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Road Trip – Havana

My sister and I just got back from a cruise, the highlight was Havana. It was overcast while we were there so my photos aren’t as bright as I would like them to be.

We learned a lot about the country, the people were very friendly and caring.  And like us, they don’t always agree with the priorities of their government.

I would have liked to get outside of the city – next time.

The American cars were great! Most of them are used as taxis, there are other cars and newer cars they just aren’t American cars, a lot of the newer cars are Russian.

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cuba15We heard that the economic situation for the people is somewhat better since Americans have been going – one reason is that Americans tip while Europeans generally don’t, and the people we encountered all spoke English, and it was very obvious that most of the population is poor. They do have a good education system (98 percent literacy rate) and healthcare. We were shocked to hear that their infant mortality is lower than in the US.

The city must have been stunning before the revolution, now a lot of it is in ruins, the government is slowly renovating buildings, the government buildings first, then the historic buildings, then last the family homes, and very few of them have been done and  the citizenry just doesn’t have the money to do it themselves.

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The guide said people own their homes, they have been passed down generation to generation, and usually 3 or 4 generations are living together, and generally a working person might make 20-30 dollars US a month.

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Part of Havana is a UNESCO site and receives help to restore buildings. There is a section of Old Havana that has been restored. The section contains churches and historical sites.

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I saw this factory that was open to the street.

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Under Raul Castro people are able to own certain businesses, the taxes paid to the government on their earnings are high (we heard many times – the government always wins) like here. So for some people things have improved.

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The building in the background was built to resemble our capital, once renovations are completed it will once again hold Cubas general assembly.

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Next trip, Florida Panhandle and Key West!

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More custom Celebration Pottery pieces

One day (years ago) a customer asked me to put names on a platter for a wedding, that was just the start!

Since them I’ve done hundreds of churches with names and dates on tiles and platters…

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houses…

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baby sets…
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new bern scenes on things…pot2

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special pieces given to visiting dignitaries….

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back splash….
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and lots more!

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How a piece comes together

I’m often asked to do commemorative pieces to be given as gifts for retirements, birthdays, weddings, etc. The piece I’m showing here was for someone whose career lasted over 30 years and she was involved in many of the projects that have shaped the way our downtown looks today.

First we started with a list of the projects…

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…I took reference photos…


…I built this pot using slabs of clay…

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…bisque fired it to 1950 degrees…
…did rough sketches of the places that were to be included on the pot…


…figured out how they could work together on the piece…
…sketched them on the pot – btw the pencil lines burn out in the kiln…
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…using underglazes painted the image then outlined the image with black line…


…covered the entire pot with a clear glaze…
…fired it again, this time to 1911 degrees…
…and it’s done!
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A one of a kind, special gift.
If you have an idea for a special gift for someone let me know! In my next post I’ll show some other pieces I’ve done for people that aren’t quite so elaborate!