Made by Hand

Letter #2-incomplete (Time-Bomb)

sep.7-96

I think i found it. A pattern in the web, in the mesh that can shift the scales. Timescales. Listen. I’ve been listening to the rocks, and the trees. something in the soil. I think I can hear, see, feel, understand, piece together a pattern.

You have to close your eyes and see with your body. It’s Aural. Slowly. I’ll have more. Wait for me. This is going to crack it.

So close.

I’m not sure of anything now. Am I even here? Is here a place? Breaking time was a bad idea. (But) Time held us in place. It was a (set) schedule. Some people need structure. Time for this. Then afterwards time for that. Fill the day. Check your schedule.  

Cracking: It’s all like some greasy mess on top of a pond now, gas haze on the surface, slick rainbows, toxic and essentially useless. There is no time…

Just being. Being. And not being. Being with you and not being. Being hungry, being full, being alone, being human, animal being. 

Wait for me.

Love you.

Merika

San Francisco Chronicle
September 7, 1996

”Appearing yesterday in a Santa Rosa courtroom, an admitted child molester and Roman Catholic priest was sentenced to eight years in prison, the maximum punishment.“

What happened to the boy?



Letter 1.5 Time Bomb

August 15, 2087 (continued)

The map will show locations where you will be safe Outside. The red camps are larger and have their own markets so if you forget something or can’t bring it you might find a temporal replacement. Blue camps are really outposts. I’ve been at this camp, NF23 for about 10 days according to my rocks. Seems like a bigger one. I’ve heard people talking in at least a half dozen languages. Spanish, Mandarin, Arabic, Swahili, German, French, maybe Russian? Haven’t heard that one in a while.

Water is expensive but it’s good. I’m assuming they are recycling it. No rain in the month since I’ve been here. It must be summer. The forest markets have a decent range of produce and protein. But no meat here. Maybe in the winter? I’m not asking too many questions yet. It’s best to wait until you find another traveler. Not that we’re a secret. People know. But you don’t want to reveal yourself to the wrong type of traveler. People disappear, but then no one knows for sure if they left on their own or were taken. I’m not any faster at making friends so sorry I can’t tell you more now. I am going to a gathering near the Lake soon, GL23. There may be some new contacts there. 

It’s true that our skin is changing, travelers skin. I’m losing my freckles, birthmarks are fading. I think there’s another traveler staying with us. His skin is so smooth almost translucent. But I don’t know where he’s from so I’m trying to be discreet. Since I arrived my hair has turned white. Maybe it happened in transition. They didn’t tell us about the hair. Maybe it’s just me. 

I’ve been staying with a furniture maker and her family. They put people up in a few cabins around a big house. I’m helping her mark trees for felling, milling some older stock along the river and cleaning and organizing. The forests have almost recovered. She’s telling me a bit about these mushrooms that were brought in to rebalance and fortify the ecosystem. Then the people and animals did the rest. Collective survival. You should stay here. I think they know what I am. Sometimes I catch her looking at me when I’m working, a barely detectable smile on her lips. I marked it on the map, this place, circled in red labeled “safe-house?” She seems to know most people this side of camp. I think she can help. I hope I’m right, I usually am. That’s why they sent me. 

The desert is another story. Not much information about what goes on there from here. I’m planning to terra travel after the first rain. I really wish you could come with me.  I want to see the canyons and feel the open spaces. The age of the earth feels more solid in the desert. Not like among us, where times like a slot machine. I always hated gambling. Life is a losing game. Sorry I get like this sometimes. Mild depression they said was one of the side effects. Need to find another Outside traveler. Talk it out.


