Archive for November, 2012

MORE THAN ONE WAY TO FLY

November 30, 2012

Angel Ballerina (Purposeful Flight) )These days are beautiful: cold, clear and brightly inviting. They affect my energy, pulling me out of my sleep, reminding me that the day ahead is too good to waste. Today I have already been taking pictures of another new angel. Took some with the Olympus yesterday, today with the Canon…changing the ISO to see what happens. Even took one last night in the low light of the night-time studio. With adjustments, she is “The firebird”. Fun! I am playing, learning, and I may be finding that I can meld this playful new medium with my other mediums. Where it will go I do not know, but freedom and surprise are the best parts of a creative life. I am gifted with renewal…and in some way that will be shared.

Working with this angel was different than my usual way of letting the wire lead me to what will be. I call her my Angel Ballerina because her posture is more controlled. There was more intention in her making. I wanted turnout and a high relevè position. I wanted her to rise straight up, her arms and hands more like lifting wings than the wings behind them. I wanted the purposeful push off to lift…even if the push is against the air. In doing this angel I asserted myself. I let go of passive to achieve what I wanted. She feels like a landmark. No wonder I have been photographing her like crazy. I want to remember.

Angel Ballerina (The Firebird)Last night I drove to East Beach with the dogs. This is one place where off the leash is allowed. It works better if no other people or dogs are present. This time I was gifted, not only with solitary beach time and free hands, but also by an absolute plethora of seagulls. A few pelicans, too, but primarily seagulls…swarming, swooping, diving, hovering. This was definitely a different sort of flight. They were crazed by some interior drive that I felt no need to understand. For me, their flight…their dance was a wild free ritual having everything to do with the setting sun, and I was priviledged, no…blessed to be participating. Camera in hand, I was limited but enthralled. Capturing what I saw and felt was impossible, yet I must join the dance, and bring back a small reminder.

Fire-Birds

Fire-Birds

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Seeking Clarity

November 25, 2012

Seeking clarity,

I coax the wire to dance,

 surrender mental agitation

to the act

of pulling, bending, coiling, smoothing

yielding substance.

Surrendering my need to understand

produces dancing angels.

Blessedly absent-minded, I

can trust my hands to shape

the simple reality.

I watch the head incline toward

shoulder, arm and intricate fingers.

Minimal breasts give way to

curving ribs, waist, hips.

The pelvic tilt predicts the angle of the legs.

Yes, I remember this: Inevitably,

my feet are freed, my wings are formed.

The gesture of my dancing figure…and

my winged flight.

Thanksgiving Bread

November 23, 2012

On the day preceding Thanksgiving I made bread. Festive bread for the occasion: laden with cranberries and walnuts in a base of oats, buttermilk and honey dough. This year I added an extra ingredient: I brought a camera to the process, recording each stage with thorough attention to the bread’s becoming. Not that I havn’t taken photos of bread-making before. I have…. and have even posted a blog to accompany the shots. But since acquiring a better camera, I bring a new intensity to shooting any photograph, and this time cranberries and walnuts pop forth in delectable spontaneity toward the camera lens.

Another element was also present. I was beset by my usual holiday reluctance; there was the stress of fulfilling my yearly role as family baker. And I was tired. Thankfully, the camera added interest, objectivity improved my focus, and the idea of sharing visuals as well as eventual consumation helped me through the day.

The bowl continues to receive ingredients:

warm buttermilk, thick honey,

dollops of soft butter, floating yeast.

The bowl sits still

while the oats, cranberries, walnuts

soak and grow plump.

(The yeast now foams on the surface,

beckoning the heavy lightness of the flour.)

The glazed interior of the bowl endures

the self-same scraping of its sides.

The wooden tool held in my hand

is dulled by time and use.

These simple instruments

have grown accustomed

to each other and to me.

It is now time

for a different sort of intimacy:

The push and pull of the living dough

against my hands.

My hands are strong

and flexible beyond the evidence of age.

The dough is heavy with ingredients

and actively intent on change.

It will become what it is meant to be;

My hand is coaxing and enlivening,

but when the power of the dough

exceeds the willingness of my old hand

to press and fold,

I tuck the tiresome mass

into the patient bowl

to grow alone.

This is my time

to rest and read or walk the dogs.

I savor every moment,

forget the power churning in its womb,

amassing greater volume,

will to rise above…

Oh, let it rise, poor creature.

It cannot know the next stage,

has no idea of the punching down,

the cutting down to fit the narrow pans.

