Saturday, September 23, 2017

One Day Mask Portrait Workshops $50 with Lauren Raine

 Make your own Portrait in Clay

In this fun one day workshop you'll learn how to cast your face to make a beautiful Self-Portrait sculpture in special air-dry clay....which you'll be taking home with you.  We'll also share lunch and conversation.   $50.00 (includes materials)  
10:00  am to 4:00 pm  Every SECOND SATURDAY of each month beginning in November 2017.  Class is limited to 5 people.

Workshops on
 Nov. 11, Dec. 9,   Jan. 13,  Feb. 10,
 March 10,  April 14

To enroll, please contact, or call (520) 609-4904. 
A $25.00 non-refundable deposit is required to hold your place. 

Location:  CIRCLE STUDIO in Central Tucson

Instructor:  Lauren Raine MFA has been a mask artist for over 30 years and has taught at the Sedona Arts Center, Pima College, the Peters Valley Craft Center, Kripalu, and the Tucson Clay Co-op.  To learn more about her work:

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

"Invocation for Mabon" by Robin Williamson

Brushwood 2016 by Theresa Guzman
You that create the diversity of the forms:

Open to my words
You that divide it and multiply it

Hear my sounds

Ancient associates and fellow wanderers
You that move the heart in fur and scale

I join with you

You that sing bright and subtle
Making shapes 

that my throat cannot tell

You that harden the horn
And make quick the eye
You that run the fast fox 
and the zigzag fly

You sizeless makers of the mole
And of the whale:  
aid me and I will aid you

You that lift the blossom
and the green branch
You who make symmetries more true

Who dance in slower time
Who watch the patterns

You rough coated
Who eat water
Who stretch deep and high
With your green blood
My red blood 
let it be mingled

Aid me and I will aid you

I call upon you
You who are unconfined
Who have no shape
Who are not seen
But only in your action
I will call upon you

You who have no depth
But choose direction
Who bring what is willed
That you blow love

upon the summers of my loved ones
That you blow summers

 upon those loves of my love

Aid me and I will aid you

I make a pact with you

Image result for rainbow

You who are the liquid

Of the waters
And the spark of the flame:
I call upon you

You who make fertile the soft earth
And guard the growth of the growing things
I make peace with you

You who are the blueness of the blue sky
And the wrath of the storm
I take the cup with you

Earth shakers
And with you
the sharp and the hollow hills
I make reverence to you

Round wakefulness 

We call the Earth
I make wide eyes to you

You who are awake

Every created thing

both solid and sleepy
Or airy light,

I weave colors 'round you

You who will come with me

I will consider it Beauty
I will consider it

Beauty, beauty

Published by  WARLOCK MUSIC, LTD.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Nancy Wood, Poet of the Earth

Recently I re-discovered the New Mexico poet and photographer   Nancy Wood, who passed away in 2013.  Nancy Wood found a deep sense of spiritual  belonging in nature among the natives peoples of New Mexico, and much of her poetry is a celebration of that belonging.  I've always found comfort and a return to Balance when when I return to her poems, and copy a few here for my own great pleasure.

Hold on to what is good

even if it is 
a handful of earth.
Hold on to what you believe
even if it is
a tree which stands by itself.
Hold on to what you must do
even if it is
a long way from here.
Hold on to life even when
it is easier letting go.
Hold on to my hand even when
I have gone away from you.

From Hollering Sun (1972)

Blue lake of life from which flows everything good.

We rejoice with the spirits beneath your waters.
The lake and the earth and the sky
Are all around us.
The voices of many gods
Are all within us.
We are now as one with rock and tree
As one with eagle and crow
As one with deer and coyote
As one with all things
That have been placed here by the Great Spirit.
The sun that shines upon us
The wind that wipes our faces clean of fear
The stars that guide us on this journey
To our blue lake of life
We rejoice with you.

In beauty it is begun.
In beauty it is begun.
In peace it is finished.
In peace it shall never end.

My help is in the mountain

Where I take myself to heal
The earthly wounds
That people give to me.
I find a rock with sun on it
And a stream where the water runs gentle
And the trees which one by one
give me company.
So must I stay for a long time
Until I have grown from the rock
And the stream is running through me
And I cannot tell myself from one tall tree.
Then I know that nothing touches me
Nor makes me run away.
My help is in the mountain
That I take away with me.

