Posts Tagged ‘Jill Craig’

  • Heavy meddle: Art imitates life in Dan McCabe’s metalwork

    Aug 29, 14 • ndemarino • 5enses, Portfolio3,632 CommentsRead More »

    By Jill Craig Warm spring air melts winter snow creating rivulets that rush to rendezvous with their kin from the mile-high ranges surrounding Prescott. The water flows freely through the foothills gathering sedimentary souvenirs from forests, mid-century neighborhoods, Whiskey Row, and Watson Woods, all destined for the great Verde River. As a curious couple trek through the dells, that ancient Martian landscape, a fresh breeze beckons them to the place where the runoff creek meets crumbling granite. The couple sits in silence, basking in the peacefulness and perfection of moment and place. The man, a middle-aged artist, watches the water swirl and crash in a froth of bubbles. With strong hands and arms defined by hours of metalwork and bright, kind eyes that hint at curiosity and drive, he looks every part the artist. Deaf since early childhood, he levies his intense, singular focus on the creek. He peers into the microcosm of minute flora mixed with nutrients and minerals washed from the surrounding forested mountains. Then a spark, a moment of brilliant illumination. This is artist Dan McCabe. And what he sees is more than water breaking on granite; he sees the propulsion that pushes his craft.   ‘Shukuzu’ Later, in his studio, the man, McCabe, takes a crucible with bronze heated to 2,000 degrees, and pours it onto a bed of cold steel. He watches as the super-heated

  • The grind: Rick Hartner bridges passion & practicality

    May 2, 14 • ndemarino • 5enses, Portfolio20 CommentsRead More »

    By Jill Craig It began as a matter of practicality. In the late 1990s, Rick Hartner was working a 9-to-5 job as an operations manager for a recycling and composting facility in California. While planning for a conference, Hartner tried making easels out of recycled metal instead of renting. It would save the rental few. In turn, each unique easel was sold and the profits went to the recycling facility. This idea was the seedling of what became Hartner’s Sitting Duck Studio. After leaving the recycling company, Rick pondered the possibilities of launching a new career in art. He had always been creative — he played the mandolin and guitar — but after enrolling in a welding class and messing around with a few scraps of metal, Rick was inspired to try his hand at metal sculpting. One question remained, however. Could he do it for a living? Space for art Many an artist has found it difficult to balance financial stability with creative drive. Hartner has spent the past 14 years paving a way to support his family and simultaneously express his innate creativity. In 2000, with the full support of his wife, he dove in head first by investing $2,000 to start Sitting Duck Studios. Today, in Kirkland, Hartner is a different kind of 9-to-5-er — one who creates what he dubs “one-of-a-kind contemporary metal sculpture.” “In order

  • Moving pictures: Jeff Robertson & co. keep sight of the Big Picture

    Jan 3, 14 • ndemarino • 5enses, Portfolio14 CommentsRead More »

    By Jill Craig A pair of over-sized computer monitors perch on a large, otherwise spartan desk. The monitor on the right offers a frozen frame of something like translucent strands of fabric. A large black rectangle of textured soundproofing leaps from the wall behind the desk. The monitor on the left offers rows of video clip thumbprints including a variety of angles, close-ups, and wide shots. A chunky couch roosts against the opposite wall. Below the thumbprints, three or four horizontal lines hold seemingly random numbers and images. An assortment of video equipment broods around the rest of the room. And, each occupying a chair in the new Big Picture Video Production office in Prescott, Jeff Robertson and Zack Drake stare at the pair of monitors. Drake finishes setting up the duo’s most recent project — promotions for Prescott artist Annie Alexander. He’s been busy editing each thumbprint, which is actually bits of video, into smaller, more selective movements. Each instant has been strategically placed into a narrative that runs along the horizontal spaces on the left-hand monitor. Drake hits play and the end result, a three-minute promotional video, dances across the right-hand monitor. What looked like fabric reveals itself to be long strands of Alexander’s high-quality handmade paper hanging from the ceiling of a white studio space. The paper creates a jungle of finely textured, organically colored vines. In

