She said it would fit on the plane. So I bought it. Now I have another transitional work of art by Alison Jardine. I fell in love with it the minute I laid my eyes on it. We were in Texas for a wedding and had to pass through the famed city. So why would I miss meeting with Alison in her new studio?
So we got there right on time 2:30 on Sunday. We parked the car not far at all from one of the oldest structures in one might call an area that’s going through a renaissance or gentrification. The entire area was in pretty bad shape up until a few years ago as I understand it.
“It’s called Deep Ellum. The name is from how the original residents pronounced the street. The building is located on Elm. The area was originally called Deep Elm, but the pronunciation “Deep Ellum” by early residents led to its current, official name. Because of its proximity to the Houston and Texas Central railroad, the area was also referred to as “Central Track.
As one of Dallas’ first commercial districts for African-Americans and European immigrants, Deep Ellum is one of the most historically significant neighborhoods in the city. In 1888, Robert S. Munger built his first cotton gin factory, the Continental Gin Company, in a series of brick warehouses along Elm Street and Trunk Avenue. The business grew to become the largest manufacturer of cotton-processing equipment in the United States, and the space has now been converted to loft apartments.” (Deep Ellum)
At first, the owners of the building could hardly give the spaces away. Now it’s prime real estate.and who but artists of all stripes can handle the more shall we say a bit more primitive setting. It’s filling up fast and that is where Alison decided to set up her new studio.
So when she let us in I could immediately feel the calm that I’m sure Alison experienced when she was searching for the right place to continue her work. I could feel the spirit of a woman who loves what she does. She teaches at the nearby University during the day and when she is finished with the students she can escape to a place where she can create what’s in her soul in this perfect atelier.
The second she appeared and I finally was able to meet her in person it was as if we had known each other for years. No awkward moments. The chemistry was between that of an artist I respect and a person who really does appreciate her style of work. I am finding that I am magnetically attracted to those with the entrepreneurialism whose world is more of the spiritual bent.
We began to be given the tour if you will. I have to admit I just walked away and began to be pulled into the works on the walls and even those she no doubt is experimenting with.
It was during this alone time that I began to focus on my penchant for those who have the moxie to do what they need to do to absorb and project their ideas. My mind went to a variety of disciplines. One being art, the other the manufacturing of cigars.
Is what Alison does that much different than the manufacturing of micro-boutique cigars? Hardly. An oftimes solo operation with the perfect balance of the traditional aspects of the work, edging into the technological turmoil that seems to be constantly at our heels for the few who want to share what’s in their hearts in their unique manner.
It was at this moment I noticed on her wall a painting that spoke to me. Even though I just went through a variety of pieces that I mentally swooned over. And in one case, one that simply called out my name. (I asked her to put it on hold.)
I went up to this piece that flooded me into two diverse worlds. Melodically my mind began to play an atonal contrapuntal dance between cigars and this masterpiece of emotion. Where? I began to think of two very brave women who are taking the risk to produce their own cigars.
One hopes to manufacturer her cigars in Haiti, the other will be made in the Dominican Republic.
Haiti’s is a duo, Anacaona and Reina Del Nilo; the other has been lovingly branded Passion. Both of these women are creating what their souls are asking them to do. To share their visions with the cigar world, just as Alison is sharing her thoughts, her emotions, and loves through her artwork.
I firmly believe that God has planted a seed in these three women to bring to us moments that we will cherish, remember, and share with others.
Alison packed the painting called “We Live Forever in Desire,” based on a quote from Dante and suggested I bring it on the plane with me. I followed her lead. But I have to admit I was somewhat upset when they pulled me out of the line and said “What’s in the package? It measured 3’ x 2’ x 1′. I told them and they took my painting and gently placed it on an aluminum table and ran an electronic device over and under the plastic covered package.
“I’m going to have to unwrap it”. My heart dropped. Shit. Shit. Shit. I didn’t plead but I tried to explain that the masking tape was fragile and had only a modicum of stickiness left to rewrap. The woman with bluish latex gloves began to unwrap the painting.
“Is this really necessary?”
“Sir. If you do not allow me to see what is in this package we will detain you and you will miss your flight and then it will be your responsibility to find a way to get it and you to your intended destination.” What could I do? I watched helplessly as she began to gently take off the tape surrounding the artwork.
I began to help. Very abruptly she stopped what she was doing and with a stern look of authority warned me to back away and not to touch anything and if I persisted she would confiscate the cardboard package. I moved away
And then she stopped halfway through the search, looked deeply into the darkness of the package and to my surprise began to rewrap the painting. “I can see that there is only one other object in there.” I told her it was a small print.
And as gently as picking up an infant, we both began to retape the cardboard and stretch the plastic back on.
She even went out of her way to find tape that had printed on it, ”Inspected by the TSA.”
We both finished and I thanked her for her understanding. She? Never a smile. Never a you’re welcome. Only a “Next”
I took the approved package to the plane where they found a place to store it during the flight and at that point, all I wanted to do was have a cigar and cry.
It seems those with a mission to accomplish will do so – no matter the difficulties they encounter.
To borrow a phrase from one my avid blog readers, “Life is good.”