11 August 2006

Once, twice three times a lily

One of the nice things about working with Knitty is that they tell you right up front that no news is good news which is another way of saying that rejection comes quick allowing you to heal, move on and submit elsewhere.
All things considered, swift rejection is not a bad thing. Having just gone through the YAIKTBNT (Yet Another Interweave Knits Thanks But No Thanks), I carefully noted the if you don't hear by, contact us date and proceeded to breathe a sigh of relief as each day ended with no news.

With perfect hindsight, I should have enlisted a volunteer model or two and taken some extra pictures while waiting to hear but then again, such an act might have tempted the fates.

I was delighted when I got the email from Amy on 13 May saying that the flowers were a go and that she needed -- drum roll please -- just the sort of photos I'd not been able to take for the original submittal and hadn't done in the month since.

I was kicking myself a bit for having sent my prototype lilies to a new home but I was confident that I could whip out a couple more lilies to fill out a bouquet and with a work draft deadline two weeks out, there was time for creativity.

When Susan Lazear's email about the Golden Scissors awards on the 19th arrived it almost seemed like an omen. It was, just not the sort I was after. Susan and I decided that we might be able to press a model or budding designer into service as a model for the flowers -- great. Well, not so great.

Models are strange creatures (I can say that because I used to be one) with either an innate understanding of how to hold themselves, their hands, or the ability to take instruction/play mannequin.

Me? I have the innate ability but the camera and I have long since moved beyond our youthful passionate affair. Others, I have come to discover, have neither the innate ability nor the take instruction gene.

In all fairness, the madness of a pre-fashion show changing room and/or the balcony over looking a parking lot is not exactly a mood inspiring backdrop. My model was gorgeous and a talented designer but the setting sucked and her relationship with the flowers was not happening.

I had other options for the weeks to come and was looking forward to connecting with Nancy, Kathy and Lauren to check out wardrobe at the shop the next day. I had a back up lily on the needles and it was all good. No, it wasn't.

Somehow, somewhere that night the lilies disappeared. I didn't discover their absence until Saturday afternoon when I was supposed to be trying to get together with friends to take some additional shots.

And, of course, when something goes missing you're sure it must just be in well, the other bag, still in the truck, in here, over there, somewhere I'm just overlooking it and then the phone calls and panic begins.

I can only imagine that, while browsing the silent auction tables, I set them down and forgot them. I have no memory of doing such a thing and one would hope that anyone who found them would turn them in so they could be reunited. Even if such a happy reunion was in the future it didn't help get photos taken and deadlines met.

Calls to the hotel, calls to Mesa College, emails to Susan, calls to local knitters. . . Keep knitting but your dual deadline worst case scenario is looming large and then there's the holiday weekend wildcard factor.

Saturday into Sunday I pulled what I can only call an all_knitter and managed to knit three lilies in the time it usually takes to knit one. Sunday I had two knitting finished lilies and another on the needles when I, sans significant sleep (3 hours tossing and turning max), wandered over to the WhistleStop. I was hoping to leverage the ambiance of The Grove to snap a few shots but knitting always knows and stretches itself out to foil well laid desperate plans.

The fate of the lilies circulated around the circle of knitters and there was much sympathy for me and curses upon the heads of who ever had my lilies. Jen helped further the effort by learning how to finish a lily. But the last lily still wasn't ready for its closeup when The Grove closed its doors and I trekked home, knitting as I went.

When you're having a knitting emergency and time is compressing at an alarming rate, you need an ally who knows exactly what you're going through or the ask a busy person solution. Enter Kristi Porter, local knitter extraordinaire, who knows about knitting and publishing emergencies.

After a short work day on Monday, I handed Kristi three newly knitted lilies, some gorgeous silk ribbon and couple of bouquets of mini callas. We chattered a bit about other projects, other knitting needs (test & production knitters) and stuff in general before I, knitting still more lilies, went home to face the day job deadline week of 12+ hour days.

Deadline driven weeks with a hostile to knitting workplace does not get many lilies knitted but I wanted some just in case (JinC) lilies. I managed to churn out three more lilies and meet my day job deadline but the holiday weekend was upon us and potential models and wardrobe were in jeopardy.

Enter the next phase of collaborative crisis management. I had wardrobe and hummingbird neighbour Zoe and mom were up for pitching in over the holiday. On Sunday, Kris and I wandered over to the local farmer's market to buy some flowers for the photo shoot and just to generally enjoy the day. We took camera. This is when I discovered that while my love affair with the camera had changed over the years, Kris had never had any sort of good relationship with cameras from either side of the lens. Not a good sign.

My chunky old digital's sluggish shutter speed, less than easy to read LCD display and two pairs of middle aged eyes made this much more of a challenge than either one of us was ready for. Still, after fits, starts and erasing, I had some shots in the camera, some flowers for the next day and I went home to transfer images.

Do the words corrupt Smartmedia card produce an overwhelming sense of dread and despair? If so then you can understand just how I felt on that sunny Sunday when the images that I'd previewed in the camera less than 10 minutes prior had vanished. Just like the missing lilies of the prior week, the digital images might be recoverable through the careful use of card reader, software and a bit of luck but that didn't fit the 1 June timeline.

I had an almost blank spare Smartmedia card, a full battery in the camera, three knitted lilies, a couple bouquets of flowers and several hours of prime photo-taking daylight -- so I took the lot (and my knitting) off to my figurative back yard of Balboa Park.

This is where I got creative/desperate. In the course of the next few days, I charmed/pressed into service friends, strangers and sculptures in my quest for just a few more extremities photos.

The Sculpture Guild's studio in Spanish Village bore fruit in the form of this reclining terracota sculpture and bench installation. Luckily for me, the sculpture (which I have always thought of as the fat broad) had still not been delivered to her purchaser.

On Monday, Zoe, Kris, flowers, wardrobe and I all headed over to
Pioneer Park in Mission Hills which is where I had taken some of the initial photos of the lilies.

Just as the prior photo outing in the park, the time of day was not optimum for photos but we got a nice selection banked and successfully transferred.

In the Museum of Art sculpture garden I've long been charmed by the Zuniga female nude but hadn't really considered just how perfect a model she could be.

Armed with a bit of copper wire and patience, I got some of my favourite shots and unlike Zuniga before me, I didn't have to hear any complaints from the model.

Personally, I think the hair shot of the Zuniga is much nicer than the one that Greg took on a why the hell not whim during our photo experiments.

I did the prep work and Greg did the photo honours when we made the venerable Kate Sessions model the flowers for us. She still has a sour expression but I think Greg's images were pretty sweet.

The final collaborator in the strange saga of the lilies was pal Heather of Fallen Angel Jewelry. Heather's hands and a bit of her handiwork can be seen in this last shot. Heather's hand and that of an anonymous flower vendor are also in the first image shown above.

Kristi and I both uploaded/emailed our images to Amy and waited to see which pictures would make the issue. Zoe was a bit disappointed not to make the cut and Greg and I shook our heads in wonder at the whim shot making the grade but that's how things work. Editor's choice and giving the editor choices is what it is all about.

Although it was a bit of a long strange trip that put me off knitting lilies for a bit, the experience was a good one and a reminder that all in all, I'm blessed with good friends and a remarkably resilient nature.


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