15 September 2010


It was brought to my attention that while I have focused on many parts of this project in Saint Helena I have not given a very good overview. What is the sum of all those parts? This post is an attempt to give a more complete view. I live in a state of comfortable upheaval. Change is the constant. This project is my experiment, my laboratory, my sketchbook. This is a bit of a walk through. I will follow with a view from the outside looking in.

04 September 2010


When we lived in Provence a favorite pastime of mine was to mentally collect images of pigeonniers. A pigeonnier is a coop for pigeons often in the form of a tower. They have characteristics typical to the region you find them. It was an early predecessor to todays email. (If only today's email would leave behind such a mark). The house we rented had one atop of the rock outcropping. Next to it was a small 16th century watch tower. As someone was spotted coming along the road by the watchman a pigeon was loosed and sent to the neighboring chateau with the particulars of who was coming/crossing the domain. The forms were simple and the interiors were riddled with roosts for incoming or outgoing pigeons.

The area and the country is dotted with these vestiges of an ancient form of communication. They are signal towers. Some spare and utilitarian others more celebrated.

The Style Saloniste has an interesting post highlighting San Francisco photographer Vicki Topaz's work capturing some of these structures, albeit from a different region. www.thestylesaloniste.com/2010/08/photographer-i-admire-vicki-topaz.html? or www.vickitopaz.com

As part of our building project I built a rendering/homage to these structures. It's shape is typical of those found in Provence; square and tall and lean. It sits off to the side of the main rear porch. It is a small eddy of calm. Exiting the end of the porch onto a small catwalk you turn left and pierce the back wall of the pigeonnier. The inside is walled with small open faced compartments/niches that in our case usually hold candles or objects, and otherwise just make a strangely enveloping graphic. We suspended a large bed. One side is opened to the view of the neighboring vineyard. From here the landscape is all that can be seen. It is remarkably quiet and "away" from all the rest. At night it is like walking into a lantern floating above the olive grove. It is a place to rest, to sketch /or contemplate new ideas, to read, to cuddle, gather and lounge, or an alternative place to sleep and recharge, and dream.....