Everything smells like wet rotting oysters around me.
Yesterday I had a delivery of 2 tons of oyster shells to my site. They had been sitting and rotting in a pile somewhere, so they were covered in seaweed, sand, ants and who knows what other muck.
But I was quickly able to put my students to work moving them out into the installation. Now I have a path of oyster shells leading out into the wetlands. But my students don’t ever want to see another oyster shell again. Little do they know how many more they will be handling.
I feel like I am back in the school sculpture studio again. Having to sign out all my tools, and feeling like the other artists are hoarding a bit on them. Wanting to find the right time to work when no one is around. People just keep leaving the tools, bicycles and their back packs willy nilly all across the porch and courtyard. I feel this constant need to keep things in order around me, to clean up after everyone so that only I can mess the place up, therefore if I step on a saw left laying on the ground, I only have myself to blame.
Am I getting too old for this? My hands ache from grasping the shovel handle to dig my holes. My arms are getting covered in freckles from working out under the sun. My hiking shoes are covered in oyster shell muck. The holes I dig keep filling up with water, and I fear that what I build will be blown away with the fist big Typhoon, since I am not allowed to pour concrete footings into the wetlands.
But really I should not complain. I have two very dedicated assistants, I am being fed very well with the freshest of food picked right from the organic garden or just plucked from the sea. It is just sometimes a struggle to deal with the feeling of being dependent on communicating my material and artistic needs to others instead of being able to take care of them myself. But then this is the nature of working in other countries, being flexible with the culture and challenging myself to live and work with others instead of just hiding away in my little apartment up in Harlem, burrowed into my studio and computer.
Well here we go, another day for the rooster to crow and get back to work.