Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Things Are Not Always As They Seem

A few weeks ago I had a bad migraine and here I am again............Thoughts are rattling around in my head, and in what might seem like a futile effort to relieve the pressure and pain, building in my head, I am putting these words down. 

Of late, I have been grappling with what seems to be, and what is. The proverbial wolf in sheep's clothing, the great and mighty, powerful all knowing Oz, who is, in reality, a mere flawed mortal behind a curtain, misrepresenting himself as someone other than that.

During my last migraine bout, I experienced the ecstasy of tasting what I thought was a ripe, sweet, juicy cherry, from my very own fruit tree. In reality, I realized, it turned out to be a sour plum, masquerading as a cherry. Yet for that moment, it became a cherry for me, because I needed it to be. I truly believed in it, so it was my reality. Truth be told, I do not like plums.

There have been people in my life, who I have been seeing lately, shedding their outer curtain in front of my eyes. In my former eyes, they were beloved friends, who spoke to me with deep love and kindness, deep caring and concern. I believed that there was a deep connection, that became so important and meaningful to me, and a foundation of my existence and basis for my self-worth. I felt so lucky to have them in my life, and felt richer for knowing them. The sweetness was almost too good to be true.

In times of need, and during times of great accomplishment, celebration and joy, I have reached out to share this with the ones who I though held a place of great meaning in my life, by their own choice and mine. Suddenly I realized that they were no longer there. I pulled back the curtain, and they were gone. They had looked the other way when I reached out. They turned a deaf ear when I rejoiced or cried. The huge sense of disillusionment has been such an encumbering, painful weight. 

The apathy was palpable. The sweet was sour. The small glistening cherry, was not at all what it appeared to be.

Now I am at a place of simplifying. Clearing space. Reflecting on the Detritus our ending exhibit, my sculpture Veil of Indifference, and all that it is and has meant to me. I sit looking at the former cherry tree. It has revealed it's truth to me. Actually, it has alway been a plum tree, I just could not see that. The tree was picked clean by the crows in the course of a few days, and remains barren as it has always been, before I discovered the first fruit. The burgundy leaves still glisten in the sunlight. Their beauty is not diminished in the least, for having been revealed as a different kind of tree. I just will see it differently, from now on.

I will no longer pick it's fruit, because I do not like to eat plums. I will leave it for the crow, who love to eagerly feast on them. I will seek out my own sweet fruit, that suits me better. How much fruit do I actually need anyway? 

Now to lay down in the quiet, and rest, with the hopes that the pain of the headache, along with the thoughts that I have been weighted down by, will gradually begin to float up to the cloudless blue sky, and leave me that much lighter for having let them go.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

To Dance With Nature

                            "A Broken Heart Is Heavy and Hard To Carry"
 ~ Jo Grishman

When we enter into any relationship, we usually believe and expect that it will be a forever one.  Two people move forward with the hopes and expectations, that being together, whether in friend, love or working relationship, it will grow stronger and long lasting. Like in nature, nothing is static, change is inevitable. We hopefully grow as people, and that being in relationship as an “us”, will make us a better “me”. It is actually unrealistic to think that we will never change, yet we always hope that if we do, we will remain on the same path as the other. Sometimes this path intersects like a DNA molecule, always coming back to itself. Sometimes it waxes and wanes, reaches a place of stasis, and then if we are lucky, a place of shared stability. This is not always the case. Often though, through the growth process, the relationship does not look the way we might have seen it, in our mind’s eye.  Plants reach toward the light of the sun, soaking it in to thrive. The branches of a tree, beginning from a place of sameness, start growing apart. This separation, this individuation, is necessary to thrive. We look toward the changing seasons of nature, for guidance in our own lives. 