Always bring your radiation suit, flask, knife, salt, paper and pencil. Leave your next letter and coordinates on the spot I marked on the map. After the desert I’m going back to 1996. Please be careful. I love you, Russia

Time Bomb [L1, draft]



seedeer1.jpg

August 15, 2087

As I write this I’m dead already. It’s a crazy thing to think, to write down. I can’t think through it. It’s like a wall that runs off forever in either direction and rises too high to climb. All I can do is write this down and hope you’ll find it, like we planned. But these are strange times. Since the development of time travel what does dead really mean? Had we understood the liquid nature of time, that it was more like waves, currents undulating like water columns in the ocean, stratified but susceptible to sudden and violent disturbance, and how it’s all really just a matter of scale. Was that not enough to keep us fascinated forever? It’s never enough with us. First it was the expeditions and conquests, genocide and oppression of the survivors, more land, more industry, more technology, more extraction, more war, more money, more death, more money, more and more until even the earth had nothing left. We’d taken from her all she ever had to give, all that ever was or would be... Okay, so I might exaggerate. There was something left, for those who could afford it, but the peak times had passed decades ago, oil, water and people. All earthly resources were in a post peak. The population, human and nonhuman had begun to drop precipitously. A curse or a gift depending on who you ask. Some of us knew the truth. The Future was disappearing.

It’s been determined that homo sapiens cannot time-travel to the future beyond 2087.  There’s some insurmountable wall that the routers can’t penetrate. I’ve been here, this year, this time, for a month. I think. I keep a pile of pebbles to track the days. 28, 4 weeks, one month, right? There is more and more slippage. Sometimes it feels like we are going backwards or the sun seems to stay in one place in the sky for hours. If I had my phone, a watch, maybe I could tell for certain, but we have none of that here. No power. Even when you find someone Outside with an s-panel, there is no way to set a clock. There are sun dials in the clearings and deserts. They are all relative to the sun. Some people say we are slowing down, the earth, it’s orbit has slowed. Winding down now. The sunsets are longer. Each color rushes across the sky as I breathe in and blood pulses through my veins blue like the darkening sky. That sudden shot of green we used to try to see just when the sun drops below the horizon, it lasts a good 5-10 breaths now. I’ve started measuring time with my body. It’s all just relative to the sun, to our bodies, this planet. Fuck clocks. They can have there fucking clocks.

The Complex is enormous here. As far as my eyes can see. It curves around and blocks out the horizon to the east. The channel separating it from the Outside is so wide some mornings the mist rising from the runoff makes it all disappear, like fog over the bay. But it’s there. You can feel it’s hum in your chest. You can feel the heat coming off the routers when the wind blows onshore. Others say all the best minds from the last 100 years are in there, taken from their time to work on cracking the Future. What’s that like? How strange it must feel to be suddenly taken out of your time?  It was strange for us too, but it came on more gradually over decades after the Mars cataclysm. Like the planet itself shook them off. Tragic really. Kids were among the 10,000. The workers too and their families. The animals and cyborgs that had no choice. And the Elites, I have to believe not all are bad. We come from the same place. We are one. How different we are now.

It was a definite blow to their numbers. There are so many more of us Outside. Like it’s always been. They have power. But we have the numbers.

———————- 

New work blossoming as I prepare to leave my home for the last 37 years. I’m feeling feelings. Sentimental, reflective, nostaligic, anxious, excitement. California I am grateful. Your sunshine and fields have let me grow tall and strong. I found shelter and peace in your mountains and forests. I’m always in awe of your ocean, vast and unknowable. I move north along your edges. And your people, from everywhere, here, sparks in your eyes, the sky in your heart, the sun in your touch. As I pull away, I realize how deep my roots have become. I’m not really leaving, I am expanding. Home is just bigger now.  

letting go/going north!

Looks like all those self help books might just work! After years or trying, heartbreak and all but giving up on a future in academia I side stepped my ego, my fears and gave it one, two more tries and who would have imagined it would feel so natural and nearly (a relative term) effortless. The doors open and they say welcome, we are so happy you came. In less cryptic terms, I am moving to Bellingham, WA for a one year appointment as Visiting Professor of Sculpture and Foundations! As I share this news with friends it's amazing how many connections I already have there. Oh and my two oldest friends live in WA! SO thrilled.

 I did not take this gorgeous photo of the forest in Bellingham but I will be there in September!

I did not take this gorgeous photo of the forest in Bellingham but I will be there in September!

