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How it all started

Driving too fast in a borrowed ‘74 Bronco down a steep mountain road, it was before 8, on a crisp early spring morning when she lost control. Over correcting twice, to avoid flipping over, 19 years old, she decided to just let go of the wheel. Hands free, looking out through the windshield at a skyline of alpine peaks against a cloudless blue sky and the Lake below, her last thoughts were of beauty and love. The Bronco left the Earth, floating weightless. Time stopped, she took a deep breath and closed her eyes, a slight smile curling up the edges of her mouth. Light sparkled across the Bronco’s chrome bumper, the lake rippled diamonds, the sun warmed sharp granite outcrops that surrounded the Lake like a crown. The truck pitched forward gently as the object began its descent. Below the road, between a grove of conifers and an enclave of cabins, the outstretched limbs of douglas fir tree caught the vehicle, halting the imminent crash five feet off the ground. The truck landed, swayed then held, the motor cut out, the tree’s branches cracked and groaned, settling under the sudden and profound weight of the Bronco and its  driver. Motionless, she opened her eyes to see tree limbs scattered and draped across the hood of the Bronco. In the sudden stillness she realized she was alive and breathing. Her heart beat pulsed in her ears drowning out the sound of birds. Warm blood flowed blue, brimming with proteins, iron, and oxygen streamed through her veins connecting organs, soul and skin. She opened the drivers side door, and found the ground freshly exposed from recently melted snow, forgiving and fragrant, Sierra soil smelling of piney musk and honey.  Stepping outside the very truck that could have been her tomb, listening to the sound of birdsong returning, the air around her warming with the new day, she realized she’d been saved by the tree. 

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Forest Time: Sagehen 8/10

I’m back at Sagehen preparing for the August performance. The piece I premiered at OtB in Seattle is coming back home. And it’s changing. But in some ways staying the same. Being outside and playing is super fun. My “stage” is perfect with a slew of defunct and operational data collection units, a platform for my rig, plenty of stuff for dancers to work with and space for the drummer.

The audience will have a 240 view, being able to curve around us along the foot path in the adjacent woods. Still figuring out the location for the projection field and what exactly the dancers will do. The fringe is out. Maybe I did get it out of my system in Seattle… anyways, the meadow here demands something more simple and clean. Enough going on as it is. I am considering a variety of tetra-she-drons, maybe one of each dancer (5-6). Or perhaps one shape for each element, a cube, an icosa-she-dron, an octa-she-dron and a tetra-she-dron…. with one bigger tetra to cover me at the end.

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Since my last post...

  • I am now the new Tenure Track Assistant Professor of Sculpture and Foundations at Western Washington University in Bellingham

  • I’ve been invited to participate in a fully funded artist residency resulting in a new site specific performance at I-Park in Connecticut this September

  • I am performing at Sagehen in Truckee in August with special guests for Natural Discourse at Sagehen

  • I spent 4 days and 3 nights performing a new live multi-media performance at OnTheBoards in Seattle with a dozen dancers from Western and we rocked it hard

  • I’m teaching at Cabrillo College all the month of July

  • The New Urban Naturalists are making a comeback!

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Look at my gorgeous dancers. I ordered them all NUN tee shirts. I can’t wait to work with them again. Such fiery spirits. And so full of light and love for each other. Best part of this whole thing might have been seeing these young strong women work together, support one another and just enjoy the process. I had my ups and downs. Could have done better the last night. But those are the breaks! Every performance is different. And according to audience feedback, no one was the wiser. In fact feed back was solid gold from both colleagues and students, though the tech people knew I’d totally mixed up my script Sunday and the dancers, they were pros and held in all together.

I am hooked. I am looking forward to getting some documentation from the venue for now this is what we have, and memories! Today re-recording and editing video to start outreach to new dancers for the Sagehen performance. This will be different, outside, and in the place that inspired the whole work, and maybe trajectory of my entire life and practice. Stay tuned in.


Experimenting again…

Students making test pieces for soft/hard sculptures at WWU. Cement and mixed media. Somethings happening!

