Thursday, December 5, 2013
I heard a story today about a man who took his young child to the Grand Canyon. He was excitedly telling the child to look at the enormous vista, the wonderful sunset; but the child was much more interested in a small rock that he had found at his feet. The story made me think of an afternoon that I spent with my then-youngest grandson Barnaby, who was around 3 years old at the time, at his brother's soccer game. Barno had no interest in watching the game of course, so I walked around the park with him and got down on his level many, many times. One of the best things we found to watch was an ant hole out of which rather large ants were crawling, carrying big grains of sand, pushing the grains up and over the lip of the hole, and then shoving them into the rim that was forming around the opening. We never got tired of watching and talking about the ants and their grains. We watched until it got dark and the game ended and we had to go home.
Today's drawings are of those kinds of tiny, seemingly insignificant, but really mysterious and wonderful objects. On the right side of the page, at the top left, is a strange painted rock that my oldest grandson, Jacob, and I got from an Art-o-mat machine (a refitted cigarette machine) at a grocery store when he was around 6 or 7. It was part of one of a dozen or so cigarette-pack-sized art pieces that you could buy for $5 from the machine. I never got what Jacob saw in this particular art piece (which consisted of the rock, some shredded paper, and a couple of other little parts), but he liked it very much. Somehow it has ended up in a bowl of other odds and ends on a dresser in the bedroom at my house.
The object to the right of the art rock is a paper-thin seed pod, slightly dimpled in places, containing a dessicated seed pod. I have no idea what kind of seed pod this is or where it came from. Below the art rock is a chestnut or conker, favorite object of various children from time to time, fun to carry around in a pocket. And beside the conker is an elongated acorn, equally mysterious in provenance. On the bottom row are a cracked hazel nut and a turret shell from a beach on the east coast of England.
These last two objects are copper crows that I made as part of an art piece. I cut them out with tin snips and bent them around metal dowels, turning them into finials on the piece. I really love these crows and miss the two others that have fallen off the piece. If I ever find another piece of copper gutter I'll cut out the missing crows and make the piece whole again.