Pottery, nonprofits and for-profit consulting. Exploring synergies between the three and ideology specific to each.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Proof I'm a Packer Fan

My first experience @ Lambeau was recently selected for posting on

Check it out:

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Clayart Juried Show 3/13/07 - 04/15/07

Hi all - I was fortunate enough to have 2 pieces accepted into the 1st Annual Clayart Juried show in Louisville, Kentucky... during the next month you'll be able to see it online... check it out if you have a minute.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Has it really been 4 months?

Boy howdy, do I miss writing. It has been a busy busy time. More to come soon.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

I DE-clare!

Jake-N-Bake snoozing with his new bat
It's my heart's desire to build a history with Jacob (pictured at left following the car ride home from a Minnesota Twins game earlier today) - I want him to have something to look back on - a background so jam packed with love that it becomes second nature to him - providing so much security that the thought of not being the center of someone's universe a foreign concept...

...that said, I'm not sure why you'd rightly care, but I felt the need to say it outloud to anyone who will listen. Declaring things - whether it be love for your child, or your spouse, or faith in your God, takes the subject of your declaration and cements it as something worth taking a risk over. I'd step in front of a moving bus for this kid (and for the other two that are used in my examples).

As for the game - it was Jake's second - he made it through 7 innings the first time around - just 5 today (primarily because we showed up an hour early to try to get him a Joe Mauer bobble-head ;) We leave whenever he wants to go with the logic that he'll only remember it as a positive experience if he's not forced to endure it.

My prayer for you is that you are ready to declare something to and for someone and that you'll take deliberate action to back it up.

Sappily yours... pba.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

One Month in the Books

How quickly a month can disappear! The last four weeks have been a proverbial emotional roller coaster as our little fam has figured out how to join the mainstream of America with a 7:30-4:30 gig and all that it implies - over the next few weeks, look for jottings about a few of those implications... bus ridin', living in a land of cubicles, and bein' a daddy 2 hours a day...

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Reduction Fired Stoneware - Couple New Pieces

Today I picked up a couple of pieces from a recent firing at Bethel - a few wine coasters that were spoken for already and these two guys that were made for no-one in particular. The pictures don't really do 'em justice, but they give you the idea.

"Where do you cast your gaze when it feels like its spinning all around you? As for me, I want to learn to look skyward in any situation..."

The bowl above decorated with a passage of scripture from Hebrews, chapter 6. Both pieces really hit on the same themes and were created during times of uncertainty at Rhumbline - essentially talking myself into faith and desiring a pert-near illogical hope in difficult times.

Tomorrow morning I begin the next collection of steps (aka, start the new gig at Target). My only prayer is that I show His love to those around me and that I'm willing to trust Him with my day.

Hope you enjoy the work. pba.

Friday, February 10, 2006

God's Remote

Is it bad that I have an addiction to Sony remote controls that are the size of New York and control pretty much all things electronic?

At risk of being gunned down by lightning bolts from the Heavens, I'm going to go out on a limb and say that this particular passion may very well be ordained from a Higher Power.

Who else would invent a device to control up to 16 separate components, enable you to hook it up to your computer to configure it, and make it look so darn nifty.

I ordered the RM-AX4000 today - our third "Commander" over the past 5 years or so. So I shallow-ly await its arrival and confess that I am indeed hooked...

Monday, February 06, 2006

Communication Tip from Uncle Pete

When you put a warm Mountain Dew can inside the ice dispenser to get cold quickly, be sure to tell your spouse that it's there. If you fail to do so, you may both lose your beverage and surprise said spouse with some unanticipated liquid coming from your refrigerator...

It would appear that the metal device that rotates within the ice container so as to dispense ice through the refrigerator door, may very well have the power to cut through the side of the can, causing a minor explosion and subsequent pouring of your beverage into your spouse's glass...

While the look on her face will be worth much, the cleanup effort is really a pain in the tookus...

It's worth letting her know it's there... just a little communication tip from Uncle Pete. pba.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Potter Obtains Energetic Following...

...consisting primarily of several dozen 3rd graders...

I had the opportunity to participate in the Empty Bowls 281 event last evening as a fine little side show - makin' bowls for the little ones (and several parents ;) as folks mingled, purchased kids' bowls, participated in the silent auction for "celebrity" bowls and just hung out and listened to some great entertainment.

Highlight of the evening? 2 kids that had a veritable fit when their mom told them it was time to go and eat - they decided it was more fun to watch a potter than to eat. Now that's a loyal fan-base...

A close second place would be the kid that successfully fired about 27 consecutive questions at me without taking a breath - all while standing about 14 centimeters from my ear. I honestly enjoyed the non-stop curiosity and the joy with which they watched lumps of clay become simple bowls. Hopefully a couple of them will remember it long enough to a class or two before it's all said and done...

The event turned out even better than hoped and will undoubtedly return next year on a larger scale. By pulling in over $8500, it obliterated its goal of $6000 which will ultimately benefit the local community through PRISM, a local human services nonprofit that provides a variety of services to those in need...

Monday, January 30, 2006

Large Corporate Potter?

Assuming that my pee-in-a-cup drug test comes out clean, I'll start as a Business Analyst for Target Corporation two weeks from today.

