The view from the top

Being in a new place has its advantages.  You can go see something you’ve never seen before.  You can experience the wind on your skin from a new perspective.

One of the reasons I like having Sydney around, is that she is even excited about sniffing the same spots, day after day.  I love walking in the park with her and feeling the wind from the Marina in my hair.

The last couple days, we’ve been doing some exploring and some re-visiting of spots we like.  Some places never lose their novelty.  Like the End-of-the-Runway In-n-Out by LAX.  It’s a spot that is pretty awful in some ways.  I wouldn’t want to live there, but it is fun to go and visit.  Seeing the planes take off and land is pretty interesting.  They all make different noises.  Yesterday we went there after our mundane trip to Trader Joe’s, and there was a BIG plane landing, right over our heads.

The day before yesterday, we went exploring in the Santa Monica Mountains, and found a beautiful vista.  It was on a path that was probably not official, since it went straight up– dangerously steep.  It wasn’t the absolute tallest thing around, but it was pretty tall!  There was all kinds of beautiful smelling brush, probably rosemary and sage, growing wild.  H commented that he’d like to build a house there.

Some things are exciting because they are novel, some things because they are beautiful.  And novelty isn’t always different.  Sometimes novelty is just a dynamic.  Things that move too fast can be fun, but it is hard to maintain an enthusiasm for them because it is the movement rather than the structure that makes them interesting.



Flower from a mini Palm tree

California is really an amazing place.  There is such a wide variety of plants, that I’m still finding new ones, or at least seeing them in a different season, they look different.

There’s the trees that are green in summer, but that in the late winter sprout enormous red buds that stand out from the end of ham-fisted branches.  There’s the ones that look like bottle brushes in bloom, and have crazy baubles hanging when the red stamens that make up the brush fall out.  There’s the trees that have smooth fluffy bark.  There’s the wide variety of palms, succulents and yucca.

The other day on my walk with Sydney, these primeval pine-cone blooms or sprouts struck me.  They remind me of a bird about to uncoil its wings.

Seeing them, I imagine some remarkable bracelets that are stacked beads like this, giant oddly shaped peyote stitch, or just stacked and couched beads sewn down to a cloth.  I can imagine a crazy folded skirt, with pleats sewn up like this to add texture.  I can also see these used as a roller in ink, to make mono prints.

Their texture is impressive.  And the shock between the dark green leaves and the light colored stamens (or sprouts?) is quite striking as well.  It says, “Come land on me, butterflies and bees, I’m full of nectar.”

It wasn’t just one of these but about 10 planted on the corner of a corner lot.  I’d seen them without the blooms, and wasn’t impressed, but with these accents in late spring, I can understand why the owner planted them.


Textures and Motion

Crocheted Norfolk Pine Necklace

Recently they cut the grass along the bike path where Sydney and I walk.  Then a few days later they went up and down and trimmed all the trees.  So there was a huge pile of Norfolk Pine “leaves” laying on the ground, some of them more intact than the single needles that I’d collected before.

I picked up a little one to take home and study, realizing that I’d missed an important detail about it’s branching system.  Instead of branching from one point like a palm leaf, the needles clusters that form each “leaf” grow out from the central branch like ribs.

Seeing the needle bundle separately also made me realize that it had great potential as a piece of jewelry.  So I dug out some lovely green tweed single-twist yarn and got to crocheting.  The result is what you see above.

This attempt instantiates more of the idea I was shooting for when I made the skirt-cape thing.  Sometimes it just takes awhile to stumble on the right way of seeing something. It moves against the body, and has a confluence of roughness and softness.  Seeing the pine tree moving in the wind, it looks soft, and when it is just still, it looks rougher.

I’d say that the spark has lit a small fire, and it’s time to play.  I’m considering whether to stick to earthy colors that a pine would really sport, or if I should branch out (pun intended) into other colors.  It also could be a necklace, part of a shirt, earrings, or part of some other garment, and I’m considering how it will play with a variety of options.  Stay posted!