It is however bittersweet because I am so much enjoying my life unfolding here in South Santa Cruz County. I will miss the fields of kale, tractors at rush hour, alpacas and donkeys on Casserley Rd, the cacophony of animal sounds that gently wake me at night, coyotes, then roosters, followed by the dogs always willing to contribute and socialize. And my students and everyone at Cabrillo College Extension. My WOWW class and basketry class reminded me why I teach. The gratitude of the students, the joy of sharing simple skills to see them add to the knowledge with their own unique insight, I love it! Which is good to know as I move forward to a full time position with more responsibility that ever before. I am sooo ready!

 Western Washington University Campus near the waterfront!

Western Washington University Campus near the waterfront!

I've already secured a spacious new home, cottage really, just 10 minutes from campus by bike and 10 minutes from the water by foot, right next to Fairhaven, a especially quaint part of Bellingham with all kinds of great shops and cafes. Having room for all my tools and basketry material is a relief. And now I have an excuse to design and build some furniture! I wonder what grows there?

 Wow! Farmers Market in Fairhaven seems to ROCK!

Wow! Farmers Market in Fairhaven seems to ROCK!

It will be such a change to be able to walk to town, flush a toilet! Walk downstairs and make a cup of coffee! This is going to be quite an adventure. Still, I'm going to miss my Santa Cruz family, the doggies, the forest not to mention my Bay area family. Grateful for all the years of support, silliness and love. I must remember I am a nomad and I will be back, always.

Can't wait to start designing my new bed! And school, well that's the whole reason I'm going! Teaching Sculpture in Wood and Intro to 3D this quarter! Flying in August 2nd to meet with new colleagues and do a drive by on my new place. That's next week! Today... it's my B-day and I'm doing what I want, where I want, when I want. Through all this, the last 10 weeks of recovery, I've learned a lot about what I need to feel well, to feel giving and open to others, which is ultimately why I am here... to share and support the community around me... I think that's why teaching stayed with me, even when I gave up, felt as if I had nothing left to give. One has to give away a special gift, that which we've learned and honed like a jewel. It's not about pride, it's about nurturing and sharing those skills, stories that have filled up some of those holes in the heart, and even grown new parts, making a lumpy, little bumpy, misshapen heart, yet a bigger, broader more resilient heart.

Some writing...

Sasha Petrenko // Work Plan: Oro Residency

In April ‘18 I spent 10 days on the isolated Farrallon Islands, with 6 other government employees and volunteers, 30 miles off the coast of San Francisco, California. The islands, a nature preserve, are closed to the public, and notoriously difficult to reach. The ocean swells are particularly choppy beyond the bay due to volcanic outcroppings and strong ocean currents. A major shark feeding ground, the area is also known for being the site of over 400 hundred recorded ship and airplane wrecks since the islands discovery by the Spaniards in the late 16th century. With no dock or pier due to the islands sheer walls, we step off 2 by 2 from the deep hulled fishing boat onto a less impressive raft fitted with an outboard motor and make our way towards a craggy inlet. We are picked up by a crane and transferred safely onto land. Offloading is the same but in reverse and can only be done when the weather is fair. One unexpected swell could thrash the raft or the fishing boat against razor sharp cliffs.

DSC_1383.jpg

We spent our time on the island abating invasive spinach, hiking around in white Tyvec suits worn to protect our clothes, we are told, from the blue dye of the diluted pesticide spray we used to subdue the unfortunate intruder. The irony was not lost on us, who are we to call the other an invasive. But the trained ecologists did not respond well when pressed on the issue. Restoration is their livelihood. And so I kept my disturbing questions to myself.

During the day we worked mostly in isolation, wandering the cliffs, clearly outnumbered by the thousands of birds that swarmed, fed and fought around us. Hundreds of seals basked, dove and swam along the islands bays and fingers. When we approached the birds took flight creating sonic clouds of white while the seals weighed down by pounds of flesh and fat growled and barked earthly and guttural, and we humans, stuck in the middle, pulled plants from the rocky soil, much like those who came before us. We were both stuck in the middle between sea and the mainland, heaven and earth.

