I tripped over this very early in the morning, and I don’t know if I am just terribly impressionable, or this is just that freaking cool, but I can’t stop thinking about it… “automotive agate” … layers of Ford paints quarried from the auto manufacturer’s facilities … cut, polished and used as any semi-precious stone would be.

Fordite Cabochon Gallery

Fordite Cabochon Gallery.

fordite blogspotThese images are both from other blogs (mouse the images to see the credits), but I highly encourage you to do your own Google image search to see what’s out there.

Tell Me, Do!

You can peep some of the paintings I am talking about by clicking here.

I have had some success getting well-scanned works printed onto photo paper, but when I tried using the classy high-end watercolor printing paper, my printer chokes like an old tractor.*

Anyway, before I go too far down the road to acquiring more means of reproducing things, I kinda need to know if there is any demand. So, tell me what you think.

* This is only funny if you have any idea what a choke valve is, or what it does. You probably don’t. It’s okay, my jokes often don’t go over all that well.


Questions Have Been Raised

Where have you been? What are you working on? Why do you not blog?

In fact, these questions all have fairly samey answers: In the studio, working on art, because I can’t blog from the studio.

My current project is a painted coffee table. There are progress pictures in Flickr, which you should be able to see in the sidebar here on the left. It’s coming along nicely, evidenced by having reached the phase of the project where I want to fast forward to the done part of the project. In my experience, this phase generally comes between the phase of deep insecurity about every aspect of it (design, materials, execution …), and the phase of being inspired by the current project to move on to something even more grand / ridiculous. 

Before that, I was winding up some glass panels, and reorganizing out there, and working on some articles for the Alibi, and desperately trying to keep myself from becoming distracted and going project-hopping. Project-hopping is not unlike bar-hopping, and generally leads to similar results in the sense of things getting sloppy, regretful, headachey, perhaps a bit forgotten-about.

Outside of the studio, I have been researching / interviewing for those Alibi articles, eating books left and right (and I promise I will post about those soonish), watching the odd film now and then, and tending my garden. This is not a metaphor: I mean, literally, watering, weeding, pruning, planting, fussing-over, obsessing over, gloating about, and so on. I have left lots of garden pictures in the Flickr stream so you can see my fixations. For some people, watching plants grow may be about as interesting as watching paint dry. Maybe no surprise that I do both with complete attention. 

There is something about gardening that has really captured my energy, and I suspect it is the daily-ness of it. A person who visits their green, growing things only periodically will naturally focus on the gross-scale changes. The grass is a foot high. The tree needs 100 branches cut back. The seedling is now Audrey II. Those who visit the garden regularly, daily, will see changes on an incremental scale. This bud will open soon. That leaf has uncurled since yesterday. Those cherries have taken another tiny step in the direction of ripeness. Those seeds are now groping toward light with a new-made cotyledon that could never have fit inside the seed. These tiny transformations, these tiny moments of anticipation and reward are essentially constant in an often-visited garden. These things are, in being noticed, an addictive sort of minor miracle. They create a tremendous, unreasonable sense of triumph, of well-being, of success.

I realize I now sound a bit rave-y, a bit rant-y, but perhaps a great part of the draw of gardening is that, with practice, anyone can learn to notice things happening in this small way. We all live with some level of uncertainty or anxiety about confronting the unknown in the future … but in a garden, it is possible to get the upper hand. There is a VAST body of instructional material for looking after plants, which means the necessary moves to “win” at gardening are very available. There are no secrets.

In this case, to win means to cause (or simply allow) a plant to do what it wanted to do. It wants to live, to grow, to bloom, to reproduce (in so much as I may presume to assign desire to vegetation). But because plants are such mild, tolerant beings, they allow us to take ALL the credit, if we want it. They allow us to say, “I did that!” while pointing at something the plant has done, unambiguously, and in some cases might have done better without our “help”. They do not object to this grandstanding, they simply continue doing their photosynthesis and transpiration and their remarkable manufacture of an endless variety of substances and materials from elemental ingredients they find with their patiently questing roots. They pose for endless photographs with the dignity and diffidence of professional models, knowing too well that all they really have to do is continue being lovely.

So … uh. Yeah. That is what I have been up to. Before long it will be too hot to hang around outside, and I will have to water and visit my garden in the crepuscular hours. I have a serious backlog of projects, and I am on a bit of a mission to burn through the backlog and start digging into the un-begun projects, the ones that are still in the sketchbook, or in my head. The coffee table, acquired at a yard sale for small money nearly 18 months ago, has been earmarked for a makeover since I first laid eyes on it. It will be nice to coax that particular flower into blooming…