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Rockosophizing Art & Why We Do It

In the final hours of the year 2021 (Roman calendar), I submitted a proposal to the Marcell Experimental Forest (MEF) in Northern Minnesota. With a hair's width of tremble in my hand, I clicked Send. The opportunity to be a resident artist for a few weeks at the MEF facilities struck me as reminiscent of my time as a field biologist, it also stirred the coals of my artistic pursuits, and I passed the two weeks leading up to the January 15th deadline for announcing the selected artists in a state of pre-emptive jitteriness. Between job applications and freelance writing, logistics began to wink at me through my carefully woven grapevine of distractions. If I am selected, I will need to procure the following items to complete the project on time....put together a list of researchers to shadow....can probably augment that material with a similar tool from the hardware store... Why was this one application seemingly more vital to me then the full time GIS Technician position? Or the part-time retailer at Duluth Trading Company? Heck, no course I ever took in school (minus band) included art anything- every single credit poured into a major, minor, or other accreditation. Without formal training in art, it seemed that a biologist position would be more worthy of nail-biting anticipation. And still, I jittered.

When the rejection came, stiffly returning my ear buds into their charging cradle, I harkened to the answer. Initially, I was furious with myself to have made the call at all; I knew the answer when the deadline bore no announcement. Curiously, in the chapfallen moments after the follow-up call, I felt like an artist. There it was, the value that weighed on my dallying through the first two weeks of this newly sprouted year: a cherubic little stained glass artist darting shyly behind piles of biology degrees and professional certifications.

Retrospectively, all that pressure to convince a committee of my value in making conservation-centric work probably kept her in hiding. Why come out to play when I staunchly steered my efforts toward long-standing projects populated by faculty members with money and prestige? An artist residency would have been nice, especially with the ground-breaking research teams at MEF, but it does not legitimize one as an artistic creator; or rather, the lack of a residency does not delegitimize this rockosopher as one. In truest and bluest form, I will see if there are other ways to engage with the climate research at MEF and similar projects in Minnesota. I have nothing if not moxie.

For you, gentle reader, I present a few of my naturalistic stained glass works from last year. The last two are where I started working conservation themes into traditional windows. I have not completed the last piece, mostly because I tried to solder a bit after insulating the house against the winter temperature and probably shaved a few years off my lifespan. With warm weather will come more art and more access to it for sale and commission through this website, my wee little slice of the art the world! That's Rockosophy.

With love & nothing else,


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