Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Day 7: Cutting and Bending
It was cool when I woke up this morning; the kind of cool that keeps you in bed, the blanket tucked in under your shoulders and up to your neck. I did finally manage to pull myself out of the covers, down out of the loft I sleep in, and into the makeshift kitchen that is, for now, Garth's kitchen. It's interesting what gets done when when one builds their own house, particularly while he is living in it simultaneously.
After breakfast, my back was feeling a little sore, so I decided not to continue chipping away at the plaster. When Garth was finished getting things ready, I got to work. I had three tasks: taking sheets of galvanized steel and zinc, cutting them into litle rectangles, and bending them back so they lie flat; cutting the steel reinforcecements that held oak wine barrels together into strips with a chop saw for metal, and then bending them flat. See a theme? It was mostly nice work, jazz playing out of the stereo; the work not too tedious but not too serious either. Bending the long strips was hard work, I had to find the sweet spot where they would bend to flat, but not bend too much to create a kink or a bend the other way. I worked at this until lunch, and then for about two hours after lunch, at which point I was finished.
After I finished, Garth had gone to Toulouse to run some errands and pick up a friend from the airport. So after skyping with my dad, I got on the bicycle (Garth's; the not broken one). I set out with my camera in hand, and not a good idea of where I was going. I flew down the hill from the village, and biked through the valley below, stopping occasionally for a picture. Just as I was hoping to find another village, one showed up in the horizon, the silhouette of an 11th century church towering over the rest of the village. I biked into Magrie, then up above it, then back down into it, and walked around taking some photos.
I then continued on, making it to the next village, very similar looking to the last, walked around, and then headed back to Magrie. The biking was truly stunning, fields of grape vines stretch beyond the eye can see, speckled with rose bushes, broom bushes, poppy flowers, and little huts. I got a little lost on the way back, and ended up biking down to Limoux, the biggest town in the area. I didn't really see it, though, because I decided to turn around and get home. The last half hour was almost all uphill, but not too hard to enjoy. I made it up the last hill, got home, and took a shower.
Not long after my shower, Garth showed up with his friend Alvin. Alvin is a british photographer, who spends half the year in a town just down the road from here, and half in midtown Manhattan. He is a very interesting guy, and quite funny. We started in the garden, drinking blanquette de limoux, the predecessor of champagne, and eating chips and oysters. Blanquette de limoux was the first sprarkling wine ever created, and they are very proud of it in these parts. When we were finished, we headed back inside, finished preparing dinner, and ate duck, salad, potatoes, tomatoes, and bread while engaging in somewhat rowdy conversation.
After dinner, alvin showed us some photos. He started with the photos of the apartment he's been fixing up, all himself, so it is ready to rent out. I don't know where these guys get their handiness, but it sure is impressive. He then showed us some of his work. At least from the sample he showed us, he only photographs nude women. He has them jump on a trampoline, encases parts of their bodies in reflective plexiglass, and projects light onto them. The work was provocative, sometimes dirty, but also very beautiful. Though he walked us through some of his process, I am excited to spend more time with him and learn more about how he goes about his work.