Last week, I talked a little about a revelatory experience I had in the studio – an idea that came to me more or less fully-formed and that I was able to execute pretty much as I envisioned. I’ve been playing with it a lot – probably more than any other thing right now – and here’s a photo of one of the pieces that’s come out of that:
This piece – and the others I’m working on – is inspired by scenes from my childhood. It’s intended to recall the small stones and patterns left in the sand when waves pull back from the beach. When I was four, my parents divorced and my mother was left a single mother in a time when that wasn’t the norm or widely accepted. We were living in Manhattan and she was eager to find a way to give us time outside of the city. She and her married best friends pooled their very limited resources and bought a small house on Shelter Island, New York, out between the forks of Long Island. It’s now a haven for the wealthy, but 45 years ago it was a remote small town on a little island about as different from Manhattan as you could get. And my mother, God bless her, would pack up me and my two-year-old brother on weekends and take the train all the way out to the end of Long Island, get on the ferry to Shelter Island from Greenport, and then walk from the ferry all the way to our little house, carrying my brother and our single suitcase the whole way. We didn’t have a lot of money – my mother and the husband in the other couple were free-lance musicians, so we lived on thrift store clothes and hand-me-downs and budget meals. She and our fiends would arrange their schedules so that us kids could spend entire summers away from the big city, playing on the beach and in the woods and climbing trees and chasing fireflies. For $5 each summer, we could get a license to go clamming and fishing, so we ate a lot of clams, mussels and fish caught off the dock, supplemented by the fresh produce from the farm stand down the road from our house. As kids we spent whole days biking around the island or hitch-hiking to the library – it was an amazing childhood, and of course, I had no appreciation for it until long after I grew up.
So I’m working on refining these pieces, which are very evocative and emotional for me. They are probably the first pieces I’ve made that have such personal meaning beyond the making of them, and I want to get them right. I’m also trying to decide whether to call this series the Shelter Island series or the Water and Sand series. What do you think?
And guess what? There’s a giveaway today! My friend Melanie Shankle (aka Big Mama) is having her first book published early next year. To celebrate, I made her a pair of earrings… and I made an extra pair for her to give away to one of her readers.
So head on over to her place for details and a chance to win! [UPDATE: Mel is leaving the comments open through noon on Monday, so you can enter to win all weekend!]
Tonight, I start a three-day series of classes with Thomas Mann. I’m a little nervous – for two reasons. First, he’s starting with a class in using a jeweler’s saw, which is a skill I desperately need to learn.It’s a three hour class, so we’ll have to be focused and efficient with our time – and I have these nightmares of being “that” student who just can’t get it right and who bogs the whole thing down. Second, Thomas is one of those scary-talented people who just seems to see and perceive things on a whole different level. I just hope I don’t embarrass myself.
I hope you have a great weekend! (Did you watch the VP debates last night? Don’t forget to vote on November 6!!!)