Sunday, September 20, 2020

Working at Great Basin National Park

(Above:  Me stitching cording from eight different skeins of yarn.)

Adaptation is important when experiencing an art residency.  For me, this means finding a place for my sewing machine.  I stand to stitch.  Here at Great Basin National Park, the kitchen counter is the right height, but the more amazing part of stitching in the kitchen was utilizing all the empty drawers!  I had two balls of yarn on the floor and two in each of three different drawers.  Never once did anything get tangled.  At home, I put yarn in boxes to avoid tangles.  This new approach worked wonderfully!  (The drawers on the side of the kitchen did contain flatware and cooking utensils.  The kitchen is fully operational even with my sewing!)

My residency proposal does not actually call for me to make cording or a fiber vessel from the cording, but I had an idea for "Art in the Dark", the public programing that included my work and me.  Much of what I've been doing these last few days is impossible to capture with a point-and-shot camera or an iPhone.  "Art in the Dark" is obviously such an occasion ... but it was great!

(Above:  The White-lined Sphinx Moth.)

"Art in the Dark" was one of the programs for Great Basin National Park's 11th annual Astronomy Festival.  Up to twenty socially distanced, masked participants were allowed to register for it.  The concept was to illustrate the fact that we humans do not actually see color at night.  Rebecca Gordon, a park ranger, and I brain-stormed about this over a month ago.  We needed a "pretty", symmetrical night-flying and night pollinating moth that was native to this area and had a high resolution image in the public domain.  I did the research and found the white-lined sphinx moth (commonly known as the "hummingbird moth").  I took the image and created a line drawing.  Rebecca secured crayons, clipboards, and printed my drawing on 11" x 17" paper.  Each page was folding in half.  In the area outside the Lehman Caves Visitor Center chairs and two types of lighting were set up.  Participants got to color half the moth with all the lights on.  Then, the white lights were turned off, leaving only the red/dark imitating lights.  While their eyes adjusted, I showed my fiber vessel.  It was stitched with glow-in-the-dark thread.  I also stitched a vintage doily with the bear Ursa Major, a constellation.  It was impressive.  I took no photos.  Why?  Well ... it was dark!  Only a professional with years of experience taking such images could have gotten anything worth keeping.  Finally, the other half of the moth was colored under the red lights.  Participants were supposed to color the other half just like they did the first half, but all the crayons had their labels taped over. It was impossible to figure out what colors were used!  (I also got to show the specimen of the white-lined moth.  Believe or not, I found it on the pavement at a gas station on the drive here!  It was meant to be!)

(Above:  The Osceola Trail.)

Since helping with the "Art in the Dark" presentation, I've attended two star-gazing events.  One was held in the same place as "Art in the Dark".  I learned plenty, but last night was even better.  Starting at 7:00 PM, twenty masked people followed another park ranger down a 1.1 mile trail to Stella Lake.  It was beyond beautiful to see Jupiter, Saturn, the Milky Way, the Big Dipper, and all sorts of other constellations and the reflections of stars in the water.  I also saw two satellites and a couple shooting stars.  Great Basin National Park is a certified dark sky area.

(Along the Osceola Trail.)
Today I walked the Osecola Trail.  It is rated "easy" but it is pretty long.  The Park's paper trail listing claims it is 9.2 miles round trip.  The signs at the trailhead indicate that it is 5.1 miles one-way.  My Fitbit clocked 26,034 steps which is supposed to be 11.36 miles in all.  (Okay, I walked ten feet to my van and ten feet from the van back into the house ... but still!)  The landscape changed drastically.  I saw eleven deer, two western flickers, lots of crows and really enjoyed the hike.
(Above:  One of tens-of-thousands of pinecones along the Osceola Trail.)
I took well over one hundred images of burnt bark, pinecones, and even cacti.  The pinecones, in particular, were just beautiful.  They reminded me of blooming roses and I just adore the deep rust color. Everything about today was great ... but ... my feet hurt!
(Above:  My feet after I took off the Walmart hiking boots.)
I bought my hiking boots several years ago at a Walmart in New Mexico.  I'd forgotten to pack proper footwear on that trip.  I will be leaving them here in a dumpster at Great Basin National Park.  I really don't think that much dirt should be getting inside the pair!




1 comment:

Alex said...

It sounds magical and your words are almost as good as photos!