To tour is to journey for pleasure, and before I set off on the St. Croix Valley Pottery Tour, the pleasure I was most looking forward to was the chance to leave the city and drive north through the St. Croix River Valley, an area north of Minneapolis, bordering Wisconsin. Attending the annual tour is as mandatory as brushing your teeth for Twin Cities people, yet I was interested in it for unconventional reasons, such as the scenery and the chance to spend time with my driving partner, Valerie. I had been living in pottery-central Minnesota and was getting tired of seeing and hearing about pots most of my waking hours. My mind was becoming numb to pottery due to over-exposure, and something wonderful would have to agitate my apathy for functional ceramics.
As I meandered through the pots, my thoughts drifted somewhere else, too. I was itching to leave the pottery behind and walk back up the dirt driveway lined by forest and sprinkled with white wildflowers. The flowers’ petals were a predictable shape, pleasing to the eye, but shockingly tiny compared to the large leaves of the plant. The contrast of the oversize leaves with the small petals resembled the presentation of Mike’s pots: a small mug next to a large, dog/dinosaur-shaped vessel. In each case, the seemingly disparate parts are part of or made by the same organism. This correlation was refreshing in that it helped me see how a maker can break down traditional notions of where or when a piece of art should or could be presented simply by curating their own show environment.