Tuesday, December 29, 2009

First Winter Snow

"All things share the same breath - the beast, the tree, the man... the air shares its spirit with all the life it supports."
- Chief Seattle

After a wonderful holiday spent with family in San Francisco, we return home to the comfort and quiet of winter's beauty. I feel truly blessed. I now patiently await my scheduled wrist surgery on February 19 with the hopes of a healing winter and a spring awakening.


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Walking the Labyrinth

To honor the Solstice and that quiet, dark and restful place that dwells within me, I walked on the Labyrinth at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral last night. Walking the labyrinth can be a way for the psyche to connect with the soul, a way of seeking our higher spirit. It may be a symbolic pilgrimage or a means of seeking clarity, vision, focus, healing, discernment, peace, or spiritual insight. The labyrinth is a spiritual tool. There is no right or wrong way to walk the labyrinth. Trinity has a beautiful inlay wood labyrinth in the parish hall. Trinity’s Labyrinth Guild provides its walkers and seekers opportunities to strengthen and deepen their spiritual connection by walking the labyrinth. It is a wonderful, symbolic ritual of meditation, clarifying the  teaching: Out of the journey in and deep surrender comes an opening awareness of new life.
The stones I chose from the basket to hold in my hands while I walked were "Peace" and "Resiliency". I reflected upon those words and their personal meaning to me as I journeyed through the path of the Labyrinth.
I meditated upon the gifts that fill my life and the gifts I have that fill others. I meditated on the possibilities of accepting what is as being "enough"..........surrendering, allowing, being. I thought about the conundrum of what it would be like to do less and in doing so, be more. To surrender to the fact that my hand is in pain, needs surgery and cannot do much of what I want. To surrender to and accept what I can do and see the gifts that are hidden within.
Inside that dark quiet place of winter the potential grows...........

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Solstice and my Personal Winter

This weekend was filled with many wonderful openings. Now that I have seen them, I can begin to realize I have the choice to enter into these openings. Jumping back a bit to last Friday Dance Playground, there was a shift. During the pairings and changings between our six dancers, I felt a new opening into trust and safety and fun while in dance and relationship with "the other". I was able to let go and enjoy without all the work that fear brings with it. A breakthrough for me in the dance, the movement, the relationship, the dance..........fast forward to this friday and the 3 hour Reflective Dance Practice.
The very sweet small intimate group of the four of us was beautiful.Dancing in silence, how aware I became of the music of each others breathing, footsteps, clock ticking, bodies moving through the space followed by the quiet sitting meditations that came between the steps. Jen gave me the "permission" in her suggestion of the time of the season and I realized that right now I am in my own "Personal Winter". I am going to try to embrace that now.That quiet time of inward darkness that makes way for spring light. Like a bulb planted, I need the quiet slowness to heal both my hand and my spirit with the hopes that there will be a renewed blossoming of my hand that will be healing after the surgery, but making room now for the gathering of the creativity during this time of darkness that will also blossom anew in the Spring. I brought one of my old sculptures that felt dead to me right now and created an alter of sorts for it before I danced not so much to breathe life back into it, but to honor that for roght now, it too is in its dormant personal winter that needs to rest with my other sculptures until the time is right to re emerge. Time..........Patience...........Quiet..............Darkness.
Now to Sunday morning dance. For the first time I gave myself permission to dance as part of the whole rather that on the outside looking in. In the past, I actually placed myself on the outside of the circle not really looking into the circle and the other dancers, as much as looking into myself or sheilding myself from the other dancers by always gazing inwardly. I opened my eyes, I moved through the space, through the other bodies! Winky gave permission to dance with "the other"even if there is no physical contact, that you can dance with each other by merely being aware of the space you are both inhabiting at that moment. I found a way to take care of my body and myself in the mass of moving bodies. The energy that I allowed myself to fill up with from the others was amazing, and I acknowledge that I too must be contributing to filling others as well. I felt so free and alive and truly a part of the community. I do give myself permission to still step outside the group dance and into the private quiet dance of the self whenever I need to, but that will be out of choice rather than out of fear. Yet another breakthrough for me!
The weekend was also filled with wonderful jazz/funk music shared with Michael on Saturday night and then rounded out with an amazing performance of the Aurora Chorus joined by the fantastic Jamie Seiber on Sunday. The voices of the 100 woman singing about peace in many languages was so inspiring and uplifting. It truly filled my soul to hear the 100 voices sound like one voice and the ethereal electric cello added just the perfect touch.
The finale of the weekend was to meet and celebrate the Solstice and holiday season with my Art Circle for dinner. Wonderful friends and rich time.
Now, today marks the Solstice and I plan to try to create some enriching rituals for myself that will not only celebrate the Solstice but honor my own Personal Winter.

