I’m at the Whiteley Center for almost two weeks working on a huge block for the Big Ink Project at Hatch Show Print in September. I’m very excited about participating, and I’m working hard to get the block done in time. It’s been a while since I carved anything this big and although I knew what I was getting myself into, I’m realizing that this is going to take a lot of work and dedication! Back and neck ache? Sore wrist? Scraped knuckles? Yup, Advil may be needed.
Having a room to yourself can not be underestimated. I have been given this beautiful studio at the Whiteley Center for two weeks, and the thought that I have complete freedom to do what I want with it is so freeing. I settled in on Sunday, sweeping and arranging furniture to my liking. On Monday my wood blocks arrived on schedule and I’m ready to start drawing my whale for the Big Ink event. Big Ink is traveling to Hatch Show Print in Nashville for the weekend of September 14th and 15th and my work has been accepted for printing. Needless to say I have my work cut out for me! Pun intended ;-).
Yesterday was my birthday and I also went for a long walk in the woods with Ashwin. University of Washington has the only old growth forest on San Juan Island. The woods are deep and varied, moving from open meadow-like areas to deep dark forest bordered by the Salish Sea. Any path taken on the right side of the trail ends up on the shore. Along the way I stepped off the path into the woods once, to take a photo at the base of a large tree. I heard an odd sound and when I looked to my left, there was an owl about 15 feet from me on a low branch. He flew up to a higher branch and we continued to look at each other for a long time. Ashwin was wearing a yellow kurta and the owl seemed particularly interested in him. I believe he is a Barred Owl.
Smooth cool water,
I glide, hold my breath,
Call to the others.
My voice is strong,
Resonant and clear,
She hears me.
We find each other,
Through miles of deep and dark,
Vast watery quiet.
I open my jaws,
Let the water flow in,
And expel it through baleen.
Rising to the surface,
I blow my captured breath,
And leap with joy.
We have dominion under the sea.
Shadow giants pass overhead,
A cacophony of sound,
I can’t hear the others.
I sing my song,
And get no response,
No one hears me.
I scoop up the rich ocean,
Obstructions catch in my throat,
I swallow, accumulate.
I’m curious, get too close,
Feel a jagged pain,
My blood mixes with the sea.
I was nervous about opening my home/studio to the public last weekend, but I have to say, whenever I put myself out into the world, the experience turns out to be a good one. Again, this was the case. Thank you to everyone who made the effort to visit. I had many great conversations, new visitors, and ones I hadn’t seen in a long time. I even sold a few pieces of art. All in all a great experience that I plan to do every year!
I’ll be participating in the Evanston Open Studios on June 1st from 12 to 5. Please visit http://www.evanstonmade.org for an interactive map of all the studio locations. I’ll have artist books, drawings, and ceramics for sale. Please come by to see what I do, chat, and make a small plankton print to take home.
I continue to create ocean and sealife from earth, and I’m finally beginning to feel some satisfaction. The whale is my favorite by far, and on my third try I finally have a large stingray tray. I’ll have to sell it before I break the tail! It was a challenge to get all these pieces home on the el train. I had visions of lurching trains and stingray tail stabbings.
In the Midwest. I have been working on a stingray platter, trying to perfect the process. Below is the first one, which I’m quite happy with, but the top layer of the head came off in the bisque firing process. I had to rejoin the pieces with glaze and you can still see the cracks. I’m thinking of filling the cracks with epoxy and attaching gold to highIight them, like the Japanese Kintsugi technique. On my second try the head blew up into tiny pieces in the kiln, so I’m now on my ‘third try is a charm’, as my mother would say.
Mum told me that her happy place is Craigville Beach on Cape Cod. In her mind, she walks down to the end of the beach, lies down in the sand and listens to the waves. She is now 90, and it’s unlikely that she will walk the beach again, but thankfully she has her happy memories and this one gives her peace.
The Humpback Whale tray is in the green ware stage, awaiting bisque firing. Sometimes I think all is going well and what could possibly go wrong, but then it does. I’m crossing my fingers on this one!
The Plankton book (remember Tinkaminks?) is finished, and I made a drop spine box with a raised circle in the center to keep the key chain from shifting around. I printed the title on my old Vandercook press that now resides in Ben Blount’s new studio. He has generously let me use it when needed. This one is on its way to Vamp and Tramp Booksellers at this very moment.
The wide array of forms in the sea are endlessly inspiring. I feel I could keep going forever – and I will continue to dream of living on the coast once again. The lake is beautiful, but as I’ve said before, it’s a poor substitute for the ocean!