Maps & Muses

Art is risky. Art is like a shipwreck, DuChamp said, and it’s every man for himself. Be willing to get lost, to be marooned. Wander the kingdom and find your own way home. That’s the only way to make art. Habits and expectations, sticking with what worked before, fear of failure – all those things … More Maps & Muses

Folding Secrets

The Miao women of southwest China are renowned for their embroideries and lavishly decorated festival costumes and as a needleworker and former fiber artist I am awed by their work. But it was one of their ordinary everyday sewing accessories, called Zhen Xian Bao, that really riveted my attention. Zhen Xian Bao means “sewing kit” … More Folding Secrets


Ever have a day when you sit down to a familiar task, something you’ve done a thousand times before, only to have your brain drop down a rabbit hole and suddenly you’re stumbling through the fog, your thoughts and ideas vaporize, and you can’t make sense of any of it? That’s what happened last week … More Detours


When I am doing art, I am gone. I’m not in my head. I’m not circling ’round the buzzard pile of scary what-ifs and mind-eating worries. I’m not spinning out disaster scenarios and emergency response plans. I’m in another country. The place where I can live and breathe. What is the meaning of art? Who … More Sanctuary

Cold Benediction

Winter skies seem old somehow, second-hand, used up, like dingy bachelor bedsheets flung above the snowbound fields and hills, stitched with broken fences. Twenty-eight below and the snows come stealthy and moth-like, pieces of white air falling silently. Cold sounds travel light, stripped down, clear, perfect and distinct without the muffling density of summer leaves. … More Cold Benediction

Plain Waiting Paper

I have a love affair with emptiness, with seashores and deserts and bare rooms, with plain waiting paper and lunar space the color of old bones and wedding gowns, where I can hear the secret speech sung between the words and the singing hum of sounds between the sounds, where the hushing of grasses and … More Plain Waiting Paper

Making Marks

“I place my mark and do not hide.” That’s what renowned designer and artist Isamu Noguchi said. My own version of that statement would be, “I make my mark and cannot hide.” When I draw from nature, from a model or a still life, it’s easy to make my mark. With a static frame of … More Making Marks

Twenty-Eight Stones

The word “lake” sounds way too domesticated to describe a place like Lake Michigan. The word “lake”suggests a place corralled and broken in, a gentle, tame, subdued place. Lake Michigan is no little lake. It is an inland sea. A place of tides and currents, hidden coves and wild islands, watery shipwrecks, and long gone … More Twenty-Eight Stones

All the Little Things

When the Events Coordinator at the library called and asked me to give a talk on voluntary simplicity, I did everything I could think of to try to get out of it. My life isn’t voluntary simplicity, I told her, it’s involuntary poverty and there’s nothing simple about it. I tried sarcasm and one vague … More All the Little Things