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Friends –

As you may know, I recently took a Bruce Gomez workshop in pastel painting, and fell in love with pastels. I think that the use of pastels has the best potential to show the glow of light and color that comes from the orange soils and dramatic skies that I find here in Moab. Yet, it will be a little while before I have my own set of pastel colors and I really can’t put my art on hold until then. Thus, I made this gourd, ‘Colorado’.

This gourd is not only a celebration of the back country hikes we have enjoyed these last few weeks, but it is also an acknowledgement of the need to protect these surroundings and the health of the people that live in them. With all of the drama of color that these soils provide, also comes the buried secret of heavy metals. These are sought after by those that would prioritize profit over constraint and conservation. The act of mining in reckless abandon is a reason for uranium contamination in the Colorado River, and other heavy metals carried around for our breathing pleasure by dust storms. This has apparently resulted in the Salt Lake City achieving the dubious honor of becoming a center for children born with autism.

Gratefully, we can celebrate the recent action of Ken Salazar, Secretary of the Interior. He has ordered a 20-year moratorium on uranium mining in drainages to the Grand Canyon and the Colorado River. This is a very good thing, but is it a new trend? Only a watchful public will make it so.

This gourd can be purchased for your donation to Doctors Without Borders, or another worthwhile non-profit of your choice. Be well.

Margie Lopez Read