Honor your own complexity.
Mark Gerzon
Coming Into Our Own

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Pieces of the Past

Well believe it or not in a manic burst to finish my chair for the Chair Affair before my surgeon's appointment in one hour, I did what I thought was impossible. What began as a lonely chair that had no identity, she joined us as the Thanksgiving table, then waited to become......At first her working title was Finding Home. On this journey, she became Pieces of the Past. I love my narrative chair and will post a picture soon. I am proud of myself for working through the pain, and using my left hand as much as I could, being disciplined at a time when I was in emotional turmoil which culminated in creating my chair. It was a collaboration that was at first uninspired, but the relationship grew into a chair that I am proud of. I hope she raises a lot at the Auction in April!
Now I am off to the surgeon to create a plan to heal my hand. Now I am waiting to become whole again.
"We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time."
~T.S. Eliot ~

I am honored to have been a part of this annual fundraiser!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Trying to change perspective

Loss makes artists of us all as we weave new patterns in the fabric of our lives.
Greta W. Crosby
After a very difficult weekend accepting what is, rather than what I want things to be, I struggle to complete the Chair Affair chair before my surgeon's appointment tomorrow night. I do not know what lies ahead for me and my wrist in the coming months so I want to finish it. It hurts to work on it, but I need the discipline and sense of satisfaction that working provides to keep me going. I am trying to simplify my original plan for the chair. Editing the elements but keeping the narrative hoping less can be more. I will continue on it this afternoon.............

Friday, December 11, 2009

Slowing Down

"There is more to life than increasing its speed."
Mahatma Gandhi
Now that I have given myself permission to not make the chair if I can't, and instead mount the layered glass piece that I did printmaking on as a back up, my ideas have begun to flow. It is amazing to me that when you let go, space is created. I will approach the chair slowly, thoughtfully, and simply. I will try a bit today, since I now have some inspiration about where I want it to go and the narrative has finally begun to take shape. I will only create it IF I CAN! I am giving myself permission to do it in small increments. It is about Finding Home.

I am now thinking about the beautiful Rumi piece Guest  House.

"This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
As an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they're a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond".

Renewed Inspiration!

The meeting of our Portland Women's Art Circle on Wednesday was just the medicine I needed in light of my current hand situation. After much conversation about my frustrations and with the help of my very wise fellow artists and friends, I now see things a bit differently. The project of 365 chairs that I saw as being already unsuccessful, I now realize set myself up for immediate failure because of the pressure I put on myself. I have done 3 small clay chairs and that is all for now.I had been beating myself up about not being disciplined enough to stay with this rigid and difficult left handed project. I am now collecting the wax molds that I remove from my hand after my daily soak in hot paraffin wax. I will collect these daily until my surgery and hope to mount these lovely cocoons and back light them. This is a manageable and soothing piece to be working on. It is healing, creating with the best of what I have to give right now and it nurtures me, which is what I really need most now.
The three clay chairs I have completed are the first chapter........Waiting.
The wax hands are the second chapter...............Nurturing. 
The third chapter remains to be seen............
I am so grateful to these supportive women and feel so blessed to have them in my life.
"Take rest; a field that has rested gives a bountiful crop."

Save The Date for The Chair Affair

Now is the time to plan ahead to for 2010 and to think about  getting involved with  the Community Warehouse and in beautiful artwork. The main event will take place Thursday, April 8th, 6 - 9 pm.  Each week year the Community Warehouse recycles gently used household furnishings to over 60 of Oregon's neediest families  at no cost to them. The needs for families is unfortunately growing while donations of household goods have sharply declined. Please consider the Community Warehouse when you are cleaning out your own home and looking for a wonderful place to give your belongings a new good home. Please check out the website www.communitywarehouse.org for more information and please consider joining me at the 2010 Chair Affair for a night of fabulous fun, food and artwork made by artists in our community, many who are your friends and colleagues such as myself. It is a great way to both give and receive. For more info see the attached invitation and check out the website. I know there are a lot of organizations to support in our great city, but you can be a part of the Community Warehouse in so many ways even if you cannot attend The Chair Affair. I will keep you posted.........until then thank you for your support!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Re-examining my clay chair installation project

I am feeling quite discouraged with my original clay chair installation project. I was so excited about the potential and the disipline but I am just not ready to follow through full steam ahead right now. The holidays are always emotionally draining and with the abrupt change in the cold weather I am again feeling in hibernation mode. I am also stressed by the decision that I will have to be making whether or not to have surgery on my wrist so perhaps I am expecting too much of myself right now. I just don't have the creative emotional energy right now. The problem is, considering my wrist issues, I have basically "set myself up" for failure unless I re-examine my intentions, my parameters and my capabilities. I am in quite a creative funk and by counting the fact that I have not made more chairs than I have made, I feel like I am failing. I have to think about the way I can approach this installation without feeling unsuccessful before I really begin to emerse myself in it. I have to pause...........and see the possibilities of what can be, rather than what cannot.
"Time, like life itself, has no inherent meaning. We give our own meaning to time as to life.
Don't fight against life, let it be. Life has its own rhythm, its own time. In most cases, you simply create stress and suffering for yourself whenever you attempt to hurry the course of history or to slow it."
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Jonathan Lockwood Huie

Thinking outside the chair

Well I have my chair for this years  Chair Affair, in fact it played a roll as a stand in on Thanksgiving when we came up a bit short so she is already a member of the family. I will post pictures of her soon but I am not sure what she will become yet considering the current condition of my right wrist that might be facing a third surgery.I may have to get really creative in my thinking outside the chair and also have to be pretty open and flexible about the expectations I have on myself in regards to my creation. More to come.................

