Wood


The artist who did this did not sell it and the shopkeeper representing him just stuck it behind the shop, outside, exposed to cold, rain, and heat. But when I saw it I asked the owner to sell it to me, and then we restored it and had it put CONTINUE >

Sometimes Kilua makes little one-piece things like this fish.

Kilua makes his art whilst sitting on the sidewalk beside the grocer. While almost every other artist in the area makes one style, Kilua paints on driftwood he finds on the beach, and he paints gorgeous birds and animals in a completely different style. I love Kilua; I love his CONTINUE >

I find hearts all over the place. I keep them in my mom’s Passover dish beside my dressing table.

The filthy beach where I collect my perfume bottles is also a great spot to find leftover knobs from the carpenters all over Dar Es Salaam. I started gathering them up years ago. These were all covered in filthy mud, but after lots of baths they are beautiful again.

I love high heels at the beach. If I find them, I take them home. Then the cowboy below keeps it company with this wooden cup from my family on Guam, half a truck I found in a gutter, a black feather boa from my friend Karen who left us CONTINUE >

Found is not really what I’d call this. It was thrown out on a pile of stuff in one of Doha’s gorgeous parks. Oh my I wanted it. I loved the colors and the Arabic and then the neatly tallied bits of cable that have been written in nothing less CONTINUE >

This pregnant, well-hung guy watches us eat in the dining room. He’s supposed to make me marvelously fertile, but since we do not require his services, he just casts his benevolence over us. We love his really, really huge feet and hands.

A dear friend of mine who lived with us in Dar and has since moved to Mexico gave me this from her beautiful collection of Chinese kites that she aquired working as a librarian in China. This long guy hangs over my head every day where I work.

After our summer in Koh Tao, Thailand, and my delight in the Thai custom of home altars, I took home loads of driftwood from the gorgeous wooden water taxi boats and fishing boats, and I built this altar. It evolved over time. The green prayer flag was given to me CONTINUE >

This king looks actually a great deal like the carver who made him. I love his eboulliant expression; he smiles down at me whilst we are eating supper.

These little wooden jars are for holding the red powder that makes the tilaka mark on the foreheads of Hindu believers. The significance of the forehead markings is enormous, as the marks all represent certain pieces of our spiritual identity. I bought these from a street cart when we were CONTINUE >

This is the demon Raksha mask. In Sri Lanka you see him standing guard over every house. We spent a whole summer in a small village on the coast and we got to know a carver who’d been at his work for decades. We bought many pieces from him, and CONTINUE >

The cool thing about this Maasai sculpture is that it looks like a Maasai warrior and his wife. The women are regal – so tall, so thin, and so strong, with magnificent beads all over their bodies.

This mosaic represents 10 years of found material collecting and 3 years of my work in my free time. There is this story about a mythological non-feline panther that gorges itself and then sleeps three days and emerges amid a heavy perfume. The idea reminded me of Christ, so I CONTINUE >

There is a small village many hours from Dar Es Salaam called Lushoto. It sits amid a splendid rain forest. The weather is wet and very chilly at night. We stayed in a cozy little house with a fireplace and road through the jungles in our own car during the CONTINUE >

The Maasai in Tanzania send some of their warriors into town to sell carvings to give money to their family back home. The warriors are on the beaches carrying little carvings and beaded jewelry. Here in Dar the Maasai guard your vehicle wherever you park, as this is actually quite CONTINUE >

I found this at a Beijing exhibit in Doha, Qatar. Doha has a glorious set of museums, and this was a traveling show.

We found this on the outskirts of Guangzhou. I repainted it because it was faded. I love the density of Chinese art. Their art matches the density of both their language and their core philosophy. I study the I Ching regularly. The distilled wisdom of the I Ching is incredibly CONTINUE >

I love the intricacy of Middle Eastern art. In the souqs there are many vendors, but most of the shops are either perfume shops or spice shops. Spices are sold from gigantic barrels. The perfume shops have rows of glass bottles and local people come in and design their own CONTINUE >

I always buy fabric for my own quilting everywhere we travel. In Bhaktapur, one day, in the pouring rain, we crowded into one of the fabric shops and I tiny pieces of dozens of fabrics. Nepali women are beautifully dressed in long layers, each bit of fabric different from the CONTINUE >

In Kathmandu the old sections of the city all have buildings with these wooden windows. In the smaller neighboring city Bhaktapur, where we stayed, almost all the buildings have these carved windows. The Nepali people who stay in the old sections of town are especially tiny, smaller than I am CONTINUE >

What I love about this wooden couple is the man’s little curling chest hairs poking out of his tunic. Egyptian men are passionate, garroulous, and terrific talkers. This handsome fellow and his wife look a lot like the people we met. I’m an excellent bargainer, and I had my hands CONTINUE >

I wanted one of these the instant I saw them keeping watch along the road to the beach. I love his sleepy eyes and his hands stuffed into his trousers. He keeps me company as I work.

This little guy is composed of driftwood and the man who created him was cooking a fresh fish when I knocked on the door of his house and asked him if he’d let me into his shop. The loons in Newfoundland sing their beautiful eerie songs in the morning in CONTINUE >