10 Degrees Cooler
LAUREL CANYON—Is it possible that the Queen of Hearts, you know, like the one in Alice in Wonderland, lives in Laurel Canyon? Well, if you’ve eaten enough peyote I can make you believe. So what was this neighbor doing painting her rocks red you ask?
I met Pam through Richard Seireeni’s email blasts. She lives only 3 blocks from me, but I’d never met her, so coffee it was, at the Country Canyon Store on Lily’s patio. Pam Farkas has lived in the canyon for 40 years, and wouldn’t consider living anywhere else. Pam had reached out through Richard trying to hunt up help with social networking for her passion project. She is a psychotherapist, who along with two co-authors wrote the book Resilient Children. The project seeks to empower and educate adults, teachers, counselors and therapists who deal with children in grades 1-6. The book is actually a teaching tool and workbook rolled into one. Pam is driven to have mentors recognize the importance of developing social emotional skills in young children so that they can acquire the ability to “overcome adversity and to bounce back in the face of difficulty, challenge and stress”. I always say you couldn’t pay me to be 18 again. Pam’s insight made me realize just why I feel this way. Kids these days have so much more to deal with than we did at the same age.
So in the middle of this provocative conversation some how we got to Pam mentioning that in addition to this passion project and her therapy practice she is an enthusiastic ceramicist. She’s a slab ceramicist. Dah? Poor Pam, she had to educate me. No she doesn’t use a wheel to form her art. She rolls flat slabs of clay, puts them together to form large pieces, which she then finishes and fires. With infinite patience she explained that her pieces are two to three feet tall, with her preference for square and rectangular finished pieces. Finally I got it! In fact I’d walked by her house in the past and admired the ceramics displayed in her front yard, wondering where she’d bought them. Now Pam has moved on to a new form, same medium. She’s creating unique pieces a la Giacometti - long narrow figures which she calls her Humanity Collection. Giacometti explained his art as representational of the shadows cast by human forms. I think Pam’s art is a logical balance to the formal demands of her profession and her passion project weighed against the freedom of artistic expression.
I’ve begun to wonder about the characteristics of who lives in the hills. Are there common traits which can be attributed to them? I haven’t met many 9 to 5 ers who go to work and that’s it. It seems to me most people are involved in polar opposite activities, making it hard to determine which is a vocation and which an avocation. Locals throw themselves into both with equal enthusiasm.
Pam is one of these people who gives from the heart with lots of passion, entitling her to some whimsy. She’s has earned the right to paint rocks red – and be unapologetic about it !
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