Sunday, April 25, 2010

Welcome back, me

Nothing happens after six in Santa Ynez. Shops close their doors. Families retreat to sundry domestic activities like barbecuing, bocce ball, and walking their dogs. Chickens, cows, and feral cats hold court in a constant soundtrack befitting their various calls. Cows and cats don't bother me. Chickens (and roosters), on the other hand, are death for sleeping with the window open; by 4:30 a.m. they are roused, rowdy, and cackling away. Perhaps I'm more of a city-boy than I thought.

Mary and I have about four months of marriage under our belt, and about twice that amount living in the Santa Ynez Valley. Commuting continues for each of us: I to the South, she to the North. Her job continues to be exceptionally tough, and I'm amazed at her resilience. She works harder than anyone I know, and all I can do is cook dinner for her, administer back-rubs, and pick out cheesy movies to make her laugh.

As for my job? Let me begin with this:

It is time for Dan and I to take our rightful place among the hallowed passages of the Funk Zone, Santa Barbara's bastion of corrugated metal, questionable zoning, and industrial goings-on. Basically, a working artist's utopia. After a maelstrom year of huge art installations (see older posts regarding the City Bronze project), child-rearing (not mine, Dan's), and my marriage, Dan and I decided it was time to move in to a larger, more visible shop-space. Sure, we loved the fact that we could ride dirt-bikes at our old location. The weekly bobcat sightings were also nice. I don't even need to mention the boon of avocado trees at your shop door. But bucolic setting notwithstanding, the space was exposed to the elements, small, dubiously legal, and precariously situated in a box canyon (read: forging=possible wildfire=screwed).

So say hello to 118 Gray St.

It's just around the corner from some hipster wineries and furniture stores, and distractingly juxtaposed to the ocean. I like to tell Dan that it's a stone throw from the ultimate in commercial visibility (State Street), but far enough away to do what you want and not be hassled--not that we EVER do anything reprehensible. Still I like the idea that I can build a catapult, trebuchet, or ballista and not field probing questions. Of course, the main thrust of this new shop is to up the production ability of Santa Barbara Forge and Iron. We are so, so pumped. Moving will occur all this week, and into the next. Call me if you want to help.

Farewell, old shop. Your pastoral vibe will abide in memory.

Here are some recreationally-themed photos.

Little Egypt is a spectacular alpine cragging area outside Bishop.

I love the Brickyard, our local bouldering stronghold

Crimps on a classic.

Mary balances her way up Smooth Criminal.

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