Monday, May 26, 2008

What do you think?

This is the current website I am working on, and my first "all Flash" site. Please let me know what you think.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

My bliss

My bliss came in the form of Mary Ellen, a reel mower, a chicken coop, and some "Jesus Light."

I had spent a large portion of the day working in our barn, cleaning up the chicken coop. Then at 3:30 my independent study student who lives near me came over and we looked at her work. About 5:30 Mary Ellen came down to the barn and joined us (yes, I had class with my student at my barn!) When my student left a little before 6 Mary Ellen and I discussed what I wanted to do for my bliss exercise and I said I just wanted to hang out at the "farm" and enjoy where I live.

Recently we bought a reel mower, you know, the old-fashioned kind that doesn't take any power except muscle power. You can read about how to operate one here... So Mary Ellen got that out and started to cut the grass around the garden and I sat on my butt and watched her. She was like a little kid with a new toy! She used to use one when she was young and since we want to lessen our dependence on things that don't come from our own farm, we decided to get one. It works great! It is actually easier to use than a gas push mower. Plus it is quiet and you can work at your own pace. And I would pay any amount of money to see the look on her face as she was mowing! She was having a blast and since there was not a mower engine running we could actually hold a conversation. I even got off my fat ass for a bit and mowed some!

After we didn't want to do that any more we went up to the barn to kibbitz with the poultry. They have recently decided that roosting on top of the 6-foot fence on the inside of the barn is just dandy. Of course, occasionally one will hop down on the wrong side of the fence and be loose in the barn without a clue as to how to get back in with the other chickens! Thankfully they are hand-tamed and we can catch them easily and put them back inside. We even had a screen door installed so we can leave the side door open for better ventilation and they can't get out of the barn.

Any way, we just fed them some cracked corn and generally enjoyed their company for a bit.

Around 7:30 we were planning to go sit in the plastic Adirondack chairs we bought at the evil Wal-Mart early this spring when we turned off the barn lights and started to close the door. It was then that I looked back to make sure everything was OK and I saw the "Jesus Light." It was sunlight coming through a gap in the barn and catching dust motes in the air still stirred up from when I cleaned the barn earlier! Mary Ellen and I both walked over and stood in the light looking at the streams. They were perfect! It was a moment that will be in my memory always. She asked if I could get a picture of it so I went up to the house and got my camera, completely expecting that there would be no way that I could capture the essence of this experience. (Even though I am a photographer to the bone I really believe that some things cannot, and should not, be captured by a camera...) But I went and got the camera and by the time I got back, most of the majesty of the light was faded, but I managed to get a half-way decent image - at least it is an artifact that reminds me of what it was like in reality. You will not get the same feeling from it we got because you were not there. You really had to experience it to "get" it, but here's the picture.

So after that, I decided that since I had the camera I would put down some corn and get some videos of the chickens and turkeys. They turned out GREAT! Enjoy!

This is Lazzie. She is a White Laced Red Cornish Game hen and she is our feathered dog. She follows you everywhere chattering on about her day and even likes to be petted (sort of - at least she tolerates it) and even picked up and held. She is especially fond of Mary Ellen.

And this is one of the roosters who likes to roost above the gate. That led to some interesting shot angles!

And finally, here is the "coop cam" where we put down some cracked corn and set the camera on the ground and let it go!

Monday, May 19, 2008


I have a few ideas about the concept of time.

Time as Perception

First, I think it is really about perception. Humans observe time in many ways, but I am more interested in time from an experiential and emotional standpoint. Basically I am interested in memories. Those are really nothing but remembered experiences, or snapshots of time.

If you were in class last Wednesday you might remember when I had someone shout out a verb and then we did that action (run) - or some of us did... :-) No mention was made of it for the rest of the class, which I found to be pretty interesting. No one said anything like, "What the hell...?" or "That was weird." Nothing. No one questioned it, or even mentioned how odd it was to spontaneously stop what we were doing and do something completely different. We just did it (or not...) Well, I am bringing it up now. Think about that event. What did you experience when you did (or did not do) it? How different was that experience from everyone else's experience? Isn't it interesting how 2 people can share an experience/memory/time and have different interpretations? If something happened, then it should be an undeniable fact, right? Each person should have the same experience, right? Then why don't we?

Time as Artifact

The other aspect of memory/time/experience that I am fascinated with is freezing a moment of time and sharing it with others. Most people use a camera to do this, but I realized a few weeks
ago that I do this with my pottery.

Take this image as an example.

I created this piece by trapping the porcelain just at the moment before it would collapse under its own weight. I effectively trapped the clay in time. I think it adds vitality to the piece that would not otherwise be there. The viewer/user can "feel" the tension of this drama even without knowing it. By perfecting an approach like this with clay I have turned my pieces from just "pots" into "snapshots of time." This possibility absolutely fascinates me.

I spent most of my undergraduate career searching for ways to incorporate pottery and photography. I experimented with silk screening photos onto clay, playing with photo decals, using photo emulsion on the clay, and I even did photo-etching on copper and tried assembling it with clay. Each one was interesting, but ultimately it did not "feel" right. It wasn't until about 3 weeks ago (12 YEARS after I got my undergraduate degree!) that I realized I had been incorporating the "idea" of photography into my work for years. What a revelation!

Sometimes it takes time to see what has been in front of your eyes for a long time. That is a more genuine approach to me than the literal approach I had been trying all those years before.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Egg redux

Here is a composite of all the images:

And some close up images:

On the wagon?

Wow! No wonder alcoholism is such an epidemic!