I just returned late late Monday night from a trip to Maine.  I've never said this about another region because I am a Memphian through and through, but I'd move there if I had a chance.  And if their winter wasn't what it is. . . .

I went to Portland for a girls' weekend with college classmates (it is hard for me to believe we've been friends for 20 years) and flew up a few days early to do a little exploring (and business) on my own. 

I arrived Wednesday evening and was greeted by my sweet friend Kristin and her awesome family.  They welcomed me with LOBSTER! And a trip to their local beach for sunset.  The next day Kristin took me to all of her favorite haunts near her home (and not-so-near!) and started my collection of natural objects I'd end up needing to ship home.  Stripe rocks, beach glass?  I've got them.  Gorgeous Kristin-inspired photos?  check.

After a morning with Kristin, I tootled around Portland and hit the art museum (by myself?  what a treat) and the Honey Exchange.  In my next life I'm going to open a beekeeping supply store.  It was heaven.  I ended up at Betsy's house and I spent the next day with her and Liz. It was the most lovely day and Liz and I had a lot of pottery talk to catch up on.  I just soaked up the goodness of friends I never see in real life but have known for years.  Internet friendships can be funny things but it is wonderful when they become real live friendships.

Saturday morning I went to see Ayumi Horie's studio.  It was just incredible- she is just incredible.  This was my big souvenir from Portland.  I carried it on my lap on the plane ride home.  I just love these sweet little birds and the juxtaposition of the crisp red bird with the running blue.  Her cup collection astounded me.  Holding pieces you've only seen photos of is an education in and of itself, and I learned about a few new techniques and variations on inlay to boot.

The beach glass was my other big treasure (well, admittedly, I shipped home 20 lb of striped beach rocks, as well).  I have a bowl of beach glass from the Mississippi Gulf Coast- I know of a rocky beach area in Ocean Springs that is just full of it- and a few big pieces from the Outer Banks in NC.  None of it is as soft and frosted as my haul from Maine.  If I lived in Maine, I'd find a way to incorporate it into my pottery and go on a glass-collecting expedition once a week.  I've picked out a few colors from this pile to turn into a piece of jewelry.  I can't wait to see how that project works itself out!

I am so happy I went to Maine.  The next month will be very busy for me- I have a half dozen orders to fill, both large and small, but I'm almost ready to dive back into it.  Have a lovely week, friends.