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Hanging out in ID [Industrial Design] at Western Washington University, cutting parts from my students’ Ai files for future sculptures about platonic forms and digital to organic. Wish I had me one of these.

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Clearing....

As I was sweeping my front patio I found a little furry foot, a rabbit foot, by my best estimations. I could use the luck now but it also struck me. On another level. Death is all around. Be gracious and grateful, live fully and with love. This small animal lost a battle against another maybe slightly larger animal, all in the struggle to survive. Not really a battle against good and evil, but just life. That little foot said to me… keep living, learning and loving as long as you can.

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Some new work made recently. Bronze, wood and fringe. Something about it’s cascading verticality draws the body back to the earth, the elements. This series is about fire, that burns in us and around us. It felt good to make these. I hope to make more. Up on view at the Western Gallery, Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA.

As the seasons change we do too. The last few months have been transformational. I have no clue where this is all going. I’m learning more everyday. About myself and the people I am lucky to live around and apart from. That’s really all I know. Gratitude. Focus on that.

Sage Hen Part 2

I’ve been here, this time for 6 nights and 7 days. I wrote my new eco-feminist rock opera on day 2. Recorded on day 3. Listened and edited and day 4. Decided the recording quality is garbage so sulked most of the day 5. Day 6 attempted to cast a tree, failed. Went for a late afternoon ski and shot my tetra-she-dron in the forest. Later went to Truckee to get supplies to try again. Today is day 7. Hope to rerecord, recast. This place is magic to me. Weaves together so many aspects of my work, my life. Thank you!

gathering branches from the understory for tetra-she-dron

gathering branches from the understory for tetra-she-dron

I should mention I’ve been seeing a coyote, frequently and up close. They do not notice me at first or at all. But I see them. The Trickster. Coyote reminds me to not be afraid of change. To be willing to destroy to create. And not to take myself too seriously.

Tetra-She_dron in the forest. It’s really just a test shot. See what it could be. Wish I had more time here. Next time.

Tetra-She_dron in the forest. It’s really just a test shot. See what it could be. Wish I had more time here. Next time.



Sagehen footage unfolding

Settling back into going through footage from Sagehen Field Station this past December. On closer examination, and with some time between, something is revealing itself. As I look at the video clips jot down notes about content and vibe, I scribble song lyrics on the margins. Feels good to be back in the studio, where ever that may be. It’s a sci-fi kind of thing revealing itself now. Just what we need to tell the story of our Future Forests!

Hydrology data collection belts by UNR.

Hydrology data collection belts by UNR.

Starting to chat with some scientists in order to work with their data. I’m also painfully absorbed into trouble shooting why Alex Dva (my new Mac-chassis) won’t talk to my new Arduino Uno! I plan to sonify the Sagehen Hydrology data and then install it in some proximity sensing sculptures akin to the wacky and beautifully ad hoc, idealistic data collection units I saw in the field at Sagehen. Help me Arduino and macOS Goddeses!

Meanwhile it’s the second snow day in 7 days here in Bellingham. So much for the syllabi!

Meanwhile it’s the second snow day in 7 days here in Bellingham. So much for the syllabi!

What is happening behind the solar radiant belt? Behind the numbers and graphs?

What is happening behind the solar radiant belt? Behind the numbers and graphs?

Data collection belt puffed, Sagehen Experimental Forest, 2018.

Data collection belt puffed, Sagehen Experimental Forest, 2018.

what is left of your devises/for measurement/did you plan to use the data/apply it to the task at hand… or is it just for the gathering/as if we could go back to when we had all we needed/or was it just for the measuring/trying to trying to understand/what is hiding behind the numbers….

Just a start. This piece is forming into something that reminds me of somebody. Years ago I met Sonny Smith. He was performing something totally strange, like a live music video with props and actors and video projections and of course is songs. I was like I want to do that. So glad to see his band and his music are getting much deserved attention! So thankful for everyone who has inspired me with their creativity and kindness.