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Fresno? I Say FresYes!

January 1, 2019

I wasn’t planning to take a trip to Fresno, but then my lovely friend Christine Burke posted a link on Facebook to an article about Kay Sekimachi.

I had never heard of Kay Sekimachi, and yet her work – weaving and other crafts – grabbed me by the heart. It was so subtle, so skilled. Imagine 70 years of total dedication to art, to weaving.

I was compelled to go see her works at the Fresno Art Museum. The only problem was that the show would end on January 6, so I had to hustle and get there.

Enter Gladis. I packed her up on Saturday and, after some fotzing around dumping of tanks and buying gas at Costco, we hit the road.

It was a smooth trip, but Vic’s was out of pie. Vic’s, you are trying me. (If you’re ever in Paso Robles, go to Vic’s and get some pie. Go early.)

I got there too late to go to the museum on Saturday, so a side trip to Hanford was in order. The San Joaquin Valley is vast expanses of farm fields and orchards, dotted with small towns.

Hanford is a classic rural town, with a town square featuring a yellow limestone courthouse,a carousel, and a concert hall.

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The Superior Dairy is across from the town square, serving fine homemade ice cream for almost 90 years. I had to get me some.

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I ordered the small sundae. Lemon ice cream with caramel sauce. I was kind of peeved at paying almost $7 for a small sundae, but then it arrived. The ice cream “single scoop” was the size of my head.

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No, I did not finish it. I barely started it. It was great, but come ON – a girl can only do so much before she throws in the towel.

I used Harvest Hosts to spend the night at the golf course in Lemoore. Big flat parking lot, pretty location, nice guy named James in the pro shop. What more does one want?

In the morning, it was freezing frosty cold and my aux battery was depleted, thanks to someone (me) who didn’t water the battery. So no heater. Still in my PJs, I headed out and cranked up the cab heater.

The Valley is so beautiful at sunrise, with the mist rising over the flat fields, the orderly rows of fruit trees and vines, the soft pinks, golds and greens dancing on the grasses. I stopped – still in my PJs, but way out in the countryside without anyone to witness me – to take some photos.

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I got to the art museum around 8 am, taking up 3 spaces in their flat parking lot to cook some oatmeal.

In the middle of making breakfast, I looked outside to see 4 cop cars. Stirring my oatmeal in my PJs, I waited for the inevitable knock on my door. “Hello, officer,” I practiced in my head.

It turns out that the Fresno Art Museum parking lot is just where the police hang out. It’s not that they take middle-aged lady RVers so seriously that they need 4 units to check it out. Fresno has other problems, trust me.

After a long walk around the neighborhood to stretch my legs, I entered the museum 2 minutes after they opened at 11 a.m., and was greeted by a very enthusiastic and helpful woman at the front desk. One of those cute art ladies with chunky glasses and handmade jewelry. She described all the exhibits, gave me some supplemental written material on Kay Sekimachi, and urged me to visit every gallery.

Then I got to see Kay’s work. I cannot do it justice, and it made me wish I understood weaving more. Some things just made me say “I have NO idea how that even happens.” She never has stopped learning and innovating. I could tell she has fun with her art, but also takes it very seriously. This is a good way to live life as an artist, or as a human.

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Ernest Lowe’s photographs documenting the Black Okie experience in the San Joaquin Valley towns of Teviston and Pixley were wonderful, too. Shot in the early 1960s, the photos made me think of the differences I experienced as a white child born to an oil field worker (many of whom – but not my dad – were Okies) during the same time period.

I headed back south, inspired, calmed and ready for a new year. Onward.

I wish you prosperity, health, and happiness in 2019. And I hope you make some art.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. January 1, 2019 11:54

    I like that Gladis is introduced like a superhero. “Enter Gladis”. Love the colors in Kay’s work.

    • January 2, 2019 14:55

      Gladis IS a superhero. She does it all. Except empty her own tanks. That one is up to me.

  2. January 1, 2019 19:42

    I’m glad the $7 wasn’t for a puny serving – but it makes me a little bit sad when they don’t make available any reasonably-small servings, so that you basically *have* to throw really, really, really good food away. Sigh.

    That weaving is amazing. I’m so glad you got to see it in person. I sometimes wish museum exhibits like that included video or something of the person actually *doing* the magic – sometimes you still wouldn’t be able to really grasp how it was done, but it would be really cool, if the artist was willing, to see the process as well as the final “product” that the artist process results in. This is a fun thing about instagram – every once in a while, an artist will post a short clip either of them doing-the-thing in real time or a sped-up clip of a longer segment of work – and you get to wonder both at what they made and how they made it.

    (and that leaf-edge-bowl!!!)

    Thank you for sharing your journeys! And I’m glad the Fresno police didn’t find a middle-aged woman in an RV exceptionally perturbing. 🙂

    • January 2, 2019 14:57

      Apparently people in the know either bring a whole family for one sundae, or ask for a to-go cup for the excess (or both). I was on the road and didn’t have the fridge on, so I had to just walk away.

      I watched a whole how-to video on cardweaving, which Kay does (in tube shapes) and I understand exactly as much now as I did before.

      Thanks for following the adventures.

  3. Julie Ward Asregadoo permalink
    January 13, 2019 18:29

    I know nothing about weaving, but that stuff is amazing. The ice cream looks amazing, too. They need to have a child size.

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