Arizona: the swag

Why do we feel compelled to buy things when we travel?  Shouldn’t the experience be enough, particularly if that experience is as glorious as ours was?

I guess we want tangible memories to put on our shelf when our world shrinks back to normal, kind of bringing in those exotic threads and weaving them into the pattern of our everyday lives.  That’s my story, at least, and I’m sticking with it.

Here’s a classy little jigger with the “Man in the Maze” design, and next to it a little round pebble that I allegedly picked up at an alleged vortex.  We claim that we collect jiggers, but can you call it collecting if all you do is stick them in a drawer where they remain unseen?  Not that I want to turn into one of those people with sixty-something jiggers displayed on cute little shelf units…

Yet another “Man in the Maze” item.  (Remember that I also bought the sandstone coasters with the design.)  This is a little amulet—I’m going to attach it to a beltloop of the Utilikilt I wear when I’m Camping with the Hippies™.

A lovely little glass bowl—the artist was selling them on the street in Jerome, and for very cheap.  They’re quite as lovely as some things I saw in the galleries thereabouts.  I’ve included the jigger for scale.  I’m thinking this might be a good little bowl to use to prepare the vortex dirt for whatever ceremonial purposes we come up with for the hippies—the little floppy bit in the rim makes a good thumb hold.

Another piece by the same artist, slightly larger.  He uses gases from heating gold and silver to create the finishes.

And this is the crown of all: a zebra-tailed lizard (male), made of polymer sculpting clay  and hand-painted.  Is he not fabulous?  He’s also extremely delicate; I have to find a place where Abigail cannot thwap him to the floor.

Here’s his ventral side, with the artist’s signature.  I was assured by the salesperson at the gallery that the markings are indeed what the beast looks like, but I think the artist—autistic though he may be—took a couple of liberties1 just for a “wrinkle in the sky” effect.2

There were a couple more items, but they’re not interesting—a few crystals, a trendy hipster t-shirt I bought to wear to Camp with the Hippies™, a bundle of cedar for smudging which actually has trouble staying lit, that kind of thing.  All in all, a good haul, and enough to have part of my everyday world flash with the beauty of the Arizona canyons.

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1 Looking at the Califorina Herpetological Society’s photos, I’m wondering whether he also confused the female and male dorsal sides.  However, the photos at Reptiles of Arizona are more in line with the artist’s vision.  Hm.

2 Some early 20th-century set designer, Edward Gordon Craig I think3, once designed a gorgeous outdoor set, and once they had it lit perfectly he went to the back of the stage and gave the cyclorama a good yank, creating a wrinkle in the sky.  His aides were appalled at how he had spoiled the illusion, and his reply was along the lines that the audience ought never to forget that what they were watching was art, not life.

3 I say “I think” because I can’t remember and the intertubes are astoundingly ignorant of the quote.  Maybe it was Adolph Appia.   Or maybe my lighting teacher made it up.

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