Tuesday, April 6, 2021

cleaver, Lifeforms, and nascent new life

I finally got all the sticky weed, or cleaver, out of most of the yard. It took me three sessions to clear it out of the bluebonnets in the front, a major undertaking along the side of the barn another day, other small forays and after a week of sticky prickly shit I decided that I had had enough of that and wasn't going to try and clear it out of the bluebonnets at the very back of the property. So I stood there in the back yesterday looking at them 

and said out loud, I'm NOT pulling the cleaver out of these bluebonnets and the words were barely out of my mouth when I was bending over and pulling cleaver out of the bluebonnets. I didn't get it all done, maybe a third, but one nice section of the bluebonnets.

every part of this weed will stick to you...leaves, stems, seeds

Then I set up the sprinkler, pulled a few weeds, not feeling particularly motivated to any one task. I need to get my little zinnia sprouts, which are not growing and are now starting to damp off, in the ground. So I watered them and carried over two of the little 6 packs to put in a row in front of the sweet peas and understood why they weren't growing. They weren't getting watered even though I watered them often with enough water to dampen all the dirt, or so I thought. I pulled out the first zinnia sprout from the six pack and the bottom 3/4 of the dirt where all the roots were was dry. Anyway, I got a row in 

and then went back and watered those 6 packs again until I could see water running out of the bottom. Then I got the shovel and started digging out the weeds and woodland violets and black and blue salvia that were/are taking over a section of flower bed so than I can plant some more zinnias there.

Then it was after lunch and a yoga day so no more work outside.

Last Friday, a friend in the art world tagged me on a post because she knew I would be interested in it. In 2013 the Pittsburgh Glass Center sponsored an exhibit called “Lifeforms” inspired by the famous 19th and 20th century models of invertebrates and plants made by the father and son team, Rudolf and Leopold Blaschka for the Harvard University’s Botanical Museum. If you have never seen them or never heard of them, do an image search using these terms 'Harvard's glass flowers' because they are freaking unbelievably awesome. I don't know if the first Lifeforms exhibit was by invitation or competition but I only heard about it after the fact. In 2016, they sponsored another competition and this one I did submit to but was not selected. Really bummed me out because the pate de verre piece that did get in I thought was...not that great. Sour grapes? Maybe. Anyway, now, 2021 the call went out for another Lifeforms exhibit November 2021 – April 2022 sponsored by the Fuller Craft Museum. Deadline to submit was Sunday night at midnight, east coast time (that would be 10 PM for me). It was late afternoon Friday when I saw the notice, we were gone all day Saturday so basically I had Sunday to prepare my submission.

Since I haven't done any new work in over a year and it has to be in my possession so that it can be exhibited I only had two pieces to choose from, the Hummingbird with Penstemon

and the Anole with 10 Petal Anemone.

Had I had more time I could have contacted the woman who bought the Heron Box

and asked for permission to submit it and send it to the exhibition (because I'm positive that piece would be accepted) but I didn't. So Anole with 10 Petal Anemone was it. I got my submission in and am waiting to see if it gets chosen as one of the 50 they will choose. Competition will be fierce and many of the known names I'm sure will be selected. I've never been very good at self promotion plus I'm not that prolific, but our work has been published in half a dozen books or so and a new one coming out soon, in fact Moonflower would have been perfect for this competition but I have no idea who bought it.

One of the things I did Sunday to prepare was to go over to the studio in the shop and take more pictures. I had the door open while I was fiddling around and I noticed a pair of birds, barn swallows it turns out, swooping back and forth, back and forth, really agitated. I figured they must have a nest nearby so I closed the door and finished what I was doing. When I left I looked around for the nest and found it in the dead vines of the climbing jasmine on the porch roof support right outside the door and three little eggs!

When I went over there Monday to get the next two pictures to show where the nest is,

as I got close, about 4 or 5 feet away, I knew where the nest was, and though she was well hidden I could see that she was on the nest, specifically her tail feathers sticking out, so I backed up, zoomed about halfway and aimed the phone camera at what I hope was the nest area. I can't find it in this picture but I think it's in there somewhere.



  1. I hate that sticky weed! Today I am planning to pull it from my strawberry bed. Planning, if I can pawn the store phone off on one of my campers I am training to help me in the office. I plan, the universe laughs!

  2. The anole piece is really nice, I do hope you're accepted in the showing.
    Sticky weed sounds pretty awful.

  3. Exciting waiting on the acceptance.i hope you make it.

    Meanwhile the swallow nest and eggs is a great consolation prize.

  4. Just took a break from pulling all sorts of nasty things including poison ivy and sticky weed to read this. We'd be just alike if I was a, you know- artist.
    An amazing artist.
    I sure hope that piece gets accepted.

  5. I started laughing when you said you started pulling weeds while saying you weren't going to pull weeds - ha! Good luck on your submission - I love that piece!

  6. It's an addiction, I tell you!! LOL Robert and I will be out at the layout, pulling weeds from between the rails and he'll say, "I'm done. Stop what you're doing and let's go in." Okay... just going to pick these last ones and I'll be right behind you. (30 min. later he's yelling over the railing of the top deck saying, you're not behind me!!! Get up here!") LOL... ah me... but I do love your flower photos. Lovely!

  7. I am hoping, hoping, hoping for you. Pittsburgh is a couple hours east of me; I'll lean over the deck rail and holler to be on the lookout for your submission.

  8. Love seeing your art work again!

  9. I'll cross my fingers for you. It would be exciting to have one of your pieces in an exhibit like that; personally, I think it should me, but I hear from my photographer friends that judges and selection committees can be -- unpredictable -- in their decisions.

    I wrote about the Blaskas on The Task at Hand. If you use their name,you should be able to find the post. I posted examples of their art with photos of the 'real things' that I'd taken. They not only did flowers and such, they also did glass models of rotten and damaged fruit. In their own way, they're as beautiful as the teaching models of the flowers. The exhibit of their work reopened maybe two years ago. The museum people redesigned the display, built new cases, and so on.

  10. Those birds hid their nest well! Good luck on the exhibit -- too bad you couldn't enter the heron box but the anole is fabulous so I think you have a good chance! Fingers crossed! As I've mentioned before, we battle cleavers here too.

  11. You are a much more determined weeder than I am. I am always trying to put it off...
    I hoped your piece gets selected for the exhibit. It's terrific!

  12. Keeping fingers crossed for your entry! We also have that sticky weed or maybe its European cousin. We loved messing with it when we played as kids, you could stick in on anybody.

  13. You are as bad as me. For years, I forgot to note down who bought what. Once I got a gallery, I left it to them. Yes, we have a hummingbird nest next to the garage door. Kind of exciting.


I opened my big mouth, now it's your turn.