Summer 2017

Hopefully, you're enjoying the bounty summer brings; the abundance of light, thriving crops,  gardens, and overflowing creative energy. 

 I have been quiet on the website front. These days my hands are very busy. When I'm not creating designs, dyeing, or in nature stitching, I'm traveling. I started the year in Costa Rica, connecting to my yoga teacher Shiva Rea. I spent the next few months making clothes, and stitching/hiking out in the Valley of Fire in NV. I had my first show at the American Craft Council in Minneapolis in April. Visiting my family in Michigan and a good friend's Bison Ranch. Her white buffalo "Outlaw" inspired and awed me. Kim & Kevin MacRitchie of "New Beginnings Ranch" gave me some of his beautiful white fiber to save for a very special offering. I had an adventure driving across the Mackinaw Bridge, on my way back, I got stuck in a snow/ice storm in my little Prius for 24 hours. 16 of those hours, waiting on the road for the bridge to open. I've been through worse, I'm a seasoned camper (Desert and mountain storms in a tent!) so I hunkered down with books, podcasts, and snacks. It was a real adventure! 

Then I put my nose to the grindstone for my July Art Fair Jackson Hole show. I just got back, my inventory empty, but my heart full from the Tetons and my precious time I got to spend in the woods and tarn. So beautiful! I love the 2000 mile round trip drive, it's meditative and a lot of reflection. THANK YOU, JACKSON HOLE! Their appreciation and good energy is truly a gift.

 With the exception of a few mountain camping trips with Freya, and a weekend at the native Chumash? sacred Whishtoyo in Malibu with Shiva, I'm back to work in my studio creating for the Western Design Conference in Jackson Hole in September. I'm being featured in their runway fashion show Thursday, September 7th, then a gallery show Friday and selling Saturday and Sunday. My Fall designs reflect the Tetons in my "Woodland Ethereal" collection. 

 After another 2000 mile trip to Wyoming, I'm off to my girls trip to the Taos Wool Festival in New Mexico. Where we purchase raw lamb fleeces, turquoise buttons, and other supplies. Stitching and enjoying the New Mexican landscape. 

 I may be showing at the Pasadena Contemporary Craft Market in October, but right now only my trip to India is assured on the horizon. It is a dream come true to share an adventure with Vijaya Stern. Her Ayurveda skills are why my health and vitality are thriving! We both have a love for textiles and India. On this trip, we will tour a melange of India; temples and markets to feed our vitality and smooth our soul. I will guide a sacred textile project to weave our experiences into. If you are interested in joining us, please follow this link for more information: https://www.facebook.com/ExploringBeautyNorthernIndia/posts/1376979325704073

  My gift is not writing, but I write to stay connected. I'm more on Instagram and Facebook, posting dyepots, creations and my trips into the wild.... 

P.S. In case you haven't seen my designer feature in summer 2017 Belle Armoire magazine....gratitude  Danielle Williams and Ricë Freeman -Zachery for sharing my work. http://www.livinganddyeing.com/press/

Until we meet again, 

Michelle
 

Posted on July 22, 2017 .

Abundant May and a Sacred Cloth Making Trip to India!

Abundant May, followed with seeds sown for Sacred Cloth Making trip to India! 

I couldn't have expected to be received so joyously at shows in May, putting my heart full time into my textiles. The Talmage Art Show and Shaktifest couldn't have unfolded better, selling such big pieces as
the Taos Wool Fest winning dress, the year before winning tunic and my White Surya Dress. The wake of sales ( plus shawls, silk tops and other artwear gone) left my inventory sparse for the big Union Street
Festival in SF this weekend. In a time-crunch frenzy, I have been creating more Gaia tops and days on my new favorite, the "Artemis" dress. I spent a week sculpting with vintage tatting, lace, linen and 15 micron count merino this beautiful heirloom magical piece, without sewing or cutting. Homer described her as" Artemis of the Wildland, Mistress of Animals". She is symbolic of purity, safety and "The stainless maiden", which is why I held back my natural dyeing to this piece. I hope whomever wears her, will feel the bav of her qualities while enveloped in her. 
 


Off to hit the road to San Fransisco, here is the highlight of my fall adventures; the Sacred India cloth. I am also working on a relationship with Himalayanweavers.org in the Himalayas, a fair trade naturally dyed and local wool sourced community. I am purchasing my fall cashmere and wool shawls from them and visiting them in person on the trip. If you are curious, make the leap with us..... 

 

 

 





See and experience
India
with a group of like-minded individuals

Come to the home and heart of yoga and ayurveda.
Rishikesh is in the foothills of the Himalayas
with jungle on one side and the Ganges river on the other.
For thousands of years Rishikesh has been the home
of many great saints and sages.

**We will stay in the lovely boutique inn next to the
world famous Parmarth Niketam ashram right on the Ganga,
in simple, but clean and safe rooms.
We'll have delicious vegetarian meals
plus lots of yoga, ayurvedic treatments,
sightseeing and more.

We begin our trip
with 2 days in Delhi,
staying in Old Delhi by
the ancient Chandni Chowk market,
a centuries old center of shopping filled with
narrow streets and merchandise of every description.
From spices to saris to pashmina shawls,
Chandni Chowk is a shopper's paradise.

Here we will purchase a sacred shawl or item onto which
Michelle Hoffee, the creator of LivingandDyeing.com
will assist us in recording our journey.

Our intention is to infuse into a textile India's spiritual beauty
along with our rejuvenation and rebirth. This transformation
from plain un-dyed silk or pashmina shawl is to create a unique natural cloth reflecting our experience on this retreat
through Panchakarma and India's magical gifts.

Michelle will be guiding this one of a kind natural textile transformation with you. Helping shop for silk or shawl, spontaneous leaf and fauna gathering, sitting by a fire infusing the colors into our cloth, and facilitating hand stitching, block printing, mantra, meditation and/or other ways to express and infuse your experience into the cloth during our 2 week retreat.

