Detroit Art City!

Nick Cave Costume Heard Herd
Nick Cave Costume Heard Herd
Nick Cave Costume, with happy young dancer!

Saturday was an outdoor performance extravaganza of Nick Cave’s costumes from his residency at Cranbrook.

Starting first with the lovely afternoon, and the sense of community that manifested in crowds of people on the hill ready to watch the dancers in anthropomorphic costumes dance and move to the beat of a small marching band.

I went with a friend who lives in Detroit, and the first thing that happened was that we decided to park far away and walk rather than pay $10 to go in the structure. It is in a very pretty part of the city, so we got to walk through a beautiful (if poorly maintained) park, and then down the hill to the park, which has another hill in it.

Grazing horses in front of the Renaissance Center
As they played L’après Midi d’un Faun, Horses grazed

Then, once we found a spot, we ran into the first person that we know, who had brought her mother, in from out of town. They shared our sheet and watched the show, chatting about the world, the community etc.

But the young woman wanted ice cream, so I went down the hill to get ice cream with her. And who should follow us back up the hill, but 2 of my students from FLY! I vaguely knew that one of them might be there since I had been talking to her mother earlier in the day. Even so, it was very random to be chased up the hill by 2 kids under 12.

Then the show, and afterwards, another FLY teacher was there with her kids, who were in our camps this summer too.

It is amazing how small the big scary world is, when it comes down to it!

Then someone said there were installations in the Dequindre Cut, so we walked down there and saw several installations: swings on an overpass, crazy steel-wire lightning erupting out of a hill, some weird constructions made out of gator board, and lots of beautiful murals/graffiti.

Having walked down the Dequindre Cut required a decision: to walk back to where we parked a few blocks from Milliken State Park, or to walk towards downtown and back up the river. I always love a good walk.

So off we went, down Gratiot, past a church with an Oktoberfest and a live pretty good live (high school) jazz band. Past the Fail Jail. Past several pieces of public art including some I’d never noticed before. Then into Campus Martius, and walking down Woodward to Hart Plaza we found some of those wacky merry-go-round chairs and some neat gazing balls.

The Ren Cen ever present with us on our journey, and Canada within sight for the last angle of the triangle.

In the photo of me, although the new landscaping in the park is more interesting than the statue, it is of one of the Stroh’s who loved bird-watching. We did see and hear some birds (and freighters and steamboats, oh my!).

Detroit Art City!!!

Cathedrals and Time

Buttresses of the Cathedral of M-14. Nice long walk in Bandemer towards Argo

A photo posted by Allida (@hemoracallis) on

Over the years I have always loved bridges. They have great acoustics. They are beautiful in their way, even the ones that are very boring infrastructure have their moments of numinous beauty. Over the last few years, I’ve been taking pictures of the bridges that cross over the parks in Ann Arbor. Watching for that difference of the light, much as Monet painted quotidian haystacks over and over. In a way, it is even more impressionist than the Impressionists, this photographic documentation. But it misses something of the feeling that I get from the bridges. From the human-made space as it interacts with the natural world. The most beautiful of the bridges have not only the organ music of the freeway traffic, but the rose windows of the sunlight reflected up onto their latticework from the reflected light on the water.

Cathedral of M-14 A video posted by Allida (@hemoracallis) on

But even that sound misses the numinous nature of my meditation under bridges. There is a moment when the bridge turns from being dark to being light that makes it mysterious and beautiful. The transformation from shaded cavern to glowing life and light is a numinous experience, and so I’ve started to take time-lapse videos to document this metamorphosis.


Time lapse with less frames. Watch the bridge light up


A video posted by Allida (@hemoracallis) on

We Build grand structures these days, but they are not always built for their beauty as the cathedrals and basilicas of old. They are build for practical purposes, their architects and builders are nearly invisible to us, but this does not mean that they cannot be beautiful.

076:365 Rocker with Quilt

076:365 Rocking Chair with Quilt

Today was productive, got up early, did what needed to be done, about 20 minutes ago, that I’d forgotten to do my drawing.
076:365 Rocking Chair with Quilt

Gracie and I are already sitting in bed reading and relaxing, so I just looked across the room and sketched the rocking chair.

Sometimes the quickies are the best, and though it is just a gestural sketch, I like it a lot. Doing this kind of line work keeps me on my toes, and I noticed that I’m out of practice with observation. Maybe because I’ve been doing so much fiber and textile work instead of drawing and printmaking for the last period of time. Nevertheless, it is recognizable.

Rocking chairs are nice, and though their wood looks hard and uncomfortable, usually I find them to be engineered right to beat least comfy, if not also ergonomic.

This one, though it isn’t most beautiful one I’ve ever had, filled the need at the time it came up. I had been looking for a rocking chair, since I missed my LA rocker, and kept finding them for $75-$300. Well, at the moment that sounds like more than I can direct to a chair.

Then I went to a thrift store, on a mission to get myself some sheets for the rag rug, and found not only this rocker ($12.90!) but a gorgeous colorful sweater ($2.90!).  Of course I got some sheets too.

065:365 The “A”

065:365 The "A"

Today a drawing based (roughly) on a photograph of something that has long made me feel like I’m arriving home. Before I could read, I knew that my name began with A and that it looked like this sign. On the way home from long trips, we often drove by this sign because it is very close to where I grew up. We’d exit US-23 by the “A,” and arrive home in about 5 minutes.


Of course those weren’t the only times we drove past there. Going to the old Kroger’s on Washteanaw, and other places, I’d plead with my mother to take me the way that passed the “A.”

It inspired this Flickr photo set a few years ago, when I made my first attempt at a 365. If you had not been to Ann Arbor since the 1980’s you wouldn’t recognize Arborland anymore, instead of a real mall, it is now an ugly strip-mall. The old tile mosaic of Jack and the Beanstalk from the entrance has been transplanted into Kerrytown.

There were other signs, either recently or soon-to-be dismantled or modified due to a zoning ordinance that limits the size, distance, and composition of signs along major thoroughfares. The Arby’s sign will probably have to be taken down since it is too big and flashy, and the sign for Big Ten Party Store (now Morgan and York) lost its neon when the owners changed the name. Big George’s used to have neon too, I think, but since they moved a few doors down and expanded, it has been taken down.

On the one hand, I understand that Ann Arbor wants to be a high class town, and too much neon might make us look like Las Vegas, but the Arborland sign is emblematic, visible from nearly a mile up and down US-23, and about the same distance up and down Washtenaw. It lets us know we are home, in the home of the “A.”

055:365 Plaid

055:365 Plaid

Today was sunny. I made a pie. I put together furniture. We had guests.

One of the things I love about fiber is the way something simple, flexible, and straight can create rigid structure. Take for example this rigid structure that one could re-create by weaving different colors together. It would seem one way from each different point. If you made the purple the center it would look one way, the orange another.

In High School and College I had a vintage shirt (probably from the 1960’s?) that was an orange and yellow plaid. I always imagined related colors of similar gradation with a leap, and this drawing is one version of that. Another would be to put green or blue instead of purple, but I love the combination of these colors. They remind me of a sunset. Maybe a light blue.