  • January’s cover unveiled

    Dec 28, 13 • ndemarino • 5enses, NewsNo CommentsRead More »

    The January 2014 issue of 5enses features a story about Big Picture Video Production penned by longtime contributor, first-time cover-story writer Jill Craig. The cover, based on a photo by Zack Drake was illustrated and designed by 5enses’ own Jimmy Polinori, creative director and Brain Food columnist. Pick up the new issue of 5enses at more than 225 locations in Prescott, Prescott Valley, Chino Valley, and Dewey-Humboldt on Friday, Jan.

  • Oh, deer!

    By Jill Craig In every outdoor educator’s cache is a game called “Oh, Deer!” To play, one third of the students play deer, each looking for a specific habitat need such as food, shelter, or water. The remaining students play those habitat needs. During each round the deer seek out a partner from the other side that matches the resource they require. As the game unfolds, it becomes clear that resources are limited and survival is not a given. The only deer to survive for another round are those that find a resource match. This game is a great way to illustrate “carrying capacity” — how many individuals the ecosystem can support — and “limiting factors —hunting, predator-prey relationships, disease, and seasonal weather changes —that are everyday challenges for wildlife. While the game is educational and fun, it has real implications. Fall and winter are the toughest times of the year for mammals, including deer. There are two species of deer in Arizona: Coues White-tailed Deer and Mule Deer. Coues deer, a subspecies of White-Tailed Deer, have a range from southeastern Arizona up to the Mogollon Rim. Coues are small — 65 pounds, on average — and can be identified by their broad tail and salt-and-pepper coat. Mule Deer have a broader habitat range, and are slightly bigger than Coues deer. Mule Deer can be identified by their large ears

  • Fall in line with ritual

    By Jill Craig We have a wood burning insert in our fireplace at home that provides all the heat we need on cold winter days and nights. I have a ritual, you could call it, for firing it up for the first time each season. I like to put on my favorite James Taylor melodies, make a batch of potato leek soup and a loaf of bread, and pull out all of my cozy sweaters and blankets while putting away my summer shorts and tanks. This is my way of saying “Hello Fall!” Having grown up in the Allegheny Mountains of Pennsylvania, each Arizona fall I continue to expect sweeping landscapes of deep oranges, reds, and yellows. My ears crave the crunching of mounds of fallen leaves, and my nose searches out the scent of cold, pre-snow air mixed with fallen foliage. While we may not have grandiose fall colors here in the Arizona Highlands, there are still pockets of seasonal change — it’s simply a matter of seeking them out. Since most of the forest canopy is comprised of evergreen trees such as Ponderosa Pines, Scrubs, Emory and Grey oaks, Piñon Pines, and Alligator Juniper, there isn’t much color at the changing of seasons. To satisfy that aesthetic need it’s best to travel a bit higher in elevation or closer to streams and valleys where more deciduous trees tend

  • Outdoor Outings: A fungi-filled forest

    By Jill Craig Somewhere in the forest, a round tan ball the size of a half-dollar is pushing through the leaf litter. Encouraged by monsoonal moisture, this fungal ball’s arms open into a star. Then they expand exposing a small white pouch to the sky to welcome rain that, in turn,  releases spores. These spores travel with the wind and rain until they find a suitable soil home t0 create a new community. The ball is called an Earthstar because it looks like a star — a very small one, mind you — that’s fallen from the sky. Earthstars are actually the fruiting body of an underground network of fungi called mycorrhizae. When conditions are ripe, the network reproduces. Odd as it may same, this network is extremely important to the health and well-being of the forest. Basically, the roots of plants and trees have agreed to work together with mycorrhizae. The fungus, with its widespread network, attaches to roots and helps secure moisture and nutrients in the soil that plants can access. In turn, plants produce sugars via photosynthesis that travel to their roots and are absorbed by fungi. It’s a pretty good deal for both parties. Earthstars are great fun. When you find one, take it home and try letting it dry out then re-wetting it. You can find earthstars year-round, but they’re most common after periods of

