. I want to have some time to talk to people and thank them for coming. I want to talk about the amazing creatures that donkeys are. I want to talk about my next book and introduce the poets and other speakers.

I don't want to put too much pressure on Cathy, but she believes in the Open Houses and gets the point of them. She is sincere about helping. This will make the weekend even stronger. This morning, she and Maria said down and did all the labeling for the Open House, quickly and efficiently. She saved Maria  hours of work.

And when I look around for help tomorrow, I doubt I will have to shout her name again and again. I bet she will be right there.

She even helped Maria make some artistic decisions about display and pricing. It was good to see that Maria trusted someone to do that with her, she takes curating very seriously.

So I am especially grateful to Cathy. For her friendship, her good heart, and her belief in the real meaning of the Open Houses: to affirm and encourage, something she has been doing all of her life.

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Strong Women At The Open House

By: Jon Katz
Strong Women

Strong Women

Maria spend much of the day inside of her Schoolhouse Studio preparing for the Open House. She's already sold a few hundred dollars worth of art – three pieces by Ed Gulley, some scarves and a landscape painting. I looked up at the open door and saw two strong women – Fate and Frida Kahlo – standing in the door. Fate is intensely curious, she knows something is up and is trying to figure out what. Kahlo is bringing good luck to the Open House.

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Mr. Blockhead And Pony: Open House

By: Jon Katz
Mr. Blockhead And Pony

Mr. Blockhead And Pony

Ed Gulley sold his two outdoor sculptures – the beautiful farm wheel wind chime and  his turtle made of shoves, wrenches and horsehoes – a day before the Open House even began. One of his most arresting works is a Mr. Blockhead sculpture made out of bricks with a cow's skull and horns attached to the front. Ed calls it "Mr. Blockhead and Pony." It looks pretty gripping out in front of our barn.

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Barn Cat And Barn Swallows

By: Jon Katz
The Barn Cat And The Swallows

The Barn Cat And The Swallows

I saw Flo, our barn cat, creeping up the apple tree in the back of the house. I could see and hear that there was a barn swallows next high up in the tree, but the chicks were making a lot of noise. Flo, who is both murderous and loving in the manner of cats, climbed quietly up the tree, then saw the next was up too high, so she just watched.

The barn swallows were furious with her, they buzzed and bombed and dove at her, she paid little attention to them.

Posted in General