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Choosing My Chair

Tonight I meet my chair. I enter into this relationship with trepidation since once again I am faced with having to creating it one handed. It is not the way I want it to be, yet it is what it is.................
"Problems are opportunities in disguise. If you did not face problems you would just drift through life, and you would not gain inner growth." Peace pilgrim

My Patience Continues To Be Challenged

Pain is inevitable, Suffering is optional. - Buddhist proverb Pain is what the world inflicts upon us. Suffering is our emotional reaction when we fail to make the difficult conscious decision to choose Joy. - Jonathan Lockwood Huie

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A Year of Chairs Begins with Baby Steps

After our Gathering of Women Artists meeting last week, I have been inspired to think about what I can created that is large yet has small components. My friend and fellow artist HsinYi Huang is creating an installation with several hundred pod shapes that hang on the wall. With all the discussion with other fellow members, Nes, Katie, Renee and Alison, about "possibilities" for me and how to deal with my physical limitations of my wrist and mental limitations that I am imposing upon myself, I decided to move forward. Michael took me to Georgie's on Saturday where I bought 100 LB of clay, thanks in part to the generous gift certificate my beloved daughter Jenni gave me last year. I chose a very soft, non groggy clay that will be easy to handle. The Wonder White clay is so soft and supple, that I am forced to work small and slowly, since it takes time for the clay to firm up and hold it's shape. My thoughts, ironically yet totally uninfluenced by the upcoming Chair Affair, is multiples of very small chairs that will hang on the wall. I thought about what the image of the chair conjures up in my mind, and began to feel inspired. Some of my thoughts: The chair is a universal item that most people in the world have sat upon at some point in their lives. It is something that waits to be filled. It is empty and reminds us of someone's absence. We enjoy a wonderful dinner in restaurants, we wait in waiting rooms for help or anxiously waiting in a hospital praying for good news. We sit on it at happy occassions with our loved ones. We sit on chairs in jury duty, waiting rooms as our cars are worked on, waiting for doctor's appointments and waiting to pick up our prescriptions. We sit for hours at our desks or in our studios being productive or struggling to solve a problem. We wait at the airport happily awaiting a much anticipated visitor or tense about a delayed flight in bad weather. We sit for hours in school learning or daydreaming. We sun ourselves at the poolside and read books at the library.We laugh and cry at the movies............This is just the beginning of the interest I am having in the idea of chairs. I would like to have the goal, hand allowing, of creating a very small white chair a day, that will hang on the wall. Ideally 365 chairs but that remains to be seen. I will leave some chairs empty, while filling others with sometting that I have collected or will be collecting in the coming days that creates a narrative for me. I am very excited about the prospect of touching clay once again. I made my first chair yesterday. Did my wrist hurt, yes. Did my spirit come alive with the birth of a new creative venture, absolutely. The silky delicious clay on my fingertips, heavenly. Baby steps..........less can be more. Therein lies my challenge. Another opportunity to grow and learn.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Social Trash News

"Social Trash" News

The Leave No Plastic Behind NATIONAL PLASTIC QUILT PROJECT travels! Although it's called a Quilt, it's part of many important efforts to awaken the masses about the messes surrounding plastic dependence! You may see the new additions online here. Thanks to artists Amy, Claudia, Clare, Clay, Kelly, Staj, Daniella, Heather, Holly, Bryce, Brie, Vicky, Taylor, Jo and Bridget for all 18 square feet of thought-provoking works of art!

On the tour schedule so far is this year's Junk to Funk fashion show on November 14th, Century High School in Hillsboro during December and, in May, a likely trip to the snazzy Bay Area! If you have ideas for where the Quilt can go, please email cheryl@createplenty.org.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Dance Continues

Last night I anxiously awaited the initiation of our new dance space. I left plenty of time to get there early enough to be able to savor the space before dancing in it. Well the world had other plans for me. As I drove around in circles trying to avoid all the traffic backups due to rain and construction on my regular route, I began to panic and stress that I would never make it to dance. What I had been awaiting for months, I feared might not come to fruition. After 45 minutes of driving, that should have taken 15, I ran into a room of dark quiet, beautiful bodies gathered, waiting to take the first step, waiting for the first note of music, from outside or from within, to move them. I tore off my rain gear and ran into the quiet. I left the traffic, the rain, the panic, the stress, outside. As I entered this room it felt like a somewhat familiar, dark peaceful womb, waiting to be filled with the presence of the dancers and their spirit of moving. I may not have begun the dance in the way that I had planned it, but such is the dance of life. The layers peeled away and I moved my first movement. My body stretched and reached up into the darkness and felt immediately at home in a new place, for the first time, as if I already knew this home. When I dance I feel home.

Rumi - Guest House

This being human is a guest house Every morning a new arrival. A joy, a depression, a meanness, some momentary awareness comes as an unexpected visitor. Welcome and entertain them all! Even if they are a crowd of sorrows, who violently sweep your house empty of its furniture, still treat each guest honorably. He may be clearing you out for some new delight. The dark thought, the shame, the malice, meet them at the door laughing, and invite them in. Be grateful for whoever comes, because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.

The best 37 years of my life

Today marks 37 years since I met my beloved Michael. That is when my life truly began and I am forever grateful. I await the next wonderful 37 years together!
"Love does not consist in gazing at each other, but in looking outward together in the same direction." Antoine De Saint-Exupery

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

LNPB Leave No Plastic Behind Update

How exciting to see the art blocks that have been created by the other artists joining in the LNPB project, so please be sure to check them out and read the artist's before and after statements. This is the "sixth chapter" of the project and my first. I will continue to be a part of LNPB.
MEET THE ARTISTS of the National Plastic Quilt Project August—October 2009 Leave No Plastic Behind, Portland’s 6th “Episode” (also known as an art exhibit), marks a collective eighteen months during which artist/participants lived creatively and plastic-free. The Quilt Project is a representation of artists, families and individuals aware of the depth to which plastic affects our shared earth. You may be a part of lucky episode number 7, which begins in March 2010. Sign up for our email list to keep apprised of the details. The Quilt thus far will be on display various locations throughout Portland during November and December 2009 beginning at the Junk to Funk Fashion show on November 14th at the Crystal Ballroom! Full schedule to be posted soon. Have a space? Book the quilt!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Great Article Featuring the Community Warehouse!

