Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Women with Hat

Women with Hat

Day 20 (7/31/12)
Eileen worked late today so I got out later then yesterday. I was expecting the trail to be teaming with people but much to my surprise it was really quite quiet. It had rained during the night and there had been some wind so as I suspected some things would need repair. Both “Totem” and “Giacometti” needed some work. I thought about changing the name of the “Giacometti” build to “After the Rain”. I liked the surrealistic ring to it. I had it in mind to head out to one of the builds that my friend Chris had made. I had noticed on our trip out the other night that it was in bad need of a rebuild. At first, I tried to follow Chris’s oeuvre but found it to damaged to really be able to do it justice. I just decided to go with the flow. About half way through I started to notice that it had sort of a feminine quality so I decided to run with it. As I was wrapping the torso with rusty old barb wire and sheep wire, I was thinking that I really should put disclaimers on these; DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME WE ARE TRAINED PROFFESIONALS or at least get a tetanus shot. After I finished “Women with a Hat” I redid another one as a Male. I have already decided I want to make some changes though. It was starting to get late and I had things to get done at home so I headed back to town.
Male with Hat

The Lovely Couple

Monday, July 30, 2012

Again with the Biting Ants

Giacometti Rebuild

Day 19 (7/30/12)
It has been over a month since we have been out on the bike trail and over three months since I have done any building. I am so ashamed. I could make the excuse that it has been a hot busy summer but even though it has been a hot busy summer I have just been lazy. Eileen and I hit the trail last night just to peruse the area. To our surprise many of the builds were still standing, perhaps not altogether but standing none the less. The one exception was “Dangler” which has survived so much for so long. I decided it was about time to get back on the trail so this morning I took off early to do some building. It felt good to be back at it. At my first stop I was reminded of the biting ants. I can’t complain about them because it is me who is trespassing on their territory but to use an old expression of my Mom’s, “Uffamia” which I can’t find any translation for but it sure does sum up the experience. I left that one kind of half built. I will try to get back when the ants have settled down. Then it was time to rebuild “Dangler”. I was quite happy with how it turned out. I hope it continues to stand for many years to come. I rebuilt a couple more before I decided to call it a day. On my way home I ran into an elderly couple who, after I passed, asked if they could ask a question. I kind of knew what was coming but was a little worried about what to say. The elderly gent asked if I was the guy who built the cairns along the trail. I said, “I guess that depends on whether you like them or not”. It turned out that they were some of my oldest fans. I had heard from their Grandson that they enjoyed the cairns but up until now I had never met them. They said that they would even set some cairns back up that they saw tipped over.  I told them I was spending more time these days on tie builds, which is what I call my large scale pieces even though it is getting harder and harder to find ties for material. Hopefully I will be inspired to get out more. These first two were still standing after three months. Somebody may have redone the cairn on "Tripod Build".
"Tripod Build"

"Down by the Corner"
"Dangler" Rebuild

"Totem" Rebuild

New Build with Ants

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Reflections of Mauthe

Day 18 (7/11-12/12)
It’s that time of year again, time for our annual overnighter at Mauthe Lake. The weather is perfect, warm during the day and cool at night, maybe too cool. We packed up everything and headed for the lake. When we got there we set up camp, got wood, had a sandwich, and hit the bike trails. It was a little warm for biking and the horseflies were pesky but we had the trails to ourselves so all was good. When we got to our favorite building spots we stopped to build cairns. Had it been a little cooler I probably would built a large scale build out of some sawed up logs along the trail but it was just too hot for that type of effort. Again we had to laugh because apparently other people have been building cairns along the trail. I guess we will never know whether we are responsible for the continued building but it is pretty cool. We messed around for a couple hours and then headed back to camp, made supper pies and headed out kayaking. The next day we got up late after having kind of a rough night, it turns out our sleeping bags which are rated for 40 degrees probably should say 70. At any rate it was nice to sleep in and take pleasure in being out in the fresh air. After making breakfast and enjoying some of the world’s best coffee we started to tear down camp and then went kayaking again. As always, the last thing we do is go for one final bike trip. We were all packed up and had the kayaks back on the Yak Hauler so we set out once again down the trails. Again we had a great time checking things out and doing some more building. After our first bike trip we had stopped by the concession stand for a shaved ice and boy did it hit the spot, so we decided to do it again and then we headed for home excited about checking out our pictures and videos.
Eileen at Camp

Build #1

Build #2

Through the trees

Camp Life

Water Build

Watching the Hawk

Down on the Boardwalk

Eileen's Stump Build

Thursday, July 5, 2012

The Opening

Grant checking out the Paper
Day 17 (7/1/12)
As promised in my last post, I will do a follow up on the opening at the Urban Ecology Center. It was a beautiful warm day outside which was great for doing summer activities but bad for having people show up for an art show. It turned out to be a small but enthusiastic crowd. I was pleased to see the people who did show up though since many were totally unexpected. I had been quite worried about the talk I was supposed to give since in spite of years as a teacher I don’t really like public speaking. Since most of the people were old friends or students it went over really well. Before the artists spoke Danni Gendelman from the Urban Ecology Center spoke of their history and their purpose. Again I was reminded how proud I was being associated with this group. They are about to open another branch center in the Menomonee Valley area in September. In both cases they started at the request of residents who wanted to take their parks back. The parks had become overrun with drugs, gangs and prostitution. At first they worked out of a doublewide trailer until they could get the funds to construct their current building. Not only did they clean up the parks but now they offer environmental education and alternative activities for the youth. They were so successful at Riverside that they courted to do another on in the Menomonee Valley. They have become an inspiration and model to cities all over the U.S. For more information on the Urban Ecology Center you can check out their website at: http://urbanecologycenter.org/ or http://www.facebook.com/urbanecologycenter .  Remember, my work will be there into September.
Frank & Mary Lou

Mark & I 


Eileen and Sally

Fireplace Art

Rita & Z