Project is available still with works shared by artists from the UK and greater world.   


KACHESS 2011 SCOUTIE studying the waterline pollens and minnows IITHANKSGIVING 2011 at D and Ds KCQ eyeing Riddley eyeing KCQ making friends

I gave my two youngest grandchildren a coupon a year ago that promised them each an adventure designed and directed by them.  They are holding my feet to the fire still, here a year later, when Christmas is over and the promise still holds.

These kids go on wonderful adventures more than most people do in a lifetime.  They live in a lively urban environment with two parents who love going to things.  They have taken the children to the mountains and to the sky, to foreign lands and to extraordinary rides in exciting amusement parks.  They have been to the ballet, the orchestra, the theatre, the zoo often, and the aquarium often; to the big league games, to the little league championships,  Hiking and biking are regular for these extremely fortunate children and they are now adventuring themselves into making music, making art, making inventions, and will surely be as well-supplied with data and experience as any child could be!

What in the world can I do to enhance such well-traveled children?

I will take them on an investigation of the Small, I have decided.

There is a still unfulfilled promise I made to my second oldest grandson who is now 28.  And it’s well past time I fulfill that contract which failed the first time when he was about 7 or 8, I believe.  We visited the Catholic Cathedral downtown to see what was inside (his idea) and particularly wished to find out about those bells that ring way up on top.  We were told the bell man was not available that day, but that we could make an appointment to visit when he was there.

Now is as good a time as ever to take these promisees on a Small and Tall adventure, I think.  It may involve getting parental consent for the younger ones.  From what the receptionist told me, it involves ladders up into the belfrey!

How many children have been up to a belfrey in a big city Cathedral?  I reckon that is a small, unsung sort of adventure that is not on the normal tourist list.

Between us, we have also played with the idea of taking a ferry ride to one of the Puget Sound islands we have never been to.  Maybe as foot passengers, requiring us to hike onto the island once we get there and find out what we can discover that doesn’t require going very far…but instead deep..into new territory to see things slowly, and closely.

Thinking back at my own favorite small explorations…hours spent on my stomach at a neighborhood lake watching what is happening just in the shallows… waterbugs, tadpoles, rivulets that can be dammed up to make water flow in a different direction!  Of on the bay side of the ocean where holes in the sand squirt occasionally, and where crabs have a very busy life scampering around the reedy shallows.     Or by a decaying tree where ants have a whole universe and where the wood smells a certain way, and crumbles into fine dust.  Not all ants act the same.  And they have specialized jobs.

Small adventures can be made with a telescope or even better a microscope, and even better than that a high powered microscope that shows a very active reality that is not noticed by the naked eye.

There is a small zoo near where I live.  It has cheetahs in a large enclosure where they can run fast to catch their food.  And a couple of pairs of Siberian Tigers who are magnificent and very happy to hang around and take a bath for viewers, and the keepers bring treats that they push through the high fence at a level that requires these amazing beasts to stretch to their longest range, right up against the fence where you can see how really LARGE they are.  It’s a quiet little zoo where you can get intimate information, and stay a while rather than rushing through to see the next thing.

I must gear up and gather my explorers and take a nice healthy chunk of unhurried time to “turn over the stones and see what’s under them.”

The kids keep reminding me, as I have asked them to.  Soon! Before it’s too late!

New Year’s Resolution time!

Old Swimmer

“I’m hoping the AG isn’t just trying to pass this off without taking it seriously,” he said. “If this doesn’t work, I’ll take it down to the federal courthouse and see what the hell they’re going to do. We can’t have any lunatic handing out guns to get votes. I’m not anti-gun, but this is just crazy.”

Read more here: http://www.tri-cityherald.com/2014/06/17/3024511/clint-didier-campaign-having-gun.html#storylink=cpy

book The Journey Bowls

I have chosen to be happy because it is good for my healthMommom pitches. This sort of backyard activity went on until Riddley was hitting wiffle balls over the roof of the house and into 35th Street!

