Heading South on Amtrak

December 17, 2014


You are looking at some lovingly restored, turn of the (19th) century corbels spaced on the corners of the Olympia-Lacey Amtrak station. How do I know they are “corbels”? Because the sign says they are “corbels”. Actually the word jangled a hardly-ever-used synapse formed in my art history days. So dusty was the memory that I had to look it up. According to the Apple dictionary a corbel is a projection jutting out from a wall to support a structure above it. — Makes sense. Another useless bit of information revitalized.

Two things about this little gem of a railroad station: It is run by volunteers, people who really love trains. They seem to love helping clueless travelers like me. And they seem to love things like cheering, describing to each other, and counting aloud how many cars on a freight train from Canada.

Two things I have noticed in my short stay in Washington: Maybe it is the influence of the neighboring Canadians, but the people we have met have been kind and generous.

For example, the Mysterious One – who is a little short of his sell-by date — and a friend of similar vintage were unloading some heavy particle board sheets in the alley by our back door and causing a blockage in the thoroughfare. A “youngster” drove up in a pickup truck. Now, where we come from there would have been some honking, maybe a rude finger or two, and scornful disapproval. But this young man got out of his truck and asked to help load the wood. He made himself useful, then he drove on.

I had similar experiences. And while shopping for our supplies, we received info and assistance from all ages and colors of knowledgeable sales clerks. Nary a surly one among them. We were amazed!

We have heard funny turns of phrases. One that stuck was by a man who disapproved of the design of a car. “It looks like an upside-down up”, he said.

So, the people, while generally conservative in this area, seem to be people we will like and want to work with. But all is not choruses of angels, even in Port Angeles. There is homelessness and heroin addiction in my new neighborhood. And the seagulls aim with devastating accuracy.

pigeons on a roof

pigeons on a roof

I climb aboard and begin the trek home, with plenty of time to ponder the imponderables, like why do all the pigeons sit atop one house and avoid all other roofs in the neighborhood on this rainy day?

PS  At the moment of this posting the train is stopped. I hear the conductor announcing “we have the situation under control”. That is comforting, I guess. There are people with walkie-talkies. HMMMMM.

The Blue Hole

December 16, 2014

This morning we drove a rented car from Olympia up to the north of the peninsula. The land was green and magnificent along the Hood Canal, the waters and the cottages wouldn’t let the eyes go. We spotted our first Bald Eagle. (Sorry, we were too slack jawed to grab a picture.)

But the sky was grey and the road was wet.

All us Californians have heard about the rain quantities in this part of the world. But the Mysterious One and I had been told about the micro-climates here. In particular we were told of the “Blue Hole” over Sequim and Port Angeles. We learned, but did not really believe, that the mountains of Olympic National Park cast a rain shadow.

We’ll we came around the curve toward Sequim and there was the Blue Hole!

Outside Sequim, the Blue Hole

Outside Sequim, the Blue Hole

I was flabbergasted by the snow on the mountains, which seemed to be right in the back yard, because the air is so clear. The land flows gently down to the sea from those mountains, and has been use for dairy land for a few many years now. Hence the picture of a dairy farm with Hurricane Ridge in the background and the Blue Hole overhead.

I don’t know enough to write about the native peoples here. But some have casino enterprises on tribal land. Oola and I probably won’t become involved in that activity. I read in the local paper that the Clallam County tribe is looking into pot (which is legal here in WA, but — we have found — not always welcome.) “The U.S. Dept of Justice said that Native American tribes can grow and sell marijuana on tribal lands”, says the local paper. There is controversy, and much discussion.

totemWe did, however, stop for brunch at the Longhouse’s Market and Deli outside Sequim. There we found this beautiful totem sculpture named “The Salmon Bringer”. Designed by Dale Faulstich, and carved by him along with Nathan Gilles, Harry Bulingame and Bud Turner in 2007.  What a beautiful statement, especially in this world where some people are trying to capitalize on Frankensalmon, and the native rivers of the West Coast are dammed, drained, polluted and overused.

