Month: March 2016



I am busy trying to forge my way through each day in the best way I can. I am busy watching spring come…slowly. I am busy digging in the dirt outside and planting seeds inside and putting grow lights on top and watering them and watching them sprout and grow and thinking of the beans and peas and tomatoes and flowers that will be adorning my garden in just a few weeks.

I am busy handing out rack cards for my Open Studio and finding creative ways of getting the word out so that it will be a busy weekend on May 21 and 22.

I am busy making sure that my intern has plenty of work to do in the studio. This means I am busy working on two new pieces that are both pods of some sort and will have interesting seeds inside. Here is what one of them looks like. I’m too busy to explain it. You will just have to come back and see it when it is finished. See all those pieces that have been cut and sanded? That is what my intern has been busy preparing so that I can be busy welding them on to the form.


I am busy applying for shows. Busy applying with work that is really still just in my head so I have to find ways to describe it, draw it and explain my meaning, my raison d’être. I am grateful for the ease of applying online, yet I know that it really doesn’t cut down the time because every application has different criteria (72 dpi with file size no larger than…) and each gallery or art center uses a different application program. I am busy making usernames and passwords and signing up for all these programs that are supposed to make my life faster, speedier, less busy.

I am busy with the animals; cats who get into fights with the barn cat next door who wander onto our property with alarming frequency. Busy with cleaning wounds and monitoring abscesses and trying to run off the neighbor cats before there is a fight. Busy with dogs who don’t seem to understand the invisible fence anymore and whose passion for goat by-products entice them to go visiting the neighbor’s barns. (Yes, the same neighbors that send their cats over here.)

Yes, spring is a busy time. I’m okay with that.


what’s new?

I did not mean to take so long with the last three posts but here we are with a new blank piece of blog paper and much to write about…are you ready???


In the past weeks I have been experimenting with rust and fabric, with mixed results. I was not really pleased with what came out of it so I scrapped the experiment (pun intended) and went back to working on what I thought was going to be a garlic bulb.


Sometimes I am not really sure who’s in charge of the story in the studio. I fought valiantly for three days to finish the sculpture as a garlic and for three days I failed. So I decided to give up and go with the flow. The finished product is, indeed, a bulb but I am not specifying which one. Some people see garlic, some people see amaryllis, some people see…well…what do you see?

Of course this was only part of the story. I took advantage of both the great weather and the presence of my intern Julia (not to mention the incredible opinions of some four legged animals) to install the new sculpture where it belonged…over the well head in my front yard. There could be an entire debate over whether art becomes craft when it turns into something functional. We’ll leave that for another day. Instead, I’ll just say I much prefer looking at the bulb than an ugly well head.


Having an intern has been a wonderful thing. My studio has never been cleaner, I have lots of pieces of finished steel to work with as I make the next sculpture and…what’s that you say? You want to know what I’m working on?

Yeah, I’m not telling.

As I was saying, Julia is great. She finds work to do when I don’t have a specific project, she helps out even when I don’t know I need it, and she is super willing to do just about anything. I am getting a lot more work done and the studio is consistently clean. Plus, she arrives on time and is excited to be here. What more could anyone ask?


I have set the next open studio here at the farm. It will take place on May 21 and 22 (Saturday and Sunday) from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. it is yet another chance to come see the sculptures, but this time they will be surrounded by the gardens in their full splendor (hopefully). You can even bring a picnic and sit near a giraffe or musk ox to eat it. It is free and it will happen rain or shine. The studio is handicapped accessible, but if you are unable or unwilling to walk down (and back up) the hill, we are happy to drive you around in a golf cart and give you a guided tour.

If you are in the area but can’t make it to the open studio, I am offering guided studio visits by appointment. Visiting information is on my website. The kangaroo is waiting to see you!


Tatay, part 3

It’s taken me a while to sit in front of the computer with the time and inclination to write this last post about Tatay. If you haven’t read part one and two, then I suggest you start with those to make sense of what I am writing about.

Tattoo’s viewing and funeral were this past week. I was unable to attend the funeral but I did get a chance to attend the viewing. Once again, I am super aware that customs are different across families and cultures. This was evident at the viewing which was more like a celebration and music recital than a viewing. Yes, Tatay was on view, but the family was more interested in sharing what he was like and their love for him to the people who came out of love and respect.

I will admit, I have had a fantasy of telling the story I told in the last post at his funeral. So  when we were asked (while they were trying to figure out a technical difficulty, something about showing the myriad of pictures they had of him) whether anyone had any memories of Tatay, one of Fe’s sisters poked me from behind and said…”Tell your story”…

So I did.

And it was wonderful, lots of laughter, lots of warm feelings. And in true Nieves fashion, another of Fe’s sisters told me Tatay needed a ride home after the viewing.

There are lots of little memories I could have shared…standing in the garden pulling weeds and looking up to see Tatay through the window of their house while he was  painting something beautiful. Tatay sweeping the driveway every day. Tatay saying “Eat”…before I had even taken my coat off. Imagining Tatay in his red scooter that his son-in-law got him so that he could drive the mile through neighborhoods to see his wife. Tatay laughing and smiling…always. Tatay sticking around at every party until the end…often lasting longer than I did. Tatay sitting in the living room listening to his grandchildren play the piano, the flute, dance, sing…whatever they were doing at the moment…and clapping.

Tatay saying, when I asked him how he was, saying “Well…I am still here”.

But I think that the image that I remember the most, is the yearly event, the birthday party. The numbers kept climbing. The grandchildren got older. The balloons for 105 had to be pulled together from a one, zero and a five. But the smile and the twinkly eyes stayed the same. He was surrounded by the people who meant the most to him, his grandchildren. They kept him young, he said. And I believe him.

with a small portion of grandchildren…and Nanay, of course.


Oh, yeah…this was the year that the person who took the cake order didn’t quite understand that the name was Tatay, not Tangle. Instead of anger, exasperation and annoyance, this was met with gales of laughter by the whole clan…yet another Tatay story to add to the list.