Oh, well... Sometimes it works. Sometimes not....
Netta and I had a lot of really great coconut fiber pieces that we collected for hat-making. We thought, maybe, we could construct a wall-hanging sort of thing with them. We were right, but we never could figure out what to do with it. Eventually we took apart the thing and used the materials for other hats.
Oh, well... Sometimes it works. Sometimes not....
This is the only wood-carving I've ever done. The tool I did it with is shown under it. At the time I was amazed at what I was able to achieve. It was my first attempt at carving in wood…and the only time I ever did it.
This piece holds mixed memories for me. The wood I used was the only piece that was left of a koa log that became a bone of contention between two good friends. One was a logger, the other the guy who owned the tree he took down. Somehow, whether it was because of a misunderstanding or some other glitch, they got into a war about who would be using the wood from the log.
The log sat in the wind and the rain for many years. Years later, I came across the old log during one of my ramblings in the forest and I remembered the battles and the bad feelings that broke a long friendship between two of my good friends. In the mulch and pile of rubble, there was only one piece of wood left. All the rest had fallen away, a victim of natural decay.
I made it into a thing of beauty, I think. It was appropriate that at the very end, I pressed too hard on one part and a fine hairline crack formed in the piece. You can hardly see it, but it does make the piece fragile.
Wilson's the best friend I ever made...literally. When Netta started exploring doll-making I was intrigued by the process, but I didn't like the dolls. They were all so-o-o-o CUTE and girly-looking. I wanted to make one that was a guy's guy. Wilson was the result.
It was a lot of fun designing a sleepy-eyed furry house elf with mondo lips, floppy ears, a solid lump of a body, long, skinny arms and legs, and a lot of attitude. I used fake fur and felt to cover a sturdy structure built out of a central plastic pipe attached to a base and then surrounded with lots of stuffing.
I gave the doll an orange face, purple felt eyelids and lips, a blue schnozzola, long and shaggy yellow ears with orange felt undersides, and long skinny orange arms and green legs. When I added the glass lion's eyes from a taxidermist supply shop, he came alive!
He was named after Tom Hank's "friend" in the movie Cast Away.
Our neighbor Xanda Ebro caught us on her cellphone camera as we were headed out on a town-trip. She posted it on Facebook.
Wilson got up to a lot of mischief, but those are other tales.
Something about living in the middle of your studio is very conducive to creativity. I can understand why some artists became very prolific when they slept and ate and lived with their work. I'm fortunate that I don't have to deal with chemical fumes and other toxicities. Elmer's glue just isn't that toxic.
This was one of my first, really beautiful flat compositions. This time I made a composition with which I was completely happy. It was before I learned how to make the pieces puffy.
Everyone else in my family who worked with the fiber – my aunt Elizabeth, my wife Carmen and my daughters Fiama and Saroon – ironed every banana bark piece they used. It took me a while to realize that every piece was sculptural. Once I recognized this I could use the pieces to create incredible depth in a three-quarter-inch space.
Here's our latest obsession: winding wire around epiphytic plants (tillandsias, bromeliads and certain epidendrum orchids, mostly), mounting them on rotting coconut husks or tree fern chunks, and hanging them in the lauhala trees. It's messy and a lot of fun.
The plan is to get people to look UP.
Sometimes a new piece shows a lot of promise.
You work, you fiddle and move things around, you tear things out and add things in, cogitate and ponder and curse and fumble and foodle. Finally you just go and take a nap. All the fussing came to nothing. But, after that nap, maybe a new idea comes....
My friend Gus and I had a "discussion" about the walleye. I forget what the point of contention was, but it did give me an opportunity to mail off a joke to him.
This piece, WATER, WATER EVERYWHERE, was all about folding and tucking. Like a basket-weaver working with dried natural fibers, I first need to get the materials flexible enough so I can manipulate them. I wet them in the sink...not sopping-wet, just enough to make them more pliable.
Then I apply glue to the bark, stick it onto the composition and start bending and manipulating it into place. One little piece often requires adjusting all of the other pieces that surround it....
Then it's wet some more material and repeat, repeat, repeat….
I guess I was in a Georgia O'Keefe mood when I did this thing. Not sure where it was going...not even sure where it went. It seems to me creativity is like that sometimes....
For almost my entire adult life I have preferred an "acoustical" way of living -- one free of as many electronics and attention-sucking widgets as I could manage.