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Banners – Project Commentary

Front Gate to paradise | Studio up front | Studio on the Side | Door to the Implements of Creation | Homage to Doug's Brother's Sox | North Side East | North Side South | North Side West

Joy Under the Ceder - 3' x 3'

Melissa attributes Jane Hirschfield with saying, "We've agreed to never be rude to joy."

As I see more and more of life; my mortality, the world's fragility, the cards dealt, how we play those cards, I look to these words daily to reinforce the necessity to find joy in the smallest, most mundane, peripheral moments. To live.

Melissa, thank you for showing, not just telling me these words.


Front Gate to Paradise - 2' x 4'

Melissa wanted to remove an oleander from the side of our front porch to put in an olive tree, a long longing. The remaining open space provided us with an opportunity to guild the front gate and give us a warm entrance. We looked at the surrounding color schemes in the plants, stained glass, the house, other banners, the backdrop behind the proposed banner, the amount of light, and probably some other factors that get taken into account when living with something or someone. The results feel pretty good.

Our dear friend Beth, helped install all nine banners. Several banners used magnets and two steel bars to mount on the surface. The idea was to be able to swap out banners periodically. It turns out, at least as of today, the banners have found their homes and will likely stay put for a while. We...Beth also lashed bamboo together to create frames for the three north side banners. Thank you, Beth.



Studio up front - 2' x 4'

We tried to fill this space with a piece of stained glass and then with the garden tercet. Neither felt part of the space or did justice to the pieces themselves. We were working on two other banners and the design that transitioned from the greenery to the sunlight seemed to fit the space. It doesn't scream, but it does say I'm here with a little pop of hello.

Studio on the Side - 2' x 4'

I mentioned above that we had three banners in the works. This piece was actually the first designed to fill a space on the side of the studio. When we hosted trunk shows in 2017, musicians played on the tiny deck, but the open space of the studio felt wanting. We found inspiration from the daily sky shows looking past the canyon to the west. We, well Melissa, particularly likes the evening dusk, twilight, or gloaming. Melissa likes it so much, she refers to "gloaming" at least three times in her poetry. When we were collaborating on some of the color studies, this piece emerged to represent a gloaming.

Door to the Implements of Creation - 2.6' x 5'

The tool shed door has a glass inset. Looking at the organized mess was not an option. The first solution was brown kraft paper. It worked, but lacked personality. Melissa and I talked about the possibilities...for a while, then we focused on another line from one of her poems, "We are so much more than ornamental." By this time, we were on a banner biscuit and the challenge was how to use the "gloaming" banner as a complement with the text. Not only does it fit and look good, I love the connection to the contents behind the door.


Homage to Doug's Brother's Sox,
Richard M Kipperman (Feb 7, 1944 - Mar 29, 2022)
3' x 16'

My brother always had a flair for style, Melissa called him a sartorial genius. His stripped sox were his trademark, if he wore sox at all. We created this banner to honor his life well lived. Thanks for all the experiences shared and carried forward.


North Side East - 7' x 5'

The north side of our house was ready for some attention. We had a base, craftsman and Japanese influence, so we were able to push that feel. We played off the bamboo and the surrounding colors to create a set of three banners framed by lashed, 3 inch bamboo.

I find myself walking around the outside of the house multiple times a day just to look at the installations. Beth, thank you.



North Side South
- 4' x 6'

The center banner was the foundation for the other two. Our goal, create a piece of art that filled a visual opening. Verticality and color played heavily on the design. Framing started with the notion of using a "curtain rod" hung on the house. From there, we looked at the size of the banner and how it fit with the space. By bringing it away from the house the scale invited larger material to hold the banner. Larger material made the project "larger", but 3", 10' sticks of bamboo were light, easy to cut, less expensive, and very much in keeping the with surroundings. We often have to go down some obtuse rabitholes before we are able to see what is right in front of us. Creativity...?


North Side West - 3' x 5'

This area had some steps that scared me every time I climbed them with 40 pounds of salt. Scary, even without the salt. Beth and I started by trying to repair the steps. Sometimes, it's best to strip everything away and start from the base elements. Our goal, rock solid steps that led to the soft water unit. I found inspiration in an Urban Corps San Diego County project in a local park.

The area opened up after the steps, and, as with much of life, start one project and create more. We had two banners and a third made sense. Pots, which were up against the house as camouflage for the water tanks, were no longer needed, but offered a visual break to the steps. We used the ginkgo and leucadendron to add color and scale to the section.



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