We have had a warm and mostly dry autumn thus far at the Falls of the Ohio. I’m taking advantage of another lovely weekend to go exploring along my favorite spots on the riverbank. I usually begin by going down to the water’s edge to see if anything new has washed up. Here are a few of the objects I came across and added to my ever burgeoning collecting bag. Some of my finds I will use in my sculptures while the more interesting objects will enter one of the various river collections I have been assembling. As usual, I find some doll or doll element along the river’s edge . Aside from plastic balls…dolls are the toy that I find the most which has always struck me as being odd. First, I came across this tiny doll with purple hair. If you look closely you can see burrs that are snagged in her hair-do. Later, I found this larger doll that was buried in the sand. I flipped her over and took her “portrait” and then walked away. It’s very possible that I will find her again in a different context. My most interesting find of the day was this plastic ax-head. I’m always on the look out for any real artifacts from the Indigenous people who lived here for thousands of years before Europeans arrived, but I have never found even the slightest fragment of pottery or the flakes left over from chipping projectile points. I think the river here is just too dynamic for those kind of discoveries. Nevertheless, this plastic ax-head says a lot about the time in which it was made. First, it is made of hollow plastic which is of course not nearly as durable as flint. Second, it clearly says where it was made which in this case is Hong Kong. Lastly, it promotes an inaccurate characterization of who are native people are. Here are the images that are on this souvenir tomahawk.
After scoping out the river’s edge…I move up the riverbank with the larger pieces of Styrofoam I have found and submit to my own urge to make something. Here is this day’s figure starting with the head in progress. You can gauge its size from my feet which are intruding in the bottom edge of the frame. As I walk along, I’m also looking for expressive sticks to use for arms and legs. The only tool I’m using here is my pocket knife.
After putting all the pieces together…I move back down to the river and try to capture another portrait in the context of this day. Usually, I take several images and a few of these capture how active the river was.
The sunlight was bright on this day and cast strong shadows which I like. One difficulty of photographing polystyrene is that it is so relentlessly white that it reflects the light so strongly often washing out my images. Sometime’s it is if the light is emanating from the figure itself. I’m sure photographing some of my sculptures with infrared film would yield interesting results.
The last picture I snapped is where I left the figure before heading home. I came to call him “Wedgehead” because of the shape of his noggin. He was last seen standing in what looks to be tall grass, but is in fact young willow trees that sprouted since the last flooding.
Soon, all the leaves will be down and the bare bones of the Falls of the Ohio will show itself. The sense of space will also greatly change creating another stage for the drama that is the Falls of the Ohio. Have a great week everybody!