Wedgwood’s storied history as an iconic creator of beautiful ceramics art is the focus of American Spirit‘s September/October issue.
In 1759, Josiah Wedgwood, an apprentice potter in England, left his job at an established potter’s workshop and opened his own pottery business. This year, to celebrate its 250th anniversary, Wedgwood will join the DAR Museum as it presents a new exhibition, “Wedgwood: 250 Years of Innovation and Artistry” from October 3 through February 27, 2010. Our story illustrates the legacy of a talented visionary and encourages visitors to check out the exhibit, which will feature 200 diverse pieces dating from the 1700s to today.
Summer was wonderful in so many ways (kayaking! filmmaking! travels out West!), but I can’t wait for fall. One reason? Megan Morris and I are taking a photography class at a nearby art school in a couple of weeks. I even have new school supplies! Yep, this shiny new (used) camera is taunting me with all its buttons that I don’t yet know how to use. I expect the class to help me unlock the potential of the camera, and I hope it gets me just a tiny bit closer to the photographic talents of Hammock friends like the other wonderful Summer I know.
The cover of the Sept-Oct. issue of Semper Fi, the magazine of the Marine Corps League, is devoted to LtCol. Timothy Maxwell, founder of the Corps’ Wounded Warrior Regiment. Grievously wounded in an IED attack that sent shrapnel into his brain, LtCol. Maxwell battled ferocious odds to regain motor skills and mental capabilities. During his long recovery, he realized wounded Marines needed to be together to share their travails and triumphs. He organized the Wounded Warrior Barracks aboard Camp Lejeune, NC, which grew into a full-fledged regiment. LtCol. Maxwell retired in June, but has not given up fighting to help Wounded Warriors of all services. His story is an inspiration to all.
Summer gardening season is winding down, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy fresh produce through the winter, too. It’s not too late to start planting your winter vegetable seeds (although, if you plan to garden this winter, you better jump on it quickly). Leafy greens, beets, carrots, turnips, parsnips, broccoli and cauliflower can all be planted now and harvested later this fall.
To protect your fall garden from frost, be sure to keep an eye on the weather forecast. Although these fall veggies can survive a light (and oftentimes even a heavy) frost, you’ll want to protect your plants from the cold with polyethylene blankets, corrugated fiberglass covers or even used milk jugs with the bottoms removed. Here are a few tips for fall planting:
Use the empty plots once you’ve harvested your end-of-summer produce to keep the soil fertile for spring planting — and to give you a spot to grow some fare for wintertime.
It rains less in the late fall, so be sure to keep your provide constant soil moisture in order to increase seed germination.
Don’t forget that beautiful Indian Summer weather usually follows the first frost, and can be the best weather of the fall season for growing vegetables.
Seeds should be planted deeper in the fall, since moisture levels lie deeper in the earth than they do in the spring.
Now, the question remains: What do you do with your remaining summer produce? Now that my CSA is winding down, I’m seeing lots of corn and plenty of potatoes. If you’re like me, eating baked potatoes can get old pretty quickly. Luckily, being a part of a large Italian family makes me privy to my grandmother’s traditional Italian recipes, like gnocchi — and it’s not as hard to make as you might think.
2 pounds potatoes (any variety will work, but I prefer to use red potatoes)
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups flour
Step 1: Poke holes all over the potatoes with a fork, and bake uncovered at 350 for about 45 minutes.
Step 2: Once the potatoes are cool enough to handle, peel them and use a potato masher (or if you’re like me and don’t own one, a fork will do) to mash them until all lumps are gone.
Step 3: Add the egg and salt to the potatoes and mix well.
Step 4: Add flour to the mixture a 1/2 cup at a time and knead into a soft dough with your hands.
Step 5: Separate the dough into 4 balls, roll each ball into a long tube, and cut the dough into 1-inch pieces.
Step 6: Boil the gnocchi until they float to the top of the pot, drain, and top with a marinara sauce, or quartered roma tomatoes.
Struggling through what speaker after speaker acknowledged is one of the most challenging times ever faced by the association community, there was still a strong note of determination and resolve among the attendees, panelists, speakers and exhibitors at the ASAE Conference and Expo.
One such call to be open to the opportunities found in times of crisis and challenge came from best-selling author and consultant Gary Hamel, who first sounded a warning to those married to the status quo.
“Problems happen when the leaders of an association are behind the thinking of their members,” he said. “That’s when denial occurs. That’s when digging in and protecting the status quo occurs.” It’s also when most great changes take place, he declared.
Being open to experimentation — and the failure it often brings — was another theme heard throughout the event. Again, as Hamel said, using acorns from an oak tree as a metaphor: “It takes a thousand nutty ideas to come up with one or two that take root and grow into giants.”
Perhaps the most universal theme heard was the challenge to association executives to drop their belief in certain “myths” that are preventing them from moving forward. Here are just a few of the myth-challenging assertions we heard association executives and presenters discuss:
It’s not just the economy: We’d strongly advise anyone who is an executive at an association to review the most recent ASAE research report on the impact of the economy on associations. (You can download the PDF here.) After reading it, you may want to believe that yes, it is the economy as membership and participation in associations — especially professional associations where dues and expenses are covered by an employer — have been greatly impacted by the downturn. However, the research also shows there are factors beyond the economy that are fundamentally changing the association landscape. Some of them have to do with the ways individuals are organizing and sharing knowledge online, others have to do with generational shifts and others relate to the perception and expectation of the value one receives from membership in the association. Bottom line: Don’t fool yourself into believing that the economy recovering is going to translate into the recovery of an association who does not address other fundamental issues.
The solution is not technology: Of course, a stroll through the ASAE Expo hall would astound anyone not familiar with the array of technology now available to organize, administer, track, communicate with and train staff and members of an association. But presenter after presenter warned that placing too much belief or faith in a “platform” instead of into “relationships” or “innovation” can lead to failure. Charlene Li, author and new media analyst, said in a keynote address that captured the message of many of the conference panels: “Don’t trust a specific technology to be the answer. Next year, there will be a new set of technologies, so it’s not about technology — it’s about strategy, approach, being wherever your members are.”
Let go of control: The economy may have been the backdrop of the conference, but “social media” was the topic most discussed in general sessions, learning lab panels and in the hallways. Frankly, trying to decide what exactly the term means was a challenge for some association executives. By the end of the meeting, however, the message was clear: Social media is not something an association can “own” or “control.” Associations can participate in conversations and help members connect with one another — within the association context and outside it — but the idea that “social media” fits within the paradigm of association staff talking “to” the members was clearly dispelled. Time after time, in panel sessions or in the hallway, we heard examples of how associations were struggling with groups of members who were “setting up their own websites” or “planning their own ‘un-conferences.’” The best advice we heard was when someone in a hallway conversation responded to another attendee who complained about such a situation where a member had organized an unauthorized meeting that corresponded with the group’s national gathering: “That’s who I would be recruiting as a board member.”
Yes, there was a lot of fear and dispair at the meeting. But we heard a lot of optimism and hope, as well. Innovation, creativity and new business models are all going to be a part of the future of successful associations.