exploding peonies (and the longest post ever)

first off, I'd like to thank the Swedish poet who left 100 lines of german and french poetry in the comments of my Black Swan post. an ode to natalie portman or zeppelin? both equally deserving I suppose ...

second, take a look at this exploding peony jar by Miranda Thomas. It surely deserves poetry written in its honor:

It's painted in 24K gold and is hand thrown and is about 20" high. it's a beast. I'm in love. Miranda Thomas is yet another one of my Vermont crafting heroes. She's associated with the Simon Pearce company that I blogged about ages ago ...

She's one of those artisans that blows my mind, like how exactly does one get to be the go-to potter for the White House?

She's the other half the super design duo of Shackleton-Thomas. Charles Shackleton being her husband, the furniture maker.

A little tid bit I never shared with you readers was that we got to tour his 3 story (!) furniture studio in Bridgewater, Vermont this summer. and Mr. Shackleton was our guide, how cool is that?! it was totally by chance on a Friday afternoon, we were the only ones there in his showroom and he was closing up shop. random and awesome.

Now his furniture is amazing, and I can go on and on about his craft credo of showing the hand of the maker, nature vs. machine, slow living, etc. But at the time all I wanted to do was ask him about his grandfather, Ernest Shackleton.

You know him right? His adventures are somehow burned into my subconscious, it's just something I know. I have no idea how - a movie? a book? an exhibit? however it got there it stuck. well ironically, he's the guy who got famously stuck.

Stuck on an iceberg in the Antarctica for 22 months.

Here's the Cliffnotes version: Grandly titled the "Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition", the ship The Endurance left port in September but was frozen in the waters of the Weddell Sea by February.
They lived on the boat until October, but the ice was crushing it to bits so they set up camp on the ice.

After days Shackleton decided that they better go look for help since they were in the middle of nowhere. Now this is the really epic part, he and a few of his mates took a tiny little life boat and went to find Elephant Island, 800 miles away, to get a rescue from the nearest whaling station.

Now they are soaked in -40 degree weather in a dingy in the middle of the ocean using the sun to navigate. oy.
and to think that I dread the walk from my car to my office some days.

so they actually made it! then when they get there they had to hike mile over these mountains that no men had ever been across. geeeez, could it get any harder?!

YES!! just as they saw the little tiny whaling station in the distance their path came across a waterfall. So what did they do? Since they were totally crazy they went over it. and made it!

So 3 months later they finally get some help ... the rest of the team was eventually rescued.

"..... we had entered a year and a half before with well-found ship, full equipment, and high hopes. We had 'suffered, starved and triumphed, groveled down yet grasped at glory, grown bigger in the bigness of the whole.' We had seen God in His splendours, heard the text that Nature renders. We had reached the naked soul of man."

And the best-est best part is that no one died, I think there were rumors that even every sled dog made it!

So come on, furniture is totally awesome, but maybe fearless perseverance is what we should really be talking about ... I need me some of that.

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