Many years ago on a winter’s day that began like many others on our mountain, the Colorado sun rose along the Front Range with a butterscotch glow piercing the clouds in a spectacular array of crimson shards against a rich blue velvet sky. A slight frost glistened on the pines while a fine layer of opal snowpack lingered in patches along the road that meandered up to my home.
Remnants of a strange dream lingered as I warmed my hands around a cup of spiced Chai. Skipping breakfast, I made my way down to my art studio to clear scraps and remnants of recycled leather off my workbench and think about the form and context of my next creations.
My most recent Leather Landscapes and sculptural Forever Gardens were evolving nicely, flowing forth from my imagination as if guided by some sixth sense while I cut, deconstructed and sorted segments of discarded vintage leather clothing I had rescued. As I gazed about my “Unbound Leathers” studio at piles of old leather jackets, bundles of wires and bins of strange found objects that had caught my fancy, my hands were drawn to an odd assortment of components demanding to be plucked from their hiding places and deposited on the workbench I had yet to clear off.
I’m blessed that my workbench allows a view out floor to ceiling windows, across a small garden and our narrow gravel driveway to the mountains beyond, the valley below and acres of pine forest. As the morning mist gives way and the sun travels across the valley delightful patterns, mysterious shadows, sights and sounds emerge from the ever-changing landscape. To my delight, I often find myself face to face with Deer and Elk who roam around up here at 8,000 ft., stopping by daily to munch at our gardens, nibble at the Aspen leaves and seasonal berries. Occasionally a grey, black, brown or grey fox will stop to stare at me while I’m working and stay a while, allowing me to slip outside, say hello and engage in a bit of conversation before he or she continues their travels. Throughout the day birds of all sizes, shapes and colors roost in the pines, soar across the valley, call out their songs and scavenge the forest floor for tasty treats. But somehow this day there seemed to be something more going on.
As I sat savoring my Chai and the view beyond, I let my thoughts drift back to that dream and a story began to evolve that would shape the direction of my artwork and set me on path to a grand adventure.