Monday, June 21, 2010

Dirty work

I press my hand against the tile, fingers splayed, and begin scrubbing. Then the other hand, until all the studio stuff---even the bits under my nails--is gone. It's 1:30 in the afternoon. I'll be here again tonight, for sure, but this shower couldn't wait. The Wiggles tell us that floor dirt is germy dirt. This is true. Artists say that sculpture studio dirt is toxic dirt. This is true too. The hand scrubbing is automatic after the morgue and laboratories, the clean room and now the studio, I wonder how many times...I could do the math and get a decent guess. I don't want to know. I have the luxury of blanking out during, thinking of other things. Then, magically, my hands are clean, pink and minus a few million skin cells. It's okay. They were probably dead anyway.

Usually, I do all the 'dirty' work on one day. Casting and finishing resin pieces, cutting wood and metal for bases and armatures and sanding. It's hard work, but not difficult brain-wise, like working out a design. Physically taxing, brain relaxing. Still, you have to stay alert around power tools. Can't afford to drift off on some new idea. It's expensive too, power-wise. The lights, the tools, the exhaust hoods, shop vacuums. (We suck up the resin dust. It can go into castings of larger pieces.)

It's a huge noisy room with a lot of stuff. So yes, for sure, sometimes I wish I'd been a painter.
But then, that's not me. I'm in love with the dimensions. The textures, the tactile sensation of a smooth line here, a curve there, an edge.

There are two doors and a long hallway (we call it the airlock) between the studio and the house. I try very hard to keep the stuff in the studio out of the house. I made a choice to do this stuff, but my family didn't.

That was yesterday. Really focused and busy, except when we discovered a hummingbird in the house. Then everything stopped, and nothing mattered except getting the little fellow safely outside. It was the first time I've ever actually touched a hummingbird. It finally exhausted itself at the window. Spencer held it and I gave it a bit of sugar water. Then it revved up its wings and flew back into its world, bigger inside than out.

This morning is for different work. My coffee is done, so I'll get to it. Wishing you a good day.


Benton Warren said...

And a good day ahead as well my friend.

Kelly said...

I read somewhere that hummingbirds weigh less than a penny. I think it was on the inside of a snapple bottle top, so I'm not sure of the validity of the 'fact'.

I really like the way you worded this:

my hands are clean, pink and minus a few million skin cells. It's okay. They were probably dead anyway.