Within a few days a daily pattern emerged. Up at dawn to brew coffee by the pot, breakfast comparisons, then suiting up in white and mounting 40 pound packs of blue fluid on our backs to dash the island spinach plant that was already haunting our dreams. Around 1 we’d start to fall out for lunch and after 5 or 6, dinner, that nightly was cooked by a different volunteer. Working on the island we developed healthy appetites and our meals together were highlights of the day. Then the evenings were spent describing everything we wish we had with us, whiskey, a guitar, more cigarettes. Later we’d read or write alone in one of the shared bedrooms in the former home for the lighthouse keeper and his family. After over a century of operation it was decided conditions were not suitable for a man and his family. The deaths of several children were recorded in official ledgers. The lighthouse has been automated for 45 years.

The isolation and general lack of what we were used to having resulted in a growing sensory awareness of my body, its vulnerability, on the island, on the rocks, in the wind, which would flap and whip at my white Tyvek suit, as I’d stare out across the prehistoric landscape, and the limitless sea. Like a thousand white kites, gulls rode the wind above me. While the wind filled my ears, I could imagine myself a time traveler or an astronaut dropped down on this barren isle, charged with restoring some lost ecology, while destroying the remaining one.

Time periods coexist. Human time, earth time, sea gull time, whale time, prehistoric time, all time inscribed in the rocks, in the architecture of the buildings pealing white paint and blackening wood, worn down nautical fixtures of copper and brass, submerged and sand encrusted. Violet light racing across the unbelievable and edgeless horizon. The sun cracks through the clouds and spills onto the sea in theatrical display. I’m not religious, but I felt this sense of deep time through and in my body during my stay on the islands which hums in me still. The Farallons. I heard myself asking “Where are we going?” And “Why?” What drives us, in an almost suicidal impulse to discover what? A new land, home, a purpose, a resurrection, our better nature, forgiveness, freedom, love?

What has this to do with my desire to experience time on the Oro Archipelago? My work for the past 6 or 7 years has been about exploring the relationships between human and extra human nature. My performance work, writing, sound work and video is layered, like a cosmic ecological sandwich. I identify systems that involve both human and extra human participants. [In my view there is no divide or border between us, despite our best or worst efforts. Their is no wall long or tall enough to stop the interweaving of our species’ fate.] But I am no scientist, or authority on anything but my own way, and that is even questionable at best. So my work asks questions by drawing parallels between us and them, humanity and animals, plants and people, our bodies and the universe.

My Work Plan: I would like to use my time on Oro to continue research, writing, conduct field work and begin filming a new video series about the human body and how it relates to the universe. Using systems thinking (social, political, botanical, geological, ecological) I will draw parallels between human anatomy, planetary systems and ultimately expand out to the astronomical and universal. Only slightly a kin to the canonical The Powers of 10 film by the famous American designers, Charles and Ray Eames, where as the Eames’s film was concerned with the relative scale of things in the universe, my video series will pay closer attention to a complete collapse in scale.

I plan to spend the first 10 days to 2 weeks of my residency walking around the archipelago, as walking is part of my process, and reading or listening to audio books. [I frequently refer to my work as psychedelic book reports given how much reading I do prior to production.] Typically what happens next is I will write and write and just as I am about to pull out my hair something happens and then it is recorded. I may dialogue with my computer using text to speech and or call on friends to translate and record passages in a language other than my own. And so I begin to fill in and to lay down the grounding tracks for a series. Often all the audio is completed prior to shooting video. This method I find helps me to build a structure for the series before the overwhelming idea of the visual comes into the picture. 

My second 2 weeks will involve much filming and some editing. I will come prepared with essential equipment, my camera, green screen fabric, projector, sound equipment and then I will go out for my walks with my camera, recording and looking for miracles in the soil, in the trees, along the waterways. It’s not hard to find. It just takes time, patience and faith in the oneness of everything there is and a desire to tell this story so we can delight in our connection to each other and to the unbelievable cosmos, right here and now and always. 

It is my hope to begin a work that aims to explore the relationships between our bodies, a sense of place, our planet, the universe and time. Quite a shopping list I agree. But if I can begin to tell the story and show how patterns in our bodies mirror those in plants and the universe, and how time is like a flower and we are all held in it’s scent, sliding down layers upon layers of satin pedals of perception, pulled continuously to the core of all that is and will ever be... it shall be something.

summer skin [final?]