There are two World Heritage sites, the Red Fort and Red Mosque
both built by Shah Jahan, with minutes from our hotel.

On Wednesday we leave for Rishikesh in the Himalayan foothills to stay in one of the most peaceful towns in the world.

The trip will then focus on Ayurvedic healing,
including 7 days of Panchakarma -
the most amazing treatment you will ever have!

Every day for 7 days you will receive
a 60 - 75 minute sesame oil massage,
special treatments for your skin, ears, eyes, nose etc.
prescribed by the Ayurvedic Doctor in staff,
under the guidance of
Vijaya Stern
along with a steam bath to cleanse you inside and out,
and Shirodhara.
Shirodhara

By the end of the treatments you will look and feel years younger;
with the energy and vitality you may have forgotten you had.

We will also have the opportunity to practice yoga daily,
and Vijaya will gather all in sacred circle and ShaktiMarga dance.
There will be time to see wonderful sights in and around Rishikesh,
explore neighboring towns,
river rafting in the Ganga,
sing in the evening by the Ganga,
as part of the nightly Aarti ceremony
at the Parmarth Niketan Ashram,
and mingle with yogis from around the world.

And yes, there will be shopping here too
for gifts and sacred cloth items.
There is plenty to see and do in Rishikesh/Lakshman Jhula and the area, including harmonium lessons, cooking classes and more (these can be booked individually at the traveller's expense).

At the end of the trip we will spend another 2 days in Delhi
seeing more of the sights there.

The land cost will be $3,200, which includes all lodging, (double occupancy**), meals (except travel days), panchakarma, rituals and textile projects (each participant will purchase their own cloth), sight-seeing trips and all ground transportation and entrance fees.

A $500 non-refundable deposit will be required at time of booking.
You are responsible for your own airfare, details will be provided.

October 9th thru 22nd 2016
for more info contact Vijaya

**ask for supplemental details on a private room
Vijaya's Schedule in your area
please contact me
if you are interested in any of the following offerings


June 5th-20th
Consultations and Panchakarma
in Laguna Beach

June 3rd-4th
Living Astrology Workshop
Soul of Yoga
Encinitas

*June 21st-22th
Consultations in Sonoma/Marin Co.

June 25th-31st
Consultations and Panchakarma
in Laguna Beach

July 8th-Aug 22th
Consultations and Panchakarma
in Laguna Beach

*Aug 24th-28th
Consultations in Sonoma/Marin Co.

*dates may be subject to change, so please be advised to contact Vijaya directly for an appt time.


Michelle Hoffee is a natural textile artist, Prana Flow® yoga
and movement meditation teacher.

She lives a creative,
nature-centered life, infusing and cultivating her passions. Her
natural textile, handmade clothing were featured on the cover of
Altered Couture and in Belle Armoire magazines in 2014. She spent
the past 25 years living in Southern California creating art while
maintaining her designed "award winning" garden in Memphis,
Tennessee.


Expressing herself, and working with her hands
on natural textiles and clothing, she connects the natural world
though hand spinning, embroidery, boro cloth, nuno felting,
eco-printing, plant dying, and Indian wood block printing.
Michelle has traveled all over the world for
spiritual pilgrimages, inspiration, and immersions. She spent the
past two years in immersion training with renowned teacher Shiva
Rea completing her Prana Flow® yoga, Trance Dance®, and Prana
Danda® teaching certificate. With Shiva Rea and Demetri Velisarius
as her mentors, she studied Yoga/Ayruveda, Buddhist Tantra,
Pranayma, and Mudra Meditation. Nature, mantra, kirtan, and
ecstatic dance are a few of her vehicles for connecting to
Source.
She has infused these traditions into her life, art, and
combining the two in Sacred Art Retreats. Sharing her gifts of
guided breath and moving meditation, facilitating opening the
channels, stimulating creativity and allowing authentic expression
through art.

*Connecting*Nature*Creativity*


Me at Rajyo's wedding
Vijaya Stern Ayurvedic Naturopath, CMT is a highly recognized teacher and practitioner of Ayurveda, who has served as a Board of Directors for the California Association of Ayurvedic Medicine (CAAM). She has practiced in California, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, New York and Bali. Vijaya's advancement in the art of Nadi Vijyanam (pulse diagnosis) draws an international clientele.

She has devoted her main course of study to Ayurvedic Medicine with Dr. Vasant Lad at the Ayurvedic Institute in Albuquerque, NM since 1984. Vijaya has also studied with Dr. Sunil Joshi, Dr. Ranade, Lopsong Rapgay, Deepak Chopra and Vajra Ma & Nita Rubio (Sacred Dance), Parvathi Nanda Nath (MahaVidya Wisdom), Hart deFouw (Jyotisha and Vastu Shastra) along with advanced Ayurvedic studies in India. Vijaya is also a graduate of the Clayton College of Natural Healing in 1993.

Vijaya has taught Ayurveda and PanchaKarma (ayurvedic rejuvenation) at several Yoga Studios, Massage Schools, New England Institute of Ayurvedic Medicine, the Northwest Institute of Ayurveda, The Soul of Yoga, and Inner Peace Yoga Therapy in Colorado. Other areas of study include Breathwork, Sanskrit Chanting, Tantric Mysticism and several forms of Yoga. She is the originator of Shakti Marga Tantric Movement Therapy, which incorporates Ayurveda, Tantra, Yoga and Breathwork into a form of self-healing.


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Full Time Artist-in-Residence

With a new year come rhythms unfolding, sparks both light and dark. With 21 years of traveling as a gardener behind me, I am grounding, nesting and resting in Winter’s slow rhythm. I vacillate between peace, sureness and excitement, to sheer panic, dread and loss – the latter being brief – but I am honoring its hindering energy’s existence (inhale) then letting it go (exhale). The loss of regular income has two of us now working our irregular creative lives out of our house. The adjustment of both of us working full time out of the same box is interesting. It can be stunning as the creative sparks are flying under one roof. It has been a challenge carving out my work space, while honoring “quiet time” for my husband’s work with his clients. I set about cleaning out my show/clothing/storage room and transforming it into a working space. As soon as the felting mats arrive for my new 8’ x 5’ table, I will be off and running. Meanwhile, I am foaming at the bit to start the creative process for my new vision.

