Like many artists, I pick up a lot of little objects that serve as an inspiration of sorts for the art that I make. Or maybe because I make the art that I make, I am drawn to certain types of objects. I have been re-reading John Crowley’s wonderful novel Engine Summer. In it, he talks about the Path through a place called Little Belaire. The character Rush That Speaks says at the end of one chapter “And though there were places in Little Belaire I have never been, there was nowhere there that I was lost, because Path was drawn on my feet.” I like that sentence very much. When I think about it, art is a kind of path that leads one to certain kinds of things. In my case it certainly does feel like the Path is drawn on my feet.
This particular fish – maybe a Thornback cowfish Lactoria fornasini – was discovered in a zip-lock sandwich bag at a flea market. $1.00. I couldn’t believe someone else hadn’t picked it up before me.
Of course the beach is irresistible. I grew up on the shore of Lake Huron and like to return there under any pretense. The fossils are numerous. Nearby Devonian fossil beds poke up through the landscape spewing brachiopods, crinoids and, if you are very lucky, trilobites, into the soil. More and more, I am drawn to the tiny, time and weather-smoothed smaller fossils to be found in the ridges of pebbles washed up by the lake. I photographed this one against some text from Alice by Lewis Carroll as it seemed to point to a world no less mysterious than her Wonderland.
I found this tooth in a jaw, in a woods, in the middle of a city, on a walk with a friend; one of our skelly hunts We hopped a fence and found the skeletal remains of a deer. The purpose of the walk was to look for bones that could be used in art projects and the Path drawn on our feet proved as reliable as ever. These are sturdy teeth and I take a certain satisfaction that, other than some dust, they will look much the same long after I am gone, as they did on the day that I found them in the woods.