Start With the Rocks
To know the desert, the textures and colors, the way the light changes space here, the incredible vastness, the curve of the earth always looming. It is too much, too much space to know, too much land untouched. So i start with knowing the rocks, start with looking at the way cracks form from other cracks, the way edges are textured, the way the colors contine over geometric edges, the way the fractals in the rocks mimic the fractals of water in the washes after the rain, the tendrils reaching for the lowest point. This week I have been talking about rocks with Laura, who is visiting from NY and doing a residency here for 6 weeks. She is a painter, and thought she wanted to paint the desert, but it proved to be too much to translate. She too has been knowing the rocks, collecting the rocks (as a land scape), 3 at a time, on a blue painted board. The desert gets into all that we do here, without having to try to express what the desert is directly. The desert. By knowing the micro we can understand the macro, slowing down to look at all the parts of a whole, spending 3 days with the same rock that I can hold in the palm of my hand- the smooth face, the quartz pink underside, the dark hidden crack threatening to break the rock in two. I painted these rocks over a period of 3 days, each time I look at them i notice more, not details, but fragments of a geologic process, an action that happened millions of years ago still imprinted on the earth, perhaps quite unchaged. Visible time.
Katie Bachler was our first HDTS Scout, and was in residence from 2012-2013.
The HDTS Scout Residency is dedicated to learning more about the people and places that make up our diverse and ever evolving community.
During Katie’s residency, visitors were invited to drop into the HDTS HQ, the Scout’s home base, to meet Katie, who could be found making maps, hosting conversations, and baking bread – in between her off-site adventures around town and out in the field.
Katie had a lot in store during her time here, including:
- a series of talks featuring local experts
- joining together to create a web of knowledge
- a research library and archive documenting the many spaces, places, plants, and people that make up this special region
- casual conversations with drop in visitors over tea
- site visits and field trips around town
Katie engaged the community by instigating map-making and rag-rug braiding workshops, the Scout’s Book Club, Art in the Environment classes for desert kids, casual conversations, site visits and field trips—all shared in her Scout’s blog, which serves as the foundation for her book.