Archive for July, 2009

One more day at work.

Tuesday, July 28th, 2009

I have this weird split identity going. I spent the first half of the day firing a small order of pots in Ed Henneger’s minigama and then went to work laying up stone. The pots had top get done for delivery this week so I borrowed the kiln and got it knocked out. I love working with stone and am very distracted. I am thinking about the pots that I want to make when the time comes but for now I am loving the ring of steel on stone and the slop of mortar and a trowel.
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Ed’s kiln is a pile of brick that gets hot really fast. Cone ten in four hours.
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Cutting stone with a tracer and mallet.
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Finishing mortar joints. It is mud!
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Mixing clay…I mean mortar.
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This is fun. That is why I am in on the project.
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The barn as of July 28, 2009. We will finish the masonry tomorrow.

Rock on.

Saturday, July 25th, 2009

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Lee’s studio/barn has looked like this for a while now. People wonder if it will ever get the stone work that we have talked about.
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A little over a week ago I began laying up stone. I got two courses up by my self and then called my friend Arlin Pritchard to come and work with me. Arlin is a master at masonry and the work has moved along very quickly with his help.
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Arlin with the first day’s work.
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By quitting time on July 12 we were moving right along.
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July 23.
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Details.
The barn is nearing completion. We will get the rest of the stone up Monday and Tuesday. A friend is finishing the wood trim and onother is turning the corner on the painting. I’ll post more later.

Grand Canyon Charter June 2009

Tuesday, July 14th, 2009

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We have been home from our 2009 June river trip for two and a half weeks. It has taken me a while to get the photos up as I have been out on another river trip and busy trying to get caught up here at home. It was a sweet trip with Lee, Louisa and me on crew with Steve Bocagno as well. Here are few images worth a thousand words each to give you a sense of the adventure. We are currently booking for our 2010 june trip.
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Lee’s brother Marc joined us with his wife Ruth, her sister Louise and Marc and Ruth’s daughter Sarah.
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Paul Bakkom came with his son Erik.
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Susan Weeks and Mark Conley and their friend Judy Stone joined us from Colorado.
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Julia came to us by way of Tour West. She was a fine addition.
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Paul and Erik hanging out. The canyon is a great family place.
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Are we having fun yet? Joe leads Team Bedrock on a tour of the left side of everyones favorite obstacle. Can you tell that the boat got COMPLETELY full? In this photo the boat is just coming down from a mighty highside effort by the crew. Also check out how quickly Steve Boccagno got up on top of Bedrock with a throw rope. It is nice to have that kind of people backing you up on the crew.
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In the eddy below Bedrock Joe finds out how hard it is to move a boat full of water as the team bails.
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Team Bedrock at Owl Eyes beach.
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Joe catc hes a nap at the Deer Creek Patio later that day.
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Hanging out at Doris camp after the Bedrock fun.
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Louisa engaging in a little chub petting during a lunch break at 60 mile rapids.
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Who needs dishwashers?
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Lee and Sarah lead the Diaper Train at the Little Colorado.
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Not only can she clean a peanut butter knife she can make great Freedom Toast.
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Marc caught this heron and digitized it.
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“No s**t, there I was…” That is how all good boatman stories start.
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“If you take that picture I am going to stick this carrot in you.”
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The nightly game of pick up sticks.
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Petting fish….kissing rocks, what is next?
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Louisa Becker, our hero, hiking Havasu nine months after bilateral knee replacement surgery.
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I don’t know, it just happened.
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Why are these canyoneers smiling? The picture was shot at the shady ledges below Lava Falls.
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When the going gets tough, the tough find a rock and pass out on it.
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Stepping into North Canyon.
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The pool at North canyon.
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The true happy hour.
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Reaching for it.
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Actually the only reason Lee gets to come is because she looks so good on the front tube of the boat.
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After the coffee, the ecstacy.
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Oh gosh, not Tuna Creek again?
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After the nap at Blacktail.
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Would you let this guy row you down the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon?
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Cousins.
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Erik catching some quiet time at Matkatamiba.
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My new Black Diamond Mega Lite came in handy when it tried to rain one night.
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Marc snapped this amazing image at Havasu. The Grand Canyon makes everyone into a better photographer.
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Sarah resting up for more fun at Last Chance camp.
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Team Havasu demonstrating the Monkey dance that got us off the rock in the top of Havasu Rapids.
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The game.
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This was the Bennion Grand Canyon charter trip 2009.
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Floating to the chopper pad the last morning.
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Hiho Silver….away.

The Generations

Wednesday, July 8th, 2009

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John Bennion was born in the little village of Hawarden in Flintshire, Wales. Family legend has it that to avoid prosecution for poaching rabbits he crossed the Mersey River to Liverpool and took up residence with his brother Samuel there who was apprenticing himself to a baker. The Bennion boys met a Mormon missionary named John Taylor who baptized them. They were soon on their way to American to build up Zion. John embraced the principle of plural marriage and took a second wife, Esther Ann Birch. Their son Israel is pictured below.
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Israel was one of many children in a big polygamous family. He worked very hard as a young boy and spent a lot of time away from his mother. As a young man he settled in the south end of Rush Valley in Utah where he helped found an intentional community of Latter Day Saints called Benmore.
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Glynn Bennion is the son of Israel Bennion and his first wife Jeanette Sharp. Glynn grew up at Benmore on a little farm called Ben Lomond. In his lifetime Glynn proved up and sold a number of homesteads in western Utah.
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Owen Cannon Bennion is the son of Glynn Bennion and Lucile Cannon. He grew up in Salt Lake City and spent his summer helping Glynn work his homesteads in the desert. As a young man he met and married my mother, Lenore Wood.
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Lenore is from Berkley, CA. She met my father shortly after WWII at college in Utah.
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I was born to Owen and Lenore September 4, 1952 in Salt Lake City. I married Lee Udall on June 29, 1976 in Provo, Utah.
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We managed to reproduce three amazing daughters who have all grown up and flown the nest.

Freedom

Monday, July 6th, 2009


On July 3 1989 I was traveling with fellow ceramic artists in the Soviet Republiuc of Estonia. We were near on the last day of a three week tour of the republics of Russia, Latvia and Estonia. I was visiting a restored fishing village on the Baltic coast with three friends. The park was not officially open when we arrived. The caretaker, a small shirtless man named Guido, was painting the flag pole in the center of the village. When he saw that he had visitors he scurried off to get a so he could properly greet us. When he found out that we were Americans he became quite excited and explained that he had been painting the flag pole in preparation for American Independence Day. He brought out an old (pre WW II) American flag that he carefully unfolded folded to show us. He was planning to fly this old flag to celebrate our independence and to honor the freedom that it symbolized to the world. This little act of rebellion in a Soviet republic was very moving for the three of us who were US citizens.
The next day we flew home landing in Chicago. As our plane descended through a glorious cloudy sunset into O’Hare airport fireworks were going off all over the city. The atmosphere couldn’t have been more perfect. I experienced great feelings of gratitude for the freedoms I enjoy on this earth. I hope today that this American Dream is still spreading. Is it?