Amtrak to Olympia

December 15, 2014
Amtrak station, Emeryville

Amtrak station, Emeryville

We are traveling on the Coast Starlight, but won’t see much of the coast since we are getting aboard in the Bay Area instead of LA.  This is not a good way to travel if time is your major consideration.  But if you want to experience the old days, with sleeper cars and full service, this is one of the last.

Our trip would take 20 hours and there was much to see.

Bridge and Reflections

Bridge and Reflections

So much that at first I didn’t notice that Oola was missing.

Getting into the upper bunk requires the skills of a contortionist but we finally fell asleep to alpha waves produced by the rhythm of the train climbing into Mt Shasta territory.  The shadows of trees pointing to a misty moon were mesmerizing.

I awoke to a stunning sunrise.


sunrise and irrigation canals somewhere in Oregon

And when I could finally start putting one thought after another, I realized that we had forgotten to bring Oola.  I think she overheard the Mysterious One’s comments concerning the pillow, crawled into one of the packed boxes of art supplies in the Oakland studio, and will not be found again until we are all safely in Port Angeles — permanently.

Snow in the Cascades

Snow in the Cascades

The scenery was stunning.  Too bad on her for missing it.

Mount Hood

Mount Hood

The other passengers pleasant to talk with.  But Oola didn’t think the joke was funny.

Tomorrow we will rent a car and drive the rest of the way to Port Angeles.  Meanwhile, I have to think of a way to make it up to Oola.

The Mysterious One says he will get her a corn dog.




Coast Starlight to Washington

December 14, 2014

Oola, the Mysterious One and I are about to embark on a trip to the northern Olympic Peninsula in Washington State.  Oola still thinks we are going in Mom’s Memorial Prius.

Oola, unPhotoshopped

Oola, unPhotoshopped

But really we are going on Amtrak’s Coast Starlight.  We have reserved a roomette.  I’m wondering how all three of us will fit in there. The Mysterious One says “We will put her under the pillow.  Nobody will hear her screams.”

Have to call the taxi soon.  I’ll keep you posted.


What the Hay-L is That?

November 9, 2014

This mysterious collection of guitar pieces limped through the door begging for help.  Wildcard of Wildcard Guitars checked it out and was asked “What the Hayl is that?”  “Should we just turn this into a 6-string guitar”? But the Wildcard noticed that the neck was off center and tipped. The instrument was well-made of Brazilian Rosewood (a rare commodity now) with good materials all around.  It deserved respect.

broken guitar

Stringed instrument with broken back on the driver’s side.

neck You see a white wired LED light that Oola gave to Wildcard so he could see what’s going on inside. He could see that there were broken braces inside. At this stage Wildcard was involved with detective work:  “How did this happen and how can I reverse the process?”  “What are the weaknesses of the design and how much modification/reinforcement can I ethically do and still represent this as an antique?” So Wildcard sent some photos off to Gregg Miner of the Harpguitar Foundation.  Gregg is a collector, player, promoter, scholar, and maven of Harp guitar — The guy to ask.  And he said “It’s a Dahlman theorbo guitar,  and it will be worth it.” The Wildcard explained to Oola that Theorbo means there are extra bass strings on the guitar. Wildcard didn’t know what would support the extra strings.  He thought the brace might be made out of wood, but Gregg showed him that in reality a stainless steel tube was the historically correct replacement.

Two head stocks

Two head stocks? Uncentered, tilted to driver’s side, Chewed up inlay, broken binding.  What the hayl IS that?

In the middle of this repair, the Wildcard was called away to Port Angeles, Washington, to find a place for his new workshop.  He found this space, a couple of blocks from the ferry to Victoria BC.111oak The bottom three lower windows on the left will be the new Wildcard Guitar pickin’ parlour.  The three window cluster next to the center door will be Dove Studio. Once back in West Oakland, the Wildcard resumed his repair. Body-back repaired Here the broken pieces are replaced and glued, and the binding restored and replaced. stainless steel tube Here it is with its stainless steel reinforcing tube. with strings, ready to go Here it is finished with strings, ready to play.  Its sound has a shimmering quality because of the sympathetic bass strings. This is a guitar from the time of Debussy and the sound is reminiscent of the music of that period. This instrument was used as the bass in the mandolin orchestras which were popular at the turn of the 20th century. Classical music was played on this type of instrument.  Segovia played and recorded the same music on 6-string guitars.  Segovia became famous because of the recordings.  And today, Oola notes, most guitars are of the 6-string variety.

