Going Round in Circles

•April 14, 2016 • Leave a Comment


The present was as round and full as a sphere and it warmed me many times over. Jacques Lusseyran

I notice that I am working in and photographing circles. Circles hold things in, represent eternity, and can be comforting. Circles can change you from the inside out like walking a labyrinth.

This first circle involves my hand embroidery on a vintage christening dress. The needle pricks and the thread holds the old and new together. I collage opaques and sheers of leaf dying, screen-printing, ink drawing, vintage lace, and photo transfer done by myself and others. Themes appear of raindrops, family, branches, and leaves.


I like to take walks after it rains. The contrast of light and dark made stronger in the grayness of the day. The rain is cold; the thorns hidden.


Circles of sound. This fountain flowing over glass stones creates a peaceful place to read a book. Time out for breaks helped by a watery circle. Life pulses.


End of the day circle within a circle. Do you see it? I like how a photograph catches one moment. Next moment this scene changes. What do circles mean to you?


Observer of the Arts

•February 5, 2016 • Leave a Comment
culver-arts-vide0 I do a lot of poetry readings 
and am featured in art receptions. I enjoy sharing my creativity with others. But 
sometimes it's nice to attend and observe. 

I recently attended several events at the Barbara and Art Culver Center of Arts. This space is 
part of UCRArts Block in Riverside, CA. A huge space where I have seen dance,rehearsed
for a performance collaboration, performance art, art exhibitions, poetry readings, 
and art discussions. They show art-house movies too.


In one week's time I attended several events at the Culver. The first was 
"Conversations at the Culver presents Heather Altfeld and Troy Jollimore" put 
on by Inlandia. This was a combination of poetry reading, interview, and Q&A. 
I like this format because I got to learn more about the authors - their process 
and passion for writing. They shared about how it took one author 60 submissions
to publishers before the manuscript got selected. Some poets write with a book 
in mind and others write poems and compile them into a book. I do a bit of
both. Cati Porter hosted this event.


The next evening two UCR students lead a group discussion/tour for the art exhibition,
"Second Wave." I liked the concept of object representing a person in one of the 
artists' paintings. The show included video, painting, photography, and more. Then it
was time to visit the Black Box Studio for my first time to watch performance artists 
D. Hill and Takeshi Kanamura perform, "Transceiver." The audience got to color 
the performer's white clothing and their faces. Musical instruments were given to some
of the audience members. I had some percussion. The two performers left the room. Then
something magical happened. The audience passed the keyboard around the circle. There
was only one drum, so people started using their hands to drum on the floor. The 
audience became the performance. 


I spoke with Takeshi later and he said that they expected the audience to stop playing
the instruments after he and D. Hill left the room. They were surprised and pleased 
that the audience got more involved.


During the Riverside Arts Walk, it was time to explore video and photography with 
French artist, Marie Bovo. "How to Survive Abstraction" was curated by 
Joanna Myers-Szupinska-Myers. Susan Ossman lead the interview this evening of a show 
at the UCR/CA Museum of Photography. This event was held in the theater. Marie's 
videos were more like movies with amazing colors, composition, and sounds. She liked 
to capture daily life. Her still photographs used a large camera with 8x10" film. 
No digital photographs. The printed pictures were @ 6' tall. She exposed the film 
for two hours so that people moving in and out of the image disappeared leaving 
the buildings where they lived or tents in the case of gypsies. Displacement was 
another theme as the gypsies and the poor were moved out of their living spaces 
to make room for the new.


I had a culturally rich week and all of the events were free. Time to create my 
own work.

A Labyrinth of Inspiration for the New Year

•January 4, 2016 • Leave a Comment

Some friends and I were discussing the need for the New Year celebration as life continues on. I shared that I think markers like the new year, solstice, birthdays, etc. matter. They are times to reflect and perhaps try something new. In preparation for 2016, I took some time and walked a labyrinth made of stones from a burnt building. They carry history and fire.


Inspiration comes in the quiet and walking. The wind softly blows, a few winter roses, and the distant mountains create signs for the year to come. Listen to the wind, look at the persevering roses, see the mountains with clarity.

I took a quick walk before meeting with a friend I hadn’t seen in a long time. This area has vintage homes and trees with a long history. I enjoy the crispness of the air. The sun is in-and-out shifting the light. Some people still have Christmas decorations up and others are in the process of putting them away. I find a collection of leaves, pine cones, and stones someone has spent time to gather. What will I gather in the new year? Let go of? Be flexible like the changes in the light.


I decide I want to get back to drawing as the year begins. I get to see an exhibit of Faith Wilding at the Armory in Pasadena. I am inspired by her combination of ink, watercolor, and text. All elements that I know how to work in. This day also includes a view of the mountains that look like a woodcut and a walk across town (enjoying a storefront by Luciano Martinez, government buildings, and a fountain). Seeing the world through art and poetry eyes.



Capturing Light

•December 4, 2015 • 1 Comment

I decided to start carrying my cell phone with me on my walks. I live near the foothills. My fiber art and poetry are inspired by ideas and experiences from my walks. But the photographs alone have become another creative expression. They have proven to be inspiration for others’ artwork and encouragement through difficult times.


