All that brilliant gold pressed up against a blue and silver sky.

IMG_2324[Hatch Matcher Rings :: sterling silver and lapis lazuli]

I’m updating my shop today!  Hallelujah!  What a great time I’ve been having in the studio these past few weeks.

On the menu for today:

11 pairs of earrings

4 necklaces

8 rings (ranging from size 6-9, wide and regular bands)

a million seed bead strands that I’ve been making all summer long — well, more like 15 seed bead strands, but it feels like a million when I am holding them in my hands

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It’s incredible, almost unbelievable, how much color the landscape holds at the moment.  The mad rush of the scrub maple as it sprints towards blood red.  The ever graceful twirl of the cottonwood and aspen into the wide realm of yellow.  The rabbit brush.  The grass.  The last of the wildflowers in periwinkle and plum.  Reigning over all that color is a blue sky supreme, studded with silver clouds, raked by wind, and there, burning bright, in the center of it all — my very favorite star holding steady and warm.

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I realize I was supposed to manifest a shop update today but yesterday afternoon, I looked up from the delicate work of my hands while perched at my bench in the studio and I didn’t feel ready to quit creating for the week.  Later in the evening, I began processing my concord grapes in the kitchen and I sealed the deal on a postponed shop update by staining my fingers purple and blue, and when I say stained, I mean stained beyond repair.  It will take a few hot baths to get these hands clean and photographing rings is not in my near future.

IMG_2194I will be glad for a few more consecutive studio days.  I have nice momentum at the moment and since I have been hermited away this week, I’ve achieved a lovely, syncopated life rhythm that feels enduring and steady for the first time this summer.  Oh wait, it’s autumn now, isn’t it!

A word about this necklace, it’s a continuation of the Hatch Matcher Series I have been working on for a few weeks now.  I’m obsessed with this shape, and all shapes derived from it.  That graceful, delicate double fin, or rumpled wing, or dogwood leaves or whatever you see in this shape…it is easy on my eyes.  It is abstracted, which I like very much, so you can feel free to call it what you will.  I do.

I wrote about the original root of this series and included the writing in my listing details for the original batch of earrings and necklaces in this series.  Those thoughts read like this:

The thing I love most about fishing (and hunting) is the way my senses are re-trained and heightened — when I am out on the river or out on the land, I can feel my senses reach a more full faculty and strength. It is understandable. The very quest for a creature that can run faster, swim faster, see, smell, and hear better than me demands excellence from me. I have to rise up out of the soft dullness of my humanness and move in a deeper manner. It’s the return of the power of my senses that I cherish most about picking mushrooms or berries, stalking antelope or reading river water and knowing, instinctively, where the cutthroat are stacked in the current during a bug hatch in a pretty riffle.

Fishing, hunting, gathering and being out on the waterways and mountaintops makes me a better human. The deepening of my senses in those wild places is a reality I carry with me when I return to civilized spaces. I continue to see my world in a deeper way, understand better why humans react the way they do, comprehend better the root of action or inaction.

Each time I stand on the edge of a river at dusk, watch the fish rise, select a fly to match the hatch, and begin to cast out over the water I establish my place in an ecosystem as a caretaker, a member of a simple, wise, honest society — and then my senses take me deeper.

While that all continues to ring true, and while fly fishing is still at the root of this series, and the actual form in the photo above still reminiscent of rumpled bug wings unfurling, freshly hatched, skimming river surface and slurped up by trout, fly fishing is not the absolute root of this series.  This is about the senses.  This is about elevation.  It’s about more than that, too.  I’ll let you know as it comes to me.

I say work with a shape, with a form, as long as you need to in order to reach the very end of it, in order to understand it and where it came from — in order to understand yourself in relation to it.  I suppose that’s why I’m keeping on with this shape.

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I have been listening to the The Dorsey Brothers Pandora station while out in the studio which requires me to break out in tap-dance routines between spurts of soldering.  I am not trained in tap-dancing so I’m sure you can imagine how I look, however, I don’t tap-dance to look good, I do it because the music moves me, windmilling my arms makes me feel happy, and I like the sound of my boots on the studio floor.

There’s something spine aligning about a good bout of stomping in a sturdy pair of boots.

I’m also hearing a lot of Shakey Graves out there and when Unlucky Skin comes on I drop what I am doing and begin clapping wildly to and against the rhythm of the song, while I perform what I would term clogging — yet again, I have received no formal training in clogging so imagine my clogging technique at your own great peril.  That song is so great.  The video to go with it is weird, so shut your eyes and just listen…unless you like weird stuff.

