Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Memory of Trees

Clock Madness!

If you are not careful, you can be swept up in a wave of busy-ness, and that is apparently what has happened around here, lately. In many ways, I am woefully behind in a laundry list of plot twists I had planned for 2014--writing and traveling and teaching and...and...
But no, they would not be happening, at least not at the moment.

See, I am lost in The Memory of Trees. Which, I suppose, is appropriate for my strange, forested heart.

What, exactly is The Memory of Trees?  Ask any woodworker, any lumberjack. Heck, ask a person tapping maple syrup, even. They will tell you. Their tongues will drip with tales of sap, bark, the smell of leaves in the Fall, or pine needles in the Spring. They will speak of arching branches, the smell of green wood, or even its smell tindering under flame.

Some of us are lost in trees, in greenery and forested shoots. It's a far more ancient thing, a connection to trees, which is a connection to us all. Their fair-leaved dressing wag with with the coming of Spring, and their nakedness tell of the severity of Winter. They breathe out our air, as we breathe out theirs: it's a deep coexistence, these lives of ours.

I am no representative of the grandeur of trees, but the inside of me has been pulled out by THEIR insides. I work with flat logs, you see, and my fingers grapple painting such fine canvases. But beyond painting, there has been an interesting development.

You see, these are TIME keepers, these dissected trees, and there is a certain, strange justice in this. What better to have these olden arbors serve as a reminder of Time, itself?

I remember, distinctly, having trees cut for me during my journeys to Kansas, and since then, logs of various sizes have been subject to the brush and pen strokes that have made up the tick-tock world inside my head.

Chainsawed logs from dead trees on a Kansas farm...

To be fair, I wasn't quite sure how to proceed with it--ANY of it. I've been doing folk art in some form for several years and, at best, I had humble sales of these little bits of hand and heart, just enough to be encouraging and certainly, I have been grateful for those loyal followers who bought a thing from me for various years.

But this Christmas, I was bowled over by this strange new interest, especially when I finally, after several years of reading on clockworks, decided to make one.  It was an Alice-In-Wonderland whirligig, and the reception given to it was as furious as a young debutante's debut. Not a bad suprise, all in all....and it was not over, either (curioser and curioser)!

Wonderland was the winner, apparently...and soon, there were more wild and wooly clocks to be made:

A Hatter's Clock....

And here, three more commissioned for a farmhouse!

A smiling feline...

Down the Rabbit Hole...

One White Hare...

Indeed, I have been quite blessed, as people have found some resonance about these. I'm not sure if it is either the magic of Alice or the idea of a one-of-a-kind-clock but I won't ask too many questions on the formulation of this funny little success.

There are more to be made, of course, but it's a slow process. The utter irony is that an outdoor active person who is used to traveling is a bit fidgety when sitting two or three hours at a time, though the painting itself is an ode to meditation and a joy.  However, the clocks are made only by 4 hours minimum, and over several days, and much experimentation of paints, colors, wood bases, and clock parts do I finish these pieces.

Because of it, I can sometimes only finish a clock in 3 or 4 days time, in between the rest of life's requirements, and several copious cups of tea, and fine music!

Because of this, I thought to offer some clocks at specific times--perhaps the beginning of each month?  I have no idea if this shall work or it seems to ubiquitous?  In any case, I'll at least try it out--

So, these fellows are "under construction," as they say--a few offerings which should be ready February 5th, just in time for Valentine's Day!  Here is a sneak peek at the process of clockishness....

 "I'm Late!"

...and he's gotten a bit of a facelift with paint!

And a brand new Cheshire Clock now being drawn up!

And This Fellow, already spoken for and going to a new home soon!

And so, this is the story of trees. And it wouldn't be the only story happening around here--the next would be of travel, and more!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

The Wish Caravan...

And so here we are again, swiftly rushed to the end, and beginning, of a year. Where this time is magicked off to, I'll never know, both a wonderment and dread--there is no stopping this forward, far-too-fast ride, and yet one should at least enjoy the scenery of this mad shuttle, this rumpus caravan.

