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Book Sale!

September 15, 2014

A dragonfly rummaged through the remains of our wildflower garden as I sat in the late afternoon sun reading. Eventually, he landed on the corner of my open book, which I held before my face.

We looked at each other a long time—it seemed mutual, since he or she had a head that could move, and it moved in apparent response to my motions. I waved to a friend, and the dragonfly flew away, but it came back to the same spot in less than a paragraph.

I watched its delicate wings bend in the breeze and marveled at how effective they were both in spite of and because of their delicacy. This was a timely reflection, because the book the dragonfly rested on was “Stuff matters: exploring the marvelous materials that shape our man-made world” by Mark Miodownik, a British material scientist.

Man-made materials and what we make of them are as remarkable as the dragonfly’s wing—steel, glass, paper, concrete, and (sic) chocolate, among others. The mastery of “stuff” has enriched our lives at home and in medicine, commerce, the arts, everywhere.

Artists have long been explorers of materials, and so we come to Fay Golson’s art show at the library. The first piece you see is “To Be or Not To Be,” in which I first glimpsed a cat, but then saw a wing, and then … oh, not to be.

The work is described as “mixed media collage.” This describes much of Fay’s work and her exploration of materials. In the show, you move from this to mixed media on paper, to oil on canvas, to encaustic with mixed media, to hand-toned silver gelatin print, to silver gelatin print with oil pastel, and so on.

“Life Patterns” is described as mixed media, and indeed I could see paper, pencil, varnish, paint, metal, ceramic, wire. “USS Crackerjack” is a mixed media assemblage that includes little pieces such as might have come from a Crackerjack box.

I’ve always enjoyed the surprises in Fay’s work, either the interesting combinations of materials or the things she thinks to do with them. She says, “If the mind is allowed to wander into uncharted territory, the unexpected will happen … The possibilities are endless and each effort is a learning process.”

The book “Stuff Matters” examines a history of this kind of effort. Results come from accident as well as careful attention. The Chinese discovery of porcelain led to profound artistic, cultural, and economic developments.

The secret of porcelain was not discovered elsewhere for many centuries. Japanese steel was not equaled until the modern age of chemistry and physics permitted an understanding of an empirical art that had been carefully developed through trial and error.

I could see Fay Golson hammering out a Japanese sword, scratching her chin, trying again. She’s a graduate of Auburn University’s School of Architecture with decades of interior design experience, but this experience merely supports her inquisitiveness as she explores new things.

Please spend some time with her show at the library. Don’t miss any of it—the show is on both sides upstairs. Go left as well as right.

If I may digress again, please note that the next library book sale is set for Saturday, October 4^th , 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. We have enough stuff for a sale now and couldn’t wait until the usual time around Halloween. Our apologies if this throws off your Christmas shopping plans.

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