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I will admit to being shocked to see that this is indeed my first post of the year on the old riverblog!  My only excuses are that I’ve prioritized my time to be in the field as much as possible and much of what I’ve documented has also appeared on other social media outlets.  I am very appreciative for those who continue to visit the riverblog and I will try to be more regular with my reports.  Here is our story thus far.  The new year began well enough and we had our first snow in January.  The Styro-sculpture group I had dubbed the “The Re-Assembled” had survived all kinds of abuse and managed to hang on and grow.

The "Re-Assembled" in the Snow. Jan 13, 2018

The little high spot on the riverbank that I call my outdoor gallery and atelier under the willows was looking good.  Naturally, we expect to see some minor high water issues in the park during late winter and early spring as snow melt throughout the extensive Ohio River Valley watershed moves downriver.  I continued to visit the park when I could and made new figures and projects from materials I had collected and recycled many times before.  Our area and the Ohio River were soon to experience a big change and naturally my driftwood atelier would be in the way.  Here is the last image I have of “The Re-Assembled” intact among other projects before the Ohio River eventually claimed them all through flooding events that happened from mid February through April.  The first flood of 2018 would be one for the record books, but it was quickly followed by two more minor high water moments that continued to rearrange the landscape under the old railroad bridge.

Outdoor studio view with the last of the "Re-Assembled" Styrofigure group with plastic assemblage and flip-flop pit.  Falls of the Ohio State Park

After all you see here was swept away…and then swept away again.  I continued to skirt around the wide margins of the river documenting my river finds and adding to my various found object collections.  Here is a little taste of the high water we experienced from the observation deck of the Interpretive Center.  At my site, I watched the river move up the bank ever so quietly.  I marked the water’s advance with little sticks in the sand just to keep an eye on things.

As the river rose and then receded, I kept filling my collecting bags with materials and my camera with images.  It’s funny how each high water moment seems to bring its own kind of debris.  Among the found objects and materials I sifted from the sand and driftwood included hundreds of cigarette lighters ( I have removed more than 500 of them this year) and lost flip-flops.  Here is a good sampling of some of those projects that I made with those river finds.

Found cigarette lighter oval on washed up picnic table with Louisville in the distance.

The above image is that day’s found lighters arranged on a picnic table that washed into Ashland Park which is contiguous to the Falls of the Ohio State Park.  The skyline of Louisville, KY is seen from across the Ohio River.  Here is another lighter piece arrangement at my ever shifting outdoor studio.

That day's found lighters arranged by color on a wooden beam that washed up in the Falls of the Ohio State Park.  2018

This lighter arrangement on the wooden beam proved tempting for someone who needed all these lighters because they all disappeared.  One more lighter project before moving on to flip-flop projects.  I know, that sounds real tempting!!

Found lighter spiral arrangement on a stump, Falls of the Ohio State Park. 2018

Simple but colorful design created on a found stump using brightly colored plastic lighters collected on that day’s adventure.  As this year has developed, I have looked more upon creating images utilizing these micro sites.

Improvised found flip-flop piece on wood panel on a high Ohio River with Louisville in the distance.  2018

The river is still very high for this found flip-flop arrangement.  I am also continuing to enjoy using these lost sandals as a stand-in for our kind.  So much can be implied through the idea of a foot print.

Found wooden john-boat with flip-flop arrangement, Falls of the Ohio, April 2018

Detail, Found Flip-flops in Found Wooden John-boat, Falls of the Ohio, April 2018

We had another flooding moment in late April which again changed the character of my outdoor studio and the area around the old railroad bridge.  In its aftermath, an immense and impressive mound of driftwood and other river debris has been left behind.  My old site is history and both the UFO (Unidentified Floating Object) and the recent john-boat project were affected.  It’s only been since May that a sense of the routine, seasonal environment at the Falls of the Ohio State Park has begun to settle in.  I’ve compressed a lot in this post and it breaks my heart to leave anything out, but that seems to be the way to go here.  As the debris mound begins to settle and new junk works its way out, I will continue to show up and document what I find and how I used it.  From the Falls of the Ohio…the Artist at Exit 0.

Styro-figure with Bullhorn with Meandering Found Lighter Arrangement, Falls of the Ohio, April 2018

2018 Ohio River Flood covering the fossil beds at Falls of the Ohio State Park.