Saturday, November 29, 2014

Black Friday

Get your Secret Santa list ready. 
On Friday we're headed to the beach to scoop up bargains galore.
Hey, you can't beat the price — it's free.
All you have to do is pick it up — and that's fun! 

Post turkey, stuffing and pecan pie, as we kick off the holiday season we are thinking about filmmaker Kate Schermerhorn who just before Thanksgiving sent a secret sample with the exciting news that DO I NEED THIS? her latest film is definitely making progress. With lots of humor she encourages us all to never go to the mall again without asking ourselves, DO I NEED THIS?

Here is the trailer — the full feature is going to be a blast. 

And Reverend Billy and his Stop Shopping Gospel Choir have been caroling in malls asking customers, What Would Jesus Buy?

With these good questions in mind, on Friday, Black Friday, to get into the spirit, we headed to the beach to do a little shopping. Bolinas Beach, not our usual Kehoe digs, was our special destination. Eli wanted to surf and we had  grandkids in tow. Plus, given it's the shopping season, it would be a fine time to stop by the Bolinas Museum to see Judith's show — Like Diamonds, Plastic is Forever.

With a break in the rain, the weather was balmy, so there were lots of folks out enjoying the waves. And, there was plenty of plastic, shells and stones for our stop-shopping pleasure.

It was a typical collecting day in that it was easy to find at least one of most common items on our "hit list": bottles, lids, wads, tiparillo tips, food wrappers, straws, spoons. Plus, there was one glove, a sock, two pairs of sunglasses - one with the lenses and one just the frames, and a handful of small colorful pieces of plastic that we call "confetti."

There were several mysterious pieces of layered paint. Something that we have never seen before. Our best guess is that these multi-colored pieces are from some seafaring conveyance - either from surf boards or boats. Like counting rings on a tree to determine its age, we tried to count the layers of paint to figure out the years of maintenance required to keep the vessel afloat. One piece had at least 15 layers. We are keen on our new category: "paint chips" and are eager to find out their source. 

At the museum, Judith's shawls knitted from translucent dry cleaner bags and blue plastic shopping bags were a hit. 

Back at home we sorted the bag full of treasures. Shells and stones were wrapped and bowed - the perfect gift for someone who has everything.

Do I need this? Yes! Yes!! Yes!!!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Kindred Spirits

After many cyber-communications it was a special thrill to meet in person Howard and Dyan Ferren from Seward Alaska. Howard was Director of Conservation at the Alaska SeaLife Center and his wife Dyan is an fine artist and was formerly the human resources director for SeaView Community Services. Together they were the visionaries and instigators for Gyre: the plastic ocean that became an expedition, book, award winning film and exhibition at the Anchorage Museum. 

They recently retired, sold their home, packed their belongings and have set off in search of a new place to settle for the next phase of their lives. We were happy to be a way station on their journey.

They had followed our work for years so were eager to finally go to Kehoe Beach with us and pick up some plastic. These two intrepid adventurers are truly kindred spirits. No instruction was needed. As soon as we hit the beach they got right to it picking up plastic. They have a keen eyes and know exactly how to identify even the smallest pieces of plastic in the sand. Howard found a tiny fragment, the hook end from an agricultural tie and before we knew it Dyan had gathered up a bag of brightly colored small pieces. 

Agricultural ties that are commonly used by wineries are often found as marine debris on shorelines in Northern California and we have found plenty on Kehoe.  NOAA Fisheries has been doing outreach to wineries involved in a sustainability certification program. To support their efforts we have sent some of the photos of ag ties we have found on Kehoe so we are happy to have yet another pic to add to the documentation.

It's not yet the plastic season so there was not really very much plastic to be found. But, what we really found on the beach — some great new friends.

Sunday, November 2, 2014


After a successful night of trick or treating, our grandaugther is counting up the spoils, arranging the sweet goodies into rows according to brand and flavor- chocolate or fruity, hard or soft. Skittles, M&M's,  Reese's, Kit Kat, Hershey's. 

You mean I get to eat only ONE now?
Save the rest for later? to be "portion controlled" in an agony of one at a time for months? 

To honor the Dia de Los Muertos, Judith headed to Kehoe Beach to reflect upon her ancestors who have gone beyond and in this case plastic that is gone but not forever. Even in spite of the brutal wind and whipping sand she walked the tideline in a ritual procession in search of mementos of the living and the departed.

She collected a bagful of spoils - there were plenty of food and candy wrappers. In thinking about all of those Halloween confections and in an acknowledgement of the durability of the thermoplastic polymers, she re-phrased the familiar dieters saying into a different kind of forever. "A moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips” is now,  "A moment in the hand, forever on the sand."

Skittles, Snickers, Reese's, Choco*pie. 

These spoils really are….

Saturday, November 1, 2014


In 2010 we visited Van Gogh, Gauguin, Cezanne and Beyond: Post-Impressionist Masterpieces from the Musee d'Orsay at the De Young Museum with a group from the San Francisco Art Dealers Association. 

The exhibit of nearly 100 crowd pleasing paintings are the antecedents of what is one of the most popular (and recognizable) styles of art. With luxurious brushstrokes and gorgeous pastel colors, it is hard to imagine why Impressionist paintings and Post- ever evoked distain and outrage. Today we thrill at the fanciful bustle dresses from the late 1800's and marvel at the similarity of their sashay to the balloons we often find on the beach.

Against the muted tones of the gallery walls we were especially awestruck by the brilliance of the posed and poised stately figures of women which sent us on a reverie of other flourishes and grand dames of the Belle Epoch. 

Who wouldn't want to dance with Le Carmencita 1890 by John Singer Sargent?

Other stunners were Madam Roger Jordain 1886 by Albert Besnard and A Dance in the Country by Pierre Auguste Renoir.

Intrigued by the thought of our balloons gracing the museum, we photoshopped our images into place. We would love to see the illuminati of San Francisco basking in the glow of our balloons. Here is how we imagine Jan Whal, show biz personality and film critic, with hat and Gavin Newsom, mayor in awe of one of our balloon interventions.

And here an art connoisseur enjoying our masterworks.

In 2016 there will be big doings in Rio to accompany the Olympics. Given the exuberance of Brazilian culture we think our Samba Balloon series would be perfect for the Rio 2016 exhibition. Printed 1.5m x 2.1m our balloons would embody the frenzy and grace of the last planetary dance.