intentionally random

i once heard a great story from john dolan, the photographer who shot my martha stewart feature. he was talking about a creative director who always advised styiling a photograph meticulously, and then actually physically shaking up the elements of the photograph so that they landed just slightly randomly and disarranged. in the case of these stems, i had them beautifully woven into a grid, and then they fell onto the kitchen floor into this accidentally random pattern, which was, of course, much more interesting than my meticulous weaving. art by accident. i’ll take it.

seed head fronds of an unidentified common weed

rice creek regional trail, saint paul, minnesota

  • betsy caldwell says:

    Love that! You are right you know. Much better. I paint and I am constantly looking for approval, when I really need to just do the work, and not worry too much about the response of others. Seems simple. SOOOO hard for me. Thanks for being willing to share your process!

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one hour

it’s easy to think of the northern climate as full of a limited and sterile beauty: the circumpolar greens, blacks, and whites of alaska, canada, scandinavia, greenland, and siberia. minnesota partakes more of that boreal north than the temperate middle, much less the tropical south, but in an hour on a fall day, here’s what i was able to gather without really much effort: oak, maple, willow, aspen, sumac, birch, elm, and virginia creeper, in green, yellow, orange, red, tan, brown, and gray. i wonder what would have happened if i’d taken a two hour walk.

leaves from one october walk

grass lake trail, shoreview, minnesota

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synapse

i was interviewed recently by a young french woman doing her work on a thesis called Synapse, which focuses on climate in a way intended to inspire artists, artisans and designers. she asked me about a dozen remarkably thoughtful questions. you can read the whole interview here. one of the questions she asked was whether i was witnessing climate change firsthand since beginning STILL blog. i told her the unfortunate truth, which is that i feel i am witnessing, through the dailiness of STILL blog, the earlier springs and later winters of a global and epochal phenomenon.

staghorn sumac leaves in october

saint paul, minnesota

 

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black and white on white

those who grow up north of the 45th parallel have a special place in their hearts for birch trees. their white trunks stand out so sharply against a curtain of evergreens, or a deep blue lake, or a steel gray sky.

paper birch tree trunks

saint paul, minnesota

 

  • Tracy Klinesteker says:

    There is something about birch trees. Raised in So Cal, my father was gardner supreme and kept a small group of birch trees in our yard. I loved them as a child. Their beautiful texture, so clean and neat. We used to get in terrible trouble because we used to peel the paper bark off. Dad would have a fit if he caught us! They represent to me clean, fresh, mountain air. In your photo, you’ve caught their beautiful texture and stateliness.

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the blade and the chalice

i originally photographed this triangle with the point facing up, and i realized that i don’t do many triangle shapes, but i do lots and lots of circles. the triangle shape felt aggressive and slightly in-your-face in its energy. i even talked to my husband about it tonight on the couch. then, just before i posted the photo, i read a little bit about the symbology of triangles, and was reminded (anyone who has read the da vinci code will understand) that the triangle represents the blade, which is the shape of a rudimentary phallus and has a male energy, whereas the upside down triangle represents the chalice, which represents the womb, and has a female energy. don’t ask me why this feels true even on an aesthetic, emotional, and almost quantum energy level. but it does.

bits and pieces from my early october desk

saint paul, minnesota

  • margie says:

    it also means deep grounding energy

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