Check out the wonderful article on the Community Warehouse and their new location. I am delighted once again to be creating a chair for their annual auction fundraiser. I can't wait to meet my chair at the party on November 19 as well as check out the new Community Warehouse space.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Dancing through the anger

Today I am dealing with an extreme increase of pain in my wrist and feeling very angry and resentful. I feel as though I have so many gifts to give and the pain of my wrist is standing in the way of my creative passions. This lesson is not an easy one for me to get. Why?? I am having trouble just being with what is................... It was almost a year ago that I created my chairs for The Chair Affair 2010 left handed. I am afraid I am faced with the same challenge once again. I anxiously await my new doctor's appointment trying to enter into it with a sense of renewed hope.

When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left and I could say, "I used everything that you gave me."

- Erma Bombeck

A sense of global consciousness

The other day I received this e-mail from a like minded thinker. It never ceases to amaze me that the power of the collective consciousness is all around us if you live with eyes wide open and reach out with a positive energy. Life has a domino effect no doubt and each effort we put forth in the universe, no matter how small, has a ripple effect like a small stone tossed into a still pond. The ripples are far reaching.
"We can do no great things, only small things with great love." --Mother Teresa
Hi Jo.....Jambo?Thats Swahili for hallo..... i do hope that you dont mind me calling you that......do you,well my names are Moses Akwiri Okoth.....from a part of the Earth called Kenya thats in Africa.....well actually thats NOT the whole of it BUT my Mum is from a country called Senegal.....welll thats still in Africa and well i am the 11th born of 12 Children....... i have been into art quite sometime.......BUT not that much since.....its NOT that part of me BUT oh......i do love art..... Well how did i get your address and what and why am i writing to you.....well i do have a great friend called Cheryly Lorhman and we have been friends for quite sometime and this year i decided that i think its time i put up her organization Leave No Plastic Behind (LNPB) here in Kenya.Kenya is actually home to the UNEP headquarters.......and i must say with alot of shame in me.....its got the worlds MOST irresponsible and NON environment friendly people.....and so thats why i need to start networking with people like you......to help set up this organization in Kenya.I am on the part where we are planning to have an exhibition on LNPB and the Quilt project early next year and i am hoping that i can have as many artists as possible.....i do hope that i can get a few ideas from you or just words of though and wisdom on what you think.....hoping to hear from you soon..... Sincerely, Mo!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Consious Technique Dance Workshop

"Do or do not, there is no try." - Yoda (Star Wars)
So I dared to risk going to Conscious Technique with Meshi Chavez~~~~~~~~~~~~

butoh ~ improv ~ choreography ~ consciousness ~ form ~ dance

"Conscious Technique provides a fusion of organic movement and choreographed moments. Participants will hone in on the use of imagination to foster presence in their movement practice while sharpening performance skills. Each session is an exploration of the internal power potential we possess as mover and artists. Through sustained concentration we will engage our external surroundings while connecting it to our internal process and vice versa."
I did not let the fear of the unknown stand in my way and I dared to dance outside my comfort zone. Still suffering with headaches I pushed through it. If I am in pain I can still do something that fills my soul. I tried to dance through the pain. I am so glad I did. I carried the intent and awareness of "inside body" "outside body" and "social or collective body" with me as I left the class. I am excited to see how this all plays out in my "real world life?" I look forward to the next three sessions.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

thought for today

"The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.
Don't go back to sleep.
You must ask for what you really want.
Don't go back to sleep.
People are going back and forth across the doorsill
where the two worlds touch.
The door is round and open.
Don't go back to sleep." ~ Rumi

Friday, October 30, 2009

"From Within A Place of Stillness"

I am feeling the need to hibernate The trees, the flowers, the plants grow in silence. The stars, the sun, the moon move in silence. Silence gives us a new perspective.
Mother Teresa

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

"Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened."

Life is what we make it. Always has been, always will be.

- Grandma Moses

We survived The Big Easy! The trip to New Orleans was a blast!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

LNPB Leave No Plastic Behind Update

Well I dropped off my quilt piece yesterday. The piece is finished, but not my commitment to continue with the changes I have already implemented decreased plastic use in our home, as well as continue to look for new ways to reduce our use of plastics in our lives. As for the future of my quilt block it looks like this:
Well there will be a few stops for the quilt, starting on Alberta @ Fuel Cafe for First Thursday, then it will be hanging at the new LNPB headquarters on Killingsworth and 19th. It will then travel to the Junk to Funk fashion show on November 14th. We are hoping to have a party soiree for the artists in early December, perhaps for First Thursday in the Pearl, but we're still looking for a space for that at this late date! Then it goes to Hillsboro - Century High School - for an educational project and will likely travel to the Bay Area in California early next year!
Please keep checking back for updates on the project!

Monday, October 19, 2009

What love looks like

There are truly no words to describe this first glimpse picture of Adam & Tiff at the wedding. This is what pure love looks like! I am filled with more joy than I could have ever imagined.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

After the dance................