 My bro, cousin Gary, me and Ilya at the Lake, Michigan, 1979.

My bro, cousin Gary, me and Ilya at the Lake, Michigan, 1979.

summer skin

 

Big bugs like matchbox cars

Flutter and click in the shadows

cracking pale blue

chest deep thunder

full and soft

warm summer rain. 


Getting soaked thru cotton 

Rivulets on summer skin, 

tilting your head back, eyes closed, 

You open your mouth and let the rain 

Land on your unfurled 

and pointed tongue. 

The drops prick like wet darts 

 

but damn it felt good. 

What is that feeling like really?

 

Wet hair and lips, arms and legs. 

A little cooler now that the suns gone

You look towards home

Bending down to take off your soaked 

Socks and shoes, barefoot now

You sink just a little. Blades of grass

Slip and tickle between you toes.

 

The rain eases and the sun shimmers 

green and gold as it sets over the hill. 

A warm wind chases the sunset

it brushes your hair and skin

Mama calls from the driveway

Inside there’s big brother, warm food, TV.


Fireflies and tractors, car crashes playing chicken.

We’d pick up cans and glass on the side of the road.

A quarter a can. Time reached out forever.

What was that like? Back then when it rained

In summer.

Like you are alive and it would never end.

 

 

Summer rains...

Movement research at The Watermill Center for Performance, NY. July, 2011.

When I was doing this project I had to walk about 2 miles back to my sleeping place and one summer evening the most intense storm rolled in. Before I was halfway home the storm had opened up on me. Lightening and thunder merged into a singular eruption like some cosmic tear in the universe. I had to run for cover with all my camera and computer equipment hiding in the carports and overhangs of vacant summer homes. I never in my life thought I would be struck by lightening until that day. The storm seemed to be following me, moving back and forth across my path. I was convinced it would hit me once I got out into the clearing. It seemed to be leaving, heading east until it pivoted and started to back track right towards me, now out of the woodlands, exposed on the the road. Am I the tallest thing around, like some human lightening rod? oh god yes, walk faster! I quickened my pace and tried to think of the odds. My luck just wouldn't have it. Looking over my shoulder the storm was indeed heading back towards me. How much further? Finally a dark brown sedan pulled over and took me the rest of the way to the artists house. I handed the driver 15 dollars cash I think and then ran inside, dropped my equipment bags and stood dripping in the kitchen, feeling relieved and electric. For a second I thought I had been struck by lightening owing to my frenetic state. My skin tingled. Heat seemed to emanate from my insides. But as my breathing slowed and I felt a coolness spread from my still wet hair down my back I was just grateful and amazed at the fact that weather had such a hold on me. Something much bigger than me and or any human project. I could feel small and powerless but instead I feel held in some enormous, cosmic entity. We can't control it though by now we know we have made some mortal mistakes in our careless pursuits. But that summer reminds me of how it felt as a child, in awe of the night set blazing white by a heavenly crack and rumble. May we continue to be held in this place by gravity and gratitude.

I'm still here!!

21 days ago I finally had surgery on my ankle to remove an accessory navicular bone and re-attach my posterior tibial tendon! Ouch is what that all mean. It's congenital, so present at birth. For some reason my navicular bone (the boney thing near your ankle bone) decided to develop a little twin. After years of running and jumping and dancing, and one pretty severe ankle sprain, my navicular and accessory parted ways. Which resulted in my tendon taking a ride too and my foot feeling loose and awful for months. 

31788446_191577071656302_987981596365684736_n.jpg

Surgery went well. I've been getting around on a strange contraption called an iWalk, a peg leg sort of device that causes people to look at me in horror followed by relieved curiosity. Children just stare. It's limited my mobility, mostly to avoid the awkward stares of strangers. I feel like I have a sliver of some new sense of how it might feel for people who are physically somehow different than most. Inside I think "hey, I'm just me," but people tend to just see my strangeness. This is only one of the things I've learned since my surgery. 