It may very well be one of the largest adjustments that I'll need to make in my short lifetime - shifting from a consulting firm that maxed out at 8 employees and finished at 3 to a corporate I.T. gig with a technology organization of somewhere in the neighborhood of 2,000 FTEs.

That said, I'm excited about the opportunity and look forward to working within the Pharmacy division of the organization and focusing on the Business Analyst skill set for awhile. I have loved the opportunity to wear many hats over the past 8 years in consulting, but am at a point where stability and routine has moved up the priority list for my little St Michael clan.

It was actually a great experience to have to make the decision - talking with each other, bringing our concerns to our God, and having Him unify us in the process. Can't ask for much more. Not to mention the other three organizations that graciously left the door open for future employment opportunities just in case something goes awry in the land of red.

I'll be spending much of the next two weeks making pots for a small backlog of commission requests and spending a few bucks on more corporate-esque clothing. ;)

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Mainstreet Family Services, Rogers, MN

The church I'm attending formed a nonprofit a few months back - here's the one-page placeholder we put up while they continue planning for a more robust web presence.

Based in Rogers, Mainstreet Family Services will be focused on leveraging a local church (aka, Main Street Station) building as a community center and will contain multiple nonprofits capable of serving the needs of local families. Good stuff.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Sojourn Art Journal Arrives

Well... it took awhile, but my contributor's copy of Sojourn arrived today. I'm thinking the pieces lost a little when they were printed in black-n-white, but I'm thankful for the opportunity to be published at all. Not sure of the journal's circulation, but it is the 18th anniversary edition, so it's good to know it's been around for awhile.

The cover art caught me a little off guard, but hey, it's an Art Journal - I guess an eye-grabbing cover is pert-near obligatory...

First image consists of the front and back cover, second consists of pages 113 and 135 of the journal... Both of the pieces can be seen in Gallery 2 of my pottery site.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Empty Bowls 281 - Robbinsdale MN

The Empty Bowls 281 site is alive and kickin'... still a few tweaks to be done, but check it out if you so desire. It's a great little event to teach kids about poverty and raise funds for a worthwhile local nonprofit... check it out when you have the opportunity.

If you'd like to leverage the site design for your own Empty Bowls event, let me know - I'd be happy to share it with you. pba.

03.15.2008 - Update: the original link is now broken - here's a link to the site structure that was in place while I was developing it

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Your What Hurts? {Screamin' Yellow Zonkers}

The end of 2005 brought with it an opportunity to revisit times gone by with family friends from my youth.

The visit was quick, but it included an evening of exchanging gifts with family and friends, one late night yappin' about reconciliation and forgiveness, a visit to a sibling's garage to check out the progress on his '69 Harley, and an enjoyable lunch at Applebee's on our guest's way back out of town.

As part of the walk down memory lane, we downed several boxes of Screaming Yellow Zonkers - perhaps the finest sugar-infested glazed popcorn treat we've ever had - and listened to Crystal Blue Persuasion (Tommy James & the Shondells) waaay to loudly - this time via iTunes instead of the reel-to-reel that we originally heard it on in the 70's...

Ummm... Pete? What's your point?...

Can't say that I really have one. I just hope that you have family friends that can bring a smile to your face by merely existing. If you do, then give 'em a shout and let 'em know they still warm your heart - even if you haven't talked for years.

Take care. pba.

Pottery in Church?

Yup - you read correctly - pottery in church... I started the New Year on stage with my buddy Ben (aka, Pastor Ben @ Northridge Fellowship in Rogers, MN). We spent about 25 minutes or so exploring the potter/clay metaphor that is found in Jeremiah in hopes of giving attendees the opportunity to view their spiritual walks in a new way.

In short, we broke it down like so...

1. Throwin' - it's tough to throw a piece of pottery with extra-stiff clay or extremely soft clay. It's also next to impossible to make a piece if the clay isn't centered on the wheel. The spiritual walk is pretty much the same cup o' tea - our hearts can't be so hardened that we're not open to direction, nor can they be so pliable that we can be swayed with little effort - we need to be steadfast, centered, and balanced in our pursuit of our Maker.

2. Refinin' - alot of folks see a 'finished' piece on the wheel and think we're done. The time on the wheel represents about 10% of the commitment the piece requires. While the time on the wheel establishes the pieces basic form and function, it doesn't represent what it will one day be. The piece is set aside to firm up so that text can be imprinted and so that excess clay can be trimmed off and its final form established. Spiritually, refining can be a painful process. It's hard to be the clay as God trims away the things that are not of Him. We have the option of remaining fat-n-sassy, but we don't achieve the potential (or the beauty) that He has placed within us if we do.

3. Firin' - two firings with some glazing in between. 1800 and 2300 degrees respectively. Ouch babe. What struck both Ben and I about firing is the fact that, while the potter has a vision of what he or she is going for with a specific piece, the kiln can alter the final product in a heartbeat - place a piece in a cool spot or a hot spot and the outcome can be very different. While the spiritual metaphor breaks down a bit (God knows exACTly what He's going for with each of us), it is a good reminder that our preconceived notions are rarely God's exact vision for our lives. Being open to the surprises - both joyous and painful are what we're called to do - obedience and trust are the recurring themes...

So there you have it in a nutshell... another deep moment with Uncle Pete at the potter's wheel....