Monday, July 28, 2008


The Great Wall of China. Hadrian's Wall. Wall of Voodoo. Wallabies. Walla Walla, WA. Now to the great list of "Walls" we can add Wall of Vixen and Wall of Imp. One hundred little boxes all ready to go, to deliver their cargo to waiting new owners within minutes of ordering this Tuesday.

This new first come-first served cart system for selling my editions is a radical new step for us here. No more meandering down a reservation list as one would dawdle down a quiet forest path. We're on a freeway now, gunning it to a known destination to be there on time. Paid orders out same day, or next day, for all one hundred little Vixens and Imps---that's the goal! Customers won't have to wait anymore!

Hubby has been a gem helping me box, wrap, fill and tape up all these little white cubes of anticipation, making me giggle with his quips about "efficiency" and "precision" in my shipping process with his spot-on mock German accent, sounding just like Dr. Johann Krauss from Hellboy 2. We're both big fans of these films, and of Guillermo del Toro's other films and skills as a movie maker---lookin' forward to The Hobbit and The Hobbit 2! Anyway, one of the (many) reasons we like the Hellboy movies is the continuing theme regarding the choices we make, and having to rise to, or learn to live with, the consequences of those choices, both good and bad. Well...Abe Sapien certainly doesn't hurt the movies' appeal for me (I would feed him rotten eggs all day long!), plus Hubby and Hellboy are so similar in personality (except for the temper part), sometimes I swear my husband sprouts red skin, a tail and horns in a certain light. "Ummmmm.....nachos," is directly out of my husband's mouth.

This theme is rather apropos for my life right now, both with this new mode of selling my editions, over which I'm both excited and anxious, but also with the new direction our lives have taken: On Wednesday, Hubby left his place of employment of nearly ten years and is going back to school for two years to learn a new skill for a new job. Have we made the right choices here? They feel right, but doubt always creeps in somehow. Nonetheless, those gears are now set into motion and we must live with the consequences of those choices, for better or for worse. Unfolding uncertainty is always full of foreboding, but also exciting and stuffed with promise!

Another choice I have to make isn't so ominous, but pesky all the same: How the heck do I support this "sproingy" Arabian mare sculpture I'll be starting next month?...
Both Parada and Dar did the "Arabian boing" in turnout as often as they could, and I've been wanting to express this kind of equine joy for a very long time. It's a demonstration of animal elation that makes my soul sing. I actually started this piece right after my back surgery, as soon as my surgeon gave me the "hey ho" that I could start work in the studio again, as an expression of my gleeful freedom from grinding, chronic pain. For that reason, aside from artistic ones, it's very important to me to create a base that doesn't weight her down, or "stop" her motion. I want to maintain the airy, weightless feel of that "Arab sproing." While I have some ideas, I'll have to wait and see how they pan out because what might seem ideal in theory often faceplants in practice! Preserving the "feel" of a sculpture, or rather, the elemental essence of a sculpture, is often more difficult than the sculpting process itself. There are so many design compromises made to the media limitations that must be mediated to protect the energy of the piece, the raw vibrancy that first sparks in our mind's eye at the moment of inspiration.

Anyway, I'll be holding my breath on Tuesday to see if all goes well with the new method of selling my editions, and I look forward to the challenges life will present us in our personal lives, and me, in my studio. So if things seem a little discombobulated or scattered these next 2-3 years, trust that I'm trying to find balance with the onslaught of new paths breaking open here!

"It's choice - not chance - that determines your destiny." ~Jean Nidetch


Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Madness Behind the Method

I've gotten some bemused questions as to why I've been sculpting so many foals lately, when they were previously such a rare subject in my previous work. It's a very good question, really, and I hadn't thought about it much until it was brought to my attention. Looking back, I think the fixation began when Ms. Lily was born, the first child of my good friend, Tina. We've been pals for...gosh...over 20 years, and it was through her that I met my Hubby. Back in college, I used to work summers on an Arabian breeding farm, SouthWind Ranch, located about two hours east of Boise in Jerome, Idaho, which is where we met and became fast friends. We have a long crazy history together, with many (mis)adventures that are definitely stuff of bar talk legend. You mix two crazy girls, horses, and living on our own as roommates, and you know things go haywire fast!

Yet when Lily came around two years ago, certain light bulbs went off. Then when Noah, a mini-mule foal born to a mini mare Tina has, arrived not long after, that light bulb got brighter. Many of my other friends about my age have kidlets, too, so that light gets brighter with each one. I also suspect that as I age, my mind tends to wander back to childhood as it contemplates mortality, then add to that the fact that I don't feel anywhere near 40, and well...I guess I'm reclaiming my youth through my work. I also may be reinforcing the idea of wide-eyed innocence in this day and age of strife and jaded beliefs, or perhaps I'm celebrating a sense of hope as we question the wisdom and sustainability of our collective futures. On the other hand, it could be much closer to home, as an affirmation of carefree idealism during this time of radical transition in my personal life as Hubby goes back to school. Or maybe I'm just having loads of fun sculpting them! Speaking of fun, check out the first wave of fresh new Brownies, rendered in an arty, silly way for kicks:

Whatever it is, it's funny how a single inspiration spins off innumerable manifestations. The latest incarnation of this artistic foray is "Oliver," a Haflinger foal I recently completed:
His creation is documented in the RESS ezine, The Boat, as a demonstration of the sculpting process, and I just finished him this morning. Now I have to start on his dam, which I intend to sculpt as a classic broodmare, an archtype I find very appealing. A broodmare has such a "matronly" look about her, and I hope to capture some of that with "Ellsie."