My new work will include a collection of five long art gowns that I call “Skin Walker”. Inspired by the Native American and Celtic folklore, the cultural history for this collection is steeped in the transformation of obtaining the power of an animal by wearing its skin. This vision came to me during a relaxed, almost trans-like state during a long breath and bodywork session with a shaman. I saw a melding and healing between Native American and Celtic/Anglo past patterns released in this work, between my ancestors, a healing rooted in my mixed blood. Interestingly, after this vision, I learned that my great grandmother was the daughter of a Saginaw Chief. This melding and creating peace fuels transformation, sparks creativity and unleashes the natural magical flow we can all tap into to thrive. The making of my “Skin Walker” collection is to visually stimulate this healing with the beauty of art. For me, it is an honoring of my ancestors through listening and the process of making art.

Another surprise stemming from not living like a gypsy out of my suitcase is having the time for regular sleep, meditation and yoga practice. Wow, what a gift! My Prana Danda Yoga has been so amazingly fluid and full of relaxing-letting go-opening up and being present. Also, I am so grateful to be assisting Ariana Bates in March at the Sedona Yoga Festival with Yoga Trance Dance, three days of moving meditation bliss. Embodiment of the creative flow through breath and movement, together as a tribe with music, is a deep-rooted practice that is being revived. Celebrations, funerals, wisdom seeking and cycles have all been honored in this way through many cultures, present and past – release, celebrate or just letting go. There is an untapped power in movement and breath. I witnessed this on the Gaian Soul Retreat that I co-led with Joanna Powell Colbert this past Fall on Whidbey Island. I led a beautiful ecoprint project, but the real joy was watching the women let go as we facilitated their first sacred Trance Dance.

The future will find me exploring India, sacred sites, temples and textiles. I plan to travel with Vijaya Stern and a group of beautiful souls to India to explore sacred sites, temples and textile adventures. We will be collecting and meandering through some of India’s most precious textile markets to stitch, sew, block print or just meditate and fall in love. After we are infused with the energy of our adventures, we will gather local flora, sticks, and roots for an ecoprint, or an indigo or natural dye pot. We will create a sacred cloth, a treasured unique heirloom infused with the magic of India and our experiences. Vijaya Stern is a renowned Ayurvedic naturopath and will be sharing her knowledge for those interested in Ayurveda, and a health, holistic lifestyle. I hope to be hosting a pre-India workshop this Spring or Summer so that participants can get a taste of what may unfold on our trip. Stay tuned as it manifests and please contact me if you are interested. It’s looking like a mid-October 2016 trip. If you are interested in joining the workshop or us in India, the Facebook group is called “Exploring India, Sacred Sites, Temples and Textiles”.

So, Happy New Year – welcoming change, new faces, rhythms and experiences, one breath at a time . . .

Posted on January 27, 2016 .

Living and Dyeing; the name unfolds....

Living and Dyeing is much more then a clever name people love to "get" when they see my work. Everything I do, is the foundation of what makes my art. Anyone who has seen my home, gardens, (obviously my clothes!), bike, tasted my food, can see my alternative views reflected in everything around my life. Color, composition, whimsy, and random things most people don't see, but I see, and try to transform them into something beautiful. Any way I can flex my creative side, I'm in my zone. I sputter in a few things, like computers, writing (I am dyslexic), social media, and business in general. I realized early on, trying to help my dad at 14 in his office, I had a severe allergy to the whole concept of typing, cubicles, and fluorescent lights. That was also the year I went to the Smokey Mountains for spring break, and had an epiphany I was going to have a career in Nature or out-of-doors. Needless to say I skipped typing in high school and headed down an alternative, leaf-covered interesting path.

   My life has been unfolding to bring balance and shifting the "LIVING" part of this equation. I expanded my art in the world when I started spinning exotic fibers, and sharing at art shows and galleries. That allowed me to be exposed to more art, techniques, and people that have given me more tools to reflect and color my life with. The best part, are the beautiful souls I have connected with on this journey. You know who you are! One glitch in this process was my "pitta" constitution and creative fire being overstimulated, causing a huge physical imbalance that really gave me a health scare, forcing me to examine a holistic approach to expressing myself and listening to my body instead of leading with my head. That "heady" space of creative sparks, and obsessive "I want to do another one and another one and another one" idea, flowing into another until you neglect, food, time, and rest. This overstimulated, ungrounded mode lasted for two years. Especially after immersing in some workshops with India Flint and Michel Garcia. I used to regularly hike, mountain bike, and daily yoga until I fell into an all consuming creating frenzy. I think India once commented to me " is there anything you haven't dyed?" Nope, I think I did experiments on everything and anything I could get my hands on. My playful ideas, and energy are a powerful flow channeled in this creative process. When I over did it, I created non-stop almost everyday, neglecting much balance and I became extremely sick. First my adrenals went out of whack. My thyroid tanked. The worst part was I threw out my neck, causing chronic pain affecting every almost every moment, especially sleep, sitting, and even meditation was painful. This wake-up call, which I thought would never heal, took two years to improve. I had to diligently soul search, get very quiet, and pay attention to my Prana (life force) daily. What enhanced my capabilities to listen to my body, stoke the inner fire or cool it when needed is Shiva Rea and her partner Demetri Velasaurs. As Shiva puts it so eloquently, I am "Tending the Heartfire" now with fierce protectiveness. Ayruveda is another keystone for my well-being. This process has allowed me to overcome health issues, mental blocks and open me up to my fullest potential. Being present, listening to the subtle energies (in my heart field and not my head!), have enhanced not only my health, but my creative flow! I didn't know how much the two are interconnected and interrelated. I feed my soul, my soul feeds my art, pretty simple; Living and Dyeing. 