It was the beginning of a real love affair with Baseball.two homers and a triple   Riddley 8 Detroit Tiger

The side view of a hand made book

photo image of decked pages of handmade book

Definition I found in the Urban Dictionary.  http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=noob

Clearly, if Seth Godin uses the word and you don’t know what in the world it means, and you find out that it means someone who doesn’t know anything about a certain thing, then you are a “noob”.

So here I am looking it up in the Urban Dictionary, and finding out that it mildly means “newbie” (or a person new to a social system of gaming or whatever), or pejoratively as a person who talks expert-like talk but knows really nothing at all about his subject.

So, yes, I sometimes talk as if I know something about what I am talking about when I really am sadly deficient, and therefore am a “noob”.  But mostly I don’t intend to flaunt my smarts and skills, as certain macho types might in video games or on the playing field.   It’s because I am a newbie that I act like a noob, when I act like a noob.

People like to throw labels around and noob would be a good one to pin on someone you wanted to “diss.”

I will not be “dissing” myself, and so don’t own that I am the macho style noob,  but a “tenderfoot”,  yes, I am definitely not a smooth operator.

Just saying.     Old Swimmer

Wallowing Midsummer 2001

Wallowing Midsummer 2001

In the current upheaval about privacy following the revelation that Verizon and Google and a lot of other media

snip of google image search for Susan G Holland  plus  Holland Art Studio  June 10 2013

giants are spying on American citizens at the behest of the NSA, I have wondered what a benign person like me might have “out there” that I was unaware of.

Just for fun, this morning I Googled my name and my art business name and searched “images”.  I was surprised to see three whole rows of my stuff!  The fourth and fifty item in the bottom row of his image are NOT mine…but all the rest is!   My goodness!   I am glad I am not a purveyor of seamy art!

There are “about me” photos and some outtakes from my 3 Americas! exhibit in NYC.  Early Farmer’s Market work, and some recent process documentation of a favorite painted wood bowl. Yes, my current logo!   Even my daughter’s birthday gift puzzle!  And the signature I sometimes put at the bottom of my blogs.

I wonder how many rants of mine have made the cut?  Likely I would not be so much on top of the pile.  There are several high profile people with my name who are really well known in their professions, and somehow Susan Komen comes up in a search for me.  Well, that’s ok.

I do get angry at you government people, in case you are reading this entry.  Very angry.  I think you are manipulating things much as the Mafia has been guilty of doing.  The power of money and might has eclipsed the honor and humility that marked our earlier American way of doing national business.  I am ashamed.  But I still think that freedom and democratic practices are better than the other choices (as if we had a choice…most of us don’t.)

So, if I am to shamed in the public square for my protests and letters to editors and other media people I know the names of, I hope you pick one of the nicer photos to publicize the shaming.

It’s not so far away from the way some nations capture those who speak against a hallowed leader and imprison them like rabid dogs.  Or shoot them.

We all have some traps in the path of our journeys.  I see, with sadness, the traps multiplying…booby traps, even, for the folks who love truth and transparency.

When did we become so corrupt?  It is not the “image” of the nation’s government that is the concern.  It’s the reality of what emerges when that image is scratched off,  like the gold circle on a give-away ticket advertising a prize of ten cents to a hundred dollars.   Not much there.  And the numbers are not the only thing that are temporarily hidden!

Old Swimmer

The day audibly begins at seven am, nearly every day. I hear a greeting, or a bump on the floor above my downstairs apartment, and know that one or both of the dear people upstairs are ready for the routine that puts them above and beyond any married people I have ever known personally.

The sounds morph into a stair creaks, and two sets of footsteps that stop for the next half hour. I know where they stop. It is at the double recliner love-seat that is well named. My daughter and her husband are sitting there in bathrobes with their bare feet up and the morning paper out. If the TV is on, I don’t hear it.