This morning I reflect on last night's reflective dance and the conversation that followed. The dance was a battle between my mind and my body. I tried to be in the mantra "This body, this moment, this space"..............difficult. The image of the autumn as the sky turns dark at this moment this morning this space............the wind blows the trees and the leaves let go.............they don't hesitate, they don't choose.............they let go because they have to, they have no choice. I do. I struggle. Oh to be like the autum leaves on the trees...............to be able just to let go. Let go in this body, in this moment and in this space.........

Thinking about last night's Reflective Dance Practice........

A desire to kneel down sometimes pulses through my body, or rather it is as if my body has been meant and made for the act of kneeling. Sometimes, in moments of deep gratitude, kneeling down becomes an overwhelming urge, head deeply bowed, hands before my face.
Etty Hillesum An Interrupted Life

Friday, October 16, 2009

The Chair Affair is coming again!!!

Wow! I cannot believe an entire year has past and it is time to start thinking about my chair for the Community Warehouse chair affair again! Don't forget to check out the Community Warehouse's new location if you are shopping for something for your home or are looking for an new home for something you are ready are ready to part with. It is a great organization to support either way. I am excited for the artist pre-affair party on November 19th to meet the other artists and of course meet my chair! The ideas are already bouncing around in my head and I have not even met her yet. I will keep you posted as the love affair with my chair unfolds, so check back often...................

Thursday, October 15, 2009

LNPB Leave No Plastic Behind Quilt Project

Well today I created my quilt square for the LNPB project using the plastic that I have saved over the past 2 months.I am entitling it Ingredients For Life? I ironed layer upon layer of plastic bags and straws to create a dense mess. There is nothing aesthetic about the piece. I thought it might be pleasing to look at once I began composing it like a mosaic, but after melting it all together, it was clear to me that there can be nothing aesthetic about plastic. It became a true reflection of the mess that plastic creates in our environment. There is no place for it in our lives! I regretfully had to recycle much more plastic that I collect during this time period, that would not even fit into the quilt. This said, I have significantly reduced my purchases of plastic packaged foods, yet still, there were those items I purchased that sadly offered me no choice in packaging. I am still going to strive to make even more changes in my purchasing habits, even if it means changing what items I buy, so that I may consume less plastic.

Monday, October 12, 2009


Well the wedding of Adam and Tiff has come and gone and I am finally landing back on earth. There was so much emotional energy involved in the entire process of the wedding that I can finally exhale after one of the most wonderful weekends of my life. Each day another memory unfolds and makes the experience grow richer and richer. Now with the days growing cooler and getting darker earlier, I look forward to going inward to my creative space, as my injured hand allows, and create, create, create. That is my calling and I want to answer, yet my pain stands in my way and I have to struggle to find a balance and a way around it. It brings to mind one of my favorite quotes:

"Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart. Try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books written in a foreign language. Do not now look for the answers. They cannot now be given to you because you could not live them. It is a question of experiencing everything. At present you need to live the question. Perhaps you will gradually, without even noticing it, find yourself experiencing the answer, some distant day. "

Rainer Maria Rilke~~Letters to a Young Poet

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The pre wedding celebration!

A wonderful celebration the day before the wedding and our newest member of the family!
With Jenni and Nana there, it could not have been a more wonderful wedding celebration the welcome Tiff into our nest!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Art In The Pearl

This Labor Day weekend was rainy and pretty miserable but Art In The Pearl went on despite the weather. Yesterday cleared up which brought lots of people gathering to see the wonderful annual art and craft exhibit. Once again I had a piece on exhibit and it was nice to have lots of people and energy coming through our booth. The piece that I showed was "Can The Child Inside Me Rise Above". Thanks to all for the wonderful feedback!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Leave No Plastic Behind Project

After reading about the Leave No Plastic Behind project through the Regional Arts & Culture Council website yesterday, my mind was immediately catapulted into thinking about the changes I have already made in my plastic usage habits, which have significantly changed in the past few years. It also challenged me to examine what changes I can still make. I feel great about the changes we have made, yet there is still so far to go. What I believe to be the biggest problem in our plastic driven society, is the so called chic boutique bottled water obsession, a ban we have implemented in our home long ago. We even make our own sparkling water. More importantly, when I began to think about what I can do to make even more changes I at first felt overwhelmed and then empowered. The things that have landed in my bag of items already purchased from merely one day into the project astounded me. I am already making changes in my head planning for my next shopping trip purchases as well as having my husband and partner in crime make changes as well. He will begin bringing a reusable cup to the coffee shop now to accompany his reusable lunch container that he has carried for the past year. I also just brought my own reusable container for deli meat at the market, and asked for the price label so I could put it on myself (an idea I got from [this] website, thank you very much!) I have been a found object artist for a number of years and this opportunity is incredibly inspiring and invigorating. I hope this fever is contagious! I am so ready to be on board for the first time but not the last time in this LNPB quilt project. This is not just a one time novelty. It is the beginning of a continued life style change. I am faced with both welcome problem solving all the changes I can make but on the flip side, the frustration I feel watching others living in the disposable mindset environment around me. It leaves wondering if I have the power to make an impact of change and influence their habits as well. Our kids have left the nest, but I am trying to still influence their choices by the example I set. I believe it is still possible to reach them as well as other family members and friends. It’s a start! I am so psyched to be a part of this important movement!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

What Began As A Tagged Wall.................

