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Pottery and Other Related Thoughts
  • The Early Years: Camping in the Barn
  • Diane McNeil and John Dietrich
  • 1974anniversary storiesearly yearshistory
The Early Years: Camping in the Barn
                                                         

The first years after 1974 here were almost like camping.
John had no running water, just a cold water hose from Sid Telfer's house. No indoor plumbing; instead he had a four holer and a five holer outhouse, which were still approved. He heated the barn, which was not insulated, with a huge wood burning stove. 
Each morning John would wake up, cozy in his sleeping bag, and contemplate the morning ritual to come. 
If he hadn't had supportive, understanding and patient friends making their warm bathrooms available to John for showering etc. he might not have had such an easy time of it. 
That first winter didn't have much pottery making going on. The 'studio', such as it was, was too cold. He focused on remodeling the studio and gallery instead, and kept himself warm with cross country skiing, something he was passionate about. 
His dad, artist Tom Dietrich, was newly retired from Lawrence University, and was very helpful during the remodeling process. There were also volleyball games at the Gibraltar school during the winter. Getting out and doing something else kept mind and body together.
But the goal, always, was to get back to the wheel, so most of the days were devoted to that end. No matter how cold the water or clay got, there was a way to warm up and get to potting.
  • Diane McNeil and John Dietrich
  • 1974anniversary storiesearly yearshistory

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