 Now it's unfolding.... 

 My gardening career in Memphis is coming to an end (my client is retiring) after 20 years. It has been the life line for my freedom to pursue art without the equation of money or fear in any decision making. Now I am opening up to what comes, what life brings and I'm going with the flow. I'm finishing up my yoga certifications, and excited for my Prana Danda Yoga intensive in Boston for a week in July. I'm going on a Native American camping retreat with Shiva Rea in Malibu in August. Reflecting and diving deep, coming full circle with two years training with her and Demetri. This Fall I have my first co-teaching movement meditation/sacred art project at a women's retreat on Whidbey Island in September. I'm hoping to get into the Chicago One-of-a-Kind show in December- a big push and commitment for my designs! On the horizon, next year I'm co-teaching eco dyeing and textiles in Kerela, India on an Ayruveda Retreat- whoa! I'm looking at these amazing opportunities as just getting out there and sharing movement, art and connection. Big changes, big adventures, Universe I am ready for what comes next!

 

Living and Dyeing *Art* Textiles* Movement Mediation* Connecting with Nature and People*

Mudra in Memphis garden.

Mudra in Memphis garden.

Costa Rica 2015, last day of Prana Flow 200 hour intensive with Shiva Rea.

Costa Rica 2015, last day of Prana Flow 200 hour intensive with Shiva Rea.

Big changes, my new puppy girl Freya. A vibrantly sweet and fearless soul. I'm in my handmade 'Sura' dress.

Big changes, my new puppy girl Freya. A vibrantly sweet and fearless soul. I'm in my handmade 'Sura' dress.

Solstice and New Year undyeing in Costa Rica

I'm writing in a tree house of a sancuary in Nosara, Costa Rica. Crazy I'd sit still enough to write a bit, but I'm in a reflective mood as usual around equinox or solstice juncture. I'm spending 2 weeks with Shiva Rea and Demetri in a demanding intense yoga teacher program. Such a beauty here, I hate to try to do it justice with words. I experience Nature though my senses and my heart, so when I try to translate it using the filter of my left brain, I fall flat sometimes. I don't think I'm wired to channel life experience this way. The teacher training sessions have really showed me this challenge. I practice and feel yoga through my body, not thinking, but feeling and following the flow of my breath. Talking and describing what I am doing is exactly teaching and it's a whole new ball game for me. 

   There are some wonderful, easy going people I have met from all over the globe here. Making this experience even more pleasant, is the fresh healthy food, sweet people, abundant exotic wildlife and incredible yoga Sadhana. The salt water pool, 86 degree ocean and amazing sunsets really add to the magic. I may not be gathering leaves and stirring dyepots, but I'm stirring my Prana up and I have a feeling my next inspiring creative binge will be rich with color and maybe a few seashells!

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Solstice practice on the beach

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Christmas bonfire 

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Saltwater pool, Blue Spirit. Nosara, Costa Rica

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Prana Danda yoga 

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One of the last posts on FB before my beloved Zorba passed away on Christmas while I was here. My heart aches to to touch his furry face. He is my baby and the best dog ever!!!! I will always love you Zorba......

Posted on December 27, 2014 .

Love Apple, Blood Moon, Beads & Ribbons

 

I am on my journey home from my New Mexico adventures. Like my Belle Armoire artical, I am reeling from quant shops, stunning landscapes and the amazing New Mexican food. My good friends and wonderful fiber artists, Lori Lawson and Janet Crowe made the textile hunting, evenings stitching, and foodie binges even more enjoyable. The Love Apple (old French term for the Tomato) in Taos was our treat every evening after a long day. Cornhusk roasted trout, antelope, blue corn bread, quinoa fritters, salads and the most amazing heirloom tomato soup I ever tasted were some of our most favorites we indulged ourselves.

  This quick blog was paused there and left on the griddle when I got home. Now in crunch mode before Artistic Licnese, Contemporary Craft Market and A gallery trunk show. I have been felting, dyeing, and stitching up a new Boro style panels for my booth from some of my New Mexican finds, mixed with old linens. A piece of hand woven bamboo and nettles fabric is my most favorite piece. My booth is set up in from of my house ready for tassels to be stitched along the bottom. Cranking up my big outdoor copper kettle for my last batch of scarves to get dipped. I may feed my indigo pot this weekend for some last minunite dips and overdyes.

Hiking has been a sad here in Southern California. The Chapparl is burnt to a crisp, sage transforming into incense and poperi. I gathered some dried buckwheat to use in my ecoprinting, a record simmered in fabric to remember this harsh drought.

Gratitude for my Taos gathering, and good friends to share it with. May the turning of this season into Fall/ Winter bring abundance from the fruits of my labors, along with rain to heal the scorched earth and parched wildlife. 

 

 

 

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Last fall dyepots. Bhodi and eucalyptus on felt

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Taos, New Mexico

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Posted on October 29, 2014 .

Lammas, Moon Rise Sunset.

I'm reeling from the beauty of the Lammas full moon rising in the window to my left, and the sun settin, casting a warm orange glow to my right. I'm flying across country home from a wonderful, but whirlwind trip after gardening in Memphis, to swinging by Michigan for 9 days. What an amazing loving family I have! 9 days is not enought when I also horse back ride with my childhood best friend and drive up north to chillax at my Swiss friend's Chalet for a few days. I say Chill, but we spent a day in Petoskey then hiked, swam, cooked before rest. What beauty, quiet, and stillness is up there. Every year I long for the nights with my window open and absolute scilence. This time around, I actually had to adjust to complete scilence. With delayed pleasure, I witnessed the rythm of my breath, and a few drops of rain crashing on pine needles guiding me to sleep. Could I really live that way every day? The thought temps me and scares me at the same time. I notice that day after day of business and chatting stimulates me too much and I long for, and savor the solitude more and more. Getting older or more in tune with my spirit? Both? I don't care which, I just notice and crave more and more simple nature.