Last June, I participated in a profoundly moving dance retreat. We danced in and with nature, amongst the trees and rocks, as though there was no separation between the self and the forest. During this experience, we each chose a rock and stick to bring inside, to join us in the dance. At the conclusion, I admittedly had “rock envy”. I gazed longingly from across the room, wanting to be in relationship with a rock that was in the arms of another. I asked the proud partner of her wonderful heart shaped rock, if she intended to take it home with her. She responded, that “the rock was broken and rather heavy to carry”, and that I was welcome to have it. I accepted this wonderful gift with feelings of hope and potential. Yes, yes indeed, a broken heart is heavy and hard to carry. I delighted in the prospect of collaborating with this rock, to create a sculpture. I have just completed it, in the midst of some relationships in my life, that are in a state of flux, seeking balance amidst the turbulent storm. By co-creating with this rock, some of the experiences I brought home from the retreat, as well as with life itself unfolding, I am trying to process with a guarded optimism, the new relationships that I am being challenged with. It is a dance unto itself.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

The Art Life Video Blog

Yesterday I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Jacob Wolff. He is an energetic artist, photographer and journalist who documents all the creative energy Portland has to offer. I was honored to be the 122nd artist in his series The Art Life Video. You can see the two part interview that took place in Basic Space Gallery, where I am part of a three person exhibit. It was exciting, exhilarating and a bit frightening, but fun and wonderful none the less.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

If Life Hands You a Bowl of Cherries......

Growing up in NYC, the furthest thing from my mind was having a fruit tree. I love the farmers market and fresh fruits and veggies. I am blessed with ten creative working fingers that love to manipulate and give life to clay, but I do not have green thumbs. 

As I sat in solitude today, nursing a migraine, I listened to the loud cacophony of crows, and shrill of the eagles hovering over the lake, which by the way was music to my ears now that the fireworks of the fourth of July have passed. I spotted a glistening red orb in the morning sun. 

City kid that I am, I have watched the cherry tree flower for four seasons, never thinking that flowers could mean fruit. I love the deep burgundy of the leaves, almost as much as the hummingbirds do. This year's early hot summer, brought early pink blossoms, that came and went with the first breezy day. Upon closer examination I saw that there were many, many beautiful, ripe, red, bursting, cherries, dangling from the tree. 

Like a little kid, who has made a great discovery, I couldn't finish my breakfast fast enough and run for my camera to capture these little gems. I wiggled in my seat in anticipation of reaching for the first sweet cherry from MY VERY OWN CHERRY TREE and tasting it! I cherished the moment as if it was a first date, wanting it to last, from the moment I plucked the first berry from the branch, until I bit into the firm, crisp, juicy, morsel. It tasted delicious!!!! Although it was a bit tart, and I do not like tart, my mind read it as the sweetest thing ever. Funny how we can see something as sweet, even if it isn't, if we want to.

I was going to climb and pick only five considering how headachy I was feeling, but was actually able to reach quite a bit from the ground. I did climb the ladder to reach just one for the fun of it, held by my beloved who is always supporting me in my antics. Anything to put a smile on my face when I have pain.

I now cherish this lovely bowl of cherries, that I will savor later. It brightened up, what started out as an otherwise dark day, although the sky is a majestic blue, made more so by the contrast of the burgundy cherries against it. I am cherishing the solitude, cherishing my family, cherishing my art opening last week, thinking about the synchronicity of the fact that today of all days would be the day that I would notice and "cherish the cherries". Through the pain, I can still choose to cherish my life. 

Friday, June 26, 2015

A few weeks ago I donated a sculpture for the fundraiser

 Small Works / Big Cause : 
An Art Fundraiser for Jenny Bates

Jenny is a brave young Portland artist dealing with all the expenses and challenges of dealing with breast cancer. Yesterday I found out that my piece, ”Sacred Healing Drum Goddess" was bought by my 
dear friends who sponsored the event, at Basic Space Gallery, in honor of Jenny. I couldn't have asked for a greater honor and a better more loving home for my sculpture! 

Little Worlds

So a few months ago my project Little Worlds began......
The collecting over time and the assembling began. I entered into my Little Worlds.....

