While grabbing materials in class for a project , I came across a set of jacks.When a student asked what they were , I stood stunned for a moment. One or two other students explained it was a game. For me, as a child , raging jacks tournaments on the stoop of my building , kept us busy for hours and out of traffic. The jacks we played with were tiny,silvery spoked metal pieces that nestled comfortably in the hand. These oversized plastic jacks made it difficult for me to demonstrate successfully as the jacks kept dropping from my fingers, but the kids loved it and begged for their turns to play. It was another method to improve visual spatial skills. As my kids alternately laughed and groaned in frustration,it made me wonder how many other childhood games and activities they miss out on while playing video games.
Monthly Archives: February 2013
Black, white and grey make the pattern rather than the color the emphasis of the photo.Peeling paint created the image through time , endurance, and chance. The observer’s task is simply to notice and appreciate the unexpected result.
Needing an Extra Hand
Overwhelmed by daily tasks, it’s easy to want some help. Subconsciously, I must need assistance badly because I find myself photographing these found hands in the most random places.
Running Away Part 2 : Memorial Park Cemetery Crystal Grotto
Many might choose Paris or Istanbul as a runaway destination. Having only a few hours on a Sunday afternoon and an expired passport eliminated those possibilities. Instead, Memorials Park Cemetery was my destination, a road trip of about eight miles.The cemetery is home to the Crystal Grotto and its fantasy shaped structures.I chose my infrared camera because it would accentuate the otherworldly feel . I viewed the cave and tree as imaginary housing, fit for visiting sprites or hobbits.
The faux bois structures suit the park well and it’s hard to believe they are cement.A folk artist from Mexico, Dionicio Rodriguez created the vision from his imagination. Hired by the cemetery’s founder, Clovis Hinds, Rodriguez earned $75.00 per week over a ten year period during the Depression. His creations are dream – like and religiously significant.
Working in steel and copper to form supports, the structures were formed in cement over wire. Using his hands, twigs and dinner utensils for tools, he simulated wood structures that suggest fairies and woodland creatures.Calling his work, “el trabajo rustic”, Rodriguez built Abraham’s Oak that towers 15 feet tall and 9 feet in diameter.
There is the Cave of Machpelah which is named for a burial cave from the Holy Land. The reflecting pool is the Pool of Hebron, and the Grotto appears as a mountain shaped form which houses the crystal cave. All are entirely hand-built. Walking into the cave you are stunned to find formations of limestone, rock quartz crystal and cement forming backgrounds for murals of scenes of the life of Jesus.
The artwork and grotto are on the National Register of Historic Places.
Mentally moving into the imaginative structures provided a needed break. I returned home energized and without expense or jet lag.
Running Away from my Blog
Last week I came across this note attached to the door of the classroom across the hall. My friend’s seven year-old son had left it for her that morning. It made me laugh and got me thinking. I realized that as a child I had never tried running away. Some people run because of anger, boredom, a desire to travel – so what was wrong with me? Maybe back then life wasn’t so bad where I was or maybe my sense of adventure was still developing. Now it would be so easy to compile a list of exotic destinations from Paris to Istanbul, dreams of the Orient Express or steamers across the ocean.Of course during the school year, it just isn’t practical or affordable.Lately though, at least for the last three weeks, it seemed I’d run away from my blog. Inspiration evaporated, my lonely camera sat silently and unseeing on the counter, I felt caged. So , yesterday I ran away from home for a few hours .The fresh air helped to banish the stale ideas and fears.The fantasy aspect of my destination revived my imagination.The shadows inspired my camera. Running away was a healthy choice and in tomorrow’s post you’ll see some of the results.
A sunny Friday before Christmas in Charleston, South Carolina. The wind blustered and howled down the crowded streets.The raw air from the waterfront forced us to don scarves and gloves. As we were propelled along the streets , I continued to people watch. On the curb, more into traffic than not, this painter stood silently engrossed in his work. I couldn’t resist looking over his shoulder and then across the street to his view. While the trees were bare, his trees were full of life and color. I enjoyed his purposeful approach, focused on his task and oblivious to those that fanned out around him. There were so many parts of his story that I’d never know. Was the painting a gift that he ached to finish before the holiday? Did he only have a small, precious bit of free time to do what he loved? Were the spring leaves a sign of better days to come? I left thinking how lucky he was to be able to focus and follow through on a creative task, and how lucky I was to feel this breath of spring.