Chapter 28

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The Bellen tour was a studio standard that Abby had heard many times before.  She helped Michael learn the tour when they were children.  The studio at first glance was haphazard yet might as well have been a museum display.  Every piece or tool could be referenced at any point during the tour or made a prop as if planned all along.  School children from fifty miles away had come on field trips to the studio to see the Bellen urns and to learn how over the years the pottery had found homes around the world.  In the foyer of the studio, there was a wall of fame that featured photographs of Bellen pottery on display in the cities of Paris, London, Vienna, and of course the Bellen urns of the White House.  Through out the studio was every tool a potter or ceramic artist might want to use: feathering tools, drill tools, fettling knives, fluid writers, and on and on.  For each tool an example of the finished work or a work in progress.  There were manual kick wheels, electric kick wheels, small kilns, of course the large kilns.  There was the urn assembly line, though the process was never referenced like that, which would be explained in detail with examples along the way.  And in every tour the pedigree was discussed, there had always been a Bellen, from this father’s father to that father’s father back to northern Italy.

Abby slipped on a pair of large green rubber boots that she kept by the back door, grabbed a jacket off a hook, and tromped out into the wet snow with the jacket over her head.  When she got to the studio she stomped her feet on the concrete floor to get the sticky snow off the boots.  Sure enough, she could hear Will in the big room talking about when his grandfather built the studio.  She walked in and smiled, Will and Nathan were holding paper cups and a bottle of wine sat uncorked on the worktable.  Naturally he would have wine in the studio, “there had always been drinking hadn’t there?” she asked herself.  “There certainly was when Michael died,” a voice inside her head echoed that did not seem to be her own.  They were all artists, they all drank, and she asked herself what made her father any different, what was different now?

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