It can’t imagine the confinement

or the heat,

can only strive toward its completion.

The loaves emerge,

pulled from the blistering heat

by my protected hands.

All striving is complete,

the alchemy accomplished.

Golden, crusted, tender sweet,

the baked bread rests at last,

mercifully innocent

of future consumation.

Just a little taste…

MADE NEW

November 17, 2012

This is an old clay sculpture, made in the eighties when I first began to sculpt. It is made of a heavily grogged clay, alloted to me by my cousins at Shearwater Pottery (to play with). Well, I played more and more, and a few years later I had my own kiln and was ordering clay, still with grog content but of a finer sort. I do have affection for my older pieces. Those that havn’t been sold or given away still grace my present environment. This one sits on a beam in the entranceway to my home. She is not pristine and you might detect scraps of spiderweb.

I do see her as I come and go, appreciate her graceful form against the light. She seems to belong where she is. But for the most part, she is simply there, basically forgotten except as a sculpture given to my mother on some birthday many years ago. My mother is gone, and this rather Grecian dancer has been relegated to the catagory of older art, done before skills were refined, somewhat rough.

Last week – before taking the Canon S-100 back to Best Buy (It had a couple of defects that couldn’t be overlooked.) – I decided to shoot a few more photos, just around the house: a farewell gesture, so to speak. I decided to go for the art that sits or hangs around my space mostly taken for granted. I began with the Grecian dancer and went from there. She is my favorite. What I found when I downloaded the photos onto my computer and began to “play” with the images was that the art of photography could make new the orginal artwork, even restore it to a special place in my heart. As I looked at the pieces in a new light, perhaps in a new form, a sweet wave of love and thankfulness radiated out toward the object of my attention. A spark of excitement was ignited and as I celebrated where I had been, I was also happy for where I am, hopeful for where I might go. I could see that along my path I have left markers that I might find my way.

IN THE MIST

November 11, 2012

I was at home and in the mist,

I walked the familiar winding road alone.

I had left my friend

to the sun-bright stimulation of the city.

She too must walk alone,

the shadow of my presence a lingering memory,

a poignant glimpse as she brought her camera down.

As I brought my camera down,

the misty air exhaled the breath of absence

and I raised my camera yet again

to see my present world.

Where I am now:

in the mist of that sweet morning

with an image clearly returning

how I feel to be at home

in the beauty of transition.

THE MAGIC CONTINUES

November 10, 2012

Last week I was in New Orleans with my long-time friend, Kendall. Together we were renewing our love for New Orleans, and for one another. Over the years we have shared many things: Childhood joys and sorrows, her love for theater and mine for dance, our dreams and our love affairs, resulting heartbreaks, our children and the challenges of motherhood,  bouts of feminism and of sensual love for women, and our ongoing need to write down what we feel. We have both been wanderers, always questing; not always knowing for what we quested. Lately we have shared the fact of our aging, bodies becoming more frail along with our dreams. We are most fortunate for the comfort we derive from our lasting rapport, and also for lasting belief in our mutual journey. We may seem to live in separate worlds (She lives in Portland, Or. while I am residing in Ocean Springs, Ms. – back in my Southern home after years of moving from place to place.), yet our bond transcends all distance. We are in touch. We are always in touch.

Our meeting in New Orleans came about gradually; we spoke by phone of the possibility for at least a year. When it finally happened we found something else to share: Taking photographs. She has been a photographer for quite a long time, posting blips of great beauty and conveying her passion for life through images and words. For me it is a relatively new experience. It has been a peripheral thing rather than another means of artistic expression. I am still not sure where it belongs in my life, but for now it is a strong enough urge that I could join my best buddy in the quest for remarkable images. I think, as we strolled through Audubon park or the French Quarter we were every age we have ever been together. I even danced on an outdoor stage in response to her suggestion. Her superb eye for sculptural form and her familiarity with my dance produced this image.

I look at this image now and see yet another proof of our friendship’s evolving dance. How beautifully we are attuned to one another! How easily we respond together to a spontaneous moment!

A short time later I focused my little Canon as Kendall lovingly merged with a glorious Oak . It is clearly a happy union…another sort of dance. And I am there, too, still learning the capabilities of the new camera ,a marvelous thing to accompany my photographer friend and to  learn from her experience.

We moved on to find birds, attracted to their obvious ease in this habitat made especially for them. The dance they offered us was the most natural dance of all. We were merely observers, but perhaps we were seeing ourselves.