Mickie Zekley

Mickie Zekley

Here’s Mickie Zekley, owner of Lark in the Morning.  (The WildCard and I used to love visiting his shop of odd musical instruments in San Francisco.)  Here he is in the WildCard shop with his newly restored theorbo guitar.  You can hear  him playing 30 seconds of his own composition at https://vimeo.com/111315643.  The clip gives a good idea of what this instrument sounds like.

Mocking Bird Muse

October 8, 2014

You can click on the small images to see  larger versions.

Mom’s Memorial Prius now bears the dimples bestowed by “quarter-size hail” from a sudden thunderstorm that enveloped our climb into the Sierras during the last homeward trek.  Luckily nobody skidded off the road, and no glass was broken.  Scary though, when the windshield goes opaque with rain and hail.  Oola couldn’t see that part; she had her hands over her eyes for fear of the trucks.

It has been several weeks since the trip to Tennessee, several very busy weeks.  Among the results of all that activity is my newest artist book, Mocking Bird Muse.

Mocking Bird Muse - cover

Mocking Bird Muse – cover

Sometimes it takes a long time for a poem to ripen.  Mocking Bird Muse started as a poem about a prisoner/poet I knew when I worked as an artist at California Medical Facility in Vacaville in the ’80s. It grew into 2 books (each consisting of 4 one-paper books containing one line of the poem with photo collage) and a small one-paper book.  And it is no longer about a specific prisoner, or even about any prisoner in the conventional sense.

More pictures:

Mocking Bird Muse - drawer opened to reveal Part 3

Mocking Bird Muse – drawer opened to reveal Part 3

Opened up it looks something like this:

The text of the finished writing is stretched by the images and constrained by the necessities of the origami-like construction.  The text of these books reads:

Part one

This Jesus is a GONE poet
who combs his hair in precise exclamations!!
This poet has been known to steal crazy time.
He flies a mocking bird muse.
He stares into the sun.

Part two

He drives a yellow bus.
His hunger is insatiable.
He eats flames.

I wanted to tell my father.

Part three

Mr. Funnywalk is not afraid of anything
(except what he can find in his own head.)
His own hands are tearing him apart.
Do you have any money?
What does this mean?
They say that somewhere along the way he lost his soul.

More pictures:

Mocking Bird Muse - Mr. Funnywalk and plastic hand

Mocking Bird Muse – Mr. Funnywalk and plastic hand

Mocking Bird Muse - selected page

Mocking Bird Muse – selected page

Mocking Bird Muse - Books one and two

Mocking Bird Muse – books one and two

Mocking Bird Muse - opened

Mocking Bird Muse – opened to 2 books and window

Mocking Bird Muse - Overview close up

Mocking Bird Muse – Overview close up

The construction of this book reveals a delicious geometry which I only dimly planned, but which gives me much pleasure.

In case you are wondering, the amulet behind the window consists of a jute-wrapped harmonica, a bottle of poppy seeds, a frying pan, and a red unexplained object which just looked right.

Mocking Bird Muse is digitally (and archivally)  printed on Asuka and hand bound.  Technically this book cannot be editioned because the amulet behind the little window is not repeatable, But I would be happy to entertain proposals for an EV.

You can see more of my artist books at http://www.jandove.com

Show-and-Tell at Arrowmont

August 8, 2014

For the past 4 days there has been some intense creative work going on here at Arrowmont.  Last night students put out the (mostly-in-process) results for an informal open house.  Here is a small sampling.


