Sunday, June 22, 2008

Like snowflakes and fingerprints ..

I got a slow start this spring with the PMC leaves .. I thought the thing to do was to catch 'em as they came out; but it seems leaves (for my purposes, anyway) are just a tad too tender at that stage. The thing that's most important to me besides size and shape is veining. There are a vast array of really interesting looking leaves out there that have absolutely no veining, (at least not protruding veining) and so are useless to me for this purpose. And new spring leaves kinda fall into that category. Just not fully developed enough for the clay. So, I had to wait. And within a very short period of time, the thing that becomes apparent is that a good chunk of your best specimens have been destroyed by critters. Then the hunt begins in earnest! As I found a lot of great samples in August in September last year, I know they're out there. But you do have to search a little harder.

With the exception of the larger birch in the center - which was sent to me via the US postal service on a damp paper towel inside a ziplock baggie as a memento gift from a tree with a sentimental connection to the gift recipient - these leaves all came from the three-acre property where we run Cara leash free. It boasts mostly maples - and in so many varieties I can't even identify the specifics with a good tree book - but has an interesting variety of oak as well. And then there are all the cool little things springing up among the honeysuckle, or popping up right in the middle of an open, grassy area. There's a nice mix and a large enough area to find some attractive little possibilities.

But even with all I have available to me there (not to mention the additional three acres on which our home sets), I now find I'm much more aware of the flora when I find myself in a place where an intriguing variety presents itself. Cara and I accompanied Ed to the Remington Museum Saturday morning while he took care of some minor chores there; and I and found myself looking at the incredible garden at Kid's Place next door with new eyes. All kinds of possibilities .. though with Cara in tow, I didn't have the chance to take a closer look at that time. Perhaps this week when I'm out running errands ..

But, back to the leaves at hand. These were just cut and dried .. nothing else. If you click on the pic, you can see the rough edges. I think I might patinate these, so I may not spend as much time cleaning them up as I normally do. And the slightly darker leaf in the upper left corner is clay .. clay clay, I mean, not metal clay. A local potter gave me a huge hunk of the stuff to play with, and we thought we might collaborate on the leaf thing in a slightly different medium (have I mentioned this before?!?) I also went out and found a LARGE oak leaf and cut out what would end up being a sort of "trinket leaf" rather than something you wear around your neck. A little something to put next to a bathroom or kitchen sink for rings or on your dresser for loose change. But after I'd draped it over a large plastic ball of Cara's to dry .. and got very excited about the possibilities .. I broke off a segment when cleaning it up with a piece of fine sandpaper. I broke off a chunk of that very funky red maple in the lower left corner, too, during the same process ... but I discovered that metal clay repairs much better than clay clay. So .. I have a large hunk of useless dried leaf with nothin' for it but to maybe pulverize it down to powder and make slip with it. Hate to waste it.

I'll make the bails this week .. I have a really cool informal, don't-know-what's-gonna-happen Art Fest at Mare's Wares Pottery on July 1, and I'd like to have them completed by then. If you're actually in the north country and are around on Tuesday, July 1, stop by! She's right on Route 37 in Morristown (you can't possibly miss her big brown sign!!) .. and she's hired a band, a great food vendor, a brand new porta potty (she was very excited that it was not only a new unit, but that it boasts a sink!! .. it's the little things, folks) and there'll be 15 or 20 artisans on board trying to make a living and having a ball in the process. In case you're wondering, it's Canada Day. And we get a lot of Canadian traffic up here on the border with our northern neighbors. Plus, a lot of folks with homes along the St. Lawrence River take that week off for the July 4th holiday and come up early. If the weather cooperates, I think we're gonna have a major event on our hands! Come on up!!

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