33317726_2078320262427387_5838920198240862208_n.jpg

This whole experience has forced me to find alternative resources in yourself, how to be flexible and optimistic, without  my usual ways to cope. No running since October has been depressing, and now no yoga, no way to avoid all the questions I have about where I am, who am I supposed to be? 

33210440_2107894322799708_2718951745634959360_n.jpg

With a small armful of self help books, some pain killers and a little one-eyed dog named Xena I found that I have a deep well of resources inside. Reading and writing and working on small things with my hands and slow soft yoga practice has brought me through this time, as well as the knowledge that this is, like so much, only temporary. I am grateful for this time to slow down and discover something stronger within me. I can only believe it is the result of all the love around me and years of observation, practice and listening. I am grateful to my teachers.

Foggy morning

Snapped a photo of the morning light beginning to glow through the trees. The air is soft. Spring is here. I'm taking in each day like a thirsty sailor! Knowing that in less than 4 weeks I'll be housebound. Finding joy is my job. Back to the shop today. Client changes!!!! Need to get this one out of the studio so I can turn back to Migration stories.... meeting this week!

 Wow. 

Wow. 

Finally Farallons

Over two years ago I found myself dreaming of this place, dreaming awake, when I still had a studio at the Marin Headlands. Now I'm here. Lot's since then has changed. The islands don't feel as far away from the city than I imagined but I've only been here 20 hours. I wonder what it's like to be here 20 weeks? 

 April 2015

April 2015

Last night we shared pizza with our neighbors, Point Blue the only other human occupants on the island. Everything tastes better on the island, even Papa Johns Pizza. At the end of a thoroughly enjoyable meal two binders were pulled out of the library and the ritual of recording daily events commenced. First to be recorded were any unusual bird sightings, non breeding birds. Biologists rattled off a few names, I contributed 8 canada geese, 2 gray whales, heads nodded in agreement. No incidents of flushing, when you spook a marine mammal, .... and finally dreams were recorded as they had been for the past 20 years and for that here's a link:

https://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Farallones-biologists-record-similar-dreams-3179940.php

 Our house is on the left. The house on the right is occupied by Point Blue. They have a Wolf range.... jealous!

Our house is on the left. The house on the right is occupied by Point Blue. They have a Wolf range.... jealous!

Dream last night: small dog-bird dinosaurs running in my dream last night running through the grass near the carpenters shack on the island. They had long muscular legs, the bodies of adolescent ridgebacks. Maybe some feathers on their faces. Big eyes. They seemed docile, not passive, more like curious deer. Did they have hooves? 

Back to the Shop!

 Walls going up in  my new shop in Watsonville, 2018

Walls going up in  my new shop in Watsonville, 2018

Making progress in the new studio finally. It's taken me long enough. The task feels immense. And with my injury it involves some pain. But the joy of working, handling my tools again, dreaming about how to arrange and fill the space.... a little pain is worth it. Yesterday I built a new base for my new Bosch Table Saw, twice of course as the first time it was too tall. I managed to pry open another window so now I have a pretty bright space now, plenty bright to work in and I like to hear the people walking past, the cars honking on Main Street, tamale, garlic, corn and occasional fish smells from the taquerias, which are legion downtown. I want to eat at them all. Witnessed a man through a window of one slurping from a bowl as big as his head. I could imagine the red, smokey broth, dotted with cilantro and cotija. 

I feel so soothed by the process of making. It's been absent from my life for months. I am looking forward to getting the last furniture piece done for my Berkeley friends and then make some pieces for myself, or my friends, but also I'll need to practice and prepare for my Summer Wood Working for WOMEN class at Cabrillo!!!! Good thing I still have the step stool and haven't ever glued it up! And I found the plans for the dove-tail jig. Just need to make plans for the caddy.... There's also the basketry class at Cabrillo I'll be teaching in June. Now what did I say we'd do?

Lately

I've been writing little prose pieces.

I'm just like you always running always hoping over the next hill the next sun rise the next wave the next round, I'll be saved and you'll be found.

or images in words...

Soldiers guarding the space where the walls once stood so old men won't try to pile rocks again...