Derek Weidman, instructor

From the wood turning class Derek Weidman‘s students turned out wonderful creatures.  It boggles the mind to try to understand how these were created on a lathe.

Dennis  Hinds

Dennis Hinds, student

The wood turning facilities here are extraordinary.

Wood turning classroom at Arrowmont

Wood turning classroom at Arrowmont

From the papermaking lab:

handmade paper forms

handmade paper forms

From the history of ceramics class:

From the metal working studio:

And our favorite place of all:


Adam Neese demonstrates for guests


Kat’s book

Jan Dove covers stray red inkspots with "sutures"

Jan Dove covers stray red inkspots with “sutures”

We walked home to the light of a ghost moon.  (Some stayed and imbibed a bit of the other moonshine.)


Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts

August 7, 2014

Oola and I arrived in Arrowmont Sunday afternoon after an idyllic drive through rolling, green hills and short question-mark times in some surreal vacation “hot-spots”.  We found our bunks, unpacked and began to poke about.

Arrowmont admin and galleries

Arrowmont admin and galleries

To California eyes, used to the dusty, rusty tones of August, there is amazement that everything is so green and moist.  And even at this time of year — the flowers!


extraordinary flowers, even at this late date

And everywhere galleries, inside and outside:

Melanie Eubanks

Totem poles of past wood-turners

teachers' gallery

Gallery of work by this term’s teachers

The book in the vitrine is by Dan, our teacher this week.

Daniel Mayers

Daniel Mayers, from Arizona with Kat

Dan is teacing printmaking for book making this week,  His is a knowledgeable, patient teacher who allows one to go one’s own path (which the Oola in me certainly has done this week). Even at this basic level  there is a wonderful variety of approaches by students in this class, some of whom are seasoned veterans and some of whom are beginners. I hope to be able to show you a range of the work tomorrow.

Our classroom

Our classroom

This picture was taken on the first day.  Matters have expanded exponentially since then.

There are 5 other classes going on, making for a great mix of conversation at meals.

Melanie Eubanks

Melanie Eubanks, from Mississippi

Melanie is my roomie, thoughtful and not a snorer.  She is involved in a class in which they make work derived from historic models.  Melanie’s model for this is a Minoan wine vessel.  Tsk,tsk.  She doesn’t have a website to show more of her wonderful work.

Here’s Luke, fiber artist of great fame, who quilts people’s portraits using their clothing as “materials”.

The Quilting teacher, Luke

The Quilting teacher, Luke

Next door to us is the paper-making contingent.

The paper-making patio

The paper-making patio

More to follow.  Right now I have to acquire the skill of successfully exposing photos on water-etch plates.





Rock Art in Dry Fork Canyon

August 1, 2014

Since our itinerary brought us within a reasonable distance of Dinosaur National Monument, Oola thought we should see some dinosaur fossils. That sounded good to me so we stopped in the town of Vernal, UT ready for an adventure the next day.

There my eye happened on a brochure about some petroglyphs in the area. Ever the glutton for art, I thought we could do one tour in the AM and save one for after lunch. So we found our way to Dry Fork Canyon and the McConkie Ranch (the owners of which graciously allow the public to roam parts of their private land).

Since it was a cloudy day and what sun there was was behind the panels, and since I will not be returning here to re-photograph during this lifetime,  it is difficult to see these images.  I enhanced them (contrast only) in Photoshop.  Click on each image to see an enlargement.

A storm of the previous day left everything damp and cool. It had also produced a flash flood of which there was ample evidence. I found the well-marked trail and began to wonder about my ability to follow it. Twenty years ago, yes for sure, but now???…… The whole time as I grunted and scrambled, I though, “How am I going to get down?” Soon, with Oola urging me on, my greed overcame my good sense. And I said to myself, “Self, Quit Whining.  It’s better this way to help keep destroyers away from the images.”


a short but tricky way UP

When we came to the first panel, frankly I was disappointed. Without an overhead sun to cast shadows, things were hard to see. Then, as I squinted and stared, there came the first whumph!. Suddenly I saw the image, full of the visual intent of a human being who lived perhaps a thousand years ago, right here on this spot. KICKIN’ but … I have seen lots of Fremont Culture images, and these looked a little like a learner’s permit.

