Getting Some Control – Some

These are my new tools, compliments of the physical therapist who is trying to get rid of a bad shoulder/muscle ache. About three months ago I noticed the pain, stopped boxing the bag at the gym, then stopped doing upper body work…..hoping it would just disappear. That is not the way things go any more.

Losing myself in Karin Fossum crime novels, I found this bit of dialogue between a young policeman and an older woman. He referred to her as being in her mid-seventies. That is close to my age. He must have asked her about getting older and she said, in part, the following:

“It is a gradual decline. An insidious, almost unnoticeable process that you only discover at sudden, shocking moments.”

That is a very accurate observation for Ms Fossum to make via her “older woman.” Finding passages like this make me sorry I have her books on Kindle. She has some good bits in the novels that could use a mark in the margins.

I think the shoulder is getting better and have been told that my patience could use some work. Do all the exercises and do them with patience. Focus on healing. Fine.

Aside from that I have dug out some of my favorite tools in the studio. Both are helping me do the finishing touches on work I plan on entering for juried exhibitions far away.

First off is the Harbor Freight belt sander.

When I saw this at a friends studio out near Seattle, and realized it only cost $49, it seemed a must for my own studio. It grinds away things I don’t want on the surface and helps to shape soft foredges of books, etc.

And then that wonderful burning tool I bought after a weekend class on finishes at Arrowmont a couple of years ago.

With the different tips and the speed with which it gets the job done, I am glad to be working with it again.

My new work in collage is all finished and framed for the exhibit the River Gallery in Chattanooga later this spring. And just the other day I received a request to be part of another one toward the middle of the state. They wanted my sculpture works. This will give me a chance to return to boats.

It feels appropriate to go back to boats. They fit me right now. Drifting. Floating. Waiting to get somewhere. Anyway I like the boats of my past.


Even this sorry little linen one with bits and sticks tied or stitched on.

I will rework the River Lethe one below. I might build a water line between the boat and those forgetful passengers below decks and loose the monument part they sit on. Sort of make them a river to float through. This one is definitely a reference to dementia. The passengers share fragments of what might or might not have been while other fragments float away. They have stored their “baggage” in the hold overhead before taking their seats below.

In the same vein of “drifting” I think I will put in the piece I made this summer with sticks and papers made in Claudia Lee’s class. The Lethe boat just floats back and forth. This boat turns in circles. In it I carry a bundle of memories wrapped tightly, am given one oar and a rock to remind me to get there quickly. The fish tag along in anticipation. All that and it still makes me smile.

I will definitely make some Sanctuary House Boats. Safe little floating spaces that can only hold one. A place to meditate and tune out distractions. Places to get away from that woman’s “sudden, shocking moments.”

I will be back next week with news on how that is going.