Tag Archives: festival

A trail-blazing woman

owl on branch with greeting

Today I mailed this “wise owl” card to my great-aunt for her 109th birthday. No, that is not a typo. Helene “Helli” Stehle was born to a butcher and his wife on December 6, 1907, in Basel, Switzerland. But longevity is by no means the most remarkable thing about Helli. This pioneering woman first achieved fame in Switzerland as a stage actor playing strong characters. She has always been a vibrant, strong-willed woman with a great zest for life, so I can imagine how riveting her performances Read more

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Exploring art in old Japan

maple leaves in fall with haiku

Besides a grand family adventure, my trip to Japan earlier this summer (see Journey to Japan) was also an exploration of Japanese art and haiku—and a chance to stock up on hard-to-find art supplies. A major highlight of the trip was a visit to a famous art supply store in Kyoto, founded by a painter in 1863 and still run by his descendants. At the one-room Saiun-do (“Painted Clouds”), I found the fine brushes, made of weasel hair and bamboo, for which I had spent years searching. I also Read more

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Thanksgiving abundance

chili pepper wreath

As Thanksgiving approaches, I’m thinking about the fact that we in the U.S. have a holiday that is completely devoted to gathering with our loved ones and giving thanks. Isn’t it cool that in deepest, darkest November, family and friends come together to share a feast that represents abundance? Covered in gravy, with a side of cranberry sauce. I’m grateful to be enjoying a less stressful holiday season than usual. For this month and next, I’ve consciously stepped back from some commitments Read more

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One brushstroke at a time

painting of beach scene with haiku

When I first tried sumi ink painting five years ago, I struggled. There was frustration. There was angst. In this ancient medium, you grind an ink stick made of pine soot and glue in an ink stone with a few drops of water, then paint with bamboo brushes on rice paper. Sounds simple enough, right? But in practice, there are many ways to go wrong—and I excelled at all of them. I ground the ink too thin and it dried sad and gray on the paper; I ground it too thick and my strokes ran out Read more

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Wishing you peaceful holidays

dog and cat sleeping together

Whew. After weeks of holiday madness for my little business, I have just one more in-person event this season, a holiday craft fair in Arcata this weekend. With this chance to catch my breath, I just want to say a big thank you to all my customers, family and friends. This holiday season and all year, it is a tremendous gift to be able to spend this brief time on earth engaged in truly meaningful work. the time we are given . . . sparks rise through darkness to join the stars (tinywords Read more

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Stories you told me

jacaranda tree in bloom with words

In the nonprofit world where I used to work, funders were always asking for “success stories,” examples of how their support was making a direct impact. While those kinds of stories could be hard to come by, in my current life as an artist and writer, I hear them all the time. One reason I like to do fairs is to market-test new designs before I offer them widely to stores. Another reason is for the chance to talk directly with my customers. So let’s say for a moment that you are a billionaire Read more

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A series of unfortunate events

persimmons on branch

It was a very trying couple of weeks. The first thing to go wrong was that mice invaded our kitchen and bathroom, leaving their droppings in most of our drawers and cabinets. Just days after I finished cleaning and sterilizing everything from that episode, the dog did his business on the driveway, my husband stepped in it wearing hiking boots, and voilà— a trail all through the downstairs that even a human could track by smell. After cleaning the evidence off the carpets and floors, I updated Read more

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Happy Haiku Day!

cherry blossoms with haiku

April is National Poetry Month, and today, April 17, is National Haiku Poetry Day. To celebrate the day, I’m sharing a selection of the haiku and senryu I’ve had published over the past year, since I first started submitting my poems to journals and anthologies.

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Humboldt Holidays

haiku and dog painting

What a rainstorm we’re having! As I write, I can see redwoods swaying in the wind, big green leaves blowing off the alders, and raindrops bouncing hard off the deck. I hope you are finding ways to stay cheerful despite the wet and gloom. steady rain 80% chance of popcorn Meanwhile, I have been busy in my studio framing paintings and prints, assembling new cards, and making books with washi paper I brought back from Japan. This post is especially for folks here in Humboldt County, California. Read more

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