As I mentioned in a previous post, my mother retired this year. That meant it was time to make good on a family promise that once she left retail, we would celebrate by going to Florida for the holidays. (The was the first time my mother was not working on Christmas day in more than thirty years.)
So finding this wreath-like bit of sea debris washed ashore the day we arrived seemed like a good omen. I was rather tempted to briefly borrow one of the red bows on the garland decorating the condo complext where we stayed, but I didn't want to get labeled as a trouble-maker on my first day, so I had to settle for taking a few bows off the presents we brought. My husband thought the fact that I was concerned about the proper color contrast was proof that I needed to spend a week away from the studio!
I am not really a beach person, but there is a lot to be said for 85° weather in December.
I was also amazed at the number of birds, many truly oblivious to the people around them. This guy was a regular fixture on some old pilings at the end of our beach. We have cormorants here; in fact, we see them so often when we are sailing up at nearby Lake Norman that the boys have dubbed one of the islands there "Cormorant Island". That island is a waterfowl preserve, though, so watercraft - even our environmentally friendly, silent sailboats - are restricted from getting too close. I hadn't seen them upclose before, and I was fascinated by their brilliant, emerald-green eyes.
The locals didn't share my interest. Several told me that they were considered pests, much like the seagulls. I did notice that, like the seagulls (and urban pidgeons), they had suprising variety in their plumage. That usually happens when animals are domesticated. It was amusing to think of a hint of domestication with something that looked, up close, so much like a dinosaur.
But as much as I enjoyed the birds, I missed my dog, my pony and my studio. By week's end, I was pining to make things.
Which lead me to make this mythical sea horse on our last day. I think I would have benefited from the widespread availability of the internet there in Florida to look up sand sculpting techniques, because I sure could have used some tricks for keeping the stuff together! I guess it would have also helped if I had some tools besides my hands and a plastic ice cream spoon. (I did like working in a medium compatible with popsicle-eating!)
And now I am home with all my favorite tools and materials - and a working Imp mold. The new year is off to a good start!