 Who's to know what will happen next year with the Shift. My 20 year gardening/design gig at an end, art and yoga to unfold at home more. Full time in California, who knows what this transition will bring? I'm hopeful and praying a positive and smooth change. Surrounded with friends, family, art and learning to teach yoga, I welcome what new adventures await!

Posted on September 28, 2014 .

Gratitude

   I am so grateful for the opportunity to be on the cover of Altered Couture and featured in Belle Armoire magazines. As an artist, I pour my heart and soul into the textiles and artwear I make without expectations how they are recieved by others. It is extremely fulfilling when others appreciate and truly see what I do- beauty in nature reflected with art. Thank you, all of you who understand and support my work, and the time involved in handmaking of wearable, one of a kind art. Cheers!

 

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Indigo Binge

INDIGO BINGE

Michel Garcia is changing the way we use natural dyes especially indigo. I was overwhelmed when he taught many eco friendly and fascinating multi color stamping, resist and natural techniques last summer at Shakrag, Sawnee TN. Finally, after a short break in my yoga teacher training and felting play dates, I set up an Indigo dyepot to experiment with. Excited about my new outdoor gas stove, I heated a pot to dye wool, some new felted pieces and some cashmere shawls. Hail the summer Shakti energy and to Indigo dye experimentations!

Posted on July 19, 2014 .

Creating My Own Sparks

Creating my own sparks for Independence Day.

whew! Just last week I was flying through he buckwheat blooming, the dried fox tails chiming in the breeze, biking Daley Ranch is as close to how I feel flying in my dreams. I spent the new moon contemplating and churning my new designs ( see my new white dress on my "Works in Progress" page) I birthed during a full moon creative binge around The summer solstice.After a few nights hiking and biking Daley Ranch I headed to work in Memphis, taking a much needed textile pause and got my hands dirty in the earth while the waves of the mid afternoon thunder storms rolled in every day. It was strange basqing in the abundance of moisture while my home in Southern California is so dry. I experienced nature's extreme opposites and enjoyed both their smells and beauty.

 Back home and happy to finally end the drought of my journaling experience, as my website is relaunched-yay! I had been unable to update, blog or add photos until I got a new computer, new softwear and the time to put it all together thoughtfully. Released in tantum so I can celebrate my first publication of my artwork/artical in Belle Armoire magazine. Luck will have it they found me on Flickr and gave me an invite. That chance meeting lead also to another artical and cover shot on Altured Coutoure magazine to be released in Aug. The process of creating multiple one-of-a kind designs and writing was intense but really gave me the nudge to get some of my work out into the world. My site goes live as I type (crossing my fingers) so I'll head back into my kitchen to sneak some of the fresh blueberries I picked in Mississippi last week. My kitchen is overflowing with summer season veggies and fruit ready to be devored for tomorrow's celebration Independence Day.

P.S. Grateful for independent Artists whom are free to express themselves and the tribe that supports us!

http://stampington.com/publications/whats-new-coming-soon/Altered-Couture-Autumn-2014

 

 

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Biking the trails at Daley Ranch. Buckwheat blooming.

 

Full moon on the summer solstice at Daley Ranch. Hiking with Zorba.

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Hand picked at Nesbit Plantation in Mississippi. Two buckets made it in my suitcase home for the Fourth of July. Um, yea, I like blueberries with everything!

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Solstice Musings....

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I have never had a mainstream profession so weekends, hump day and major holidays don't have the same significance to me. Between working as a professional gardener, married to a musician and my yoga practice I have an interesting schedule. Late nights, long summer hours and fall shows flow into restful winter creative stretches. But the the past few years working on my natural textiles has really made my lifestyle very interesting. Binge dyeing, random leaf collecting excursions, felt play dates. Just days of "creative juice" marathons. I just looked up at the moon yesterday and realized the summer Solstice is here already! Wasn't I just looking up at the same moon in the lake at Shakerag? That was a year ago! I celebrated this Solstice picking over 5lbs of blueberries with an old friend in Mississippi and gazing at that big moon.

  Which is why I'm sitting for a nanosecond to jot done and keep in touch what's unfolding on my crazy journey. I usually only stop to pause on the equinoxes, solstices, full and new moons. Currently I am celebrating my pitta fire in full summer glory. Firing on all cylinders, shocked when I come inside from my adventures and its so late. The weather has been very fair in San Diego so I have been rocking the house cleaning and art organizing. I had a blast at the Shakti yoga festival in Joshua Tree last month. 5 full days and nights of high vibrations. Saul David Reye and Shiva Rea intensives were truly amazing experiences.

  I'm  getting ready to do 3 days of art shows, and 4 days in Venice beach with Shiva Rea teacher training Prana Danda Yoga. Yes, I can't believe I just put that in print. I am in love and in the process of learning PDY so I can eventually teach this amazing new prana flow practice with a staff. Cool stuff. I'll eventually be fading out the gardening and should be certified in the next two years. Change is scary but life throws you them whether your ready or not. This past year has taught me the importance of balance and holistic yoga ( old school, with breath work and meditation) and my artwork need equal importance. Strange, one of the hardest things I struggle with in life but am naturally good at in yoga is balance....hmmmm... *musing in progress*

  I still spend a significant amount of my time cooking tasty healthy food. These blueberries should keep me busy for a few days! My friend Elaine has been a kindred spirit with her kitchen magic. She inspires me and I feel her presence when I'm slaving away on the stove or shopping at the farmers market. I highly recommend you see what she's doing in her kitchen and cookbook at 

www.radicalrollingpin.com

. I spend hours a day in my kitchen then I read her blog and realize others are out there tending the hearth, grounding the soul and feeding loved ones tasty food. Try it, it's hard work but well worth the effort. I think the ritual of eating together is the simplistic way to weave harmony in busy intersecting lives.   Happy abundant Summer Solstice! 