Thinking a lot about migration, teaching, and my nomadic tendencies... among other things. I've moved 17x in my life. That's once every 2.64 years.... also discovered that this old song might be the start of the new project....

It's just a sketch but I am beginning to think of this project differently.. as a soundscape and as sculpture, tents, backpacks, photographs.... trying to not think of video yet. But rather maps, drawings, dance scores, prose.... soundscapes. Video may be the ultimate object, or not. Not going to just assume that's the deliverable in this case. This is more complicated. This is going to take a while.

Meanwhile there's the Farallons trip coming up in gosh... 10 days! That'll be wild and immersive. On an island 30 miles from shore in the Pacific Ocean. Can't wait but also just a bit on edge. No way out!

Next up, another public presentation at the Santa Cruz Museum of Art in May... but this time it's going to be different... HA! yes this time I hope to not be alone on the spot. And to just use the time to workshop new pieces, songs, movement scores, and more.

Finally tomorrow renting a truck to haul a bunch of drywall to the studio. Gotta spend some money on my space. Need to re-establish the habit of being in studio every day as I did a couple years ago when I first moved back to Berkeley.  It was a very fruitful period. A special time filled with deepening relationships, expanding opportunities, and then I went to Santa Cruz for a  month and let it all go... just let go, for real reasons. Financial, personal, professional. But I wonder, just for a minute and then I look around and I know I followed my heart back to a place that gave me joy and freedom and a sense of possibility long ago and again. I'm here now. I can't say what the future holds but in the immediate outlook, it'll be a spring and summer to remember.

The water is deep....

I've been recovering from the flu. Feeling a bit better. But last night, my goddess, the back of my head felt as if it would crack or how do glaciers do it... calve, the back of my head would calve off. Damn. Somehow I managed to wake up, clean my computer, make food, coffee, download footage for my presentation, drive to San Francisco, conduct a welding demonstration, finish my presentation, and facilitate a collective exchange at the Santa Cruz Museum of Art on Migrations and now I'm home and wow.

I am really amazed by the openness of the guests. Several teachers, some retired ladies and then the museum staff. I gave an average presentation, did a silly dance, then joined the guests at their table to talk more intimately about migration. 

Everyone had a story. A story about finding home. One woman claimed to have no story until asked again and then she did have a story. I can remember it now. She has lived here her entire life. But her father was a navy man. He took her mother and the children to San Francisco and then when he was about to go out to sea again, mother said "you're not leaving me in San Francisco," so they moved to Santa Cruz. She's Finnish. Her mother did not teach her the language except for "wash the dishes with me." I see white butterflies against lavender when I think of her.

The dancer and his English professor wife that live in Watsonville and teach at Cabrillo. He doesn't feel attached to place, but through dance he finds himself in space. She went back to Ireland where her people are from and had a life altering experience that convinced her we can have memory beyond ourselves... Oh yes, let us talk more of this!

The German man that has migrated more in the states then before in his homeland who found a poem by TS Elliot and read it to us off his phone. 

She who has been cultivating community in multiple states and drawing back further in her migration stories, talking without words with her relatives in Mexico.

The boy whose family for five generations in England yet he finds himself here now. He knows they lost relatives in the camps but they never knew them. His family was safe. His mothers surname will disappear with her. It was a figment of immigration. 

She is Portuguese, Cuban and Irish. Her grandmother thought she was going to Brazil but ended up in Boston. How different the lives become.

And the woman who can finally call this place her home, after 38 years. She is embracing her gratitude and feeling roots grow as her family surrounds her here.

He came from the Philippines 10 years ago and respects and honors his mother, her labor, her careful, calculated, determined effort to bring her young son to a place he can be safe and more free.

And the birder, who dances across the room to show past migration patterns, though lately, given the choice, he stays now, here, as we do, to share and to build a deeper sense of belonging.

I really loved our conversation. I don't know if people were satisfied or what they expected. I found that we had so much more to talk about. Language and place and loss and subnational states. Where to next?

I feel as though something has started. I know I will need to keep swimming in it for a while as I usually do. But now as I turn to dive sideways into the pool I feel like I have fellow swimmers. Which is good to know as the water is deep.

