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The journey on the road trip of life has a way of providing amazing gifts and laughing in your face all at the same time. And as life would have it, today I find myself at that particular intersection….
So, a few weeks ago I’m found myself in the orthopedic surgeon’s office and I’m being told what I already intuitively knew: “Ms. Cassano, you need a full hip replacement. You’re well overdue, and we should schedule the surgery as soon as you can.”
I should mention that 8 years ago I had a serious hiking accident. It was a nasty fall down a steep rock faced mountain. I dislocated my hip and fractured my pelvis; as a result, the joint was severely damaged. I was told back then I would need a hip replacement within five years. I’ve been postponing and preparing for that moment ever since.
Coincidentally, a few weeks ago, I also landed my largest concrete commission art project ever. It’s a 17-foot-long x two-foot-wide curved concrete countertop for a check-in counter in a commercial building. It’s going to be well over 500 pounds of concrete.
As an artist working primarily in concrete, I’m pretty content to stick with creating and casting smaller pieces (10 to 50 lbs.) for several reasons. Smaller pieces don’t require help with fabrication. It’s also a case of “know thyself” ~ I’m not stellar with math and other engineering accuracies, so inherently I don’t have much of an interest in fabricating large complex furniture pieces. Lastly, there’s a number of amazingly talented people in the concrete countertop industry who have years of experience and do this professionally for a living – just hire them!
But this request came from my good friend Bogi Lateiner. Bogi owns 180 Degrees Automotive and is in the process of renovating a building which will be her new, much bigger auto repair shop. She proposed the idea to have me create a concrete countertop art piece for the main entry check-in desk. To know Bogi is to know that when she sets her mind on something, “no” is not an answer she’ll accept easily. I guess that’s why we’re friends. Suffice it to say, I didn’t want to say no for a variety of reasons. It’s a huge opportunity for me as an artist and it comes with the amazing (and often unheard of) perk of complete creative control.
Now, if you take both of those situations and smash them up against each other, you might see where I feel like life is mocking me a bit. Mix that in with chronic hip pain, self-employed business-owner pressure, and no paid sick leave …and well, to be honest, I’ve been quite pissy, frustrated and terrified by all of it. I call it “being in my shit”. It’s being in the place where feel like you just don’t have the fight left in you ~ where you just hit the big huge concrete (no pun intended) wall of “everything is broken,” all while playing the game of second-guessing my self-employed / business owner status.
They say you should never evaluate the big decisions when you are in the middle of a crisis. So in my effort to stop evaluating these major decisions, I confided in a few friends for balance. In doing so, it was my friend Diane who provided me with this quote from Robert Augustus Masters which she had recently read…
“Sometimes stepping off the path is the path; sometimes going astray homes us. Sometimes the worse I feel, the healthier I feel. For example, in feeling terrible and in uncritically giving myself permission to simply feel terrible, without trying to fix, rise above, or out-think it, I’m not at war with myself, nor trying to be somewhere else, somewhere ‘better’ or more ‘spiritual.’ My ‘darker’ feelings, deliberately accepted and given a sufficient infusion of wakeful attention (without necessarily taking on their viewpoint), bring me more vividly present. Sometimes all craziness needs is a bigger pasture, not higher fences…”
And that was it… I read it, felt it, and I just let myself be there for a while. Once I was ready to get back in the game, I decided the remainder of my 2012 mantra would simply be to focus on “sometimes all craziness needs is a bigger pasture, not higher fences.” In some weird, exhilarating and terrifying way, I think it will be exciting to see what the next several months unveils. I’m just grateful I’m in a bigger pasture to let it all unfold.
So that’s where I’m at…
I’m going to pull up my pants…
I’m going to put + pull together my resources…
I’m going create an amazingly large piece of functional art out of concrete…
…and then I’m going to have my hip replaced.
Below is the layout for the commissioned concrete piece. It’s behemoth, no?
[click thumbnails below to enlarge + use arrow keys to scroll through the album].