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cutting room floor

i spent the entire day in fruitful collaboration with my intern and studio assistant, alyssa. we worked hard for eight hours in an exhausting but exhilarating way. at one point, she had spent half an hour weaving foliage into a kind of mat, destined to be a still blog photo. it was very cool, and it will certainly make an appearance soon. but when she was done, she swept aside all of the unused elements, and we both agreed that the composition of what had been randomly swept aside was more interesting than the woven vegetative mat we had both envisioned from the start. “All that art school,”  she mourned, “and this is better than what I just made.”  “All that art school,”  I replied, “so that you could recognize that this is better than what you just made.”

cattail and prairie grass weaving

turtle lake, saint paul, minnesota

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an ace up my sleeve

lately, just for fun, i have been taking my still blog images and dragging them into google image search to see what turns up. i know it sounds like a weird form of amusement, but the first time i did it, the results were so entertainingly unexpected, that i got hooked. today, when i dragged this catalpa leaf into google images i asked my hubby what we might see. ” a topographical map of a watershed” he answered, with a certainty that might have  been actual certainty, but might also have been a bluff. according to google, a spade-shaped leaf on a white background looks more like the ace of spades than a topo map. sorry honey.

northern catalpa leaf

saint paul, minnesota

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children

one lesson i’ve learned about nature after 3 1/2 years of still blog, is that you can grab a handful of it almost anywhere, and it will be, in its way, beautiful. these grasses were snipped almost at random, and i love them not so much because they are beautiful in themselves, but because i chose to pay attention to them. just like my children, who are, without a doubt, the most beautiful children in the world, because they are mine.

bottlebrush native prairie grass

saint paul, minnesota

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multiple personalities

noxious weed, herbal remedy, or delicate wildflower? yes. yes. and yes.

motherwort

saint paul, minnesota

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outer order brings inner calm

july 1 marks the psychological transition in our household from income-earning to creative-making. but the transition is always busy. really really busy. simply because we spend several weeks trying to do both.  today i learned that my cousin’s wedding that i thought was this coming saturday night, is in fact tomorrow, on friday night. which complicates things, because we were already double booked tomorrow with something we really wanted to do. so, instead of facing up to the logistics of all this, i announced “i have to do STILL blog”, and sat on the floor lining up pink and purple blossoms. my son did the same thing when he was two. he used to line up toy trucks, or toy dinosaurs, into columns that stretched across the whole main floor of our house, when he felt overwhelmed or anxious. i won’t say how many rows of flowers i made before i had calmed myself back down.

unidentified larkspur blossoms

saint paul, minnesotae

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  1. Ginny says:

    Beautiful way to get calm! I’m thinking maybe these are larkspurs blossoms? The colors are right…

  2. Robyn says:

    Lovely post, especially the words which resonate. I know that feeling and usually find calm when carving.

  3. Susan says:

    Your work calms me too. Thanks.

  4. margie says:

    when faced with the same situation, I usually pour a glass of wine, put on some loud music and clear the house or go for a long walk in the forest and leave my cell phone at home.

  5. Erica says:

    love love love.

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tropical minnesota

between april and june the views out our windows change from tundra to rainforest so hard and fast, it is almost disturbing. nature is supposed to evolve leisurely from one season to the next, not rush at you like the shadow of a jet plane streaking across the ground.

lady ferns

saint paul, minnesota

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  1. Jenny says:

    each year I totally forget how lush it gets and I’m amazed. It’s new and wonderful aLl over again.

  2. Dede says:

    I love your simile!

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a different kind of daisy

i normally think of daisies as the joyful expression of high summer, blooming in june, looking like the sun, innocently round and white. but i’m reading the great gatsby right now, and daisy buchanan is bugging the crap out of me, and i’m starting to sour on the whole innocent summery prettiness of daisies.

saint paul, minnesota

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  1. margie says:

    lili has declared her current favourite flower is daisy

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finding a way

i’ve learned a lot about large format printing lately for a project i’m working on. this image is actually made up of photographs of each individual flower that were later stitched together. people say a daily practice leads to creativity. or meditation. or unleashing your right brain. or routine. or exercise. i’ll tell you. that may all be true, but you know what else unleashes creativity? a deadline and a payday.

crown vetch

rice creek regional trail, saint paul, minnesota

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raining

we have had a number of recent rains. a lightning storm that cancelled an evening soccer practice. a nighttime rain that watered our newly planted herbs as we slept. and, everywhere that northern catalpas grow, a rain of white blossoms whose intricate beauty seems as if it should be impossible on such a massive scale. but each one of those carpets of fallen blossoms looks like the four flowers above. i swear.

northern catalpa tree blossoms

tanglewood drive, shoreview, minnesota

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  1. margie says:

    lili and i were admiring these in the park on saturday but they were still attached to the tree

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making do

i long ago recognized that a little adversity in childhood often leads to great success in adulthood. there is a recent stanford univeristy study that has referred to this characteristic of success as “grit”. well, this branch has grit.  it has clearly suffered some adversity. and it kept on going. and of all the branches, on all my walks, this is the one that caught my attention.

twisted oak limb

grass lake, minnesota

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  1. Sandy says:

    People who don’t read the “details” are missing something!

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