Saturday, March 21, 2009

Gentle Hands

This week’s highlight was a trip to see Grandma and Grandpa in Kawkawlin, Michigan. When we left home there were no signs of green on trees, but the willows were starting to come to life. We drove through warm weather, knowing that spring would come to Bloomington soon. With the transition to spring, my mind has been developing a spring piece that shows two cupped hands planting a seedling. The long drive was the perfect time to needle felt the two hands. It took a lot of detailed sculpting, but the work has benefits: I get to travel with naked models and nobody seems to care. After two long drives the basic shapes are complete for ‘The Offering’, and now I just have to add the skin and incorporate the hands into the weaving.

We did have some exciting adventures in Michigan. One afternoon we drove to the Midland Center for the Arts where they have a big exhibit on lizards and snakes. The layout was great, with plenty of spacing to comfortably view the big glass cases and very realistic exhibits. I think the most memorable was a huge monitor lizard stalking around its habitat. A brightly colored chameleon swiveled its eyes independently for us, which was very cool, and we saw some beautifully disguised lizards hanging upside down alongside vines of similar diameter. It was all very neat and a wonderful afternoon with Grandma and my family. Of course now I have to make another lizard piece!

My dark side did come through on the trip. I had heard my father-in-law talking about the secret M-30 store. This is a big supply and surplus store in the middle of the Michigan woods. I find a lot of my treasures at places like that, so of course I had to get there, secret or not. The location was so secret that we spent a morning searching M-30 north of M-61 with no success. It wasn’t until we got to West Branch and decided it was time for lunch did we figure out the problem. Over a pleasant lunch at The Willow restaurant, with carrot soup at the start and fresh cookies at the end of the meal, did we realize that the M-30 supply store wasn’t on M-30. It’s on the nearby and parallel-running M-33. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it’s actually called the M-33 supply store. Like good fishermen, most artists wouldn’t divulge their secret spots, but for you…

The drive back home from Michigan to Indiana was colder, but we got back just in time for spring. The landscape went from brown and black (and dirty white snow piles) to displays of subtle reds and greens as the trees started to bud. In suburban Bloomington the forsythias were bursting into yellow, another sure sign of spring. On our first full day back the boys and I rode our bikes to Bryan Park, past the first magnolia trees with blooms and the first cherry blossoms. On the way back we stopped in to see George and Annemarie Springer, our neighbors and the keepers of ‘Chunker’, our huge, aggressive goldfish who outgrew his tank. Chunker lives a contended life in George’s backyard pond, so the story has a happy ending that didn’t involve porcelain.

Back in the art studio I’ve been pulling out my rich brown yarns to create the earth for spring weavings. That makes me think about getting into the yard to plant my precious saved Marigold seeds. I’m hoping to get out my birthday present—a new leaf blower to help clear the garden beds without raking out or stepping on my little garden babies. It’s time to clean the yard and paint the trellises to get ready for spring!

Until next week…

1 comment:

  1. Those hands are great! Can you clone whole bodies? I'm adding your cool blog site to mine today.