Week one concludes and a months worth of work rests below the subfloor. The studio build captivates our attention, I'm fresh but the crews seasoned and knowledgeable. Progress and discovery mark our days: a solution to each problem, a plumb to every corner, limits rarely surface on the Cobb mountain Art and Ecology project.

We open our week leveling the parking lot. Scott dumps dirt, dust and clay, then pulls, pounds, and shapes the slope. He's a man on a mission. His tractor skills suggest a lifetime of midwestern corn sowing. The work ethic too, sun up to sundown and a humble and calm focus. The results resemble a smoothly arched, low bowl, a gradual grade relating to the land.

A boulder wall landscaping event occupies our Monday. Massive rocks meet the western corner of the studio. We chain lithified monsters to oversized machines. Again, Scott showcases his tractor skills and I'm receiving a lesson in moving heavy objects. The rocks rap the corner, strange shapes, yet a fine form emerges as dusk draws near.

Dinners time... A family gathers around the table, incredible veggies, pastas, salads, and dressings. The spices too. Lori crafts meals with attention, play, and passion. Her world travels on display in Cobb Mountain, California. The furthest place I'd expect pumpkin curry, but it's undeniable. My milk tastes better in a wood fired yunomi, and a polar bear plate makes an appearance for a tofu Asian stir-fry. A suggestion of how people once ate, gathering, sharing, every bite savored, and smiles greet each face, a refreshing ritual.

The week continues with framing. Cutting boards and plumbing corners. Efforts always 100 percent between the forest floor and the clear blue sky. We extract a 30 foot oak log and begin grinding and sanding. It's a half days work, a floors worth of sawdust, and a finely contoured and smoothed log. We spend the afternoon framing walls and set our eyes on the prize. Raising the oak log won't be a simple task, but a solution exists. Reminisant of moving big sculpture into kilns, we're experienced in the field, cautious and methodical, we approach the beast.

The end of the day looms, but the teams determined. A fourth quarter effort from a well conditioned team. The log straps to the bucket and Scott hoists half a ton of tree. We place the foot at the pin and position the scissor lift. We keep it level as a strap attaches to the top of the log. Slowly, the log lifts skyward. We're wedging with 2x4's and long braces. Elliot's ATV turns the corner and we attach the wench to the top. Our plan becomes a realized vision as the log pivots straight. We breathe when the hole fits the pin, and a gift from the forest now stands as the center support for the future.

Another amazing meal wraps our day. Beans and goat cheese fill the contents of a flour quesadilla. Everyone's exhausted tonight, but substantially relieved in our operations success. No breaking is no breaking.

Another day of framing. Big crossbeams connect the studio laterally and we begin placing our joists. The studio site resembles a small lumber yard. 2x4's, 30 foot I-joists, and plywood stacks shoulder high, Parady Lumber Inc, but we make a dent in the pile. I've forgotten to mention the thermometer readings of plus 90 Fahrenheit. No matter, we wear hats and camouflaged tank tops, drink lots of water, and work through the hottest parts of the day.

As the week concludes, we're placing the subflooring. Glue, plywood, and nails find a place. This side up and we walk gingerly atop the joists. Again, no room for mistakes and Scott hammers each piece as Elliot uses his nail gun. I'll mention more of Elliot as the summer evolves, but he's a remarkable builder, thinker, and worker. His collaboration with Scott highlight my first week of work. We find a rhythm and the subfloor stretches as far as our glue allows.

Almost a finished subfloor, we rest in the midday heat. I'm amazed. A small crews framed and raised a first floor in one week, yet more cripples and studs await this world class ceramics studio.

Between the hours of measuring, cutting, nailing, hammering, and leveling we eat amazing food, drink copious amounts of milk, conduct engaging conversations, and we've only just begun... Cobb Mountain Art and Ecology project cultivates the exceptional. A naturally inspiring space harmoniously nestled beneath the spruce, firs, and cedars. Cast out you line, turn your pots, and prepare for an engaging new environment. Something's happening off the 175.

For now...

The Salty Potter