What's the pound, you might be wondering ... well, from the outside, it's just a string of plain-jane industrial buildings on the edge of town, but within, it can seem like a 24 hour art walk/ fun house - with a cast 15 members strong and as colorful as the rainbow. The communal atmosphere is as alive as ever with all the pillars of a small country, complete with coups, declarations, territory .. love affairs and outcasts. The place would make a great reality TV show .. but if nothing else, an amusing chapter in our next book.
As the blog title suggests, we're saying goodbye to the community with bitter sweet feelings. Our friend Mike started this place over 4 years ago with the idea of creating a sanctuary for artists to drop out of the rat race and concentrate on their ideas and offerings ... we conceived our candle concept at the pound, used community space and materials for prototypes, and were able to branch out and take flight from this funky workspace into the full fledged movement that pollen Arts has quickly become. (can't wait to tell you guys what we're up to now ... but we're trying to do this thing in order - first the farewell, then the move, then the landing : )
This is the fire pit, the pound's version of the Knight's Round Table. Wooden pallets scavenged from the alleys are brought home, chopped up and burned down. Here, the most ordinary topics find themselves commingling with the most off beat and wild. It's not uncommon to pass by the fire pit early the next morning and feel a warmth pass your pant leg from the night before.
Just recently, there's been a spring in motivation to grow food in pots and bins. Tomatoes, corn, egg plant, onions, potatoes .. and all sorts of yummies have been sprouting up around the comPound.
Pictured right is Nohemi's lounge. Her little bungalow is built in the heart of the heart of the common area, so she never misses out on any of the action. On a whim one day, we found a broken old canopy, screwed it into the face of her unit, rolled out a rug from the free pile, and dragged this old Subway Sandwich bench below, and MiMi's lounge was born. She's a great cook, realist painter, and has an instinctive communal and mothering nature.
Pictured right is a work of Sam's (she goes by 5am), and she's a prolific painter who uses just about anything as a canvas. Give her an old toaster, and she'll turn it into a robot. This girl smiles in her sleep .. a definite positive light wielding a paint pen and making friends with every character she creates. "This little buddy came along to me last night and jumped out of my pen to say, 'Hey, Sam, what's up !! Let's hang out : ) "
This is Joel's desk .. Joel knows everything about everything when it comes to art and creating, (he's got about 40 years experience on the rest of the members) and he can always be found at his desk ... he's sort of the community oracle.
The pound takes place amongst three buildings - two are primarily indoor studios, eateries, and storage, but in the southern most building, the part we think of as the heart of the complex, there's a large blacktop courtyard with a 20 X 30 canopy, couches and hang out spots, and an ever evolving wood working section. Here, the gatherings take place, plants are sprouted, power tools shape wood, and many of the artists have nested into their lively outdoor work stations.
Paper swans and power tools : )
Juwels went wild with the scroll saw the day before presenting at a big trade show. She still had saw dust behind her ears and in her hair the day of the show, good times : )
We loved having a wood shop ; ) It was so nice to be able to play with our power tools and build furniture and displays from disregarded gems. We found the supplies for this table in back alleys, and the facing was an old farm fence that we harvested from our backyard ranch ; )
One of the girls in the collective, Miriam, makes some of the coolest ninja-esque gear. She rides a crotch rocket motorbike and paints spontaneous portraits of passersby on the community grounds. We had a friend over the other day who seemingly disappeared on a trip to the restroom. When she didn't return 30 minutes later, we ended up finding her sprawled on a table in the workspace, being made into art. "I was just passing by, and she asked me if I wanted to sit for a portrait ... "
The Dinosaur is an old nonfunctional motor home which was parked beside our Winnie in the dirt lot adjacent to the buildings. We used to say that the Winnie was the Dino's girl friend. She never denied it : ) Our friend Jamie renovated the Dino into her bright and colorful workshop. Jamie is like a human bottle rocket, and her boyfriend Joey n-e-v-e-r stops laughing. Great, positive people in love, so refreshing.
