Tuesday, May 16, 2006

something out of nothing

Two big stops today, and different as they were, the common thread seemed to be taking scraps or minimally desirable objects and making something memorable from them.  The guy in the picture with Don is Dan Klemmert, whose sculpture park sits in the shadow of Mt Rainier, outside Elbe, WA.  He calls it Ex-Nihilo, from a Native American term for making something out of nothing.  Dan’s pretty sharp with a welder, though he’s never had a lesson in it or in art.  He just has the knack, whether it’s ironwork or sculpting with driftwood (he’s working on a 15 foot sasquatch at the moment.)  There’s humor at times, poignancy and drama at others, and a real appreciation for the way craftsmen used to take pride in their work.

After a brief visit to the World’s largest Egg in Winlock, we decided to pay our respects at the famed Richart House in Centralia.  That’s where Richard (Rich-Art) Tracy has for the last twenty two and a half years been transforming his yard into something absolutely unique.  His rules are it has to be something he can make in 5 hours, and spend less than $5 on.  Of course, he also says the tour lasts 5 minutes, even when it clearly can go much longer.  Time in the yard is pretty elusive! Styrofoam is a favorite material here especially after the rain and sun age and weather it.  Poles rise up, antennae wiggle, streamers stream, and the maze of displays winds almost endlessly around the house.  We showed Richart the Big Ball of Tape, and for a moment or two, we weren’t really certain we’d ever get it back!

Musical highlights-- “Hollywood Town Hall”--Jayhawks, “Hearts & Bones”--Paul Simon, “Live In Aught Four”--James McMurtry, “Blue Trane”--John Coltrane

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