Wednesday, July 20, 2011

I think kick-ass is hyphenated.

Glorious day! Am listening to (new to me) Tuneyards BirdBrains and drinking an Oberon after a little spell of carving. I have blisters, a sunburn and sore ankles and wrists (damned aberrant fussy joints), but am happily exhausted.

For those of you who hate the Ann Arbor Art Fair, no need to read further. For those unfamiliar, it's one of the oldest and largest in the U.S., bringing half a million people through wee Ann Arbor, with 1,00 high- and low- brow artists and crafts people. I have lived here 17 years and feel compelled to go yearly, though at this point I cruise through most areas, until someone's work grabs at me. Here are a handful of my faves, just in case you're local and aren't familiar with them -- or you want to check em out online:

First up: Michael Paul Cole. He's a great photographer who uses tons of found objects for his frames. I bought this dreamy photo of giraffe silhouettes stretching their way across a field years ago and now I mostly can't help visiting. Cole always has interesting anecdotes/stories. He used to live in an old church. That literally had secret rooms. Knock through a wall...and there's a room he hadn't known about.
Apologies for the reflections on his great tree photo, but you can visit his official page. And really, I wanted you to get a sense of that wonderful architectural frame, with its peeling wood. And the rusty square nails holding the image in place. And the plastered surface between the photo and frame.

He asked how I was doing and I confessed that I always get restless during art fair time, feeling that art isn't central enough in my life, yadda yadda yadda. And get this! He says, "Oh but everyone feels that way. I used to work for Dale Chihuly and he never felt like he was doing enough. He would walk into his workshop and announce,'ALL OF THIS IS CRAP.'" Which, can you even imagine?? This Dale Chihuly. Total. Slacker.

Cole is near the Bell Tower.

Next up: Shandor Edward Madjar. He's a fabulous silversmith from Colorado Springs, CO. I bought a ring from him years ago that I wear every day. He seems like such a lovely person, though of course, I know nothing about him. I was thinking about this odd positive sense you develop for an artist whose work you wear or view everyday. While you obviously don't think of its creator, in a sense it becomes part of the fabric of your everyday life. And so clearly, they must be good or likable, or fellow minded, right? Silly, but not so surprising, or horrible, to feel that way.

It also reminds me of Famous by Naomi Shihab Nye, a poet I used to read a lot. It begins:

"The river is famous to the fish.

The loud voice is famous to silence,   
which knew it would inherit the earth   
before anybody said so."

So anyway, I mooned about his booth again and he was gracious enough to let me take some pics. The hinged moveable items are especially kick-ass.

Well heck. I only got through two artists. The Tuneyards CD is done and so am I.



  1. Not being an artist myself I would still imagine that having a similar thought process to Dale Chihuly shows you're doing something right.

  2. Hey-hey, right?? That was such a surprising anecdote!