Anyway, Lily celebrated her second birthday on Tuesday with all her cousins who are all under the age of 12, and it was, as you might guess, total mayhem. It was hysterical to watch the kids' reactions to everything involved with a birthday, as it was fun to think back to my own birthdays as a child, and then ponder what these kidlets will take with them from these special times that are fleeting and precious. To my mind, there's really nothing that says "childhood" more than kids with birthday cake and ice cream smeared on their faces as they've shoveled as much of these rare delicacies into their mouths as their little hands and undeveloped coordination can allow. I don't think anything tastes sweeter, literally or figuratively, than a child's happy Birthday cake, either! So not only was the day sweet, but I certainly got a lot more inspiration for sculpture!

Grown up, and that is a terribly hard thing to do. It is much easier to skip it and go from one childhood to another." ~F. Scott Fitzgerald


Monday, July 14, 2008

Those Darned Time Gnomes!

My goodness! We're already halfway through July! I'm convinced those little Time Gnomes have started to crank their gears faster each year, though my Mom assures me it's "an age thing." She's probably right, though I like the idea of gnomes better. "Daylight devours your unguarded hours," sings Siouxsie Sioux in Belladonna. So very true.

Speaking of age, I'm turning 40 on the 31st of this month! Yes, I'm a dyed in the wool Leo according to the European Zodiac, and an Earth Monkey according to the Chinese calendar. I'm bitter about the Monkey bit. I'd much rather be a Rat, but such is life. As for turning 40 though, I'm rather excited about it, really. I don't feel any different, just the same ol' me, only now I have four decades backing me up. I still get carded, too! It's crazy though...I remember being in my 20s and celebrating my Mom's 40th! How did 20 years zip by in the blink of an eye? I completely understand now how children seem to "grow up overnight" or how old couples married for 50+ years say it feels like only yesterday they got married. You would think we creatures of such short life spans would have a better sense of time.

Anyway, I hope your 4th of July was awesome! Our cul de sac, and our extended neighborhood, goes bananas each July 4th. Folks in a five mile radius light up their BBQs at first light and at dusk set off what can be described as a firework cluster-bombing of the area, well up until 1am. This year was no different and our cul de sac looked like Ground Zero after the fiery mayhem had ended.

Another 4th of July weekend activity is the NorthWest Motorfest at the Fairgrounds. Hubby is a vintage car junkie, particularly of the "muscle cars." We saw all sorts of souped up, hot-rod, original and restored rolling pieces of history, it was cool. Personally, I like the old Mercs (and other cars from the 40s), Woodies and VW Buses, and we both love the muscle cars. Hubby loves the cars from the 50s, too. We saw lots of rare muscle cars, like loads of GTOs, Chevelles, Chargers, and lots more. Even a couple of Road Runners, Super Bees and a Super Bird. These folks love their machines, and it shows. Those machines gleamed. You could eat off the engines. What I found particularly cool was that the Motorfest held old school "grunge" drag races with these cars! 100 feet of squealing, smoking black rubber as these cars actually fulfilled their purpose! I'd never actually seen these kinds of informal drag races before, like how the "Everyday Joes" of yesteryear really did it, and I instantly felt transported back in time. I can see the appeal, for sure!
To top off the day, we headed downtown for a sushi dinner in anticipation of what was to come: Downtown Boise closes to regular traffic and all these cars from Motorfest show up and cruise in a parade for about five hours. The sidewalks were lined thick with folks, cheering for their favorites, and the MC talked about the history of the cars and their owners over loudspeakers. It was pretty cool. I joked with hubby, "So I guess this is how Idaho responds to the gas least for one day." We Americans are an interesting lot...A mixture of nostalgia and defiance, with a dab of fun for good measure.

Speaking of dabs of fun...check out Brownie!
Here he is being molded by the skilled mold-maker, Barry Moore of Laf'nBear Studio LLC. I find it amusing that Brownie perched on clay kinda adopts that look of, "What the..???" Soon there shall be a little army of snow white resin Brownies marchin' out the door.

Hubby and I also went for a ride yesterday. It was a perfect, clear blue sky Idaho day, so who could resist indulging? We like to take these little jaunts, exploring South West Idaho's little back roads and funky small rural towns. Just 15 minutes in any direction out of Boise offers the open road and vast expanses of beautiful high desert scenery, perfect for riding. We stopped at a funny little Mom n' Pop gas station in Walter's Ferry for refreshments, and it was lined with these cute little bird houses with large poofs of petunias growing out of every possible dirt-laden container...
Summer is crazy time here---it's like we all come out of hibernation and wallow in the greatness of this season. I love to grow my flowers and listen to the birds and watch the fat squirrels bound on top of their complex fence and rooftop highways. It's always a delight to hear them "ka-thunk, ka-thunk, ka-thunk" across our roof! The smell of earthy cut grass, smoky BBQs and our sweet honeysuckle vines fill the air. The horses slick out, too, like they're clothed in brilliant satin, and you can see their lovely muscles ripple with each step. I love those warm rays of the sun. I'm constantly cold, pretty much, but on the other hand, Hubby loves the cold---it can really never be too cold for him. He's a Wisconsin boy, so it figures. Shorts in 20 degree weather? Of course! So I'm a Summer baby, and he's a Winter baby, conjuring up images of Mr. Heat Miser and Mr. Cold between us. The Summer evenings and nights here in Boise are simply wonderful. It stays light until around 10:30-11pm and it's the perfect temperature, that warm, embracing temperature and stillness that relaxes you and eases your senses.

I do hope your Summer is equally fabulous! Wear sunscreen, though, and hydrate! Wear your flip-flops proudly!

The summer night is like a perfection of thought." ~Wallace Stevens

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