Travel -> Visiting Claybanks Pottery in Michigan

Traveling in Michigan, I saw this really fun Fish fountain at Claybanks Pottery.  They opened in January 1980. Before that they had done art fairs. While I don’t buy a lot of pottery, I enjoy seeing what they are making.

Fish Fountain Michigan 2I fell in love with this fish fountain, so clever. They had some lovely fish platters, I was tempted, but where would I store it. Unfortunately, my phone was low on battery, so that ended my photo spree.

Look at their website. If you are a pottery fan and happen to be in Michigan, pay them a visit. My friend said her brother had some wine cups made by them. I’m sure you could even specify the color you would like. They had some lovely bird houses; however, they were very heavy, not sure how you would hang them.

Michigan is beautiful, I have to do more exploring there…

Road Trip – Lavender Farm in Michigan

FFEDB355-5406-4D0E-AA1D-C99E01543143When I lived in Seattle, I tried to explore as much as I could. One thing I didn’t make it to was a Lavender Farm. It’s not that I buy lavender all the time, I just wanted to see the beautiful field of purple flowers blowing in the wind.

Good news, I have a chance to see lavender in Michigan. I grew up in Indiana, I know about corn, lettuce and sunflowers, but I didn’t realize across the border there were lavender farms. As a child, we did go blueberry picking in Michigan. We ATE a lot as we picked!! Luckily, the farmers never weighed us before and after, who knows what our bill would have been.

Here is where I am going in a few weeks. The Cherry Point Farm & Market, click on the link. They created a special lavender labyrinth. Now, their website says they lost a lot of lavender in early 2019 due to the Polar Vortex we had. They started re-planting Spring 2019, so it might not be as beautiful as in the website photos, but I will ENJOY walking through a labyrinth. I’ve never done that before.

My mother read many stories from Greek Mythology. King Minos and the labyrinth he had built was one of them. I will be thinking of this as I walk through the maze.

Europe has said borders are closed to American travelers. They are worried about a second wave of COVID. No traveling to Italy this year. So, that means we start explorations near our own home towns. 2020 – the year for change.

Calling ALL Inventors

I was first introduced to the TechShop (www.techshop.ws) by Bret Jacoby. I met him at the manufacturing company where I worked.

Bret's Grill Tender

Bret’s Grill Tender

Bret was in the process of building a prototype charcoal barbeque grill that used a built in computer to control the temperature, so he could smoke meats. The smoked meats were delicious. I wanted to learn more.

I was helping Bret order the interior grills from China, that’s how I got involved. Through Alibaba we found three companies who made grills. I wrote asking for prices and samples.

Bret took me down to TechShop San Jose. This place was an inventor’s dream shop. The employees were so helpful. Even more interesting were the people. The folks who were making projects were so friendly and ready to show me “how” to use various machines and tools (i.e. woodworking, laser, welding, sheet metal, plastics, machining, fabrication, automotive, industrial sewing machines, sand blaster, vinyl cutter, etc.).

Techshop Cello Inventor

Luciano’s Bass Instrument

There was such camaraderie at the TechShop that you could learn from others. Take a look at Luciano Golia’s cello project in Detroit. Golia had immigrated from Italy and was looking for a place to build his artisanal cellos to continue his 24 year old business. Do you see? You get inspired by other people’s projects.

The TechShop was founded by Jim Newton and first opened in California. Now, they have expanded to Arizona, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Washington, D.C., and Texas.

For fun, I wanted to make a leather bag. I used their industrial sewing machines. Was it photo worthy? Not this time, remember, I am a beginner, but I tried and plan to go again.

How about YOU?  What project do you have? Take it to the TechShop, they will teach you how to do it!