An Odd, but Artful Tale


First, a little history….and talk of how things connect:

This is a picture of my dear friends, Kenny and Jeri.  We met in Texas back in the early 80’s. They now live in New York.  I love them.  They are fantastic people, and we always try to get together when I travel back east.

kenny and jeri

It was because of Kenny and Jeri that I came to know Scott and Ana.  The picture below  is of Kenny’s brother , Scott, and his wonderful wife, Anastasia.  They are both wonderfully creative and beautiful souls.  Anastasia is a fabulous watercolor artist and playwright. Scott is a famous television and film star.

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When Anastasia recently found the wasps nest (below), I told her that I had to make a sculpture of a bird from it.  I could just see it  in my mind’s eye… the next thing I knew, she had mailed it to me.  And this is where the story gets a little weird….

wasp 1

When I opened the box containing the wasps nest, I was taken by how beautiful and graceful it was. It was also very fragile, and had been broken in several places.  I picked it up very gently.  It had an odd odor…and frankly, felt a little creepy, but I was compelled to handle it.

It was so very delicate that, at one point, I think I even rubbed it against my cheek, just to experience the texture.  I flipped it over and got an idea of what I was going to do with it, and just as I was about to put it back into the box, I noticed that there were several live wasps inside the box that were left behind on a piece of the nest that had come dislodged from the main piece.  Shaken, I quickly tossed the piece I was holding back into the box and rushed the whole thing outside where it stayed overnight.  The whole experience freaked me out since I am violently allergic to stinging insects.

The next day, I carefully retrieved the nest, relieved that all of the wasps were gone.  However, no sooner did I go inside, than I noticed one on my window.   I immediately told Anastasia about it and she was very apologetic.  She couldn’t imagine any wasps having survived the subzero temperatures and snow that the nest had endured in upstate New York.  I guess they’re just resilient creatures.


I didn’t destroy the wasp.  Instead, I tried to think about everything it had gone through.  Subzero temperatures, a trip all the way from New York to the West Coast in a box.  No food.  No water, et al…and I just let it stay there.  I kept a respectful distance.  Two days later, the creature was still there, so I set an orange slice in the window and pulled down the bamboo shade.  It seemed very grateful as it fed on the orange for hours.  Ingrid and I could see it from the other side.  It was fun to watch it quench its thirst!

wasp behind shade

Two days later, both the wasp AND the orange slice were gone, but I felt like a Good Samaritan for, at least, being kind to it while it was still around.  I learned something from the experience.  I’m not sure what it was….but it was something.  When I think about the whole story, I am fascinated.

You can’t make this stuff up, right?

Anyway….so now, I’ve gone to work sculpting the nest into a bird.  I am now working on the head piece and am not sure how I will fashion a beak.  I am working on different things.  The nest is so fragile that it falls apart very, very easily.  Still, I am trying to be patient and he sculpture is coming along nicely.

bird sculpture

I still have a lot of work to do on it, and I must say.  This is the most unusual art project I have ever worked on!  My friend, Debbie, just informed me that I need to fumigate it, so I will be doing that this morning before I continue.  I am thinking of adding some sterling silver wire for the facial details, but we’ll see.  It is hard to top what Mother Nature has created already!  When I get it finished, I will come back and do an update here so all of you can see it.

Meanwhile, I urge all of you to catch Scott’s new series on ABC, one that he characterizes as “A spy thriller with heart.”  It is called “Allegiance” and is a real pot boiler…a complex array of characters in an enthralling situational drama.  Watch it!  It’s good!

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