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THE SHOEMAKER'S LECTURE
March, 2008

In early February, my friends Alice Zinn and Lorraine Heller stopped by on their way home from the Las Vegas CIMTA Show.

Alice was commenting about the wonderful rainbows, some multiples, they saw as they drove from Las Vegas, and showed me several beautiful photos. This rainbow was in Tucson.

Looking at her picture, I was reminded of something that happened last summer right after we had a rain. As we were driving home from the movies, it appeared that a beautiful rainbow was ending in the corner of our own back yard! By the time we pulled into the driveway, however, it had receded into the distance. As I got out of the car, I noticed what appeared to be a golf ball in the grass.

As I got closer, however, I realized that it was a mushroom. In fact, there was a second one just coming up right next to it.

I was reminded of 2006 when we had a visit from Swapke from The Netherlands during the rainiest summer in El Paso's history.

Wow, pretty good sized fellow, this one! Almost like a flying saucer, landing from some other world.

As I leaned down to peer underneath, I thought I heard a tiny little voice. I jumped back, because my husband had had an ongoing duel with a mole that kept tunneling across our yard, and I wasn't really in the mood to deal with a mole.

Later, in the back yard, I saw another cluster of mushrooms in the corner of the rock wall, in almost the exact spot where I encountered the tiny fairy in 2006. As I bent down to examine the mushrooms more closely, I DID hear a voice! It didn't sound like what I thought a mole would sound like, so my curiosity got the better of me, and I got down on my hands and knees to peer into the cluster.

 

It appeared to be two little leprechauns!

"Fergus, me boy," said one. "If I have told ye once, I have told ye a thousand times! Nae pot o' gold is gane to be found at the end of a rainbow! Do ye hear what I say, boyo?"

"Aye, sir," Fergus says. "I hear ye. But, Alistair, ...."

"Nae buts about it. Now we need to get back to work. The shoes will nae make themselves, ye know."

"Aye, sir. Right ye are! What could a mere shoemaker apprentice like me know, eh?"

 

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NOTE: This little St. Patrick's Day leprechaun scene has been brought out in March for many years. It was one of the miniatures I did back in the 80s. I had happened across a great little lidded glass jar shaped like a mushroom in the 70s which I bought to use as a little terrarium, but having passed through my live-plants phase, it had been relegated to a shelf.

I found the leprechauns/elves at Pic 'n Save (now Big Lots) when they first opened, and that's when I remembered the jar.

This setting illustrates two problems which I have encountered with my earlier miniatures.

Number 1 is trying to photograph a finished scene inside a glass container. It is almost impossible to avoid a glare, especially with this jar. Nowadays I try to take pictures of the various elements before they are finally glued into place.

And Number 2 is the problem I encountered when I used so many natural materials in my early days; I did not realize how things would fade. When one walks in the desert around El Paso, it's a delight to the eye to spot beautiful, tiny blooms of all kinds that are not discernible to a casual passerby. I happily used many of these little blooms, many of which my husband brought home from his hikes and I dried with silica gel.

The dried blooms I used here were very colorful and quite pretty, but have faded over the years, as have the dried mosses, which were originally quite green.

Now I know to paint or dye those blooms - unless they are yellow. For some reason, yellow holds its color best. And I definitely paint or dye the natural mosses now.

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