Even though she claims she's not writing a novel, that stack of papers on the left might as well be one. Jamie is an amazing writer and can be heard diligently pecking away on her antiquated typewriter everyday... yet another inspiring sound emitting from the Dino's innards ; ) Being in the Dinosaur is like walking into a painting. Jamie's paint strokes expand beyond her canvas. Her pants are her pallet, streaked with color, and her floor is smeared with paint creating forms and shapes like faces in the clouds.
Now this, my friends, is Potato. He's Jamie's pup ... so damn cute this little spud. He loves hanging around the fire, lounging in the sun, and barking at his own shadow. He snores and snoots and sleeps all day, but at night he can be found discussing 18th century literature while puffing on a cigar (his grimy rawhide bone). When we started talking about sailing the Winnie to a new setting, Jamie inconspicuously slid this little dog bed behind our back right tire. She said she was training him for his "sit in" ... and wouldn't you know it, when it came time to warm up our engine, that little bugger chained himself to the hubcap. We know they'll both be visiting us real soon ... fingers crossed.
This is our outdoor workspace. We used to make all of our candles in the Winnie, but once the demand picked up, and we literally couldn't walk down the aisle, we spilled out into the canopied courtyard between the Dino and the Winnie. On the top right you can see our big 300 lb. industrial wax melter ... our beekeeper friend John from Honey Pacifica let us borrow the melter for way too long .. he's such a good guy : ) We quickly outgrew our little red honey pot and we're ever so grateful that John's benevolence made it possible for us to fill the orders ; ) We just finally purchased our own cauldron that can melt 1000 lbs. of beeswax at a time! We're calling it the volcano. It's so colossal that we're literally going to have to build a small set of stairs to get up high enough to drop the wax in !
Tin heart to catch the drippings ; )
100% cotton wicks cooling in the California breeze.
Potato looks a little guilty, wouldn't you say ...
We found this old griddle at the thrift store, and it works wonders for smoothing and leveling out the bottoms of our beeswax bottles.
One morning we woke up to find the bees climbing in and out of this little crack under the warped desk top. To keep them around, we drizzled a little honey here and there. Word spread, and by the middle of the day there were a few hundred bees buzzing about. We were blessed to have them buzzing around - the only trick though was keeping them from dive bombing into the wax melter ...
And of course we couldn't help but entice them into a little PA photo shoot. They didn't seem to mind..
John also lent us some old hive boxes for a display we were building. The local bees didn't miss this opportunity, and Juwels took many pics up close and personal. "Look !! They don't mind me at all ... they can feel my good energy," she said just before getting a sting right on the chinny chin chin. Youch!! In the bee's defense, she was a tad close with her head buried half in the box. The real kicker though was that it happened the day before we were going to a show, and her chin became swollen .. but only on the right side. Ha! It made you feel a little off balance just looking at her. I said she looked like Jim Carey from "Me Myself and Irene" ... the scene where his alter ego, Hank, gets him a chin enhancement .. she didn't think it was funny.
Bees truly are mathematical geniuses...
We want to get a retractable awning for the Winnie. Luckily, the Dino had one ... we pulled it out one late night and were elated to see that it worked. We kept our pouring tables under the Dino's wing. It was a perfect setup, and Jamie was very gracious to let us spill our beeswax day and night outside her front door : )
When we were finally ready to embark on our voyage, the Winnie's old space didn't sit empty for a second. A new nomadic artist, Nicole, was ready to pull her very cute little vintage trailer along side the Dino. Here she is on the first day of her arrival.
"Is there a problem, officer?" ..."Do you have a license to drive that butterfly?"
We feel lucky to have been given the chance to be a part of this little slice of freedom. Farewell to the pound, you've been a great host, and we wish you and the cast all the best that life has to offer.
keep the dream alive, love,