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Posted on July 2, 2013 .

Lichen, like wings.... Whidbey Island, Aldermarsh and Still magic.

 
" She balanced on a moss covered log with two giant lichen sprouted like wings. Stretching vertical in tree pose, her arms grew like the branches around her.  Raindrops chimed like bells on the marsh...."
  My experience at Alermarsh on Whidbey Island was profound. Whether it was the shift my spirit felt as I shed my fears alone in the dark womb of a sweat lodge or the connection and acceptance from a sacred circle of women. My intuition was untethered and strengthened. The Zen-ness of the land grounded and permeated my being. A meeting with a sister I have no doubt I have known in another life bloomed and filled a much needed bond . A complete and perfect 4 days. I pray it can sustain me till September when the brambles are full and she calls me again by name....

  A big thanks to Joanna Powell Colbert for facilitating and stirring such powerful feminine magic. Gaiansoul.com

 

Posted on March 8, 2013 .

Shakerag...Awaken my spirit!

Yes it was the Summer Solstice, and food, creativity, the water and woods at Shakerag was bountiful and beautiful! The farm to table food was cooked with love.  It took me a few days to get into the rhythm of going to class and fitting in the wild schedule. The birds singing between the pathways as I would meander to an early breakfast.  After dye class, I spent some time everyday hiking the woods along the lake, stopping at the stone platform along otter trail to do yoga and meditation. Swimming along with the dragonflies with the chorus of frog singing at the reservoir was my favorite. The weather was perfect! A bunch of us snuck out at midnight to swim and celebrate the Summer Solstice. I led a prayer from the raft that everyone repeated three times. Since I was asked for copies I'll print it below for whomever. It was taught to me by Kathy Jones in Avalon, UK. The human company was extremely pleasant as well. Hard to beat creative gals who are happy and lucky enough to be at Sharkrag for the ride. A lot of the woman I met ( 2 years ago) in the India Flint class were there again. Not all in my dyeing class but we'd catch up at the picnic tables for lunch or dinner. Janet, Maryann, Patricia, Lotta, Judy Lee, Ilsa , Cathy to name a few. A woman I met from NC named Caitley I really enjoyed getting to know, we seemed to be kindred spirits.
 Michel Garcia was a kind, brilliant man. I think his methods are revolutionary for the natural dyeing movement. Sustainable and economical and colorfast! The cotton, linen and indigo methods of dyeing I learned are sure to have a huge impact on my creative toolbox. I may skip my Michigan trip in July to stay home and refine some of these new techniques and go with the creative juice flow I have coming on. I finally feel physically great and I'm ready roll up my sleeves and get dirty again. I have a show Aug 5th then off to San Fransico for some R&R. Burning Man and the Bhakti yoga festival in Joshua Tree is next then off to Taos for the wool festival! Next yearJanet, Maryann and Lotta may join Lori and I there for a stitch&relax getaway. Love Apple and sheep look out, the girls are coming!
 The last day of the Shakrag's two week extravaganza ended with a lot of wine and dancing. We had a blast! Even after I gave up and went to bed, with my nightgown on I had to go back to fetch my shawl when Claire (runs the event and school) roped me in again on the dance floor, in my nightie and all! Lastly, the computer class finally dragged out the male energy which gave boost to all the estrogen bouncing up and down. I gave up again, listening to "Brick House" fade in the background as I wandered in the night. Little did I know I would have the lake all to myself the next day as everyone headed to the airport. I wasn't in a hurry to drive to Memphis so I hung out with the dragonflies and frogs......unwound and grounded, a perfect end to a wonderful fun-filled learning adventure.

 

 

Posted on October 17, 2012 .

A Tidy Home Is Kept By A Dull Woman

You know an artist is in residence the minute you step in my front door. Not because it's dirty, it's just my environment seems always to be in progress, or in the middle of a project I'm creating. I took a break from work and shows for a month to catch up on my mundane life at home as well as sprucing up my vitality. I reveled in organizing some serious catching up in my garden. I tried to balancing going for hikes with Zorba, gardening, cleaning and cooking. Half my day went to cooking, doing dishes and pulling weeds. I whip up some amazing food but also create some serious messes. Choosing to live without a dishwasher or microwave adds to the slow process. I also balanced yoga, mountain biking, carding and washing wool. Afterwards, I cleaned some more, spun some wool and rested. No matter how much I picked up, dust on my floors and a mess would settle back in like a comfy old shoe. I was frustrated it was never "tidy" or organized for long no matter my effort. I have a few people in my life that spend all of their free time organizing and cleaning their homes. They can't enjoy a meal or company until the dishes and kitchen are perfect. They are uncomfortable and at dis-ease unless everything is in its place. I see them unhappy because the people they live with don't share their obsession/passion. I used to cringe when they would visit. I would imagine those judgmental white gloves would be on, looking for offending dust or the misplaced sock my dog left out. I felt like a failure that I couldn't  keep up.  Now I just see my home for what most friends and family feel when they experience it.  An inviting, unique, artsy old craftsman house that is well loved and well used. The hardwood floors are worn like marbled leather. My dining room has dozens of old rose paintings covering its walls to like 3D wallpaper. I have ecoprinted furniture and enameled old gas stove. A garden that is wild and enchanting with its brambling roses, draping angel trumpets and the fragrance of jasmine mixing with eucalyptus. Stone paths, yarn or clothes hanging on wood lattice or in trees. With all the food, art, clothes, people and places I love and travel I was too hard on myself. That is until one day a wise woman (thank you India) told me the saying"a tidy home is kept by a dull woman" and I breathed a sigh of relief! I have many gifts and many faults but I dull woman I am most certainly not! I can accept this......
Ps. I type this with a skein of pygora on my chest I just spun after dinner instead of doing those pesky dishes that can wait till morning! Ha!