What are these two doing?

What are these two doing?

Still, having come this far I was not going to give up. Clambering about I found a few images that seemed to have been “enhanced” by much later hands, if I am correct, probably in a misguided attempt to “explain” the image, scratches instead of pits, “boots” instead of the typical “Fremont Culture” feet.

Then, I turned a corner and felt a heart-stopping “WHUMPH!”. This made all the sweat — and the price that I am going to pay tomorrow — as nothing.


Really, the original is so much more brilliant than the pict

It exudes authenticity, and the authority of the original maker-of-images. It combines painting with the chip-chip-chipping of the stone. It is a story from a past that I can never understand. I soon discovered more images of extremely good quality and form.

As I was looking, scrambling and looking, there came along the path a father-son duet. When you are with rock art people, you know you are with good people. We talked a bit, and Kevin, the father, advised me not to over-do it, that I looked very red to him. Though there was more to see, I decided it best to head back. Looking down it became apparent that some of my return would be by the seat of the pants method, inelegant but effective. Kevin and James soon returned and told me that they had seen an image of a bear. I was sore disappointed, in more ways than one.

The signs all say to stay on the trail.  But it is hard to keep one’s feet on the trail when the wet sandstone crumples under them. Kevin had James help me over the rough, slippy-slidey parts of the trail. They could have traveled much faster without helping me. And I am extremely thankful for their help. Man-angels still live, and chivalry will never die. (Oola is looking for the horse.)

Kevin and James from Houston

Kevin and James from Houston

Oola is dancing to know that there is so much individual good in the world to balance out the bad behavior.  This is probably why we haven’t disappeared as a species.

Kevin and James, if you are reading this, Newspaper Rock is south of  Moab, UT and if you walk into the canyon you will find many more hidden away, just waiting for you to clamber up.

Newspaper rock

Newspaper rock

If, in your tour of Utah,  you go through Canyonlands National Monument, be sure to visit Horseshoe Canyon.  You will not want to go home.


Horseshoe Canyon paintings

PS     (All bets off on the dinosaurs)

PPS   And Mysterious One, this is for you:



I knew you would want to take it home and fix it up!

Tennessee or Bust

July 28, 2014

Tennessee or Bust! We should have a sign tied to the back of Mom’s Memorial Prius.

In a way it seems strange taking a trip in reverse of the one that so many have taken to reach California.

Yesterday we stopped at a small park a little ways from Donner Lake and the town of Truckee. The park preserves the small valley on the Aspen Creek where members of the Donner family were stopped in their attempt to reach California by a snowstorm. Everyone knows the story of their battle with cold and starvation through that enormous winter. How Elizabeth Donner and Tamsen Donner starved to save their children. And how on the arrival of the rescue party, Tamsen refused to leave her dying husband, and was never seen again. Some say the group resorted to cannibalism to survive, some say they didn’t.

Donner Party

Campsite of the Donner Family

In the sagebrush there is a small pine tree dedicated by the Donner descendants to the pine tree that had formed the core of their make-shift shelter. The dedication tree stands alone on the slope, looking dead and mournful.

Oola noted this critter close by the dead memorial tree, It appears to be a moth. Anybody know what kind?

Donner Family camp

Moth at Donner family Camp

As it was getting late, Oola and I found a place to camp on Prosser Creek, which has been dammed to form a reservoir, and which is to all appearances nearly empty, due to the drought I guess. I was busy pitching tent when Oola declared the sky to be on fire.

Sunset at Prosser Reservoir

Sunset at Prosser Reservoir

We lay in the tent listing to the sound of distant thunder.

In the very early morning I watched Venus make her appearance over the rim of the Eastern mountains. After packing the tent, etc., I watched a family of young white pelicans take flying lessons from mom. One of them looked a little confused — or resistant to education —  but they were all beautiful.





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