crop-dek-bali10-07-1-08-492Hunters hunt, and makers make. Dek does both well. He’s a great hunter and guide when we are on one of our buying trips to Java. He and his scouts hunt for and find all manner of wood, stone, antiques, folk art and sculpture that are otherwise simply impossible to find or incredibly expensive. He’s also a brilliant maker of solid wood furniture with traditional joinery and innovative design, the hallmarks of the pieces made in his studio. Continue reading Dek

Bagan, Burma


As for as the eye can see in all directions there are temples built of brick in the 10th to 13th centuries by the people of Central Burma. In terms of number and of size, they are incomprehensible. The massive amount of labor it took to erect these edifices, brick by handmade brick into fantasy land of more than 2500 temples is staggering. These shrines and places of worship, filled with Buddhas and devotion, speak of wealth and dedication that challenge our current sensibilities. Each temple and stuppa is an intricate work of sculpture. That there are almost no people living within the boundaries of these 100 square miles, gives it all an eerie feeling. Continue reading Bagan, Burma

Chills and Goosebumps May Occur

green-flash11I often like to hunt alone. Sometimes I like not having to be concerned with anyone else’s comfort, needs, opinions or well-being. It gives me time to think and process what’s happened or could happen. It’s also easier to enter “the zone.” Then again, the right person can be a gift. When I’m hunting, my whole world is about hunting. If I’m with other good hunters, then all’s well.  I don’t know and don’t care if I’m a good traveling companion or not, if I’m a hunter among good hunters. It doesn’t matter if we find a piece of art Deco furniture or a primitive statue, a stone table top or a tribal necklace. Chills and goose bumps do occur. It surprises me how seldom chills are mentioned and how often they are a shared phenomenon. Continue reading Chills and Goosebumps May Occur

Sumba 2008

Just before the event, I was invited by Ali, a friend in Sumba, to experience Pasola, a day of ritualized Tribal war games for young warriors to prove their courage. It takes place in several locations in February and March each year in the western part of Sumba Island, Indonesia.

I had been in Sumba last spring for a week in 105o heat with matching humidity. We drove past the Pasola grounds where we’d just missed the event by two days. All reports were that Pasola was great and the non-natives suffered badly from the heat. Continue reading Sumba 2008

A Cross-Country Chicken

This afternoon I literally stumbled on to something, one of those flashes of truth that are instructive in the in-the-moment micro world and point to a larger truth, question, or at least a lesson.

cross-country-chickenWe were on our second day of X-country skiing in the mountains outside Glacier National Park. We ski a couple hours a day for a week once a year. It’s enough to enjoy it, but not enough to get much better at the sport. I was facing my first big downhill this season on a groomed trail and I knew somewhere I would fall. You see, I never learned to stop. Without that trick up your sleeve, any steep downhill brings out a sweat like no uphill climb ever can. Continue reading A Cross-Country Chicken

People vs. Things

Bambong & his Family

With every collector, every artist, every hunter, every family compound with something valuable to sell, I am to some degree faced with a conflict. The conflict revolves around paying attention to people vs. things. Because my work seems, on the surface, to be about buying “cool things,” I am usually a bit impatient to look at the pieces that are offered. This isn’t because it is my job; it’s my job because hopelessly, joyfully, I’m so drawn to the quest for beautiful objects. I hunger for beauty: finding it, enjoying it, being altered by it, and sharing it. Continue reading People vs. Things