From War Cry on a Prayer Feather, 1979

Earth teach me stillness

As the grasses are stilled with light.
Earth teach me suffering
As old stones suffer with memory.
Earth teach me humility
As blossoms are humble with beginning.
Earth teach me caring
As the mother who secures her young.
Earth teach me courage
As the tree which stands all alone.
Earth teach me limitation
As the ant who crawls on the ground.
Earth teach me freedom
As the eagle who soars in the sky.
Earth teach me resignation
As the leaves which die in the fall.
Earth teach me regeneration
As the seed which rises in spring.
Earth teach me to forget myself
As melted snow forgets its life.
Earth teach me to remember kindness
As dry fields weep with rain.

from Hollering Sun, 1972

Saturday, September 16, 2017

The Difference between Dogs and Cats

There's a big difference between the intelligent  existentialism of a cat like, say, Henri below, and the mysterious minds of dogs.  I'm definately a cat person, but I have to admit, Jesse the Jack Russell Terrier would come in handy.  Jesse lives to serve.  Henri, on the other hand, would consider  running for office, were he not so disillusioned by life.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

David Whyte on visible and invisible support

Thursday, December 8, 2016 - 4:28 pm

“Working Together”

We shape our self
 to fit this world

and by the world
 are shaped again.

The visible
 and the invisible

working together
 in common cause,

to produce
 the miraculous.

I am thinking of the way
 the intangible air

traveled at speed
 round a shaped wing

 holds our weight.

So may we, in this life

to those elements
 we have yet to see

or imagine,
 and look for the true

shape of our own self,
 by forming it well

to the great
 intangibles about us.

from David Whyte’s collection of poetry, River Flow: New and Selected Poems. For more poetry, visit On Being's  Poetry Radio Project.

To hear "Everything is Waiting for You" as well:

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Medicine Baskets

A Medicine Basket is a container, woven of many strands,  for healing.

I seem to be having a long case of "writers block" (good thing I'm a visual artist and never seem to run out of images).  I'm hoping that anyone who may be reading this blog is not annoyed to discover me doing this.  Recently at Open Studios  I got into a discussion about this mask.  The mask was  involved in a dream the woman who performed it had - what is interesting is that I made the mask before she had the dream!  But we have done this before, and it illustrates the "seamlessness" of creativity.  I called the mask the "Medicine Basket Mask" and subtitled it "Gather and Offer" because of a poem that was given to me by a workshop participant at Kripalu in 2008.  

"Medicine Basket" is such a wonderful term, and embodies the archetypes of  WEAVING,  VESSELS FOR HEALING created from many threads.  I return to the work of Cherokee artist   Shan Goshorn,  as she is a weaver of contemporary   medicine baskets  which she makes in traditional designs and techniques  They are woven from the words of broken contracts, and the names and photos of children taken from their families and forced to attend boarding schools. “Educational Genocide – The Legacy of the Carlisle Indian Boarding School” was created with a Cherokee-style double weave, and was made from splints of paper that had student’s names and historical documents and photographs. The artist  weaves together the broken threads of the past to create healing baskets that re-member and re-join.

When I made the mask for my friend Mana Youngbear, she told me that she had dreamed it!  My friend saw in her dream a woman wearing a mask that was a basket, the face emerging from the fibers of the basket.  This image had meaning for me on many levels.  A Medicine Basket is a container, woven of many strands, meant to store or provide forces for healing, understanding, consensus, and offering to the divine, the "greater pattern".   We can create  baskets, sacred containers for  healing or empowerment or memory - the "medicine"  that is needed at a given time, place, for a particular person, or a collective "weaving of the energies" . We are also "baskets" ourselves, our intentions and histories woven into the container of our  lives, and those threads have been woven into the lives of everyone else we've ever known as well.  

"Tse Che Nako, Thought Woman, Weaving the World with the Stories She Dreams" (2008)

Now, as everything seems to be unravelling in a world we've made the mistake of taking for granted,  I feel the compulsion to make a new "Medicine Basket Mask".  The mask I have in mind has an open mouth - it will be less passive and in "dreamtime" as the one above.  This one will speak the weaving, the medicine.  The time for being merely receptive is past, now is the time for us to act, to become "the medicine".   