Fifteen pieces later, I readied to install them at OmBase Yoga Studio. There were challenges to be met, and I was not sure how it would look but it all eventually came together after much tweaking......

“Little Worlds” 

This current series is titled “Little Worlds”. As a child I found solace, creating imaginary worlds, playing under a baby grand piano in our apartment in NYC. I called that place, “my own little world”.

I am a collector. I find comfort in collecting found objects and inspirational finds from the natural world. Where others see debris, I see potential. 

These boxes are worlds unto themselves. The elements are what give voice to my stories. They speak to me about the smallness of our existence in the scope of the world and the largeness of our impact on nature. We are lilliputians in a vast world. 

Through creating these boxes, I collaborate and pay homage, in my own way, to nature from which I derive pleasure and inspiration. In creating “Little worlds”, I lose myself not knowing what they will evolve into, and ironically through this journey, I somehow begin to find myself. I hope you take time to enter and enjoy a glimpse into these worlds I have co-created.

"When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe." 
~John Muir~

I will be donating the proceeds from the sale of each of my assemblages in my exhibit at OmBase, “Little Worlds” to The Shoe That Grows. 
I hope people will enjoy entering my Little Worlds and  join me in coming together to raise money for The Shoe That Grows,  part of the non-profit Because International.  Each sale will provide 5 pairs of shoes for children in need. Please consider supporting me for the children. I have already raised almost $800 in less than a month for The Shoe That Grows and look forward to making this project grow even more.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Detritus- Exhibit at Basic Space

This is one of my sculptures, "Veil of Indifference" that will be a part of Detritus, an exhibit at Basic Space during the month of July with Christopher Roberts and Kenneth Saylor. 

Detritus. The stuff we accumulate, that erodes, the pieces that are left when things break apart, the fragments that we leave behind. Sounds like the process of life happening. When we had first discussed this word, we had accepted that this word is a part of everything’s ‘life’ and is all around us. This word can encompass a wide array of occurrences, whether being in nature, medicine, the universe, and to our relationships. When people see something destroyed, we tend to perceive that as negative and as a loss, however this is not always the case. We accumulate relationships, experiences, and memories, be they supportive or destructive. Often times, we don’t see a choice in the matter. We move through our lives and are touched in some way by every experience, object and person we encounter. Each leaving their mark engraved on us. They can never be removed, only buried beneath the surface, but their ghost of memory always remains. Relationships and objects are not things that last forever, they erode like the world itself. What we choose to leave behind or to discard is just as important as the things we cherish and hold on to. With this show, we are attempting to highlight the relationship aspect within the spectrum of the definition of detritus. Our interpretations, our experiences, our encounters and how those have been a part of our lives and what mark it has left upon us. We offer up to you, the opportunity to explore the marks that have been engraved in your life, and what you chose to expose or to bury.

  • Opening Reception First Thursday
    at 6:00pm - 9:00pm

  • Basic Space Gallery
    625 NW Everett St #111, Portland, Oregon 97209

Mazu- Water Goddess- Dragon Boat Show

I was delighted to be invited by Alea Bone, to participate in The Dragon Boat Show, in conjunction with the Portland Rose Festival and The Dragon Boat Races. I thoroughly enjoyed creating my piece Maza- Water Goddess and thrilled that she has found a new home!

Morning Glory

Well today was pretty profound and I want to share the story I will call Morning Glory. The other day I was gifted with morning glory seeds by my cherished friend, Fred Swan, and they started to sprout this morning! Glorious way to begin the day.

Having breakfast on the deck I had an encounter unlike one I have ever had before with a hummingbird. He hovered in front of me, after sipping the nectar I had set out. He looked in my eyes and then began to move closer, hover again, move closer, hover etc. He was staring me in the eye, and really connecting with me. It was surreal and a bit frightening for some reason. I love hummingbirds, yet I have never had an encounter such as this. What a gift.

 We have been dancing and discussing hummingbirds at Tuesday dance. Are the hummingbirds aware that they are moving fast like us when we are rushing around, or is that their normal speed? I have been pondering this since Tuesday, considering how to be more conscious of my movement and priorities. Do I have to rush or can I move through the day and savor each special , one of a kind moment?

