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Fundamental Chaos

Fundamental chaos: it is a note I find and re-find written to myself in an effort to encourage recall for an intended poem. I get notions for verse, and other written bits, and I jot them down in an effort to keep them closer to consciousness than memory allows. It is, oft times, years between conception and fruition. The phrase noted above is the flip side of a reminder on which I wrote "elemental chaos". Which came first? Original trajectory often gets waylaid but detours work just fine in my approach to writing and living.

I lead a life that suits me. I do work that enriches me.  I am privileged to consort with talented and energetic people who inspire and transform me. I am, in the present time, more happy than not. The elements that collide to form my days are more kismet than construct and there is a continuing and lovely sense of opportunity.

The answer to the question, "what do you do?" (in the sense of what occupation or work occupies or identifies me) has, for most of my life, eluded me. Would that it were one thing or another but it is one thing and another. There is a hierarchy: writing, visual arts, business (my own- whatever that might be at a moment), film, etc. At sixteen years old I started a house cleaning business. I liked setting my own hours, working with those I wished to work with, creating time for creating. In those days there was a life of hitchhiking, adventure seeking, exploration and a conducting of living experiments (I'm not talking burning of ants here but of setting my notions of "living" on fire).

John Daniel Walters and I started a business together that we call METAL. It is an alchemy of intentions: hub of exchange, fabrication shop, gallery of repurposed, salvaged, and artful items; performance venue, an arena for problem solving and expression- it becomes what we who enter into it are. It suits us, John and me, and we suit it. Because of the malleability of matter it evolves as we do. It advances as our experience does.

In Greek mythology c/Chaos was said to be the foundation of reality and the first deity and god of air. We know chaos in other aspects and each of them are relative to my notes and to the formless state of an idea preceding its commencement.

Perhaps, more void than form, this chronicle is a testament to things that are mysterious and things that now form an answer: I am an owner of METAL, with John Daniel Walters , and this month we celebrate the start of our second year of transacting and producing as METAL. It's a fundamental gratitude that I share here. Happy anniversary, John, patrons, associates and Rosie.

 

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Forklifts

Forklifts, Freightliners, five thousand pounds of fabrication table, these are a few of my favored things. I grew up in the world of manufacturing. I picked through waste bins, hunted beaches for rusty bits as much as for stones or shells, and was about three when I visited Watts Towers for the first time and still marvel at its mix of found objects and invention. Its influence on me was immense.

Buying "used" and "vintage" items has always been a more interesting method of accumulation and it allowed for items already imbued with history. It was a challenge to go on The Hunt and more gratifying to find something sought after in a garage sale or thrift shop (or dumpster and flea market) than to buy it new.  I came of age as the first Earth Day was celebrated and took reclamation and the conservation of resources seriously.

Today, with fabrication, found objects, and artful works at the fulcrum of my days, I can't ignore the confluence of events that brought me to produce METAL: a love of nature and the wish to do what I can to protect it and to conserve resources for future generations of fauna and flora; work in Tucumcari, New Mexico annually for some thirteen or so years (with a host of artists and casting enthusiasts) creating sculpture from recovered cast iron; a satisfaction in rallying people and of collaboration and the challenge of seeing what can be done with what is at hand (and who is at hand that has the will and the way to do what needs to be done). I am deeply gratified and moved by facility and by those that have a talent and aptitude and the energy to nourish such.

Back to forklifts, Freightliners and fabrication tables- these are the perquisites of METAL meeting the road but they are also the reality and the necessities for creating sculpture, finding and retrieving salvaged goods, and producing large scale works of the sort that John Daniel Walters and myself have a keen fondness for and attraction to. They are the fun and the means for a girl that thinks tough and free-spirited but is most skillful with matters of the mind over materials. At the end of the day I am more a heavy lifter of weighty visions than maestro of machinery.

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A Love of Place

I have revered communities that I am compelled to return to. Not like the swallows of Capistrano- theirs is an urgency of procreation- but places and their people that afford me a sense of community and of kinship and, if I am fortunate, also consist of a beauty, usually natural, that remains restorative long after the sojourn is over. Two such communities for me are Tucumcari, New Mexico, and the Keweenaw Peninsula in Michigan. The first is high plains desert, the second the forested and feral terrains embraced by the curve that is Lake Superior.

One offers a "wrap around sky", as my friend Ruth Daniel has described the high plains, and the land of Lake Superior, everything from boreal forests to bald eagles and bear. Both afford me the sense of tribe, of being part of something that is both closer to the natural world and nourishing in matters of psyche and fellowship, in ways distinct from the place where I dwell and in ways that are unique to less populated communities.

I drive long hours to reach each locale just as I did this week to reach the shores of Lake Superior, where I am now, looking out on a bright blue lake and sky and taking pleasure in 68 degrees and my companions Janice and Fred and their haven of eagles, coyote, fox; and the most pristine air imaginable. Nature and kinship and respite from the habitual "oh, my".

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