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Showing posts from April, 2015

US states that I've visited, with rankings

I saw something in the news recently, can't remember what, that got me thinking about how many states I've visited in the United States since I moved here in 2002. My rule has always been to define "visit" as "spending at least one night." So driving through a state on the way to somewhere else doesn't count, though that would increase the number a little. I was lucky enough to be married to a person who did travel writing for a long time, so I got to 20 states in fewer than five years. Anyway, here is the complete list, together with some opinions about each state: Alabama : nice beaches on the Gulf shore, nice seafood, dodgy people. Arizona : The Good: Grand Canyon and Route 66 from east to west, Petrified Forest, the Indian monuments, Tucson at the southern end is incredible; The Bad: the hellhole that is Phoenix. California : most visited state for me, from San Diego all the way up to Healdsburg, many of the national parks, then the de

Visit to an Artist's Studio: Trevor Lillistone

I visited ceramic artist Trevor Lillistone 's studio in Bath Spa, UK, last November. It's in a building made from the butter-coloured stone that you see all over this beautiful city, and you get to Trevor's studio by crossing cobbled courtyards and winding along corridors past other artists' studios. He's been making ceramics for about twenty years, and only devoted himself to it full time relatively recently. He makes tableware and decorative ware in fired stoneware, with glazes that are classically smooth or deliciously improvised. They are all lovely to look at, but the ones I respond to most are the anagma ware pieces, which have that crackle-glaze texture in colours such as orange and blue. During our visit, he talked about the people who had influenced him, like Lucy Rie, and the length of time it takes to get things right, and how he now holds classes in his studio. I took a five week class in hand building with stoneware about four years a