Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Art on Palm and Home Invasion

When the Zane Grey estate holds an open house or free urban homestead workshop, I’m there. Under false pretences usually, but with lots of company. Of the fifty or so people assembled at the last goat husbandry class, for example, just how many really planned to one day sit on a milking stool and squeeze that thingy? No, I could tell most everyone belonged to my tribe – The Opportunists. We seize any chance to wander around an interesting bit of Altadena’s historic private property.

Which brings us to Art on Palm, the twice-yearly, one-day-only outdoor Altadena art show.

The first time I went, it was just an excuse to take a legal walk down a private road and look around the old residential canyon called Wildwood Park. But my dubious intentions for visiting Art on Palm turned strangely honest when I actually bought something.

If you’re interested in art and fine craftsmanship -- ceramics, collage, jewelry, painting, woodcarvings -- no doubt you already plan to attend. But if the lure of local artists and a private canyon doesn’t call your name, then, this year for the first time, how about the opportunity to tour one of the Wildwood Park cottages, built more than a century ago.

These days, Wildwood is within walking distance of drug stores, gas stations and whatever else makes up Altadena’s current town center. But it wasn’t always so.

At the turn of the last century, Wildwood and the cottages were a long train or buggy ride from anywhere, located at the crossroads of barely-there and nothing-much. Pasadena had been incorporated for just 14 years, and Henry Huntington wouldn't buy his San Marino for another three.

There's more on Patch, but I prefer this abbreviated version, with some wrap-up, of course. I was asked to excise the bit where I got a private tour of the historic cottage and when I raised my camera, realized I had left the battery at home.

My editor thought that part sounded unprofessional. And so it was. And so I am.

But I don't mind admitting to public embarrassment. In some odd way, I find it soothing.

Wish I could go back and edit the whole piece down. But you know, in the past year and a half, I've written more than 90 columns on Patch. And with that kind of volume, I've learned that at some point you've just got to stop fiddling and let it go.


  1. Gorgeous photo!. Storybook setting indeed.... BTW Mr. Grey has a garden named after him at our cemetery as well as a beautiful statue erected right in the middle of the garden...
    I agree w/ the letting go, gotta choose what to have angst over...

  2. I'm going.

    Love how they terraced that hillside with rock - and the rim of brick in the fireplace - oh, and the colors. Getting ready to paint my house. I'm thinking a chinese red garage door....

    One of these days you and I are going to have to take a walk up one of those private streets so we can check out the house I put serious thought into purchasing.

  3. I'd love to see more photos!
    And I think you write just fine.

  4. That tiny little cottage is just picture perfect adorable. And it's the confessions like forgetting your camera's battery that make the rest of us feel less imperfect.

  5. Telling us about forgetting the battery is just like the time the mother of the family you loved discovered that you couldn't play - the violin(?) Once people know the truth about you, there's no image to live up to anymore. It's a great relief and very liberating.

    I'm working on being as imperfect as possible.

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  7. I hold a monthly workshop on imperfection. Let me know if you're interested; April is filled but there are still some openings in May.

  8. I sincerely appreciate your unprofessionalism and your confession. Nice photo!

  9. That sounds like a fun event, and congrats on the 90 columns. Oustanding work.

  10. The cottage is adorable. It'd make a perfect writer's retreat, even for the imperfect among us. I'll join that tour. As for the monthly imperfection workshop, I could teach that class.

    Yes, congrats on all the Patch columns!

  11. Sounds like a fascinating place. Love the red and the rocks and the cottage. If I lived nearby, I could imperfectly tour the cottage and arts/crafts show with you :-)

  12. who wouldn't want to live there? nice abode.

  13. I walked down that way once--came at it from the wrong direction somehow and didn't realize I wasn't supposed to be there. Nobody stopped me but I knew I was in a magic place.

    Wow. 90 columns, and every one of them shines.

  14. 15+ years ago, I was writing for a 'zine daily and had to produce volumes of columns. The internet was new and we needed to FILL IT NOW! So I wrote. And wrote. And wrote. Made my editor happy, I think he got paid per kb he uploaded or something. That was when I learned not so much to fiddle as to just write from the heart. Doesn't mean I don't like to tweak stuff I write, but when you have that much to write and are good enough at it, leave it alone and just go with it.

    Certainly you've made ME laugh plenty over the last few years! Unprofessional my left foot, btw. Stuff happens. You don't need pictures of people milking goats to make your point! Yes, that comment from the visual one in the audience!

    Keep up the good work and enjoy the sessions under false pretences! Best way to learn!

  15. All the Denas seem to have a magical side and this one is no exception.

    Sharing the imperfect is always endearing, adding a heavy dose of guilt, as so many women do, not so much. I never hear so much as twinge of it in your writing and I think that's one of the reasons I keep coming back. Here's to 90 more on Patch - and many more here.

  16. The cottage is charming!
    Sounds this event was very interesting.

  17. It sounds like a very interesting place. Love the photo also!

  18. Hey, if it's not public, it's not actually embarrassing, right? And when it comes to workshops on imperfection, I'm already a black belt. Congrats on 90, Karin. Keep 'em coming.

  19. Kalei BF, Grey got around (in more ways than one).

    PA, you're on.

    Alex, Petrea, Pat & Sonia, it's a Wind in the Willows kind of place. Like P, I first discovered it walking from an unmarked trail and only later learned it's called Wildwood.

    Brenda, I think the cottage owner is going to post some.

    Marjie, we've got an small but imperfect club in the making, with five new members.

    Janet, let's all dare to dream.

    Pierre can't belong, his sketches are too perfect.

    Margaret, Susan & Trish, thanks. The 90 wasn't to say I WROTE 90, but more along the lines of -- there are 90 columns of material in Altadena?

    Paula, I like that guilt comment. I wish it were 100% true.

    Terry, Ms M -- the membership cards will be in the mail. And Terry, I'm sure you've hit an equal number of columns on http://www.characterblog.com/2012/04/stone-barns-center-helps-grow-young-farmers.php

  20. Is that a new profile picture? It's very nice.

    (Although sometimes when I say these things I'm told the change was made months ago and I feel like I too have left my battery at home....)

  21. I can't believe you've already been at Patch for a year and a half and 90 posts. I hate it when old cliches like "Time Flies" prove true. Tempus Fugit. Ubi Sunt.

    You're sure right about letting it go. But what's your favorite stomach medicine for the times you can't resist and go back and read that which you let go? I'm a Di-gel guy, bought stock some time ago. Sometimes I mix it with Gas-X and Diet Coke--I get such a buzz I don't mind having let go.

  22. When is/was the art show??? Sounds like fun...I miss this kind of event!

    Love your photo...charming!!!

  23. Sounds like a great place to visit. I like the cute little house!