This is where creativity, community and hope begins. What was once a wall plagued with graffiti, ended with a beautiful mural that portrayed the positive images of change for the health of the members of the community and the building that houses a healing life line for those in need of dialysis. I am honored to have had the privilege of being one of the over 100 people who touched the wall with their hope and creative energy. Our thanks to Robin Corbo for making this a reality.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

A great article on the mural in the Oregonian!

MIKE Program mural in Northeast Portland a memorial with a message

by Anna Griffin, The Oregonian
Friday August 28, 2009, 5:00 PM

The MIKE Program, founded in the name of the late Dr. Mike Hartnett, helped craft a message about healthy kidneys for the subject of a mural on an oft-tagged wall of a Northeast Portland dialysis clinic.

You're probably sick of mural stories. After all, there are a million murals in our painted city, with plenty of new ones on the way now that Portland leaders have seen the cultural light and loosened restrictions on what business owners can paint on their property.

More is better, as this tale illustrates.

At Dr. Michael Hartnett's funeral nine years ago, friends and former colleagues approached his wife to ask an important, if untimely, question: How are we going to honor Mike's memory?

Hartnett was a nephrologist at Legacy Good Samaritan Hospital & Medical Center and the Northwest Renal Clinic. He died of lymphoma at 58 after spending his career working to promote healthy lifestyles in the Pacific Northwest.

After some time grieving, his wife, Dr. Cheryl Neal, planned to create a "living memorial" to her husband: a nonprofit that would work to guard against chronic kidney disease, particularly in African American and Latino children from poor and broken homes.

Volunteers for the MIKE Program -- named after Hartnett but also short for Multicultural Integrated Kidney Education Program -- talk to school health classes about nutrition and exercise, take students on field trips to hospitals and dialysis clinics, and provide mentors and career guidance.

"You ask kids what their biggest health need is, and it's relationships," Neal said. "They don't have good health role models."

The DSI NE Portland Dialysis Clinic, at Northeast Seventh Avenue and Hancock Street, works with MIKE. Last year, clinic administrators approached the nonprofit with their own problem: Graffiti artists were repeatedly taking advantage of the clinic's big western wall, an expanse of white that was a magnet for gang-related tagging.

The Regional Arts and Culture Council, a nonprofit that shepherds public investment in the arts, hooked MIKE up with Robin Corbo, a muralist whose work includes the painting outside the Community Cycling Center on Alberta Street and one honoring women on Interstate Avenue.

She met with students at the Portland Occupational Industrialization Center, an alternative high school in North Portland, to brainstorm. Worksystems Inc. helped recruit interns and paid them minimum-wage salaries to do the painting alongside Corbo and volunteers.

The total cost: about $20,000 in public and private grants. The finished product: a 2,000-square-foot sunrise-to-sunset tour of all the ways young people can help protect their kidneys.

The characters bike, walk, sing, dance, snowboard on Mount Hood, practice karate and enjoy a picnic of healthy food. There's definite attitude: The sun, for example, sports sunglasses, a handlebar mustache, a goatee and the look of a guy in on the joke. The artists modeled many of the faces after students in the MIKE Program.

Everyone involved gets something: For the student interns, summer jobs and real-world experience. For the clinic and neighborhood, a splash of color and graffiti deterrent. For Neal, a memorial to her husband. For the rest of us, the mural, which will be dedicated at 4 p.m. Sunday, is a rainbow-hued reminder to take better care of our bodies.

"Mike would have loved it," Neal said.

-- Anna Griffin; annagriffin@news.oregonian.com

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

In Need of Ease-of-Transition

"For the time being the highest peak, for the time being the deepest ocean; for the time being a crazy mind, for the time being a Buddha body; for the time being a Zen Master, for the time being an ordinary person; for the time being earth and sky... Since there is nothing but this moment, 'for the time being' is all the time there is." -- Zen Master Dogen

The Mural is Almost completed!

The MIKE mural is nearing completion and is looking so amazing. Please check it out and don't forget to come to the dedication ceremony Sunday at 4 pm at: DSI NE Portland Dialysis Clinic 703 NE Hancock Portland, OR 97212

Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.

— Barack Obama

Monday, August 24, 2009

50/50 Exhibit/Benefit Sale FIrst Friday 100th Monkey

Today I created my piece for the 50/50 exhibit at 100th Monkey Studio! I am very pleased with the result. I was inspired to create a book that will hang on the wall for the exhibit out of my 8" x 8" panel of wood. It is filled with images I photographed, essays I wrote, quotes from wonderful sources that I have collected and other mixed media. The piece is entitled "Connection". It will be at the exhibit/sale to benefit the scholarship fund at 100th Monkey Studios. I hope you can come to the exhibit and own a piece of original art for merely $50 and benefit the scholarship fund as well! These pieces will be sold directly off the wall, on a first come first serve basis. What better way to engage in the remarkable story that the studio was named for and become part of the change. Please join me and the other Portland area artists The opening reception on First Friday September 4th 100th Monkey is located at 110 SE 16th Ave and Ankeny. This will also mark the third anniversary of the studio that was created by two determined young women who wanted to create a difference through creating a place for creating art. The name The 100th Monkey Studio was adopted because the founders, Beth Ann Short and Joy Leising saw the opportunity for humankind to have the same sort of “phenomenon” in relation to using art as a means of self-care as well as self-expression. It is our goal that art making in a community setting become infectious, bringing art into people’s everyday life. In this creative community space any one is welcome to come and learn from each other, while supporting and embracing each other's differences. I hope to become a volunteer at the 100th Monkey this coming fall. The name of the studio was inspired by a story one of the partners read. It is a story that some believe to be fiction, but the message is one of positive social change. The Japanese monkey, Macaca Fuscata, had been observed in the wild for a period of over 30 years. It was documented that in 1952, on the island of Koshima, scientists had been leaving the monkeys sweet potatoes in the sand in exchange for a look into their social culture. In 1958, one female was documented as washing the sweet potatoes in a nearby stream to rid it of the dirt and sand. She was documented as teaching the habit to her mother and her playmates. The new trait spread throughout the island. Suddenly not just on this island, but on surrounding islands and onto the mainland monkeys were washing their food. The number 100 is merely a symbol, but in the story it was used to recognize when the trait forever changed the species. This magical occurrence was named the 100th Monkey Phenomenon. The 100th Monkey Studio is a strong supporter of community. When able, the studio partners with non-profits for monthly shows to give the non- profits a platform to educate the community about what they do. Past partners have included but are not limited to: * My Story Workshops * Dove Lewis * Children's Relief Nursery * Quest Center * SMYRC * Green Empowerment * Zimbabwe Artist Project * Africa AIDS Response

