Arkansas, Here We Come!

Howdy Dear Readers!

The Mighty Deb and I just returned from our 9 day Arkansas road trip!  The goal was to get to Ron Coleman’s mine for quartz crystal picking.  We left on Sunday right after noon, and got caught immediately in highway repair traffic on the I17 that took an extra 90 minutes.  It started to cloud up by the top of the rim, and graduated to snow in Flagstaff.  It snowed off and on til Albuquerque.  We went through the skinny top of Texas, the width of Oklahoma, and then spent some time in Fayettville, AR.  The old part of down town is a wonderful amalgam of old and new architecture, sprinkled with art.  Deb and I stayed at fancier motels at her direction.  I am just fine with mom and pop’s or Motel 6, but the princess got her way with Best Westerns and the like.  We wound our way from the north west corner of Arkansas to Jessieville and the mine by 3:30 in the afternoon, Wed.  We were both greatly relieved because we had just gotten into a big, fat fight in that last hour or so.  She told me I swore to much, in no uncertain terms.  I just couldn’t fucking believe it!  Anyway, we hit the pit and split up like we were shot from a gun.  The crystals and crystal material were all over.  The miners dig up new material with big earth moving equipment, the company takes the hugest crystals, then brings the piles into the more public part of the mine.  There are newer piles of dirt and rock, and older material spread all over many acres.  Newer does not necessarily mean better–sometimes they are just cleaning up the active area.  Every time is rains new crystals and plates of crystals are exposed.  Some of them are clear like water, some are white, and many are mixed.  I found plenty to be satisfied with, though I’ve found bigger crystals and plates in the past.  Deb hauled up huge rocks with crystals tucked in here and there.  She Always goes for the Large size!  She brought home loose crystals as well.  I’ll tell you more of our journey, later.  Thanks for checking in!

Art at Your Finger Tips!

I just finished up three days of classes with Michael DeMeng, one of my favorite artists.  I don’t know anything about his history, but I imagine it as tortured and tangled.  You could not create work like his having grown up in the Ozzy and Harriet family.  His work is dark, interesting, multi-layered and frequently creepy.  The Mighty Deb, Sister Curse and I took his one day workshop called “The Island of DeMented Toys” on Friday, what a blast!  How could you not have fun while sawing apart toys and reassembling them in new, and sometimes disturbing configurations?  Art Unraveled puts on a week and a half of all different types of workshops every August, here in the Phoenix area.  There is every kind of art media that I could think of, probably some you would love, too.  I took two more days of DeMeng’s class called “Mad Alchemist’s Cabinet” by myself, my pals had to get back to their lives.  I was so inspired after our Friday class that I went out and bought a Dremel.  They seem like such a practical tool–there are attachments that allow you to cut through wood, ceramics, plastic, and even metal.  You can sand, polish, or use a wire brush, amongst many other purposes that I don’t even know of yet.  I have posted photos on flickr of Michael DeMeng and all of our various projects, come see for yourself!  http://www.flickr.com/photos/katsdeelite/  Another highlight of my Art Unraveled trip was rondivouing with my web designer Tracey Kazmir-Cree who lives in Colorado,  and her friend Artsy Fran who resides in Phoenix.  It was fun to hear about the classes that they had taken and to catch up on each other’s lives.  I love Art Unraveled!  A big thank you to Linda Young and her family, who make it all come together.  Go if you have ever wanted to dip your toe into the art world, or even if you teach classes, yourself.  There is always more to learn and friendships to make!

Happy New Year, All!

The Mighty Deb (TMD) and I, just returned from our little voyage to the Salton Sea, in southern California.  I was suffering from Severe intestinal distress for half of our four days, but we both managed to have a good time, anyway.  TMD had watched a documentary on the Sea about 2 months ago, and was intrigued.   The film was narrated by John Waters, one of our favorite weirdos, so that gave it extra cache.  The Salton Sea was prominently displayed in a film that Super Secret Back Up Support Agent brought over two weeks ago; Into The Wilderness.  The movie was thought provoking and the images of the Salton Sea were captivating.  I was hooked too, so we went for a look.  See the real facts on Wikipedia,* ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salton_Sea) but for a quick sensory idea; it’s the largest lake within California, and it has salt water, not fresh water.  The area is remote and attracts unusual people, I imagine them to be independent, strong willed and probably pleased to be away from most of humanity.  There aren’t many people living in Bombay Beach, the area we checked into.  There were mostly trailers, some houses, many of both, abandoned.  I was touched by how the residents personalized their surroundings–I didn’t find them pretty, but they were interesting and creative; bowling balls–Yes! why didn’t I think of that?  We drove to the edge of the water and found ruins of old trailers that had been devastated by a couple of hurricanes, years ago.  It felt kind of eerie to see the remnants of the live’s of others.  It reminded me of older, tamer pictures of Katrina that I had seen after their catastrophe.  It smelled like the sea and the water sparkled in the afternoon light.  There were sea bird varieties such as gulls, plovers and pelicans, nearby.  There were plenty of dead tilapia fish in the sand, blessedly defleshed by that time, but it wouldn’t take too fine an imagination to anticipate the smell that would be generated by the periodic algae blooms, and fish die offs, that they have there.  The visit to Salton Sea reminded me of our trip to Hildale/Colorado City, Utah.  Both are such different worlds from the one that I live in, and I am at once attracted and repelled by what they represent.  I felt like a voyeur, but wanted to be sensitive to the inhabitants at the same time.  What’s a gawker to do?  Well, if you’re one of those, go see the photos in the California Excursions album!  I hope that you create the next year, just as you would like it!  K 

*Wikipedia is a wonderful resource for all.  They make it very easy for us to donate money on their website.  I did to the tune of $30, today.  Remember to financially support the services, people, and organizations that make the world a better place for you and others.