 

2012 From The Desert To Holland, Onward!

I am technically in hibernation mode as it is still January. I was in fact adhering to the discipline and freak act of this thing called resting when opportunities have unearthed me. Well, Ms. opportunity and her consort Mr. heat wave we had here in So Cal for a week.


Let me start after my fall shows ended I was planning to invest some of my show seeds into a workshop, at a place called Shakerag in Sawanee, Tennessee for next June. Shakerag.org is an amazing venue I have attended in the past that cultivates artistic endeavors, nature, and hosts wonderful homegrown food. Unfortunately the costume designer I was excited about backed out. So I waited for another opportunity to come along that would put fire in my belly. Then a woman at my last show who has seen my artistic style develop started to go on and on about an artist I needed to meet, and that I would love her style. She wrote this artist's name down and when I went to look her up some time later, I was so surprised how right on she was! Her name is Claudy Jongstra from Holland and besides being an amazing, accomplished artist AND is eco-friendly, she happens to be having a workshop the same time I was thinking of taking one. It was full at that time but the universe swayed and a month later they called me asking if I wanted to attend. Hell yea! So off went my show seeds in Euros and I am going to felt and eat stroop this June in Holland. Please google her she is a force to be reckoned, modern and old school at the same time. I think she will dig my hand spun yarn and I will revel in her dye garden. Much to be learned and explored....
So the heat wave hit here in So Cal (86 degrees!) and I in my winter sloth mode started mountain biking and hiking again with vigor. This then spring boarded me into designing my flour sack vintage aprons. I had a sew fest at my friend Raelynns for 3 days to get rock'in for the Talmage show. That spurred me into dyeing and stitching, and if i just sit still to spin up some yarn and I am on my way to the finish line.
I am working in Memphis this week when I spontaneously took a Kundalini workshop with Singh Ravi and Ana Brett. Can you say Sat-Ta-Nam, whoa! that experience inspired me into signing up for the Bhakti Shakti festival in Joshua Tree National Park for 3 days in May. So right now my future looks like the Bhakti Festival in Jousha Tree in May, Claudy Joungstra workshop in Holland in June, Swiss Chalet dyeing with Nature walks in Michigan in July, the Burning Man Art Festival at Black Rock City, NV in August, The Taos Wool Festival in New Mexico in September, and then my shows start in October! I am ready to hibernate again just thinking about my busy schedule! Such a blessing really. Just give me good health then happiness and adventures happen. As my good friend Lindsey says with youth, beauty and sassiness- ONWARD!

So everyone, I am meeting 2012 with this mantra ONWARD!

Posted on January 24, 2012 .

Swiftly The Wheel Turns...

I am reeling from my fall show frenzy. I want to express my gratitude to all the art and nature lovers who supported me through their many kind words and purchases. I truly feel appreciated. Exhausted and spent, but content and appreciated. I even had a temporary creative high between shows weaving scrap pieces of silk and wool and hand stitching them together. Maybe a jacket in progress?
I whirled through this past summer with trips to Wisconsin and Michigan, then pausing to "rest"in extreme camping at Burning Man art festival in August. In September, I meant to blog about my New Mexico adventures with Lori Lawson, the Love Apple, Common Threads and chillies! but the wheel just kept turning without a pause. I purchased raw wool and supplies for felting and spinning there at the Taos Wool Festival only to stagger into my fall show frenzy in October and November. Not to mention my day job flying every 2-3weeks to Memphis to garden. I'm dizzy thinking about it. Somewhere in there I felted, dyed, stitched and hand spun lots of art yarn and reconstructed clothing. I was on such a creative roll I knew after my shows I would crash and what a train wreck I felt like! It's just a bone numbing exhaustion. I am sloth. I am a bear hibernating. I rested, I cooked tasty meals, I tried to organize my stashes and restock my supplies, but without my usual zeal. I lost the giddy in my giddy-up. Slowly, I turned to knitting my pygora sweater and started feeling better. I'm hoping the balance of light getting longer after the Winter Solstice comes I will get my groove back. For now, it's rest and knit, accepting its the dark's turn on the wheel......

Posted on December 17, 2011 .

Spinning Pygora in Quail Gardens, Connection with James Hubble

I met artist James Hubble when I was 19. I didn't know anything about his work but felt my world shift as I walked onto his property. I had never seen creative expression manifested in every square inch of reality before my eyes. His organic curved stained glass sculptured buildings meander through garden paths and wrought iron gateways. The lines between in and outdoors were blurred, I was in a womb, a dreamlike state and I cried as I felt I was truly home. In a place that reflected me, both natural, beyond nature, of this world and one foot in another. I would never be the same after experiencing Mr. Hubble's world that day, and my path as a creative soul began it's new direction.

Flash forward many years, and you'll still see influence of his creations in my dream boards, threaded along my own work and surroundings. As a gardener, nature lover and artist, expressing myself and connecting with others is essential. Listening to him speak this weekend at Quail Gardens ( by coincidence!) where I was showing my art, sparked a full circle for me. His inspiring words about Nature, creative paths and connection radiates truth. The trees seem to whisper a little clearer, my yarn unwinds another story and my next dye pot may yield more magic. All because Mr Hubble showed me it's all possible....
Spinning Pygora in a beautifully tended garden setting, connecting to people as they wander by and hugging Mr. Hubble with a ton of gratitude. Life is beautiful and amazing!

Now I am off to Burning Man Art Festival to connect with 50,000 people from all over the world. Art, gifting, music....for one week a world where giving, community and art are freely celebrated!

Posted on August 25, 2011 .

A Swiss Chalet in Michigan, eating Indian with India.....Sleeping Bear who?