It was such a moving encounter. I felt like it was a moment that is rare, that I could have missed by moving, but I allowed it, I noticed it, we connected. It made me think about how often we move so quickly through our day that we miss these precious gifts. In stillness, I received the gift of connection with this hummingbird.

I proceeded to work on two bees wax scrolls and then was surprised by a visiting bee that landed on my hot plate of bees wax. I had also bought a hummingbird stamp to incorporate into my scroll in the future, but today seemed like a fitting tribute.

The day progressed and I took a lunch break. As I sat on the deck, I heard a small crash and look to see what might have fallen. There on the deck, laying on the grill cover, was a hummingbird, who had apparently flown into the window. It still had an insect clutched in it’s beak, but it’s death was immediate. I was devastate to see him lying with his eyes open, stunned. I watched and waited, hoping that he might have just been stunned, but hours later he still remained, unmoved. 

My sadness was and is beyond deeply aching. I know it is the cycle of life, but this knowledge offers no solace. We never know when our moment will come, that moment life ends abruptly. I cherished the time I had this morning connecting with a hummingbird (probably not the same one but I will never know). What was the lesson that I needed to learn? We must cherish these small yet huge gifts, these moments of connection, be they with humans or animals. Never take these moments for granted, as they may be our last.

I now have the hummingbird protected in a box. I will bury him tomorrow, in a special spot I can look upon, and on top of it I will plant my Morning Glory seeds. As I watch them grow, I will cherish those moments that come when you least expect them. I will honor those gifts and consider myself blessed for having given them.

Answering Fred Swan's call 2nd Tuesday- "Sinking Inward"

The Clarity of Water

Sunday, June 14, 2015

The Shoes That Grow

I am currently feeling quite passionate about an organization I came across called Shoes That Grow.

Over 2 billion people in the world suffer from soil-transmitted parasites and diseases.  The Shoe That Grows is a better solution to help children protect their feet than just regular shoes, shoes that don’t fit, or no shoes at all.  The Shoe That Grows adjusts five sizes and last five years – providing better protection and better health for children.

 The Shoe That Grows is a patented design by Kenton Lee, of an innovative shoe that adjusts and expands.  It was developed in part by a shoe development company in the Northwest called Proof of Concept. 
The shoe comes in two sizes: Small and Large.  Each size grows 5 sizes and lasts at least 5 years. 
Small = Grows 5 sizes – From Kindergarten to 4th Grade 
Large = Grows 5 sizes – From 5th Grade to 9th Grade.  
The Shoe is made with simple materials – leather, compressed rubber, and snaps.  No mechanical parts of gears to break.  Easy to clean.  Easy to use. 

I have organized a fundraiser through GOFUNDME with the goal of raising $1500 enabling me to have a shipment of 100 pairs of shoes sent to a country with children in need. The cost of one pair of shoes is a mere $15 and can have such a huge impact on the health, growth, education, and quality of life of a child. 

I am hoping that others will join me by donating, and also by spreading the word about Shoes That Grow and together we can make something great happen.

“Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love."

― Mother Teresa

Friday, January 16, 2015

Eagle Creek

Eagle Creek

I began with frustration at a dead camera battery
How could I "capture" the hike without it
I had no choice but to experience it 
as Annie Dillard would
with the "photographic precision
of her own silver-lined gut"
As I enter a new place with fear of the unknown
I am astounded by the beauty of varied greens
I couldn't imagine existed
The sounds of flowing creek and waterfalls
are magnificently deafening
The arms of the tree giants
reach out with dangling moss fingertips
They beckon to caress, hold and protect me
The trail walls weep with the joy of its own beauty
I feel cleansed by the shower mother nature provides
from it's melting winter glory
The falls feel like they want to both 
consume and cradle me
I try to listen to the pace of place
I don't want to leave
I long to return again soon
I will.....