The past year was an odd alchemy, possibly more sharply divided in its light and dark parts than I'd dared believed. And yet you've kept right along, though I do worry over you, Good Reader, that you seem to relish the valleys of my adventures as opposed to those good-news majestic mountain-tops?  Who knows, human nature is one that is a curious, humorous thing, I suppose, and I must laugh good-naturedly at such curiosity.

I do not know what to make of the past year, it is a baked good of many ingredients, both sour and savory: I'd gone on massive, massive adventures that glittered glorious in the foreground, but brooded in uncertainty behind the scenes. I'd gone to TWO different states in search of dream jobs, only to have them Earth-shatteringly crushed beneath me. I went on a family journey to another country, and while it was amazingly satisfying, it simply reminded me of and extraordinary background that I did not seem to be doing justice.

Indeed, more than anything, there was a lot of moving around but more stagnation than I'd ever known. Normally, the younger version of myself would have helmed shows in New York, written, hosted radio shows, gone on far more excursions, and done more art.  Somehow, this year, there was so-much-and-so-little going on that it somehow became a muddled circular jaunt that led to nothing but confusion, and this hound is exhausted, tired of chasing lures that were perhaps not quite real, after all.

I suppose there would have been a complete loss of confidence in all my endeavors but for the surprise surge of good compassion that I would have never seen coming this holiday.  All those funny soaps and pretty-making goods, and all sorts of artwork were being requested, left and right.  It broke my heart into grateful little pieces that people bothered with these things, as the world is full of too many big box items, but also, far more talented artists and artisans than I. So, for someone to specifically request my handiworks, or even to write me such pretty things like: "I wanted to give this painting of yours as a gift, but it is so beautiful that I decided to keep it for myself," reduced me to humble tears.

So what to do next?  I reckon I move along slowly on The Wish Caravan, a place of simple hopes and expectations. Call these resolutions, though I won't nearly try to set myself up to standards; my problem in the last year or so was that there were far too many projects, so overwhelming that it became a game of sorts as to where to step forward. Exciting, yes, but also overwhelming.

Here I know that I love writing. So I am hoping to write every day and post , though I keep saying this every year, so let's just cross fingers, shall we? I can also say I fancy drawing and art. So I will say that every day, I will show a piece of work, whether it even be a quick sketch. A few of you voiced a love of clocks and other woodgigs, so those will be worked with.
Speaking of which, here is your FIRST clock of this YEAR! I am still fiddling about with it, but you may recognize who or what it's about?

I've yet to deal properly, and of course, it has yet to be fitted with clock-parts. This wood piece has a few flaws, but it will probably be daubed in gouache, and hopefully will be fit for finding a new home in a week.

Beyond the art shenanigans, I also wish to build up this traveling love of mine, and here writing and travel come together in not one, but two books that are being edited as we speak. Of course, publishing it may be another hurdle to bound over, entirely, and I will keep you posted on that.

Further, there is a vast slew of videos that have been backlogged, when I was actually FILMING all these travel adventures. Of course, actual editing was delayed because THINGS. JUST. KEPT. COMING.  But what use is the filming if there's no one viewing it?  So I promised to bring this little project together, and maybe these stories wouldn't seem like disjointed ramblings? We'll see.  There are other ideas and projects that ramble in my head, but I will wait until they actually are pawing at the opening gate before I cry it all over town.

In the meantime, I wish you daily peace, and the strength to mountain-climb your life. I hope all manner of creativity and witty wisdom head your way. I wish you quiet nights, and laughing with friends and family, and knowing it will be alright, in the end. I wish your family health, and your furry friends, too (if you are the animal-loving sort), and breathtaking moments that make you amazed to be alive. That is the Wish Caravan, making its way to you.

Until then, tell me, what are YOUR wishes for this year?