Sunday, September 23, 2018

Mike's 47 and a surprise from Morocco

This week started out very hot, like it usually is in Phoenix this time of year, topping 105ºF (40ºC) most days. After months of this, all of us in the valley start to drag ourselves through the motions of the day, spending much of the time in an unpleasant sweaty state. Anyway it all changed on Wednesday, which also happened to be Mike's birthday!

It was cloudy and rainy and a balmy 87ºF (30.5ºC)!!  We were so excited! We headed over to the Western Spirit: Scottsdale's Museum of the American West. An amazing art museum just over in Scottsdale.

This is a sculpture in the entrance.

This is a blurry shot of Naomi as she raced off into the exhibit about movie westerns. This is the last we saw of her for about an hour.

A more "in focus" picture of me in the same spot.

This is a recreation of sculptor and painter, Joe Beeler's studio.

This is a collection of saddles, guns of many sizes and even cowboy boots.

The museum was MUCH larger than I realized it would be.

Upstairs was this painting by NC Wyeth, one of my favorite artists of all time, and tragically it's an awful picture of this amazing painting. (I guess you'll have to go to Scottsdale!)

This statue is from the sculpture garden and was so realistic it was spooky.

Mike walking through the sculpture garden (in the rain!!)

I have to say this museum was well worth a visit. We'll be coming back. 
After this we wandered through downtown Scottsdale and found some dinner.

Then we came home and enjoyed some delicious cake. The weather on Thursday was not as great (back around 100ºF), but all week my students, and everyone I spoke to, remembered fondly the day of rain, always with a look of wonder and magic, like if they'd seen a unicorn walking on a rainbow.

This week I've been working on masks pretty constantly, but every once in a while I get an exciting custom order like this.

And this.  They're masks from Maurice Sendack's "Where The Wild Things are".

I shipped them off yesterday, but they were a blast to make!

On Friday I received an incredible surprise from Tétouan. The school in Morocco, Jacnito Benavente, that installed my sculpture (Night Over Tétouan), sent me an honorary diploma! I'm so excited. How cool is that?!

Sunday, September 16, 2018

A school report

To follow up on Chloe's many struggles arriving at school in Scotland, she finally got her luggage!! (That only took 8 days!) She had to return on the train to Edinburgh and go back to the hotel she had initially stayed at. They had kindly secured her luggage. It took all day, but she had just made some friends at her dorm and they were up for an adventure!

Chloe also sent me some photos of her time in Paris.and Scotland.

Here she is by the River Seine.

Goofing off.

On a brewery tour in Glasgow

An incredible mural near the school.

And here she is with her new friend Sam.

In other news Phoebe's been busy at school in California. Last week her class went into San Francisco to visit the MOMA

Outside the building


Phoebe's bus selfie

And they walked across the Golden Gate Bridge. It was windy.

She also has been sharing with me many school adventures. She and some friends found a wood and went exploring in their free time. Apparently they found a treasure chest, but had run out of time and needed to race back to school! (There's got to be more to that story, but I think she's holding out on me. ) Anyway she took this great photo of a hot air balloon flying over her school last weekend...

Now that they're both settled at school they seem to be enjoying themselves. Here in Phoenix, Naomi is busy with school, and friends and Mike and I are teaching and making art. Of course, the Halloween orders have begun. Here's an eyeball mask I made last week...

And the mask orders just keep coming.... Have a restful Sunday.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Sometimes everything goes wrong

"Paris is always a good idea"- Audrey Hepburn

Saying goodbye at before going through security

On Monday it started pretty well. We all woke up early, and Chloe was ready with all her luggage and paperwork and off we went to the airport. She was coughing. She had a chest cold and was already tired and her journey to Scotland for her semester at The University of Glasgow had barely begun.

An hour after dropping her off and 20 minutes before her first flight even left Phoenix the drama unfolded. Her flight was delayed an hour and a half. Then two hours. Then it was four hours and she had to find two new connecting flights after Chicago. She called just before boarding to say that they were directing her through Ireland now.
"But you can't go through Ireland! The school said not to."
"What should I do? I have to board!"
"Go, just go."
"Okay, bye Mom."

One sleepless night later she contacted us again. She made it to Edinburgh, and to the hotel on her own. Because of the delays she missed meeting the other students at the airport, but her luggage was missing and somehow, because she came through Dublin she entered the UK without going through customs.  She said she filled out the proper forms for her luggage at the airport so all we could do was wait.

The next morning I was woken by a missed call. Someone left a broken message for us that they had her luggage. So we began a search for her bags. Chloe's phone didn't work there and she didn't have a chance yet to buy a new one, so she'd left our number. Eventually we learned her bags were out for delivery.

Then on Thursday more things fell apart. Her luggage was finally delivered 10 minutes after the group left Edinburgh to go to the school in Glasgow, and Chloe learned that she had to re enter the country as she's there illegally and can't stay at the school unless she does. They told her to go to Paris. So next, we were back to scheduling flights and a hostel. I was also still calling the airline to try and reroute her luggage to her new address. It's not easy managing things from thousands of miles away on such short notice.

I did it though. She went and bought some clothes and a phone, and I had booked her a flight for Saturday. I also got in touch with the hotel that had her bags and they said they were scheduled to be picked up... So it all seemed better... Until her new phone didn't work and she couldn't call a cab to go back to the airport... We sent her links to skype, which didn't work and she tried to book one online, also a bust. Then she dropped out of contact for several hours. Finally a lone message popped up on my computer. "I'm waiting at my gate". I still don't know how she got there, but she figured it out.

Paris at Sunset (source)

So then she was in Paris. She wandered around the city, got scammed in the square for €20, but she also took a bus tour, saw the Eiffel Tower and fell in love with the place. The hostel was nice, she figured out the underground and had a good time. It was such a relief that she was finally enjoying herself!

Tonight she's back in Glasgow. She's got her visa and has entered legally, but her luggage is still missing. The airline has reopened the case, but she's sounded exhausted and frustrated and I think she's still sick.  School starts next week, I just hope it's a better week than this was.
“As my artist’s statement explains, my work is utterly incomprehensible and is therefore full of deep significance”-Calvin (Calvin and Hobbs)


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