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JOY IN TETCHY PRODUCTION…

The rains have begun early… sigh. My basil is browning out. I keep hoping for enough sun for one last push, for which the weather widget gives us only Wednesday… but so I thus need to harvest it for making a late rough pesto.


Except for the deer, oh… & the slugs… the potagere is fair set to make winter greens in nice variety. The chard which has been feeding us for several months will only improve through winter. The kale will thrive even better.

There are rows of new laciniata starts to begin maturing into those dark dinosaur textures. I will transplant some out into the borders hoping to coax their mature perennial forms, which can become quite sculptural when they perennialise over several years.

This view of the raised beds shows an Arcosanti bell which my parents gave me when they left the big retirement house in Monument, Colorado.

The sculptural forms I have been playing with the evening several ago when I began writing this were clappers for the DRAGON bell. I have been playing with variously colored stone beads, as well as the more habitual pearls, to set into the claw of that clapper…

For the days since I have been concentrating on assembling the earring castings I got several weeks ago. James has recently brought the finishing back “in house” after several years working with a skillful metalsmith who’s studio is in Olympia now needing to care for his arthritis… I’ve been working with new employee teaching techniques & preferences for finishing the bells.

I prefer to assemble the earrings myself, since they are rather tetchy & I am always playing with adding some color using beads for some clappers & experimenting with other details. This is mostly a taste thing as I must also try to dance with my market. Earrings must be expensive, for the obvious, or often not so obvious, fact that they require two bells. They want be more delicately tended & then must match each other in details such as how the clappers hang visually… as the pendant bells do not. Thus they have not made a large part of my sales… but…. I have ordered more than usual to see if I can do better with more choices. We will see…

I’ve had my digital eyes busy in the light box, making shots of the earrings for the Open Studio brochure & eventually to post on the web site. That involves using sticky wax to mount them onto frosted Plexiglas in perfect static positions so that they “float” in well lit white vacant space. I discovered, after making numerous shots of one pair, bringing everything into that perfect lighting & exposure, that I’d missed the fact… glaring at me when I saw them on my computer screen… one of the clappers had gotten caught-up at an awkward position. So many little things can go so terribly wrong! It makes one wonder if it all is worth it! But, of course, it ultimately is.

I now have many more of those photographs to make

One of these will be my image on the December Open Studio brochure.

The HOLLY & IVY bell is rather perfect a an earring. Its small sweet voice can come from garnets &/or pearls… holly berry red & ivy white.

I have been rediscovering the joy I take when I get into the mood to do this labor of polishing & assembly. It is dirty work. Frustrating to get all the parts fitting nicely into a song of liquid movement small enough to hang from ear lobes. I’ve had time to reflect on a lifetime doing such work… working as well to avoid it! I come again to realize I must do some of it myself no matter what.

There is simply no substitute for my own perfect methods & care!

While the grit & grime does not fit with my latter day prissiness, nor does the length of time required to approach this kind of work before actually getting into it’s groove fit easily with my partner’s schedule of social presentability measured only in hours. When I do finally get into that zone I want to stick with it for several days, at least, no matter who we invited to dinner how many months ago.

While he is away traveling in Italy for these weeks I have been wallowing in rare lack of schedule & luxurious solitude. I’ve got fingernails blackened with all sorts of productive fun.

Between rainstorms I have been enjoying trying to capture something of the many incredible spider webs which decorate everything in the garden & most windows of the house. To grab focus on an an ephemeral object which is actually a sail to any breeze presents a challenge requiring lots of luck in the moment.


This one used the outdoor light as part of its hunting ploy.

I have almost completed the steps between Stephen’s writing cottage & the house…

I close with this bit of autumnal fire beginning to smoulder in the smoke bush.