Also, there is this, and I always sing along to it in a clean, swooping, third harmony.  Everything about it makes me feel sad, makes me feel like a leaf slowly turning red, but those harmonies get in my bloodstream and sail against the current there like wooden ships on the wind.  This is a song for autumn:

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I took a scroll through my Instagram feed two days ago and noticed that I’m not normal.  I’m not abnormal, everything about me is tremendously human; my suffering, my success, my joy, my sadness.  What I suppose I mean is that I don’t clearly fit into any kind of box.  There’s nothing especially stereotypical about me that would position me strongly in any sort of sub-culture.  I don’t fit anywhere specific in this world of ours.  I am twenty different things, without really being those things enough to merit a title for myself or an accurate definition.  I cannot even accurately define myself!  I tried to make a list of the things I am here but everything typed out looked strange and felt uncomfortable or directly contradicted (on societal terms) something else that I seem to be.

How do you define yourself?

Since realizing I am not normal, I’ve been thinking about not fitting in quite frequently, suddenly aware of the fact that by escaping definition I’m somewhat free.  Free to be whatever that thing is that I am in any given moment.  Free to discover the elegance of the wild.  Free to be free.

I’m committed to simply continuing to be exactly who I am, any other way looks like shackles.

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I don’t claim to live this life intentionally.  On the contrary, I rarely plan anything out, suffer from poor foresight but delight in the ability to fully submerge myself in the moment.  I am known to bite off far more than I can chew on a daily basis.  I live this life intuitively, instinctively, as the wapiti do while they spend their lives in continual ascent and decent, searching for sweet grass.

I am searching for sweet grass.  I am searching for the sweetest grass.

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Lastly, I am writing again.  It’s been a while.

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September Tightens Its Grip

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Wake up. Wash face.  Make coffee or tea.  Go out into the yard and pick fruit.  Re-enter the kitchen, eat breakfast and can a batch of preserves.  Answer time sensitive emails.  Go out to the studio.  Work.  Come in for lunch.  Go out to the studio.  Work.  Come in for a snack.  Change into running clothing or change into hunting attire and pack a bag.  Take the dogs out.  Come home.  Make dinner.  Eat dinner. Can another batch of preserves.  Answer time sensitive emails (if I have the energy).  Edit photographs.  Phone Robbie.  Take a hot bath.  Brush teeth.  Go to sleep.

Repeat the next day.

September has a good grip now and time is of the essence.

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“The more the outside world tries to reinforce an image of you, the harder it is to continue to be an artist, which is why a lot of times, artists have to say ‘Bye.  I have to go.  I’m going crazy and I’m getting out of here.’  And they go and hibernate somewhere.  Maybe later they re-emerge a little differently.”

[Steve Jobs]IMG_1608I have this quote up on my office wall as well as my studio wall so I read these words fairly often.  They reassure me, they help me stick to my guns and stay true to myself.  They give me permission, when I need it most, to take care of myself and allow myself to disappear, put the real work first, fall into hermit-hood, take days to answer my text messages (if that’s how much time I need), and weeks to answer my emails (if that’s how much time it takes); to re-emerge when I am good and ready, and only then.

One Fine Evening

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[drink up, little boy, drink up]

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We hunted tonight. Just the two of us. It was exactly how these photo look — relaxed, quiet, faint gold light, bristling douglas fir, grouse lifting off like heavy helicopters, uphill, downhill, crumpled and rumpled landscape, stumbling, sweat, sunset, dusk, platinum grasses, burned out indian paintbrush, a breeze, a meadowlark, the song of my soul worn on the surface of my skin…and more.

 I love this dog.  He loves me too.

 I love Idaho.  Idaho loves me too.

Tomorrow night, it’s Farley’s turn.  I came home to a torn up house, he was so upset (even at the age of 10) to be left behind…

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I really love to hunt birds.  I love the land I get to know by walking while I hunt.  I love the sunsets, sunrises and spectacular moments in nature I get to witness while I’m out there.  I love to watch my dogs work, to watch them do what they were bred and born and raised to do.  I love to encourage them, congratulate them for work well done and when it’s needed, spank them on the buns for a job done poorly.  They live for this, I live for partnership with them — we work terribly hard, together.  I love to earn my food, to be responsible for the end of its good life — it makes me appreciate every bite and the transfer of energy therein.  I’ve always liked bird hunting.  But now I know I love it, now that I will go out on my own, even when Robert is away, to hunt alone with my dogs on the land I love…now I know I love it.