Armed with a GPS and wheels safely beyond the Continental Divide, Emily and I traipsed our way through Colorado and Utah to Cottonwood, Arizona. We caught our breath beside Lake Dillon after the frightening descent from the divide. We nearly suited up for a dip in Glenwood Springs, only to find that the springs looked just like swimming pools full of splashing summer kids. What? I thought these were going to be rocky holes in the ground…
On the advice of new Colorado friends, we left the main highway for a deserted road that took us along the Colorado River to Moab. I always thought Georgia O’Keefe was a little eager in her fondness of sand, rocks, and all things desert, but now I understand why. You win, Georgia.
Though Ben and Don were traveling to yet another show or conference, Kami generously offered us a tour of the Reitz ranch: studio, gallery, kilns, animals and the Verde River. I have zero talent in making three dimensional things, and am even worse at painting on them, so I was awed at the immense, beautifully decorated objects in Don’s gallery—on top of getting so close to the process of this expert.
I didn’t take any photos in the studio or gallery, but here’s a pretty representative picture of Kami and I conquering wilderness.
I couldn’t write about Arizona without mentioning my first tattoo. It lasted 10 days and was made completely of glitter.
Emily and I explored Cottonwood on our first day there. We blinked as we stepped out of the blinding Arizona sun into the sparkling Glitter Gallery at Art Institute Glitter, producer of over 400 colors and 11 types of glitter distributed all over the world. Glitter Guy (name unknown, but Emily maintains he was a Steve) welcomed us to the store. He insisted we dip our entire hands into a conch shell filled with tiny tiny flecks of gold glitter, finer than white sand. He proceeded to tattoo us both, first filling a stencil in with body glue and then using a tiny brush to cover the glue with our choice of glitter.
Steve told us he had a master’s in math, but decided to work in the family glitter biz. Trained in numbers, he now sells glitter as make-up, to crafters, and to travelling girls who want it glued to their skin. Are you telling me that someone with a math degree gets paid to use a paint brush, while I sit at a computer?!
Fine. I’m just glad to meet another person who chose to do what made them happy instead of what made them money. (Did I mention that Kris from Colorado is a freelance graphic designer? Her parents thought she was crazy when she decided to go out on her own, but she loves it.)
When Steve offered to give us a ‘tour of the sunshine,’ we shared a pointed glance as he dragged us out onto the street. How wrong we were again to be cynical! No wonder he chose glitter over numbers.