We were somewhere in the desert near Barstow when the cat began to vomit.

Last week my sister and I hit the wide open road across the hot AF southwest. In my mind, we were Thelma & Louise… but if they were in their fifties, had to stop for frequent pee breaks, and were traveling with a cat. So I guess it’s more like Grace & Frankie meets Harry & Tonto.

Despite the title of this post,(apologies to Hunter S. Thompson) the cat did remarkably well. I was just being cheeky.

23 years ago I made a similar trek with my other sister from Washington D.C. to Los Angeles. On that road trip on our way from Asheville to Memphis, we made a quick detour to the Country Music Hall of Fame. While the Nudie Suits were the initial draw for me, it’s the posters that had my full attention. I saw a sign that said the posters had been printed locally at Hatch Show Prints and we hightailed it over to Broadway to see what it was about. We were lucky to have Jim Sherraden as our tour guide. I was hooked. I could not get the presses, the wood type, and the smell of the ink out of my mind for the rest of the road trip. That road trip and accidental visit to Hatch is what inspired me to learn to print and get a publishing job. True story.

The next night we arrived in a steamy Memphis only to find NO VACANCY on most motel marquis. We didn’t realize it was August 16th, the anniversary of Elvis Presley’s death. The courtyard of the one motel that still had rooms was a nighttime flea market of Elvis memorabilia and boom boxes (it was 1999) blaring Elvis gospel. We were so grateful to find a motel with a pool that we barely minded the all night party.

We were taking interstate 40 across and jumping off on the last remains of Route 66 whenever we had the itch and to eat lunch in some cool off the beaten path cafes. By the time we got to Oklahoma we were so tired of our ‘No Depression’ (google it)CD selection and hit a Walmart to pickup some B-52s. Rock Lobster never sounded so good.

We spent nights in Asheville, Memphis, Amarillo, Santa Fe, and Flagstaff. After a brief trip to peek at the Grand Canyon we were quite ready to make it to Santa Monica. Of course since it was August the radiator was on the fritz so we drove through the desert with the heat on. We’d hoped to visit the Retired Stripper Hall of fame in Helendale, California, but we were he’ll bent for sushi.

This most recent trip was more about getting from Northern California to Austin because we had a cat that could not be left in a hot car in temperatures that reached 112. Violet was a champ!

That said, we laughed to the point of almost peeing our pants more than once.

I’m still pinching myself that she now lives just 30 minutes from my home.

Taylor Christian: The Five Question Interview

Taylor Christian is owner and creator at Log Ceramics in Elgin, Texas. She fires her funky + functional ceramics with 100% renewable energy.

She started doing ceramics during the pandemic and have a full workshop in my garage here in Elgin. Her work includes a mix of wheel thrown and slip cast goods using vintage molds, with the occasional extra weird item. Lots of planters and fun plant accessories too.

1. Why did you move to Elgin? 

I had a few friends who moved out to Elgin and I fell in love with the small town vibe when I would come to visit. I grew up in a similar small town about 20 minutes from Dallas, and after 15 years living in Austin, Elgin felt nostalgic in the best way. Since moving I feel so lucky to have found a great group of friends and creative community. I really love it here.

2. What compels you to spend time creating?

I have always had a creative side since I was a kid always making things. I started college as a photography major but changed to geography and geology and really fell in love with physical science. I work as a water data scientist in my day job, which can be fast paced and highly analytical. So at the end of the day to only focus on what I am doing in that moment is meditative. I took a ceramics class at Austin Community College and just fell in love and kind of abandoned all my other crafts from that point on. I love how I am able to use my knowledge of minerals and geology to help inform the clay bodies I use. How utterly messy ceramics is. How there is always more to learn.

3. Tell me three things you’ve learned in the past five years.

Wow in the last 5 years I have learned so much—but I want to specifically focus on what ceramics has taught me:

1. Let it go. This applies to ceramics and life. There are a million missteps you can make and ruin what you have been working on, and a million missteps you can make in life. Let it go, learn from it and move on. 

2. Be patient. let the kiln cool, the best things come to those who are patient. I am mostly reminding myself this one, I have never once waiting for a kiln to fully cool.

3. Put yourself out there! Starting to do markets and show people my work was scary, but I have grown so much, found so much support, made so many friends and only been inspired more. Only good things come from trying new things.

4. What are you currently making, reading, watching, or listening to?

I just finished reading tiny beautiful things by Cheryl Strayed- I laughed and cried at almost every story. Cant recommend it more. The songs of thsummer for me right now are Byoncé you can’t break my soul…..trying to be patient waiting for the new album. 

5. Cake or Pie?

Cake, unless its chocolate then I want both. 

Links:

Instagram @log.ceramics
Etsy Log Ceramics


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Tessa McDonald: The Five Question Interview

Tessa McDonald hails from the great state of Alaska. After serving in the U.S. Army she relocated to Texas. She owns and lives on Green Woman Farm amid an edible forest she is cultivating with her husband. With the aid of their sheep, goats, chickens, ducks, guineas, and turkeys they are regenerating the land without pesticides. Tessa’s interest in studying best practices in harvesting and preserving herbs led her to create hand rolled Incense, blended herbal teas, herbal extracts, and dried herbs grown on the farm. 

1. Why did you move to Elgin? 

I found my love for gardening quickly outgrew my backyard and wanted to start a farm with an lots of animals and an edible forest. I fell in love with Elgin’s downtown and how close knit everyone was like back home. After we settled, we quickly noticed we made the right choice with our community and don’t plan on ever leaving.

2. What compels you to spend time creating?

The need to discover is what got me on my journey of gardening, herbal remedies, & tea brewing. Many people don’t know how much one herb can help with so many problems, so I started to explore this and the many methods of preservation. I wanted to be able to take a small seed, and make that plant into natural cleaning supplies, dried herbs, soaps, extracts, anything my imagination could make. I take time to study, fertilize, and grow my plants. I put them to good use, and surprise myself a lot with the things I make and what can survive here.

3. Tell me three things you’ve learned in the past five years.

I think my biggest lesson is learning when to stop. Farming is a nonstop job, but the need to slow down and rest is also just as important.

My second thing would be stuff doesn’t happen on my time. Mother nature will send us winter storms, spring hail, and sometimes drought and we have to move with it, not against it.

My third would be to let go, sometimes a plant or project cant be saved and you just need to yeet it & start from scratch and that’s just the circle of life.

4. What are you currently making, reading, watching, or listening to?

So my current thing to do is binge watch tv at night while I roll incense. I just watched Ink Master and I’ve moved on to watching Greys Anatomy. I’m harvesting my collection of culinary and medicinal herbs to dry out and putting them to use in incense, oils, vinegars, teas, & extracts. As for music, I constantly have some blasting on the farm while I work, so mostly Electronic Dance music so my goats get a mini rave. My current favorite songs are My Best Life by KSHMR and Legacy by the Sidh. As for what I’m nose deep in reading, I got this new book the Lost Book of Herbal Remedies that’s inspiring me to expand the herb garden once again.

5. Cake or Pie?

Pie… and I know this won’t win me southern points but I love pumpkin.

Learn more about Tessa and Green Woman Farm…

Instagram @greenwomanfarm20

Website greenwomanfarm


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