Monday, July 29, 2013

They Said It Was a Myth

They said it was a myth. I wasn’t quite so sure. My curiosity got the better of me and I decided if it was possible, I would try to see if I could prove (or disprove) the myth.

What myth? There is a myth that a single solitary sprout from the very last reading tree is still in existence. A reading tree, or so the story goes, is a tree wraps its roots around books and grows to bear books as “fruit”. As the books mature they fall to the ground ready to be read and enjoyed.

Supposedly, the only sprout of the last reading tree known to exist is being safely kept and tended by a very, very small bear in an old discarded Mason jar.

I started my quest by delicately asking a few old timers the question “if a reading tree sprout exists, how would a person go about looking for it?”

I spoke to a gentleman who swore he would deny every word if I told anyone what he told me. But as we are friends, I think I can trust you. He instructed me to wait patiently until darkness came. Not dusk, not a moonlit night. Darkness. After my eyes adjusted, I was to carefully make my way into the woods. I was to look for the tiniest glow and he said with emphasis, “if it exists, you’ll see it”.

Every moonless night, I slipped out of bed and into the woods and cautiously waited for my eyes to get used to the dark. Every night I took a different path feeling that I might be just a tad crazy for pursuing such a wild objective.

Then one night not long ago a summer breeze rustled the leaves and made the branches of the trees sway. That was when I thought I saw something.

A glow – just a tiny little glow that was there and gone. But every time the wind blew, it would briefly appear. My heart started to race and I began to believe that my quest might actually prove successful.

I waited for the next breeze and sure enough the glow flickered. I took a step towards it and then waited for the next small gust. I repeated this over and over until I got close enough to figure out what it was that I was seeing.


I discovered that I was seeing the actual incarnation of what was believed to be a myth. I slowly went to my knees to get a closer look at this magical tree growing in a Mason jar. Well, I say tree but it was really a sprout – a very small sprout. Is that redundant?


And there beneath its diminutive branches was a petite bear reading a book. He was kept company by a bird in the tree’s branches and a turtle resting nearby. A watering can sat at the base of the tree.

I gently picked up the jar and the bear looked up at me and smiled. “Do take care” he said. “Too much jostling and we really will become a myth.” “Take a look,” he instructed “at its roots. See the letters? That’s what makes this tree different from any other on the planet. It seems to know that the roots and the fruit above are connected not only to each other but to the rest of us making the most of the books it grows. Now that you have seen, go and find your favorite book and read yourself to sleep. You won’t be able to find us in the daytime and you will think it was a dream. But you and I will know it is real. I will continue to tend the tree and you, well, you should go and read and sleep and dream.”

So, I did. Then the next morning I set about trying to recreate what I saw in the woods the night before. Here’s my version of The Reading Tree.





Friday, July 26, 2013

Elements of happy.

I have made some small bits of progress over the last few days.You see it here in this photo which shows more of the wire portion.

Then there is this photo which shows some letters.

I also finished this tiny Alice in Wonderland book – the cover:

and the inside:

In addition to working sporadically I have to admit to enjoying a few elements of things that have made me happy, giddy and downright silly as well as contemplative.

(Taken today at my dad’s house. Hi Daddy!)

A lot of it has to do with these two – I have laughed so hard over the last few days, there were times I couldn’t catch my breath. Those moments I wouldn’t trade for the world.

Sebastian came along with us on several of our adventures. I promised him I would only show him in the best light so here he is at the nearby Duke Gardens.

We also stopped at our favorite coffee shop where, just for grins, I took this photo.
The caption: There’s one in every crowd.
(Hey, I love ya, Nome!)


Now my entertainers have gone and left me with a nearly empty house so I find myself back in the studio weighing the merits these mushrooms.

I think I will be able to wrap up this project very soon which I am looking forward to sharing here. I love summer diversions especially when I know how quickly summer passes. Studio work, travel, hanging out with friends – they are all elements of happy. Thanks for coming along for the ride.


Monday, July 22, 2013

Spurts & Starts

I’ve been having some fun on two fronts – with friends in town for a short visit and working on my project in spurts and starts. I’ve made some progress.

Here are a few photos.

(I don’t know how that photo got in here.)


Saturday, July 20, 2013

A Blooming Hodgepodge: From There to Here

One of the things I love about summer is flowers and they are really in abundance this time of year. While we were away, I snapped photos of beautiful flowers at almost every place we went. Vancouver and Victoria had a profusion of them. It made me wish I had a greener thumb. I would love for my yard to be spilling over with blooms and blossoms in every color of the rainbow.

(Photo taken in Steveston)

(Aren’t these wonderful?)

(Taken in Victoria near the Inner Harbor)

(On the grounds of The Fairmont Empress)

(From Oswald West State Park)

(From the International Test Rose Garden-Portland)

(Wildflowers on the side of the road back to the airport from Mt. Rainier)

(Also from the Rose Garden) 

(From a little closer to home-the Farmer’s Market)

(A friend bought these from the Farmer’s Market for us to enjoy-such beautiful colors.)


Thursday, July 18, 2013


Sort of like a kid with crayons, I spent time today coloring.

I colored silver wire (not with crayons)

and turned it into a chocolate brown color.

Then I colored some regular sand (also not with crayons)

and changed it into dark brown color.

I wasn’t only coloring things brown either. I also modified silver

to be multi-colored.

And yesterday I finished constructing the bear I had begun.

I must be in the C’s – concentrating, coloring and construction.


Monday, July 15, 2013

Concentrating – or Trying To

I am in the midst of figuring out what I need to do next in order to bring my current project closer to being finished but I have been distracted a little bit by pink snow.

It’s not really pink snow, but from a distance it kind of looks like it.

Finally, I made the decision to work on the teddy portion which seems out of order but that’s the way it looks to be going.

I also have another couple of steps in there that I am trying to figure out. It’s very perplexing but not being made any easier by this guy.

Yes, Sebastian has decided to help me focus by providing music “to think by”.

He decided the harmonica might provide some soulful music which he figured would inspire me to solutions. Unfortunately, all his logic aside, he doesn’t know how to play the harmonica so he decided to teach himself.

Just so you know, this does not encourage problem solving.

Then he got the idea that since his harmonica playing was not as effective as he had hoped because I was not moving forward fast enough for him, he decided I needed to shake things up. He wanted to get me out of my comfort zone. (Little did he know he had already sent me way out of my comfort zone.) Thus he landed on the idea of shaking things up with maracas.

When I told him (very politely mind you) that it wasn’t working, he decided that an accordion-like instrument would invoke more creative thoughts and solutions. Squawk. Squawk.

Um. This also was not working. So I asked him if he had thought that perhaps the sound of silence might allow me make some inroads and he looked at me as if I had lost my mind. I was beginning to believe I had.

No, he said, what I needed to was to get moving – both literally and figuratively. Now he’s decided that he must become a one-bear band playing maracas with his feet, the accordion with his paws and the harmonica with his mouth.

He told me that it would take some time to construct this apparatus and that I was to continue working, even without his music.

That I think I can do. Take all the time you need Sebastian.


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