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TIME OF ANCIENT SPIDERS…

This view of Tahoma, wearing one of her lovely hats, distracted me from the garden on a recent evening. I’d been photographing the sedum blooms ripening from a rich pink toward their autumnal bronze coloration under a Lacinata kale in the lowering light.

[Remember… you may double click to enlarge photos.]

I love this season for the appearance of a rich plethora of resilient webbing spun by the maturing hunger of a zillion spiders feeding during breeding season for both themselves & their egg cases. While gorgeously decorating Soundcliff’s windows, doorways & garden paths… they thus render me the destroyer of much craft, art & sculpture.

I wrote last year about spider webs but this year my camera has been seduced anew. Being so subtle as to be invisible in some light while another angle brings them into stunning reflection against dark background… they are deliciously elusive to capture with the lens. Finding the vantage point with good back-light against a low-keyed background, or shooting at night to catch that deeper contrast are interesting problems to solve. Raindrops included might be photographically trite but that’s probably because they too are such a fine teaching tool!

I have been re-reading old journals, trying to find mentions of a particularly important project during the 1982-83 era. Today I found a description of watching a spider building its web in the space above my wax desk in the studio when I lived in Sedona, AZ.

I frequently discover synchronistic rhythms in my history relating to current life so this morning’s serendipity stretches & stitches this story of arachnid interest over some 28 years. I’m reminded as well that I had a spider collection during my grade school years on the farm in Kansas… so all this spins much older still… even as I happily present a more respectful enjoyment than what would now be 50 year old vials of specimens in alcohol!

GRB Journal: 27 July 1982

What an amazing fantasy environment exists above my studio lamp! A tiny white spider caught my magni-visored eye. First sight was on a piece of wax from which I’d been taking bits with a hot tool… stringing out threads of my own. Running along the mandrel. Sticking his/her tail up doing a tippy-toe dance. ‘Seemed to be tying something. No, its the ass that’s doing. What a trip to tie knots with your ass! Oh! There goes a thread… he’s shooting it out! Another dance as he winds up the slack fibre he’s floated out, sticky enough to catch on the lamp above ! & in moments he’s scampering up that ephemeral line — his own projection. Real enough to crawl on. Of Himself. A chance hook on whatever the breeze took it to. Or is it chance? Is he playing the breeze & his line whipping it with studied English. Surfing that rip let of air. Aiming. Probably some of both. He must be whistling while he works. He does dance & dash. Floating suspended on an elegant construction. Up he goes. This time I know he has a previous line. A more well traveled path into areas of the corner I haven’t recently disturbed by moving the lamp. The lamp is a hunting expedition. Home must be up near the ceiling– he’s got roads & even expressways up there. The web even near the light & with my magnification are almost invisible. Only when they catch the light, then even only after he follows one… traces dot-to-dot do my eyes focus on it! As I become aware I see the drawing. He’s been busy! Neat stitching! … Becomes almost space travel. He’s out of sight… I followed with my mind & got lost on this page.

[ I’ve only slightly edited this entry, deciding to leave the male pronoun I mistakenly used, apparently identifying myself with what was no doubt a female, but cutting a short confusing tangential reference. It is curious to make a transcription of only a single page out of the thousands which exist in these journals.

This shot attempted to catch several versions of flight seen through our bathroom window… a papier-mache figure with feather wings inside & an iron crow sculpture out on the deck rail, with a web built floating on the breeze, it’s real flight spans some 12 foot distance.

Some times I can’t decide which shot I like best. I give you this choice:


Ephemeral beauty abounds !!!