Jodee Adams-Moore is explaining pottery to me when her three-year-old son Oro pipes in. “Hiiiiii,” he says over and over before running back to the trampoline.
“September 6, 2017,” she says without pause, recounting her son’s birth date. “Two weeks early and on a full moon, like me.” Her mother’s love shines in her voice, and she’s infinitely proud. Oro of course is Spanish for ‘gold,’ and Adams-Moore explains the name. “It conjures up sunshine, golden sunshine. I had a dream years before and woke up with tears of joy. There was a big, happy, smiling baby looking at me. It was a really powerful dream. And when I got pregnant, I thought about that dream and it seemed like the name fit.” She loves the palindrome too.
Adams-Moore and her son live in a converted 30-foot Blue Bird school bus in rural Washington state. Her longtime running companion Pablo and a second aging dog, Cedar, are there too. “They kick it on the bus,” she says of the dogs. There are three cats at her friend’s house on the same land, and Adams-Moore’s pottery studio is there too. It’s in a space that was a whiskey still during prohibition, and some leftovers from the still are in the nearby creek.
She bought the bus when pregnant and it fits her lifestyle. She’s outdoors a lot. The bus–a 2002 flat nose, she explains, which makes for more living space–has bamboo floors and a “little wood stove from England.” Adams-Moore talks about the wood stove like a pet, but wishes it fit larger logs. The bus has been driven to visit her family on the Central California coast and back. She’s between the towns of Acme and Sedro-Woolley, Washington now, and near the Samish River. “I’ve always lived within 30 minutes of a good-sized town, and thought that I had to, but I probably don’t now,” she says of their remoteness.
Adams-Moore came into her own in the Pacific Northwest trail running and then ultrarunning scene circa 2011 and 2012. In 2013, she started competing outside the region with success. The year 2014 saw her take her racing abroad, too, and in the span of a quarter year, she won the Moab Red Hot 55k, was fourth at the Lake Sonoma 50 Mile, and then sixth at the Transvulcania Ultramarathon. In 2016 and again in the span of three months, she won Gorge Waterfalls 100k, took 10th at Transvulcania, and was ninth at the Western States 100.
She’s incredibly passionate about pottery now, and works on the craft four to five days per week. “Once you get going, and you’ve got pieces in different stages–design, trimming, a big day of glazing,” she tries to explain the frequency to me. “I take pieces down to [the town of] Arlington to glaze and fire, every day doing something.” I ask a lot of questions, trying to understand the process, and she answers with an eye and ear on her playing son.
Each piece starts from a 25-pound bag of clay, purchased in either Seattle or Tacoma. She breaks it down, “you work the clay, getting it pliable, in alignment, and the initial wheel throwing takes just five to eight minutes.” She’ll typically do six to eight pieces at a time. Once the piece is thrown–that is, the shaping of the clay on the wheel–she’ll trim the bases and add her individual signature, a little swirl on the inside and outside of the base.
Adams-Moore does high-fired pottery, and her friend’s kiln races to 2,345 degrees Fahrenheit. High-fired pottery is harder, like porcelain, as compared to low-fired pottery, like earthenware. It takes a day for the propane-fueled kiln–big enough to walk into–to reach that temperature, and the glazes that hot are more rich and the results sometimes surprising. An anticipated red might finish white, or vice versa, and that’s part of the fun. “My designs are super unique, naturey, flowery,” she says. “I love every step (of pottery) and every step is different.”
She sells the work under her Bat Cave Pottery brand, named for her former studio. It wasn’t a bat cave itself, but the “shack was covered in bat shit,” she says without apology. The name is also a play on the flat discs that run on a pottery wheel, bats.
She’s sold a lot of pottery around the holidays for the last 10 years, and at a few retailers–”The Lucky Dumpster” in Edison, Washington, for one–and at pop-up markets in Bellingham too. “I like to get out, but it’s hard to get out with a bunch of pottery,” Adams-Moore says. “When social distancing is done, I’d like to do some pop-ups in Bellingham in my van. It’s a pretty van,” she cheers with a nod to the classic Mitsubishi Delica.
“Don’t dig in that area!” Adams-Moore softly interjects to son Oro. He’s playing outside and digging in a dirt pile toward an area of new plants. He spends a lot of time outside too. He’s three, and I have a two-year-old son and we do a quick potty-training check-in. Her son was impressively peeing standing up against a stump outside at one year.
Time outside dominates, but they have an iPad and have their screen-time battles too. “We like Blippi,” she says, and I laugh. My son likes Blippi too, but the YouTube character grates me.
Somehow we move to diet, and I briefly reference a deep 2013 interview she did here on iRunFar with Robbie Lawless. “I’m heavily vegetarian leaning, I eat pretty well. As with everything though, I don’t have strict rules. I’ll eat McDonald’s ice cream if I want to, but I get good veggies and eat healthy overall.”
Adams-Moore still runs too, it’s just different. A day-ago memory flickers and she grows excited. “There aren’t a lot of public trails here, but there are logging roads,” she sets the backdrop. She was pushing the Bob stroller and came on a new trail. Convinced that it would go to the Samish River, she went exploring with Oro. It did go to the river. “It was the most beautiful river oasis.” It’s a simple story, but she’s jazzed about her find and excited for more time outside.
Call for Comments (from Meghan)
Leave a comment to share stories about running or racing with Jodee Adams-Moore, or about observing her running and pottery careers!