Sunday, December 09, 2007

Big Bug Station in Mayer, Arizona

Friday Dec. 7thAn extremely grey rainy day. A few local denizens came in from the wet. Topper, looking somewhat grizzled and damp, came in. He is an enthusiast of the old and rusted and historical. He is a seasoned and polished barterer. Dragging his oxygen tank with him and proudly introducing his wife Pat to me, he presented with a flourish an old container with a long neck and a fine spout that looked to be a left handed pouring tin of some sort. In his usual manner of trying to suck us all into the fun, he asked those gathered there to guess what it was. “I don’t know, but it looks like an old miner’s midnight pisser to me!” I volunteered. (I didn’t want the locals to think I was a big city girl that knows nothing about rougher lifestyle things) He also waved about a file like tool and some pocket knives. This was the fourth time I had seen Topper here tempting Mike who is in the business of selling antiques. Mr. Conners snapped at the bait and went into the back to consult a book on old tools. I left them to their bartering .Chris Brown, a local sculptor of marble and alabaster sat at my table. He had just been to a resort considering to once again show his work. I was full of questions about his sculptures so he braved the chill drizzle and brought me his portfolio from the car. I was impressed with the great detail in each piece. The pages unfolded his work…elephants, humpback whales, a mountain goat, polar bear, eagles, and a buffalo. His work in progress though is a real beaut. “Started out as a 500 lb. piece of rock and is down to 350 lbs. now,” he said. The incredible detail of the sea turtle’s parts; the shell, its skin, a shiny beak. All his large heavy animal sculptures showed the stress of living in the wild----. damaged shells and hides and bedraggled coats. The alabaster’s colors lend itself to his sculptures showing the stain and strain of fighting to survive both the elements and predators. He spoke of his works as a man speaks of his children, with pride and concern and affection. That conversation and portfolio provided all the warmth I needed to go back out into the rain and unload my car as I continued my move into the small apartment two doors down.