Tuesday, December 12, 2006


Late in the summer months I made a small collection of photographs of animals in the garden.

I do so savor the frog song that I tracked it once to take this peek into the Passifloria climbing the forward corner of the studio level of the house.

We sing our passion rather more reflectively
in this approaching winter solstice...

I never did get any spiders in the webs I used to teach myself better the subtleties of focus...

But I was blessed to watch one of those proverbially determined ants... in a teacup. Make of all that what you will.

However... my voyeur's prize was to discover this couple of slugs, seriously frolicking right out in the open... near that same PASSIFLORIA corner... hmm...

I ponder the issue of all that fecundity
in this season as I slip in the cold &
slide in the wet... working
to celebrate
complexities in the deep turnings
of this seasonal procession.

Monday, December 11, 2006


One year ago I began my adventure with this blog... with Second Thoughts. By now I have passed through third thoughts & dozens more versions of such thinking, with the result that I am generally satisfied... even if my pace is rather more stately than even I intended with the sugestion of "Periodic Musings"... I do wish to increase my frequency... just to more regularly do the practice of writing while developing more technical skill at posting images.

I like this image, made by a friend last Saturday. Peter Serko caught me in inside the glow of Kip's [Kevin Perry] painting called Cypress Dancing with which I love living in the studio...

One week ago I wrote a bit of a story after my first weekend of our Vashon Island's Holiday Open Studio Tour which I've decided to post after all. This is the photograph I used for the brochure we publish. There is a web site as well... http://vashonislandartstudiotour.com/

I am sitting in a pool of stories from this weekend's Open Studio...

These are times of particularly intense resolution... Months of planning & work involving cash chunks of investment. All ultimately proving belief even as I resisted... I can relax once again into & atop the energie of the bells.

Out from the snow cold & gloom of the early days of our week, we woke to a glorious Saturday... a mellow mist giving way to crisp sun bright punctuated by a regatta of lively colored sails gliding through toward our clear view of the mountain... Folk came out in droves... giddy with a dose of such clemency.

One couple with a camera asked if they could go up, above the fencing bamboo, onto our deck in order to make better shots of the sight, so I grabbed my camera & joined the opportunity, even as it was a bit the tail end of the parade. Next day I heard a woman shopper in the studio tell that she had been in one of those boats & that this is an annual event. as I remember from previous years & now will anticipate such visuals as part of the traditional program... sales & sails...

I get to take a particular reading on the Island's pulsing right here in the Hold through my studio's filter during these weekends when the bells take leading roles in an opera of private proportions while dancing a jingle/jangle inside the flood of all sorts of folk. It was confusing enough with 10 or 12 people ringing along the sample line to become occasionally necessary to invite them to take their potential choices of bells outside to find a spot quiet enough to compare.

Stories come 'round through the shared history which the bells have been busily interweaving all these years. I am now promised a good one from a long time client who was here giving her two young sons the opportunity to pick their own bells for their Christmas gifts. She says it requires a time we can sit over a cup of tea together. I'll look forward! Another involved a bell remarkably found when its loss would have been devastating. Of course the story sometimes involves poignant loss being replaced. There is the notion I try to share even as I learn it, that the bells are about their own business, in their often mysterious ways... just as they came into ours. I appreciate how the bells dance as parts of people's emotional lives.

The range in these tales must include the client who bought a collection of bells for the collars of her [five?] dogs! She explains that she has done it for years enough now to treasure several as reminders after the pet has gone, evoking a soundtrack to her memories.

Often enough I make some quick friends through the bells during these days of intensity in opening my working space. I've long come to trust the bells' integrity & thus can allow myself to believe there is no draw for any but that matching their finer energies in response. That has 'most always proved the case, I certainly prefer to work my business with that mindset than to try to "protect" myself with any illusion of the possibility of that. Much of the value with which I work is as transitory as bell tinkle. So it was with much curiosity that I discovered a missing bell.

Ordinarily, such a disappearance might go unnoticed until some rather future search or inventory, but we had a gay friend to whom we wanted to show the PETER Bell later in the afternoon. Both Stephen & I could remember seeing it in on the display earlier in the day. Upon completion of a third searching pass over the display I had to admit it had been lifted. While I've long understood this occasionally to happen, I rarely have been so present to the timing of such occurrence.

I have long protected myself by stating that if someone wants a bell so badly as to steal it, I can quite easily release it with the assurance that the bells are good teachers for those who need such lessons. I did not concern myself so much with the loss.. Still, I wondered the who.

That particular bell... an ever-so-mildly erotic rendition of male pudenda which can sorta pass as a polar bear... I sometimes wonder whether or not to retain it in the openly displayed line. Occasionally it will be dropped with a grimace, but mostly it meets with smiles & amusement. There is now & again the tinkling pun... I was thus particularly curious who... of all the folk with whom I had so recently interacted... was needy for that bell?

I would not believe it could be the young man with pretty eyes under a tight crown of hat knit to his brow, who seemed to see with such intensity while looking so intently as he did at my work... to whom I was drawn to explain as he left that I felt particularly complimented by a generosity of his attention. I might have wished he liked that design... but no.

Or was it one of those several who'd left with seeming abruptness? We pondered even as we know that folk might simply have discovered they weren't really interested in bells. Or that they'd need to leave just then in order to catch the ferry... ample possible explanations... but then...WHO?

We have for several years gone to the Vashon Island Chorale's Holiday Concert, which concures with one of the Open Studio's Sunday evenings, & which venue is Saint John Vianney, not so far away. The concerts become a useful anodyne to the day's immersion in studio commerce. There were few parking spots so I got out near the church to go ahead to purchase our tickets & find seats.

Along the way I greeted a young, attractive, stylish & vivacious client who'd bought a bell that afternoon... she helped at the door as I unexpectedly took possession of an elderly woman in a wheelchair whose driver had needed to double-park in order to deliver her. I offered to help get her in & to situate her as closely as possible because she was "hard of hearing" while he did with the car... & thus was involved with also buying her ticket... Three, three, Blessed Be!

But... I pulled her back up a few rows, away from the tympani, when I realized to much bass booming might mar her aural enjoyment on what must have been a rare occasion out...

This concert typically offers a bit of sweet calming after the bustling energy of the sale. The quality of the music is reliably quite fine. This year presented John Rutter's Mass of the Children, with a section of enthusiastic youngsters along with a more than capable couple of soloists who have moved from New York & the Metropolitan Opera to raise their family here.

During the intermission between that performance & the program's finish with some half dozen arrangements of rare new songs & traditional carols, the bell client came to join me unexpectedly on the empty seat next over. She explained that she had something for me & reaching into her pocket withdrew a bell on a plumb colored cord. It was not the bell she'd purchased that afternoon.

"I've have had a problem recently with kleptomania," she whispered...

"I like dick & balls too".

I received the bell & held it in hand during the apology of her confession about needing help. A few seconds passed, before folding the potent bauble back into her hand, I put my arm around her shoulder. I believe I made some words about the bells being good teachers while I pondered deeper acknowledgment of my fascination & secret satisfaction to have, so immediately, such an unexpected answer to my curiosity, all inside the close confines of this sanctuary's congregation.

I cannot & will not ignore a certain resonance with the phallic display we saw in the "Secret Rooms" of the Archaeological Museum in Naples, collected centuries ago by a Cardinal of the same Roman Church. I well appreciate the rarity these days of such votive objects.

Would that it were only so simple... I would gladly gift the lonely world frequently ringing satisfaction!

Even if it works only once in awhile, I can grin.

While I raised this glass at a wedding last May, I share this year's favorite image of me in a toast to this anniversry. I may be slow, but I'm hooked...