Sunday, August 23, 2009

A Satisfying Creative Weekend

The Multicultural Integrative Kidney Education project mural is progressing at amazing speed. From day to day it is evolving and I look forward to seeing it each time I return to paint as I see it take on a new and exciting form. The talented artists of all ages that are coming out to volunteer is incredible. Robin Corbo is an amazing lead artist and it is an honor to work under her direction. I hope you can all make it to the mural dedication on Sunday, August 30 at 4 pm at 703 NE Hancock to see this fabulous project reach it's completion and to honor all the youth who have leant their creative hands to the mural. This weekend I also had the opportunity to take a wonderful workshop given at Bullseye Glass by Carrie Iverson. I had the chance to learn and experiment with printing on glass. I look forward to incorporating this technique into my clay work and am excited to see where it will take me! This coming week I will begin to work on my piece for the 50/50 exhibit/scholarship fundraising piece for 100th Monkey Studio. I have lots of ideas brewing so check back to see it as it comes to fruition.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The moment called life

Well much time has passed since the last entry and not because there is nothing happening. On the contrary........life has been so full and rich with life that it has been difficult to carve out time to write. I recently read
"Breathe deeply and appreciate the moment, living in the moment could be the meaning of life"
I think that just about sums it all up!
Much of life has been joyfully revolving around Adam and Tiffany's wedding, with lots of friends and family gathering, with parties, creative food and crafts at the surprise Luau shower and all the wonderful things that are leading up to the big day! This weekend was a tremendous success and Tiff was truly surprised at the Luau Shower where we all tried to bring Kauai to Portland! I have been finding time for the 2 most important things to me besides my family, creating art and creating dance. I cannot remember life before the Ecstatic Dance Community became a part of my life. Creating and Dance have been helping to sustain me as I still try to find balance in my life and care for my wrist as it is still a huge issue in my life for going on 2 1/2 years, as well as chronic headache pain that I am delighted to say, has been tremendously improved with Cranial Sacral Chiropractic work. For that I am very grateful to Jeanette Cummings and fellow artist Alisa Looney for the life transforming recommendation. I am trying to find a way to dance with the pain I have rather than battle it. Not always an easy or successful task, but I am trying to be patient with my body and find a meeting place of compassion. So far the spring transitioned into summer as we started with a trip to visit Jenni in San Francisco with a side trip to Sonoma. I then had the great thrill of joining Michael in a place I would never think of as "my kind of fun", Las Vegas, as he lived out a fantasy of playing poker with the celebs. He earned this free trip and won entry into this normally high stakes tornament! I followed this with a trip to Cloud Mountain in Washington for a silent Buddhist Meditation Retreat, a dance retreat at Breitenbush Hot Springs, two trips to Cannon Beach, and a trip to Salt Lake City to meet our wonderful new growing family. The remaining time I am spending collecting and creating. I have been working a bit in clay but mostly making found art assemblage pieces which I have been finding very satisfying to create. This month I began to help paint on Robin Corbo's latest mural project. You can view the progress of it at : wwwMikeprogram.org/mural. MIKE is the Multicultural Integrative Kidney Education program. The site of the mural is .The intention of this mural, which is on the 100' x 20' wall of the dialysis center on NE Hancock, is to work with diverse often marginalized youth to provide an alternative avenue for a healthy life style while creating a beautiful work of art in the North East Portland District. Painting side by side with community youth and hearing their stories is wonderful and the artwork that has been done is phenomenal. I am excited to begin painting on in again later this week now that I have survived the Luau with flying colors! I am also creating a piece for The 100th Monkey Studio Each of the artists participating in,this fundraiser "50/50" for the scholarship fund will be creating a piece of art on an 8" x 8" block of wood with no restriction as to what we do with it. Each piece will be for sale for $50 an amazing way to own a one of a kind piece of art completed by a local artist and benefit the scholarship fund. The 100th Monkey studio is a space that provides a safe affordable place for anyone to have access to art supplies and create in an atmosphere of freedom and acceptance to express themselves, as well as art therapy and other art services open to the community. Please read the 100th Monkey story and how it all got started. It is a beautiful story! I think it has the opportunity to effect all our lives if we allow ourselves to think of the far reaching effects we can all have on other locally and globally by our seemingly small actions. Please check back often as I will be updating these two projects. Labor Day Weekend I will have a sculpture on exhibit at the annual Art In The Pearl at the Pacific NW Sculptors Guild booth. Please stop by and visit! Also check Adam and Tiff's wedding blog to follow all the wedding fun as it unfolds!!! Until next time remember what Albert Einstein said:
"Not everything in life that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted"

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Chair Affair Final Tally!