  • Outdoor Outings: When it rains …

    By Jill Craig You can feel it coming. The air thickens and begins to smell like moist soil. The wind picks up, scattering the leaves. Birds become still and quiet. A monsoon is coming. It comes after a hot morning. If you watch the sky, perhaps you’ll see a thunderhead building, getting taller, getting bigger. Then, suddenly, rain comes battering to earth, as if a giant watering can were tipped over. It kicks up dry dust and soaks everything in sight within seconds. But, just as suddenly as it begins, it ends. The only evidence it leaves are gushing creeks, a clean swept smell, and dripping pines. After months of bone-dry weather, monsoons come just in time to replenish the high desert, hills, and valleys creeks. With each microburst, dry hillsides bloom into blankets of late summer wildflowers, carpets of native grasses burst into color — though you have to look closely for a peek into that world — and, right when you get the feeling that summer’s heat will never end, there’s a springtime sense that everything is fresh and new. Earlier this spring, native oak species (Scrub, Emory, and Grey) dropped their leaves in preparation for a long, hot summer — the norm is fall, but these trees know better. These sad, deceased looking trees now release soft, bursting, pokey leaves that are ready to soak up the

  • Highlands Center for Natural History’s Outdoor Outings: Drop by drop (by drop)

    By Jill Craig When raindrops fall to the earth, do you know where they go? Some are absorbed, nourishing the roots of plants or feeding into an aquifer, others evaporate, and still others run off with nutrients and debris as they roll downstream following the path of least resistance. From the moment one drop of rain makes contact with the earth, it begins a long, important journey. Small streams of water carve shallow rivulets into the arid Southwest soil until they reach larger washes or creeks. These washes accumulate more water and move further downstream into larger bodies of water: puddles, swimming holes, ponds, lakes, or oceans. That raindrop is traveling through a watershed. If you live close to downtown Prescott, you live inside the Granite Creek Watershed, which flows diligently toward the Verde River. The Highlands Center for Natural History, however, is just inside the western edge of the Agua Fria Watershed. Recently members of a new volunteer Naturalists class and I explored this watershed and visited the Agua Fria River. The headwater is close to Arizona 69, just on the other side of Granite Dells, though you’d be hard pressed to find much water there. The Agua Fria River is dry the majority of the year and, though it’s been known to flood, its flow is usually delegated to a trickle, even during our wettest season. We started

  • Highlands Center for Natural History’s Outdoor Outings: Springtime delights

    By Jill Craig Like a fresh new antler, the branch is soft and velvety. It reaches for the sun’s photosynthetic rays. Tiny catkins on the tips of each tip will soon tempt hungry pollinating insects. This Lemonade Berry Bush (Rhus trilobata), a close relative of poison ivy, is a crowd pleaser from spring to late fall. Don’t worry: It’s not poisonous. The catkins produce a cluster of small, inconspicuous white flowers before the shrub leafs out. After pollination, each flower develops into a bright red-to-orange berry with a single seed. The berries are edible and taste like bitter lemonade, hence the shrub’s common name. Perhaps this growth will deter hungry herbivores. This Lemonade Berry Bush is a spring friend I look forward to seeing after a long winter. It’s one of many hopeful indications that spring is here. Another telltale sign of spring’s arrival is the lengthening of days. Winter is especially difficult for me and many others because the sun doesn’t lighten our days until the late morning and it sets so very early. In spring, though, I’m greeted with sleepy morning rays that evoke Joni Mitchell’s “Chelsea Morning” — ah, where is my milk and toast and honey? We can thank these longer, sun-filled days to the tilt of the Earth’s axis. During the vernal equinox, the northern hemisphere inclines toward the sun allowing it to grace us

Celebrating art and science in Greater Prescott.

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