Most women will know what these are

choice tools

If you’re a woman and have ever gone in for a gynecological exam you will recognize this medical tool called a speculum. I’ve had these devices for a few years, waiting for the creative inspiration to hit me so I could include them in an art piece. Every time I took them out and showed them to my women friends, every one of them squealed and asked me to put them away. Having a cold stainless steel speculum inserted into one’s vagina is not the most pleasant activity.

Yet we women in first world countries are fortunate to have access to gynecological care. In many 3rd world countries pap smears (collecting cells for cancer testing) do not happen because there are not enough qualified technicians to do them. In the poorest countries, many women have horrible child-birth injuries called  fistulas, often due to being young mothers. Most likely these women do not have  the choice to have birth control either.

The wrapping of the speculum in silk is my way of honoring these medical tools and our ability to get reproductive care.

I am entering this assemblage into the Northern California Women’s Caucus for Art upcoming exhibition http://www.4choice2013.com/artist-call.html

Creating kimonos by hand, day one

I’ve spent a couple of years deconstructing kimonos. I wondered what it would be like to make a kimono. I found the perfect class at the Workshop Residence in San Francisco. These photos are from the first day of the four day workshop.

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Tsuyo Onodera has devoted fifty years of her life to the art of kimono making in Japan, having trained hundreds of students to become licensed kimono makers during five year long apprenticeships at her school in Sendai, Japan. She serves as the president of Miyagi Kimono Association, and in 1982 invented Mai Yamato, a pre-tied kimono and obi system.

Collaborating in Onodera’s Workshop Residence project is her daughter, Sonoma based artist Maki Aizawa. Maki grew up in her mother’s kimono making school surrounded by creativity, studying floral arranging, calligraphy and studying the musical instrument the Koto.

An exquisite shop in an enchanting town

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We were hot, sweaty, and a bit jagged, after having just arrived on the “jeep-boat-jeep”  from Monte Verde, Costa Rica. One of the first things we were told when we got to Essence Arenal Organic Farm and Hotel, was to go around the corner to La Gavilana art gallery and shop. Hotel concierge Vanessa, (the once ice skating girl from Chicago, now expat) said, “it’s owned by an American girl and it’s very nice.”

Continue reading “An exquisite shop in an enchanting town”

A million shades of green

20130324-181847.jpgWhat can I say about the rainforest? It is beyond describing. Hiking through the Santa Elena forest for 4 hours was transforming. The sound of the rainforest birds and animals is unlike anything else I have heard. The two of us were almost the only humans within sight for hours. We walked looking up at amazing trees, vines, bromeliads, birds, and butterflies. we walked looking down at beetles, centipedes, and ants. I felt a detoxification and healing happen as we were immersed in the magic of hundred year old trees. I picked one beauty, I think a Ficus, to have an energy exchange with – what a moment of purification and gratitude.

Jungle night life

Who knows what goes on in the dark? Well we have a better idea after going on a night hike in Monte Verde, Costa Rica.

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A group of 14 of us, (including an infant), tramped up and down hills with flashlights for 3 hours. Costa Rican guide Alex was a terrific spotter, and a funny guy. Surprisingly we came upon a fair amount of critters. I know we would have never seen the viper in strike position on the tree branch on our own. We wouldn’t have known Mrs. Tarantula was in that hole in the dirt. And I finally got to see a sloth in the wild! The two toed variety was hanging upside down munching down on leaves.

My partner almost got lost when he was videoing leaf cutter ants on his hands and knees. He accidentally joined another tour group in the dark. After I yelled his name to no avail, our guide had to go retrieve him. After that episode our leader started counting our group every few minutes.

In addition to the sloth, the other exciting furry mammals we got to spy on were olingo, kinkajou, and coati – kinda raccoon-monkey-catlike beings that were all crawling around high up in the trees. Then there were the lizards, frogs, and lightning bugs.

It was all a great time running around in the dark like in a “Blair Witch” movie episode,
but more educational and fun!

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Kinkajou

Happy Equinox

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Serene and green! Just what I needed
after a stressful night in San Jose, CR.
The traffic and frenetic nature of
that city is a bit much for me.
We’ve just arrived in Monte Verde
but I already feel my self releasing
the armor and opening to the beauty.

Finca La Isla Botanical Gardens

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A highlight of our trip to Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica was visiting a working tropical farm in the jungle. Here a father and son raise pepper, cacao, tropical fruits, and ornamental plants. We had a lesson and tasting of local fruits and learned how chocolate is made.

Continue reading “Finca La Isla Botanical Gardens”