February 23, 2013

Teaching: Linoleum Block Printmaking.

Taught a great group of folks Lino Printmaking today.
A whole bunch of first time carvers, and look what they made!
Teaching is so exquisite at times. Helping folks learn a process
and create something out of nothing is one of my greatest joys.
Good work class! I give you all A+'s.

February 10, 2013

Craft Night with the Gals.

Craft Night with the gals, so fun to chit chat and be busy with our hands.
Darcy and I worked on Valentines, while Sonya worked on a book cover.
Small group this month, but some of the best gals I know.
Happy to be home.

February 9, 2013


I just listened to the best TEDtalk from Brene Brown titled The Power of Vulnerability.
(Click on the above photo to be linked to it.)
It got me reflecting on my road trip and on life, and how fast things can change,
how fast we can change if we open up and let ourselves be seen.
Brown talks about "the courage to be imperfect," and that "what makes us
vulnerable, makes us beautiful." So true. As I look around at life,
the folks who seem to be trying to hold it all together just look exhausted.
I don't want to have to try so hard, I want to share with my loved ones 
that I don't have it all together. That of course I'm flailing in life, we all are!
Life is messy, there are so many choices and directions and people we could be.

Brown also says that we must be "willing to let go of what we thought
we should be, to be who we are." That has never resonated so deeply as it does now.
It feels like an amazing gift to be able to take some time "off," 
and make art, make time for new ideas, travel, regroup, reveal, reinvent.
And she also says that "vulnerability is the birth place of joy, creativity,
belonging and love." What luck for us! If we admit to our imperfections,
we get so many wonderful things in return.

The last quote I will leave you with is this:
"Let ourselves be seen."
Let's let it all hang out, the crooked tooth, the bad report card, 
the flip flopping, the false start, the dusty mantle, the unwashed dish, 
the 3am hamster wheel thinking, the really ugly paintings,
the moth holes, the chipped china, the truly illegible handwriting.
This life is not a show, we are not actors, we don't have to "play the part."
We are authentic, messy, and vulnerable folks just making it the best we can.
Imperfection: Leave it or take it? I'll take it, hands down.

February 7, 2013

Road Trip, Day Twenty Eight: Home.

Twenty eight days of open road.
Here are some of the highlights and things learned.

The practical: You can never have too much music, you can however have too many shoes.
Bringing your favorite pillow saves you. Hot tea is even good the next day as iced tea
when you forget to drink it and it freezes. You need a lot less than you think you need.
The must have list: Headlamp, hiking boots, down jacket, sleeping bag, art supplies,
a good book, pillow, a few changes of clothes, camera, little bags to put seed pods,
bay leaves, sea glass, succulent starts, and rocks into, and a backpack.

The mental: Your mind can become very clean after a month on the road.
If you forget who you are, or have momentarily lost your way, I suggest travel.
It helps to see the world in all its vastness. There is SO MUCH out there.
And although it feels so good to be in my very own bed tonight,
I already have the itch to get back out there.
There are so many of us, doing such interesting things.
There are so many lives. So many ecosystems. So many creatures. So many plants.
There are so many colors, smells, textures, shapes. My great friend Lori talks
about the idea of "eyes on fire" when you find inspiration in the world.
I definitely feel inspired. I feel full and empty all at the same time, both in a good way.

The physical: We live in a crazy time. There is so much going wrong,
global warming, ice caps melting, war, shootings, extinction, oil spills, horrid things.
But there also is so much going right. There are so many kind moments of
folks helping others. Traveling alone you spend whole days not talking,
and when you come into a town just making eye contact with someone can
mean more than a whole conversation. It's interesting to see all the various
ways people are tending to life, giving to others, building community.
It was nice to step out of mine and into others, and to be welcomed.

Lastly tonight I would like to thank all my hosts.
There was so much generosity of place, time and spirit. 
Thank you friends.
Warm hugs go out to: Mary and George, Tony and Jona, the kind caretakers
of the many yurts and cabins (especially Jug Handle Creek), Steve and Janet,
Lisa and Barry, Kaye and Adam, my wonderful Mother, Sage and Jane, 
Marylee and Jack, Tessa and Julia, Aunt Pat, Uncle Ken, KD and JR.
My door in Portland is always open and the kettle is on.

Road Trip, Day Twenty Seven: Davis Continued...

I had to spend another day in Davis as the car was still in the shop.
I was flabbergasted to see all the unpicked fruit in almost every yard.
I wanted to shake these Californians and say:
"People! You have Meyer lemons growing in your front yard! Get busy squeezing!"
And then I found it hilarious to go to the co-op which was filled with 
basket after basket of fresh citrus. Perhaps we only value what we have to pay for?
It's something to ponder. 

I walked all day along the residential streets of Davis.
Enjoying the little cottages and creative touches.
The little white cottage with the turquoise screen door really captured my heart.
I think I was homesick.

February 5, 2013

Road Trip, Day Twenty Six: Davis, CA.

Sometimes things don't go as planned.
Today the plan was to drive to Ashland, stay in a little cottage,
be in the arms of Oregon. But here I am in Davis, CA.
The car is in the shop, I'm in a nowhere USA hotel,
and I get a chance to practice going with the flow.
And sometimes you get just what you need,
even if you don't know you need it.

Great sunny day walking around downtown Davis,
smelled the local bookshop, did some thrifting,
took myself to the movies, ate a makeshift salad in the bed of the hotel.
And the gift of it all is that mostly we get to be happy anywhere.
We get to choose joy. We get to choose adventure even in the face
of frustration or disappointment. The world is full, truly filled
with opportunities. Today I see that, and am so grateful.

And the world is also full of helpers.
Thanks to the kind guys at Jiffy Lube, the AAA tow truck driver, 
and the folks at AAMCO who were kind and calm when it seemed
like the car was going to explode. It's a fantastic window
with a view when you get to see the humanness of people
and you get to let them see it in you.

February 3, 2013

Road Trip, Day Twenty Three: Hike at Hidden Villa.

Great morning hike with my cousin. Fungi galore!
Hiked to the top of Elephant Mountain with great views
then down into the bay leaf tree lined valley with a creek
babbling through it. Perfect conditions for mushroom growth.
A long time ago I came to farm camp here at Hidden Villa
and won the award for least disposable lunch.
I brought the whole lunch wrapped in a bandana on a stick,
hobo style. Probably not very politically correct. 
At farm camp we learned about "velcro plants", printing ferns, lanolin.
The smells of Hidden Villa remain the same: 
Bay leaves, compost, and sheep...a delicious combination.

Road Trip, Day Twenty Two: Chinatown, San Francisco.

Chinatown has so many memories for me. As a child we would have
family walkabouts here, where all the cousins on my Dad's side
woud meet in the city for some exploring and time together.
We always bought flowers that sprouted from clam shells 
when dropped in glasses of water. I yearly got a new silk coat,
and black mary jane flats with flowers embroidered on the toes.
We would eat a gloriously large dinner and talk about the old days
when my parents and cousins would come here with their 
parents and cousins. And so, the cycle continues...