Friday, April 24, 2009

The Chair Affair 2009 Gala Auction!

THE 2009 CHAIR AFFAIR SOLD OUT! Thank you to all those who purchased tickets and chairs!

I don't have a final count on how much money was raised this year at the Chair Affair but will keep you updated when I know. Despite difficult economic times, I was elated to see all the Portlanders that come out to support the Community Warehouse.

I am already planning my chairs for next year in my head! It was a great event to lend my "hand" and I do mean "one" hand to! Overall I think my chairs helped to raise close to $700. In addition, I of course supported The Community Warehouse and Portland's economy by bidding and winning a fabulous hand crafted silver chair pin created by Gayla Faustman-Buyukas

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

San Francisco and Sonoma

A Picture's Worth A Thousand Words

Friday, April 3, 2009

1st Thursday and The Chair Affair

Last night I was delighted to be a part of the opening reception exhibits of the Chairs that will be auctioned off at the Chair Affair to benefit the Community Warehouse on April 23. I was even more excited to see that both my chairs were placed in the windows of the two venues! Hopefully many people will view the over 80 artists chairs during the month and then also attend the gala auction to bid on their favorite chair(s)!!

Monday, March 30, 2009

In Search Of Peace

Please check out the website In Search Of Peace. One of my photos was included in the exhibit and is now on the on-line exhibit. I shot it at the 2007 Portland Peace March.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Chair Affair Website Update

Well the Community Warehouse Chair Affair website is completely updated! You can view bits and pieces of my chair, as well as most of the 80 artist's chairs to tempt you to swing by on First Thursday April 2 or to attend the Chair Affair auction on April 23. Check it out and enjoy!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

The Chair Affair 2009 Is Getting Closer

Today I got a glimpse at some of the truly amazing chairs that will be auctioned off at the Chair Affair on April 23. For First Thursday April 2, I am delighted that PH Reed has chosen to display my chair Kickin' Back In Portland, at their store. They are located at NW 11th and Glisan. It will be there for the First Thursday opening reception from 6-9 pm as well as the remainder of the month leading up to the big event. My chair Let The Good Times Roll Again, will be exhibited at the Anka Gallery at 325 NW 6th near the Everett Street Loft Galleries. It too will be there for the remainder of the month but they are open limited hours. Tickets to the auction will be available for purchase at those locations on First Thursday. The auction will not only be filled with the most amazing chairs of all sizes, shapes and stories, but there will be food, wine and dessert to fill all your senses. Hope you can either join me by stopping by during First Thursday or hopefully I will see you at the auction on the 23!

2009 Event

A Fun-Filled Benefit for the Community Warehouse

When: Thursday April 23, 2009 - 6:00-8:30 pm Where: Staver Locomotive - 2537 NW 29th, Portland, Oregon

The Chair Affair has expanded to over 80 local artists featuring chair-related art that includes jewelry, paintings, pottery, fabric, and of course, dozens of fabulous chairs!

NEW FOR 2009: "Take a Seat" auction items: Blazer tickets, dinner & theatre seats, a weekend at the beach, and MORE!

Have a seat & enjoy dessert during the live auction!

Tickets $50 each or, buy a dessert table for eight for the price of six tickets!

Buy your 2009 Chair Affair tickets now!
Buy a Dessert Table for Eight-for the price of six tickets!
or call (503) 224-0711 or email kristy@communitywarehouse.org

Friday, March 6, 2009

The Chair Affair grows closer!

Follow the Chair Affair updates as it unfolds at: http://www.communitywarehouse.org/chairaffair/2009event/artists/grishman.html Please check back often to see the pictures of the chairs as they are gathered for the big event and for more information about where you can see all the chairs in person! As of now there are over 80 artists participating in this very worthwhile event. I am personally very excited to see the other chairs that will be joining my two at the Chair Affair on April 23. They will all be on exhibit for First Thursday on April 2 at PH Reed's windows and the Anka Gallery at the Everett Street Station. The chairs will be on display for the month of April at Mario's and PH Reed's windows and the Anka Gallery in NW.

Monday, February 16, 2009

The Chair Affair 2009 Second Chair completed

I just finished delivering my two chairs to the Community Warehouse for the Chair Affair. The second chair is Let The Good Times Roll Again! or as it is they referred to in The Big Easy, AKA New Orleans, Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler Recommencer! This is my tribute chair to honor New Orleans. There is no city in the US like it. I guess I became inspired since I will be visiting this wonderful city for the fifth time next year. This will be my first time since hurricane Katrina ravaged the city on August 28, 2005. When you look at my chair you see the colorful, Mardi Gras spirit that pervades the city all year long. It is the most vibrant place I have ever visited. The people are diverse and the artistic international character is everywhere you look. The French Quarter, is filled with painters, mimes, fortune tellers and musicians. You would never know that the rest of the city and state had been destroyed by hurricane Katrina almost four years ago. You can place my chair against the wall and see nothing but the joyous, colorful spirit that makes New Orleans unique. Upon closer look, hidden behind the chair, some of the true story that has taken place is revealed. It is our choice as humanitarians to look at the chair from all sides, stop hiding the atrocities that have shattered this neglected city, and begin to truly rebuild this treasure.