"Basket Mask" by Ilana Stein (2008)
Another mask came to mind, as I thought of woven personae......that of Ilana Stein, which she called "Gathering and Offering" from the poem she made for her mask when I taught at the Kripalu Institute.  Ilana was a well known midwife from New York, and the mask, and the poem, she made shortly before she died of cancer in 2008.  That is a remarkable story here are excerpts from the poem, and her mask, again.  Those things that move me, they remain embedded within my creative source, and they keep coming forward when the time is right.   I am always amazed at the treasures I've been given as blessings,  and questions,  when I look back.  

May each of us, in these crucial times, make strong Baskets with all our communities, our friends, our inner sanctuaries.  May we  Become strong Baskets.

Gather and Offer
by Ilana Stein

Gather towards the North
Gather towards the South
Gather towards the East
Gather Above, gather below

and gather the great Mystery

Gather what you’ve studied
Gather what you’ve learned
Gather how you’ve lived,
and gather what you’ve earned.
Gather what you’ve loved
Gather what you’ve lost.
Gather what you’ve soiled
and gather what it’s cost
Gather what you’ve wasted
and gather what you’ve saved

Gather who your friends are
and gather how they’ve cared
Gather your relations and  how you’ve fared
Then Gather birth and celebrate,
Gather death and cry
Gather hope, regret and longing and
gather up the why

Gather up the waiting, gather struggles,
Gather all the goals you’ve met and
gather up the bravery
Gather faceless fear and all the broken promises. Gather yesterday today,
and gather time tomorrow

Gather what you’ve ruined
and gather when you’ve failed.
Gather up the personal, gather up the frail
Gather up the culture, gather up the myths
Gather all the songs you’ve sung,
and all expressive art
Gather dances,  gather dreams,
and gather up your heart

Gather in the garden, 

Gather at the beach.
Gather on the mountain, 

Gather what’s in reach
Gather in the workplace, 

Gather on the roads
Gather in the home you’ve made

and gather all your kin
Gather your impatience, your frustration and your greed.
Gather up the words you’ve said,
Gather what you need.

Gather up your journey and all
 the time you’ve spent
Gather up your courage and walk inside your tent.
Gather up your secrets
and gather up your wisdom
Gather what you’ve forgotten
Gather what you’ve meant.

Gather faith and reverence
Gather truth and and gather lies
Gather secrets great and small -
Gather wisdom of the ages
and wrap them all  in your shawl
Gather sickness, gather health,

Gather tenderness and rage
Gather all your stories
Gather on the stage

Gather up your gatherings,

stir the basket’s bounty
Gather all remaining threads
and search across the county:

Then offer up your gatherings

to all nations and creations

Offer to your children and offer to your kin
Offer to the hungry, the needy and the grim
Offer to the blessed and offer to the prim
Offer to the kings and queens
Offer to the beggars and the paupers,
Offer to the jesters and 

Offer to the priestesses

Offer to the birds, chipmunks and the deer
Offer to the badger, mole, the frogs,
and o yes the bear
Offer to the green spring shoots,
the white and yellow crocus
Offer to the budding trees
the bushes and the rushes

Offer to the sand and mud,
the concrete and the buildings
Offer to the cook and maid
the seamstress and the butler
Offer to the farmers, offer to the farm
Offer to the doctors and offer for no harm

Offer to the visionaries,  offer to the artists
Offer to the frightened, offer to the scared
Offer to those endangered

 and to the unprepared
Offer to the hurting, offer to be healed,
Offer to your neighbor and offer to the field

Offer grace,  offer peace,  offer possibility
Offer privilege,  trust,  and faith
Offer gratitude, wonderment and awe
Offer loving kindness

Offer up your story

Offer honor and integrity
Offer for community

Offer your vulnerability

Offer what you’ve learned
Offer what you have
Offer what you know
Offer what you’ve shared
Offer both your ears,
your shoulders and your tears
Offer all you’ve gathered, 

offer all your cares.

You’ve gathered through the springtime,
the summer and the fall.

Now rest and build your strength up.
Cycle with the moon.
Cycle through the mystery time.
Close your eyes and sleep.

Dream the dreams of where you’ve been.
Dream of where you’re going –
Then gather.


Sunday, September 10, 2017

"Racing to the Precipice" - Noam Chomsky

Not easy to listen to, but brilliant observation of where we may be heading, by one of America's most significant intellectuals. These days I am unable to separate the political from the personal, or for that matter, from the spiritual. They are all interconnected.