Monday, August 27, 2012

A Tale of The Chapel of St. Ignatius

I visited this Chapel last month on vacation in Washington State. I was reading a worn out paper epistle with softened corners called Great Expectations by Charles Dickens.  The reading requires thinking and a bit of Googling to look up fancy language every 2 minutes.

It was necessary for Joe to hold on heavily to the table with his left elbow, and to get his right leg well out behind him, before he could begin, and when he did begin, he made every down-stroke so slowly that it might have been six feet long, while at every up-stroke I could hear his pen spluttering extensively.

 I liked that bit about how Joe Gargery, Pip's blacksmith Uncle who brought him up 'by hand' made an attempt to learn how to write while Pip went away to establish himself.  When Pip left, Joe could barely put two words together in a sentence.  Just like a character in a classic or an architectural wonder, you really have to read the book cover to cover to appreciate how the idea or person came into being.

It would have been necessary for Biddy, Joe's wife's attendant and a bit of an undercurrent character in Great Expectations, to sit in the curving bench in front of the Altar of the Chapel while Pip and Joe investigate every hand-textured surface.  She would be reading her own Bible brought from her humble home.  She wouldn't have paid much attention to the space thinking it was a bunch of overcooked religious fodder.  She would be reading some verse which has "...various specimens of the insect world smashed between their leaves." 

If Joe and Pip from Great Expectations we standing in front of these glass jars Joe would start by saying, "These r holy ole used fur sumfin I dont no but kin oynle gess it to be Three Rums."  Pip would look around to see if Mr. Pumblechook was standing behind a wall listening to his Uncle's butchered use of  the English language.  Pip would pick up Joe's worn out hat that he set on top of the steel cantilevered shelf.  The lifeless chain reminds Pip of  Magwitch, the Convict's ankle chain that he files away at.

A solitary candle reminds Pip of Estella, the extraordinary bird carrying a candle to light the gloomy damp corridor in Miss Havisham's Satis House.

If Estella was here she wouldn't be inside with Joe and Pip, she would be sitting on this stone bench knitting.  After finishing a row, she would glance up quickly at how the hand carved Alaskan yellow cedar door sets neatly in a bronze frame and is set flush within the concrete wall. *that wasn't so bad now was it?*    She is thinking of how she is going to chuck Pip's mini-van keys into the reflecting pond.  She would be thinking how this building reminds her of the Churches she visited during her summer holiday in Rome.  Estella would be reveling in the her knowledge that it was her who gave Steven Holl, the award winning Architect the insight to cast the two bronze bells for the Chapel in the world -famous bell foundry of Paccard-Fonderie de Cloches, near her fashionable crib near Annecy-le-Vieux, France.

Pip would need a triple shot of espresso to warm him from "...the cold shivery mist..."  The entourage of characters would step into Stumptown Coffee Roasters a quick walk from the Chapel.
Pip's dear old chap Herbert would greet them all warmly as he was prepares a caffeinated brew.  Joe ordered the House Blend naturally and was "...tucking up his sleeves as if he were going to wield a crowbar or sledge hammer" as he searched for the half and half.

So I am trying to get into A Tale of Two Cities and I don't get it yet.  

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Florence, Arizona: Main Street Study

The thing about Florence, Arizona is that it is close enough for a day trip.
To the north-west is a high, extensive plain.  To the south and trending east are the  usual ranges of low, volcanic and granite mountains, while across to the south the eye can discern the far outline of the Picacho Peak.  Hinton, J. Richard, Handbook to Arizona 1877.
Florence has the oldest functioning Arizona State Prison complex.  I bought a birthday card for my nephew at the only place that was open, The Prison Outlet Store full of handmade crafts made from inmates .  If I had a two story white art gallery with a 48 inch white pedestal I would have bought this sadistic, naughty looking clown head sculpture that was no bigger than a bar of soap.  

Chamber of Commerce, 1890 Conrad Brunenkant Building, Florence, Arizona

Why didn't they paint the space between like "...malachite, silver and copper, which sparkle in the sun brighter than emeralds."  Florence is close enough to the "...Silver King mine that was discovered by four farmers Reagan, Copeland, Mason, and Long who were bringing copper ore from the Globe mine which they had previously discovered."  Hinton, J. Richard, Handbook to Arizona 1877.

It was a cool 118 degrees at high noon so I chose to walk on the shady side.

Mauk Building 1925,  Florence, Arizona. Designed by Phoenix Architect and movie house mogul, George Mauk 

I really love this building in so many ways. When air conditioning is king, I can appreciate a good solid marquee, probably because the architect George Mauk from Phoenix, was also a movie house mogul.  The clerestory window is tighter in length than the marquee which helps to bring the eye upward.  I also like how the two mullions that divide it in three segments are thicker than the secondary thin sized mullions. 

Underside of the marquee of Mauk Building 1925,  Florence, Arizona. 

John Nicholas Saloon and Beer Hall 1886, Florence, Arizona

John Nicholas Saloon and Beer Hall 1886, Florence, Arizona

The saloon building works in terms of holding your attention.  The window proportions hit the mark with the height of the building.  The frieze on top is intricate and has a gradual rhythm that brings your eye to the flat arch brick work over the windows.  The relief work of the brick over the windows sends your eye pin balling upwards.  The dusty teal accents against the oldest standing Florence fired brick building is arresting.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Light Meter

Eastman Cotton Gin, Miller Road and Baseline, Buckeye, Arizona

This is what I thought was beautiful this morning at 5:41am today.  Well the only time to wash and use a blow dryer on my tiny hair is about 4:00am anyhow.  It is extreme heat these days in the desert.  I was waiting at the entry gate of the Gin so that my Father in Law, Dr. Edward DuBrow and his photography chum Ken Clemmer could have access to take some photos before the sun came up.

I always enjoy watching Ed take photos. He is strict with the schedule.  You have to capture the subject that you photographing before the sun comes up. That is it.  He is an extremely timely guy.  He had lots of his fancy expensive cameras with black and white film loaded.

Ken and Ed went under the fence with their heavy bag of gear and set up the tripod.  We felt so full of ourselves starting before the authority showed up to open the gate. But look at the light and the what the clouds were doing today!  

There is Ken Clemmer. Ken and Ed have been friends for 20 years and have shared many photographing adventures. Ken has a full on dark room.  Ken was in charge of taking digital colored photos while Ed stuck with the black and white film.  

Right now while Dr. DuBrow is seeing his patients, I am sure he has a burning excitement to sit over his light table with his magnifying glass to check out the work.

That was me in my checks, jeans and boots. Ken said I looked mean!