Saturday, July 10, 2010

Forbes and Jay

"The doors we open and close each day decide the lives we live."
Flora Whittemore

We were standing outside a door we hadn't even noticed,  when we spotted a man with a great face smoking a funny little pipe.  He was the only other person around and I guess he couldn't help but hear us commenting.  He happily accepted our compliments and chatted to my friend while I took photos of him.  I missed the explanation of what the pipe was made from, tend to not hear much when I'm taking photos. 

It started to rain lightly and he invited us to come in to his studio.  Stepping through that door probably will not have an impact on our lives but it did decide the course of our afternoon.  Or maybe it will, maybe it reminded us to stop to chat with a stranger more often, to be open to possibilities.

We entered the studio of Forbes Roxburgh, artist.  Learnt the history behind his name, where he was born - like us, in Australia.  He pulled up old chairs for us and a stool for himself and we hung out.  We told him why we had been visiting the craft shop at the Quarry Arts Centre and he told us the best person for that particular commission.  (All will be revealed about that in a few weeks, I hope.  Watch this space, Hana.)

We talked about his paintings and expressed our opinion about his work in progress.

He told us about the Blues Band he and a few friends are forming.  My eyes and ears don't seem to work at the same time any more, I was engrossed in what I was seeing, just hearing the tone of his voice more than the words.  Chris did the active listening and I should have asked her for the details before starting this.

At the Quarry Art Centre 10 or more artists have their studios set in the grounds of an old quarry.  There is a ramshackle collection of old buildings to house the various artists.
Forbes invited us to come and have a coffee with Jay, the man who makes the pipes, a bone carver and another member of the new band.  Jay also makes cigar box guitars which originated in the American south.

In no time he had finished the last of his lunch and picked one up and was giving us a demonstration.  What a sweet, sweet sound from the simplest of simple instruments.  To hear such music while touching beautiful whale bone carvings was very special, a delight for the senses. 
Don't ask me how the conversation turned to Jay's rattlesnake skin boots but in a flash he was up the stairs to his bedroom and returned to show us his boots.  Sounds like they are what gets his mojo working!

I found it hard to get a good photo of Jay, the light from the window behind him kept catching on his hair.  And when I take photos of people I like to get them as they are.  Ask them to move somewhere else and it's not the same for me.  Shame really because here was another great face, a younger one and not yet wearing the test of time but I'd like to photograph him again in another ten years or so.  And I loved the broken off end of the beer bottle!

and the bone:

Forbes was pouring the freshly brewed coffee as I took this next photo and the steam, combined with my lack of skill, produced this:

And I love it!  It somehow captures our afternoon.  
Forbes eventually took us off for a stroll around the grounds, to see the waterfall and the first flowers of spring.
Thank you Forbes and Jay for a fabulous afternoon!


  1. He is so handsome. I don't know about you. Mature men is more handsome than young man. My son teases me that because I am old.

  2. Beautiful - so revealing of character. I love the 'steam' shot.

  3. my favorite is Jay and his guitar - his face fuzzy and the light on his hand and back behind on his art... maybe this says what is importnat about him - more than a clear shot of his face.
    good job Missy.

  4. What a dynamic environment you live in, Pauline! And I say dynamic although it also appears to be laid back. Sometimes we have to look closely to see just how full of life some people are. Your photos also reveal that you are a close observer… and you have quite an eye! And speaking of what you call your “lack of skill”, I would say that there is no lack… rather an overflow. I do think that last photograph is my favorite of all.

    I am delighted that you left me your trail and am more delighted to be following your journeys and still moments. Here’s to new friendships!


  5. One thing, Pauline, that you do not lack is skill. In fact your range of skills is considerable and amusing words and photography are but two that we see evidence of in your blog.


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