I spent, all told, perhaps 20 hours interviewing people on my recent trip to Montana and Idaho. I enjoyed learning from people whom I've never met. Every person does have a "book" inside them because every person's story is not like yours or mine. I found myself pondering out loud, "Why do you live here?" Montana and Idaho and the towns I visited are remote. The sky is a daily physical entity in your life. Mountains are, too. To be cramped there means running into four friends at a diner.
One of the more interesting characters I met on the way was Heyoka Merrifield. He's a scupltor and jewelry maker, once an LA groupie designer for the stars in the music scene of the late '70s. Now, he's a sage-like figure in the wide-open region south of Missoula. I interviewed him just because. I have no idea what I'll do with the three hours of tape from our meeting at his ranch. He lives alone, usually, and allows the muses to direct his work. His word: muses. He doesn't seem to be living up to anyone's expectations but his own.(website)
|Merrifield in his sacred space
We spent an hour reviewing his new book, The Book of Shrines, which he put together originally to focus on his iconic jewelry art. Then his subject matter expanded. He showed me pictures he'd Photoshopped of human images he saw in natural forms. He let the project guide him rather than him guide it. This is a fellow who's spent time living in gypsy wagons (he had one in his front yard) and building pyramids to live in. He'll be showing his work this year in galleries in Santa Fe, NM, Sedona, AZ, Missoula, MT, and Healdsburg CA. He already has four books out on Amazon, three of which are books of fiction, the White Buffalo Woman series.
|Heyoka's house in Stevensville, MT
|Olive with one of her Welsh ponies.
|Howard and Amy Knight. Howard is a leather artist; Amy works in glass.