Today I went cold calling in the immediate neighborhood of my office. Right across the street is a small wood refinishing place. We stepped in, and it was a like a cool cave, full of furniture in all stages of repair, (and disrepair!). The owner is a crusty old fella, who knew we were trying to sell him something right off. Really though, I loved his workspace and he could tell I was sincere. You can tell, once you've been in all sorts of very cool workshops, that a craftpersons life would be a whole lot better if they had a truly fitted out space. All of my life I have thought, "If only I had this or if only I had that", when thinking about a project. I remember my father, a master carpenter, searching for just the perfect workshop, every time we moved. And we moved a lot. Now I am a welder and I have seen so many outstanding workshops as I have ventured out and about, trying to sell things. For an artist, the sheer fact that you don't have to put everything away every time you make something, or go someplace to work, makes all the difference in your work. The ease of walking out to a nicely fitted shop and just starting something is worth a lot, in terms of productivity, in terms of actually starting things and finishing them. In my travels in the last five years or so, I have seen carpenters shops, welders shops, sheet metal shops and all sorts of others that should be entered into a "Cool Workshop Contest". Then, of course, I have seen some dogs, too. Sometimes the dives were obvious safety hazards, dirty and messy. Your whole perspective changes when you know what it could look like and how much art you could turn out in one of the good ones. Military shops are some of the tidiest ones, large companies with lots of resources have great shops, too.I guess I'll be like my Dad, just searching for the perfect place to work until I find it.
As I walk each day with my sister, she on her phone and me on mine, I tell her about the weird, in fact, outrageous plant life in Arizona. One of the oddest ones to make the list is the Century Plant or Agave. There are many varieties of these succulents here. The one I like best is the one that looks like something out of a Dr. Suess book. It shoots up a giant pole like thing and then gets some strange flower like things in clumps at the top. I kept telling her about one on my route that was growing inches every day. First it was just barely sticking up out of the plant, then every day, you could see the inches it had grown. Well, the upshot is, I took a picture of it the other day. Not fully in bloom, not quite. Still, an impressive monster in it's way. The first two pictures are of the one that I could feel growing when I walked past it.Sort of like a teen age boy. The second two are of another variety, one that has sort of an octopus stlye bottom. Matters not, they will both be in the trash heap by the fall. These growths suck the life out of the base plant and then they all fade away together.