My co-artist for this series is (I believe) a Venusta Orchard Spider. There is a fairly long story to tell about her and her spectacular weaving and what she means to me. I will try to tell it in spurts over the course of the coming weeks, as I share images of her work (and hopefully of her).
I’ll begin by saying that it is this very spider (or perhaps her mother or grandmother–although I have read somewhere that these spiders can live for several years), and her very web (and the webs of her family), located in this Japanese Clematis (which I pronounce KLEM-uh-tis, as I learned from master gardner Miss Mary) was (is) actually my first true inspiration as a photographer. The kind of inspiration that completely sweeps you up, that draws you back over and over and over again in a kind of ecstatic creative mania.
In a way, Venusta was my first teacher of photography. I will also say that my relationship with this spider, so meaningful to me, goes back to the sculptor Louise Bourgeois, whose sculpture titled “Maman” had such a powerful impact on me the day I stood beneath it (just over four 1/2 years ago, a few weeks before the birth of my daughter) that I have never forgotten the experience. I will talk a little bit about that in a future installment.