What I do hear is two voices. TALKING TO ONE ANOTHER! Often there is just a comfortable burble of sound, intermittent, and reciprocal. Sometimes, like this morning, there is an outburst– I don’t hear the words. It sounds heartfelt, but I can’t really tell the nature of the passion… excitement, assertiveness, or consternation? Can’t tell.

What I do know is that these people spend the first half hour of each morning at a regular meeting with coffee, newspaper, and each other. They share the news. They offer their opinions. They don’t always agree. But they always talk.

My daughter and her husband have been married for 33 years. They are dynamic, opinionated people with an inbuilt portion of “feist” that is not boring, and is sometimes volatile. They have powered through serious differences of opinion, and some big weather-changes. My own marriage did not survive such stresses, but theirs has.

These two are evidence that love is an action verb.

Living with relatives is a dicey matter sometimes. And I am mindful of the stresses to my own marriage caused by the in-house residency of my own mother in years past. No doubt my former husband suffered somewhat silently. We didn’t talk to each other every day at seven. Sometimes we didn’t talk to each other at all…other than in passing. We lasted 20 rather passive-aggressive years.

Neither of us found success in remarriage. We never learned how to “love”, v. trans. Not at least the talking back and forth kind of love.

Today there was an outburst…just about fifteen minutes ago. Footsteps went rather loudly up the stairs at 7:30 am…to the shower. As usual.

Outbursts are not terminal here, with them. They are fearless about communication of nearly any sort. They work the muscles of this marriage. Sometimes they get sore.

But they talk to each other. And answer. Every day.

I am in awe. And not walking on eggshells here. Seems as if their stability will withstand the presence of a mother-in-law. If not, they will say so. I count on it by now.

Old Swimmer

Johnny Ring

Statue on Temple University Campus of Johnny Ring, bronze by Boris Blai, Dean of Tyler School of Art 1959

There is actually a statue of me in Philly!  Gathering patina from passing birds!!!

Seth Godin’s blog today was an enervating Dutch Uncle talk about critics and how important they really are.  I saved the following from that post, and have been thinking all day about statues, and how they stand there for long years, unlike critics who come and go without commemoration.

“No one has ever built a statue to a critic, it’s true. On the other hand, it’s only the people with statues that get pooped on by birds flying by.” from Seth’s blog today
It always surpises me to remember that I posed for Boris Blai’s rendition of the little boy who served alongside the soldier in the Civil War.  Dean Blai asked if I would like to pose for him as he worked on the plastilene model that was eventually cast into this statue.  I was glad for the money, and had the added allure of a Civil War uniform in the attic that belonged to one of my ancestors who fought on the Union Side.  Dean Blai was thrilled to have an authentic hat and real buttons, etc., for his project.
His wonderfully pleasant wife served us rose hip tea while I posed with sword and uniform for hours.  I suppose my strong legs (swimming, dancing, fencing) were an asset, and I was not very bosomy, so could pass for a boy in enough ways to adapt.   I went away with a bit of pocket change and an interesting memory.  I really never thought much about the final product until I ran across an article about the statue, and realized it was ME…my statue…in BRONZE, standing there in the garden at Temple U.
I can tell you, that I don’t really feel anything physical about my effigy standing there in snow and sleet and blistering heat,  but it gives me a sort of smug feeling to know how that statue was sculpted, conceived, researched.
Boris Blai studied with Rodin!   He used to rifle through the wastebasket at Rodin’s studio and snitch discarded sketches.  He told us students at Tyler about his nights sleeping on benches on the ChampsElysées and wearing the art student attire of the starving artists in Paris.  I am not sure how much of his memories were embellished, but he was indeed a man with a fascinating history, and not a bad sculptor!
So, for the record, this Old Swimmer is immortalized (I guess statues are more or less immortal) in bronze for all to see, and no one to get excited about.  But me.
Smiling, as I gather bird poop.    Old Swimmer