Wednesday, March 18, 2009


Creative work at the wax desk has been more difficult to establish this winter. I began the the long dark hours of traditional deep design time in the studio suffering some bizarre symptoms of a fine case of shingles which tantalized the right side of my forehead & that eye with nervy sensations suggesting I'd blown a fuse in my aura or had ants walking on my eyeball... not a state conducive to my best concentration!

Our wet was unusually cold & we had too much snow. Of necessity I let myself be slow. I elected to stay home from events I would ordinarily have attended with Stephen. It furnished excuses with explanations I can rarely find better to secure the hermetic space so essential to my preparation toward such work. I know well that non-social time is so foreign & frightening to some that they simply are incapable of realizing the mirroring wealth of true solitude. I'm happily omnivorous on that score as well!

I knew there was a break scheduled, ready or not, to meet him in Florida after his Journalism That Matters Conference in Saint Petersburg several weeks ago. [See his blog for that story:] for a week visiting Mother Helen. His brother Mark also joined us for some great & welcome sunny beach time on Long Boat Key, near Sarasota, where they all have spent winter holidays for some 40 years...

Of course, the calendar didn't respect that I was just finally beginning to see some progress on the waxes & would happily have stayed put to continue working in the studio, but there was this gift of a ticket...

Happily this year we scored with the weather department & I brought home a bit of a tan line! It's rusting as I write, even though I'm happy to be back waxing, so ultimately I wasn't ready to come home... such ambivalent signs indicate having had a good vacation.

The social life continued with a weekend pairing back-to-back overnight guests for whom I felt inspired to cook. Still, I managed to steal carving time in useful increments, finding some of the balance so essential inside the complexities of the life I choose. I celebrated spring by impulsively going out between Saturday morning's rain squalls to pick nettles for that soup, which has become a tradition using those weeds from our slope. I varied the recipe this time, gaining kudos from both Stephen & our guest, Kana. The original recipe follows, although I used dried Shitake mushrooms in the recent version...

Erica Meade's Nettle Stew
1 large sweet white onion chopped finely
5 large cloves garlic, chopped or pressed
4 med sized Yukon Gold potatos diced
1 large bag fresh picked nettle tops
3 tbs. quality cooking oil
aprox 2 qt water
1/4 - 1/2 c white miso
1/4 - 1/2 c high quality sesame tahini

heat oil in large soup pot. add onion, garlic,
potatoes. saute until
tender. add nettles.
simmer covered for 15 min or until nettles
limp and have no sting.
boil remaining water in tea kettle
and add
to pot. in mixing bowl mix white miso,
and 1c. water. whisk until
lumps are gone.3-5 min before serving
add the
mixture to the pot. do not boil.

[I never measure, so
all measures are approximations.]

The HUMMING BIRD wax has evolved considerably in detail & I've got the clapper mostly carved as well. I'm still feeling quite slow against various impediments. There won't be a bumper crop of bells this year...

To attempt capturing gesture as both solidity & whir is proving to be a challenge...

Tuesday, March 03, 2009


I am carving nocturnally in this dark season even as it also waxes toward spring...

Above shows a progression of the blocking-out process to begin the carving of a bell wax. Sawing & filing out of the raw solid a rough "canvas" onto which I can begin the searching drawing process to find the specifications which might render a bell. I've written about this process here.

Hummingbird has eluded me for years. Indeed, I'm not certain I've quite synthesized into static sculpture such blurr as seems better seen in one's imagination...

I've also been meditating into a bell for Equal Rights Washington

I relish these periods of solitude when I can hold in my mind the tenuously evolving form in ways deeper than the never distant actual wax... which, as I turn it 'round, must hold only its current form. Condensing my idea from all its previous forms, I find myself wondering whether I am pilot steering a process or the tool of some tide...