Little Palettes

When I was a kid, I’d set my mind sometimes to wake just before dawn. Before the day was swamped in noise, before peace was overwhelmed by crying babies, clanking spoons and pots and pans and cupboard doors, voices asking, arguing, insisting, car engines roaring like trapped beasts, while the weather report blared from the … More Little Palettes

Poets & Fishermen

The words sneak in between the salty slats and lean against weather beaten windowsills out here on the isthmus of schemes and illusions out here on this paper-thin peninsula where I wait with wind-scrubbed hopes and faulty tools, a leaky lifeboat hitched up to the back door just in case the seas come in too … More Poets & Fishermen

The Body Harp

My big striped cat nudged me out of a dream this morning. I was browsing in a dusty bookshop on a corner street in St. Joe. From the doorway, on a crisp autumn afternoon filled with golden light, I could see both the river and the lake. A good place for a business, I thought, … More The Body Harp

A Handmade Tale

When I was four years old I made my own pigments from dirt, bark, berries, and stones. I had a whole manufacturing operation going on the little stretch of sidewalk that led to the front door. I dried big lumps of colored creek clay, barks, and berries and pounded everything down to fine powders, careful … More A Handmade Tale

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