...or tries to...

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Side ways

One a rare weekday out of the studio, I went for a short wander down one of my favorite side streets, an odd mix of renovated and abandoned houses, overgrown yards, holistic shops, restaurant backs, stray cats, bamboo and silver floss trees. It could be even more intricate inside those hedge-guarded gardens, but they keep to themselves. On humid summer afternoons, where the low clouds close everything in, sound exaggerates a little, so a mango dropping to the ground makes a theatrical splat.

This house is boarded up, but somebody still mows the lawn. I hadn't noticed it until today. It's straight out of Faulkner, Florida edition. Or the short story by Joyce Carol Oates about the woman who wakes up blind but thinks that daylight has died instead, and locks herself in forever. But it held some one's dreams, once, for a while.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Mid Summer Pop Up

Mid Summer Pop Up is a rare thing here: an artist-created show that was made out of something else entirely. Painter Sibel Kocabasi took a former antique shop, and in a just few days, conjured up a gallery space from it. And from this space, made an exhibition that I am very proud to be a part of. I'm still not sure how she, and all the people that helped her, managed to do it, and so beautifully.

Suspended sculptures by Alette Simmons Jimenez

Sam Perry

Ryan Toth

Sibel Kocabasi

Sarah Knudston

Me (Amy Gross)

and me again.

And all the other wonderful artists, not pictured only because my camera did not do them justice:

Carolyn Sickles,  Jacek Gancarz, Dan Leahy, Freddy Jouwayed, Isabel Gouveia, Jackie Tufford, Jacques De Beaufort, Maxine Spector, Nancy San Pedro, Nune Asatryan, Skip Measelle, Stephan Tugrul.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Giant Garage Sale 2: Floored

The floor at the Giant Garage Sale was as fascinating as the tabletops, maybe a bit more mysterious-stuff thrown in boxes, stacked and piled. Things leaning, dropped, tossed.

Sweaters styled fifty years ago but never worn. Paintings of deep blue seas and mist shrouded mountains, portraits of fish and chickens, dozens of sad-eyed, pensive girls.

And boy clowns.

Lastly, this is what I bought, and brought home with me. Not things I normally want, but who knows why we want what we want?

Maybe knowing why takes all the fun out of it.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Giant Garage Sale: Table Edition

Every summer, when the sun turns into an enormous blinding interrogation lamp and I start to wonder why I'm living here, there's the Giant Garage Sale at the South Florida Fairgrounds.  I am reborn. Unlike the pricey monthly antique fair, anyone can buy a table and put out their stuff. If you have old bicycle tires or a quilted bed jacket from 1974, or really want old bicycle tires or a quilted bed jacket from 1974, you're in heaven, sister. (You adjust very quickly to things being offered for 1 to 2 dollars. Last year I found a papier mache figurine of a cat wearing a suit, but it was 6 bucks. Outrageous! It's the only place on the planet where 6 dollars seemed irrational. I'm still sorry about that cat. I'm still looking for it).

There's been a wonderful kind of an ick factor some years, which makes the goodies you do find all the more delicious. This year this was far less ick and much less "what do you think that is", instead there were more professionals bringing out their cheaper wares. I actually wanted less things than I usually do, but there were so many photo-ops I was still in my own version of heaven. And I found a hot dog and hamburger salt-and-pepper set, so what more could I ask?

I'm dividing my posts into "Table" and "Floor" because there was so much to share.

I was given the little rubber piggie for free...

And away we drift under the electric moon....more from the floor tomorrow....

Friday, June 24, 2011

Library Nerd

I am a library nerd. I love them. Love love love. I belong to the county library and the city library. I still have my first grown-up library card, the one they gave me when I turned twelve.  I keep it in my wallet. When I was nine, I won the Children's Summer Reading Race, a three month bookworm marathon. All through June, July and August I watched my name move along the construction paper racetrack pinned up on the Kid's Room wall. I wanted every other fourth and fifth grader up there to eat my dust.

 I wanted to work my high school summers in the Oceanside Public Library, putting books away and stamping cards. It turned out to be the hardest job in the world to get, impossible. The librarians would  shake their heads slowly, their eyes expressionless over their reading glasses. All positions filled at this time.  All the time. For all time. I still don't know why. I would have changed my name to Dewey if they had asked me to, (I didn't like my last name anyway). Even that wouldn't have been enough. I wound up working for the county elsewhere, over the bridge at Conservation and Waterways, at a nature preserve. This was the beginning of an amazing tri-summer adventure, I'll tell you about it someday. But always, the library called to me. Its fragrance of mildew and stamp pad ink. Paper cuts from the card catalogue. Those stumpy eraserless pencils even children have trouble holding onto.

At a Levenger's warehouse sale, I nearly knocked a woman over as we raced to be the first to grab up this little card catalogue, I won. Very un-libraryish behavior. But - Instant Librarian Chic.

Although Amazon sends them to you at a discount and in a smiley face box, and a Kindle fits a million books into your pocket, the library lets you take them home for free. You just walk out with them. Okay, you have to bring them back, I watched that Seinfeld episode. But still, for free! How is this? How can this be? I still don't quite believe it.

But it's true.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

My Mother's House


In the house I grew up in there was a pair of antique ice skates, made of cracked wood and leather, hanging on a hook by the fireplace. I used to hold them, and think, a very long time ago a little girl wore these ice skates, she slid and slipped around on ice, and now she's gone, gone a long time, and they're here, and I'm holding them. They still had life, in a way. It was like that, in my house, in my parent's house. There were many things in there from the recent and the now: my father's paintings, the lamp made from the wallpaper roll he designed, pottery my Mom made and found, objects and furniture they bought together. There were old things, and things from far away: a heavy compass from a clipper ship, a paper silkscreen from Japan, a woodcut block from I don't know where. I think it was this merging of past and present that made the house both comfortable and mysterious. My mother's house here, far away from the first home, was moved into when it was new, but it's still filled up with old and new and the in-between, things from far away, things from our own lives that have become our history, the story of my father, who died a little over a year ago, and my Mom, who continues to animate it with her love.  It still carries our own stories forward.

A Tree of Life from Mexico
Six of my father's watercolors, of places he loved in Massachusetts, on Long Island, in Pennsylvania
Clay faces, human-
and cat.
Baby's hats from China, to fool the spirits.
A beaded purse my Mom carried with her on dates, that she just gave to me.
Her own collage of the sea, over her bed,
My father's tiny gouache of the ocean, near a picture of the Oliver.
My grandfather's pocket watch. I never knew him. He died when Mom was four.
A little girl,
and a star.