On Migration at the Santa Cruz Museum of Art 2/28

Untitled-1.png

Super excited about this new project though it is daunting too. The subject of migration is so so big and present. How does one begin? The only way I know how, with a personal story. I'm swimming in it now and will enjoy having others join me in this pool of inquiry. I catch glimpses of what I want to do, make, communicate but it's to soon now. Right now I am still researching and reading and feeling the concept wrap around me like a big thick quilt of humanity, or all beings, human and extra human. We move to live. We move to love. We move to feel the freedom of our bodies and our minds. I feel so grateful to have an opportunity to share this process, the learn from others their own experiences....so maybe we can make sense of what to do now. 

New classes at Cabrillo + Farallon Research Trip

It appears I'll be teaching a basketry class or to at Cabrillo College in Aptos CA! Yay. I'm so looking forward to getting my hands wet again and sharing this art with folks. It's one of my favorite processes as it seems to evoke in people a certain soft chattiness I do enjoy.

 my 2014 totally impractical and impossible to store basket and experimental video.

my 2014 totally impractical and impossible to store basket and experimental video.

 love this!!!! Want to make some...

love this!!!! Want to make some...

 Elizabeth Kronfield... wow. Wicker once, now cast iron! Sonoma State here I come!

Elizabeth Kronfield... wow. Wicker once, now cast iron! Sonoma State here I come!

 Doug Johnston, the coiling King!

Doug Johnston, the coiling King!

Inspiring. I was just telling a friend how I might not be interested in t-track sculpture but if I could integrate basketry, performance, live-cinema, story-telling, singing, dance and video...Yes! One other note, I finally got invited to go to the Farallons Islands for habitat restoration and art research. Pretty much super excited and grateful for this rare opportunity and it falls just as I begin to think about next projects on migration....

 Farallons, closed to the public except for invited researchers, scientists and me!

Farallons, closed to the public except for invited researchers, scientists and me!

In exchange for being there we will be working on removing invasive grasses by spraying 3% roundup. I'm not into pesticides at all but the solution is deemed safe for flora and fauna and we will be provided with protective gear and such. I'm also excited because part of the trip involves cooking a meal for the 7 member team! We'll be provided with ingredients. What to make!!!! GOtta run. I mean, still can't but that reminds me, call doctor to get 2nd opinion on foot surgery. 

First week of school and Performance 1/27!

How is it that all this goodness gets bundled up into one week! Classes at Cal State Monterey Bay and San Francisco State! And I'll be performing in San Francisco this weekend at SPACE 151. More on that later but in the meantime I managed to complete Lessons from the Forest Part 3. I am pretty satisfied. This is the last 'episode' of the 4 part series. It's basically done! Next I'll add credits and put the separate pieces together for a possible future screening. I have to get back to school prep!!!! 

Studio day green screen bonanza

I've been losing sleep, as I do, when a gopher family is moving in behind my cabin, new school and classes ahead and a video project coming to a close. Yesterday something got to me. I almost had a panic attack in the middle of Yoga. I know sort of an oxymoron but there I was, heart racing, body tingling, until finally I had to leave the room. And when I did, a few more yogis followed. I was not alone. We smiled at one another through our mutual yoga haze, sat next to each other until we could hold a conversation and stand long enough to shower. It was tough. But we got through it together. Maybe it was the weather or some holiday flashback but today I and those around me... I think we felt stronger. After class I finally went and bought that $30 dollar dress I'd been stalking for 2 months and used it in part of the video I'm working on. Finally got the green screen thing going. It's pretty fun! 

 Stills from a coming of middle-age story, Lessons from the Forest Part 3, 2018

Stills from a coming of middle-age story, Lessons from the Forest Part 3, 2018

Green screen is all about lighting. I got a decent, horrible, but decent set up and am just lucky to have a good camera and computer. It's still tricky but I kind like some of the sparkle and noise. Might work for some bits. It's also nice just in black.....

 Lessons from the Forest Part 3, 2018

Lessons from the Forest Part 3, 2018

Tomorrow I have to make sense of all of this new footage! It's good to have some new clips to play with. Next up, how to visualize photosynthesis without putting people to sleep....!