This all began with shooting daily sunsets. California has been in a drought. Seeing clouds with the possibility of rain brings hope. I also was having some health issues and a photograph gave me a creative outlet.


Without the dramatic clouds, I tend to move into close-ups. I like to catch the sunlight as it comes over the mountains and lights up the edges.


I also have a collection of images of furniture discarded and the broken.


Sharing my images on Instagram and Facebook with people around the world and viewing their images is an expanding experience.

How Does One Dress for a Poetry Circus?

•October 27, 2015 • 1 Comment

I was invited by the wonderful poet, Nicelle Davis, to read at her second Poetry Circus. This event was held at the Griffith Park Merry-Go-Round in Los Angeles. “Part performance, ride, dance, and creations.” This was a free family event including crafts and a parade for the children. Over 30 poets read and there were other performances. “A community-focused event that allowed everyone to run away and join the circus.”


The host, Nicelle, is a poet and a performance artist. I knew she would dress for the circus. I wanted to have fun and wear a costume. I found a black lace scarf, spider necklace, and a spider ring. I decided to be a gypsy fortune teller. I already had the silk wrap of stars. I was asked if I always dress this way!

Photograph by Edwin Vasquez

Photograph by Edwin Vasquez

Here’s Nicelle Davis.


A chapbook was created with one page per poet. I had a short poem, an image of one of my art quilts and a prompt. Anne Yale of Yak Press published the chapbook which acted as a program for the evening. They sold out!


“Spider with Wings,” is my first chapbook of poetry. The poems are short collages full of imagery and imagination. I’m having fun reading the poems in various locations. Part of publishing with Jamii Publishing was to participate in community projects. The Poetry Circus was my first project. I read poems from the book at the event.


The audience rode on the Merry-Go-Round in between the poetry readings and performances. I hope you have enjoyed the ride today.


Summer Adventures Close to Home

•September 8, 2015 • Leave a Comment


I’ve been wanting to visit TAM (Torrance Art Museum), but it’s a drive across Los Angeles. The show “Studio System” seemed the perfect time to visit. Select artists set up studios in the museum and created art for a month. I enjoyed seeing friends and making new ones. The artists were happy to share their techniques and concepts. In the photo above I am wearing a hat by Don Porcella. I’ve only known him online and it was great to meet him and see his work in person. The artist below, Hung Viet Nguyen, I already knew, but I learned about his process.


Then on to the Manhattan Beach! Salt is in the air, as was coolness.


Santa Ana was adventure #2. I visited the Old Santa Ana Courthouse to see the show, “Vietnamese Focus: Generation of Stories.” The courthouse itself is a work of art from the early 1900’s. A friend said her daughter got married here.


Seeing the Vietnamese show was timely. I had just finished preparing my manuscript for “Quiet Lantern, a Novel in Verse” that is based in Hue, Vietnam. Here I was surrounded by real stories of the war and leaving the country. Stories of split families and dangerous escapes. And these people ending up in Southern California. Trinh Mai did an installation on funeral-type cloths.


Next I visited The Mexican Consulate in Santa Ana to see “Bang Bang” by Eva Malhotra. Her textural pieces full of color capture the galaxies and the mapping of earth. Here I am in front of one of her wonderful art works that went from floor to ceiling.


Trip #3 took me to Exhibition Park in LA to the California Science Center to see the “Dead Sea Scrolls.” This was a “must-do” on my list this summer. I’ve never seen them. I write about ancient cultures. This needed to happen. I got there early enough to view the scrolls with a small crowd. A highlight was hearing a fragment read out loud in Hebrew. Hard to put the experience of this show into words.


Exploration of the center was in order since this was my first visit. There’s a lot to discover here. I liked the small aquarium.


Three weeks of adventures in new places and not too far from home.

Spider with Wings

•August 4, 2015 • 1 Comment

This chapbook began with the idea of writing a series of short poems. No punctuation. Some capital letters. A collage of life experiences (mine and others), observations, dreams, and more. The book is full of dense imagery and the voice of a siren. Chew on these poems in small, slow bites.

spiderwithwingscoverfront only

First lines from “28 years” first published by East Jasmine Review: birds evolve from dinosaurs/ discover monastic hermits retreat/ to crannog/ solstice flight spirit pole/ you are not supposed to be here

This is my first solo book. I am thankful to Jamii Publishing. They designed the wonderful cover and a creative layout inside the book.

Jamii Publishing are about community. I will participate in the event “The Second Poetry/ Circus – A Shakespearean Carnival” produced by Nicelle Davis on September 19 at LA Griffith Park’s Merry-Go-Round. Twenty poets will read in this free event for all ages. I will read from “Spider with Wings” in the 5:30-6:30pm group.

Copy of Tidal Rise


It was exciting to have the books delivered to my doorstep. Nikia Chaney, one of the editors, made the delivery. She is a great friend, collaborator, and wonderful poet. You can order a signed copy at my website: http://www.fiberverse.com. The book is also available at http://www.Amazon.com (where you can read my author page).


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