Sleeping Bear Dunes, Shuss Mountain and St.Croix Falls Wisconsin is where my dye party celebrated the Solstice this summer.
India Flint led a whimsical landskin quiltfelt workshop on an organic farm in Wisconsin. New friends, magic juice (post mordanting) and AMAZING Indian food highlighted the trip. You could find me, India and a tribe of women feasting on Mushroom Mutter at the Vegetarian in St. Croix Falls after a long day of stitching and dyeing. Yum! Someone give that restaurant 5 stars. We tried every dish and could only ooh and awe at this foodie haven. Hiking, felting and just girls having fun stitching around the proverbial fire was how we spent a week that flew by. Thank you everyone for sharing such wonder creative energy.
After a quick refueling at home in San Diego I headed to Detroit, Michigan to visit family, raided the antique and thrift stores then drove up north to Shuss Mountain. Visiting m friend and fellow Artisan Janet Crowe Whom I met at India's workshop last year. She and her husband live in Switzerland most of the year, spending Michigan's warm months in their cozy wooded chalet. She sent me a wonderful package from Switzerland this past winter filled with vintage silk threads and ribbons from an old nunnery. This was our second summer meeting for a dye party on Shuss mountain. Her hostess skills were shining with organic home cooked meals, including homemade pizza, mojitos and deertracks ice cream. Janet and Andre have traveled the world and it makes for great stories and unique conversations. We ate, talked, felted and dyed. A perfect way to spend the weekend catching up.
Then it was off to the rolling land of cherry orchards, arty, hip small towns and beautiful beaches with woodland forests knitting the vibrancy into this magical place called Sleeping Bear Dunes. It is known as one of North America's most sacred places, old trough it's Native American legend. It is one of my favorite places on earth, especially to walk in the woods. This year I came face to face with a doe and a velvet buck. On that same hike I was mesmerized by these blooming fairy- esque globes that were dappled along the forest floor. In this small northwestern corner of Michigan I am always surprised by the abundance of friendly, progress people, farmers markets and the peaceful feelings this place emotes for me. It just feels like home to a Californian Nature girl with Michigan midwestern roots. Close enough to get to hip Traverse City, Along M22 Glenn Arbor, Leland and North Port are my favorite haunts for good food and local artist supported shops. It's my third year in a row stealing precious moments in these towns, their beautiful lakes and beaches and my most favorite; Sleeping Bear Dunes National forest. Ummmm....what a perfect way to celebrate summer!

Posted on July 19, 2011 .

A Stitch In Time Makes New Designs......

I'm enjoying the harvest of Being and Doing in my new designs.

In Dr. Amit Goswami PH.d's "The Quantum Activist" he speaks about the leap electrons make in atoms and the correlation with a creative " a-ha" moment. This Quantum leap happens every day in our cells and in the Universe around us. Within his smiling eyes, expressive explanations, Dr. Goswami's theory resonates with my creative process. I particularly relate to his acknowledging the importance of Being and Doing. Or in his words Do-Be-Do-Be-Do-Be-Do! He states that you can't just be all the time, or do all the time but flow between them. This is where I've mentioned my struggle with balance in the past. Too much Doing, not equal enough but potent Being. I would get stuck in the frenzy of Doing, or creating. I also refer to having "wheels on my butt". I get into a groove of creative energy and find myself unable to slow down. Even rushing to yoga classes sometimes stimulates my energy instead of calming my pitta energy. This is where taking a walk in the woods, going camping in the mountains or just meditating is required for the full effect of just Being. Nature, yoga and spinning are the grounding forces in my life. When Balance is achieved like recently, ahhh! Peace, calm, and euphoric contentment. I just took some time in the beautiful springtime blooming mountains with Zorba then spent a week at home just Being. the unintended side effect seems to be after balance is achieved comes fresh ideas and new designs! With clarity and unbidden flow, one stitch leads to two....Here are some photos of me ( without makeup and on a creative high) in one of my new smock dresses and apron. My husband caught me traipsing outside my studio, for all to see. I have other designs and new aprons made and shall get them out into the world soon. Right now I am bathing in balance and breathing in my new mantra,"Do-Be-Do-Be-Do-Be-Do"!

Posted on June 7, 2011 .

Purple Haze & Persian Tea

I am buzzing on my new tea addiction. I am of British & Manx decent, and tea is in my blood. I first went to the Isle of Man, England & Scotland at the tender age of 7. My love of tea started there. If you give a kid anything with milk and sugar, happiness follows. I was also exposed to a Shanty and Hot Toddies but that's another story.... I don't drink coffee. Ever. I have on the rare occasion drank and liked Turkish, Greek coffee and espresso in Rome. That was with family and wasn't an option after an unforgettable meal with lots of wine. I think I would have drank urine and it would have tasted like nectar if the Romans made it. I regress..... I have a love of teas; white, green, oolong and my staples Welsh & double bergamot Earl Grey. Earl Grey being my favorite with milk & agave to start my day. I flitter between the rest during the day and depending on my mood. For my birthday, my friend Lori Lawson took me to a Persian resturant. The food was good but the tea was amazing! After enjoying 3 glasses, I walked out with a pound of it. I had a Persian friend who on occasion made me some wonderful food but whoa! The tea! There are different blends but this place makes their own (I have a hunch Earl, Darjeeling and maybe roses are in there) secret blend. I have been sipping nonstop since I perfected the Persian way of brewing. An art well worth following. I don't even miss the milk with the complex aroma. I am getting everyone around me hooked, a pound may not last long around here. Inspiration flowed from my heady tea buzz, and my first foray into lac madder blending was born. I purchased some while in Taos, New Mexico last fall. Earthships, chillies and wool-oh my! Roots of madder and Earthues Powdered Lac. These colors meld well with the different eucalyptus equally on silk & wool. Hope you enjoy my new inspirations. I will be selling some pieces at my May 15th Talmadge show. I will be busy stitching dusters & aprons while sipping Persian tea and brewing Purple Haze cashmere shawls & scarves.
Posted on April 24, 2011 .