my creative life July-December 2016

July:  I worked on my coursework for my positive psychology class.  I created a handbag out of a friend’s damaged Audi seat.  I was generously given a huge amount of fabric that was just beautiful to work with for the SEABA fashion show coming up.  I read a lot about the psychology of geography—the study of how we behave in relation to our environment. I traveled to South Dakota to visit my family and was lucky enough to get to shoot some photographs at the Burke Stampede Rodeo. Oh, cowboys…

August:  I sketched, sewed, painted and made handbags…a big blitz of work.  Using the company SPOONFLOWER I got photographs printed onto fabric. My daughter, Lucy wore a skirt I made with an abandoned farmhouse photo I shot in South Dakota on it.  I used rust prints Elizabeth Bunsen created with Nebraska license plates to create fabric as well.  Burlington master goldsmith— Jane Frank designed jewelry worn in the show—the pieces were such a beautiful compliment to the clothes. 

September was a blur: The fashion show was entirely consuming the first 10 days of the the month.  I love to be in flow and entirely focused on one thing.  Deadlines are my jam.  However, this year I also needed to create my final project for my Positive Psychology course at the same time . I graduated and got to spend a week at Kripalu in Lenox, Mass with a remarkable bunch of people from all around the world.  Later in the month my husband and I went to the Champlain Valley Classic Car show, taking photos and talking to classic car enthusiasts was just great after being so busy.

October: I turned 50 on the 12th.  I was taken to Martha’s Vineyard by friends.  My husband surprised me by getting my folks, my sister and my brother-in-law to Vermont for a long weekend to celebrate with me.  That was remarkable AND he threw a party complete with my friends putting on a musical review, poetry, singing songs and making me feel so unbelievably grateful for my life.  I took a few of my favorite images ever and layered more photos. Jeff and I dressed as Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo for Halloween.

November:  I traveled to Burke, South Dakota.  I took photos of Herrick that made current and former Herrick residents very happy and remarkably nostalgic.  I got to hang out with my great nephew, Liam (oh, and the rest of my clan).  I created digital images of my own planet based on a conversation with my son.  The planet New Vagus is based on the vagus nerve—the power center of our nervous system.  I wrote.  I cried when Leonard Cohen died.

December:  I made leather pendants for gifts.  I kept playing with the image of a South Dakota two-lane road, layering the photo and playing with the visuals of memory.  I created a line of scarves with my images on them.  I will post the link soon if you are interested in ordering one.

January 2017 is off to an interesting start.  I’m cleaning out the basement—sorting through letters, photos, the kids clothes I’ve saved, toys, books and all of the things I can’t believe I now have to deal with.  I’m learning a lot about myself and why things seemed so very important to me.

Turning 50 is an interesting age to take a look back, look ahead, try to stay in the moment and not get too stuck in any one place.

STRUT—part I


Here are some images from last night’s STRUT fashion show in Burlington, Vermont.  These are the more candid shots of getting ready and going through rehearsal.  We had such a great day and hanging out together was really fun.  Thank you to all who helped make the show happen.  I won’t name you all, there are too many of you who supported Elizabeth and I produce our collection.  You know who you are.  Many thanks.













The devil is in the details…

now that all of the pieces are created.  It’s time to look for subtle threads (literally & figuratively) that unite the collection. I love this part almost as much as pizza & champagne when we’re all done. I really like that part.  Elizabeth Bunsen’s dyed fabric, my work in scrap leather and photography and Jane Frank’s jewelry is telling a story just as we had hoped from the beginning.  Storytelling through this collaborative work is maybe the best part of the whole shootin’ match in my estimation.


The details are details. They make the product.

The connections, the connections, the connections. It will in the end be these details that give the product its life.

                        —Charles Eames



Jeweler/Jane Frank’s work for STRUT

Check out the work of German trained, Master Goldsmith, Jane (Yanna) Frank.  Elizabeth Bunsen and my models will be wearing her work on the runway.  My request was for Jane was for her to create something prairie chic, bohemian and earthy and then total freedom.  Yes, she nailed it.  I love the quality of these pieces and the way they reference prairie grasses, nature and the palette we are working with.

It will be a pleasure to showcase these pieces with our clothes and accessories.

Beautiful work, Jane. Thank you.

You can see how well they fit in with what we’re working on…leather, ecodyed textiles and a print made from Elizabeth’s rust work on paper.  Oh, it’s fun to work with such talented creatives.

If you’re interested in taking jewelry classes at Jane’s very welcoming backyard WERKSTATT (workshop) or are in need of custom work or repairs, here’s the link:

Here is the link for more information about Jane, her work and other pieces for sale.

jane frank art hop jewelry





Designing for a LEVITY 7 pop up sale.





November 13th & 14th at Maglianero Cafe/Burlington, Vermont I’ll be selling a few one-of-a-kind handbags along with my LEVITY 7 design collective crew and their creations.  My bags are inspired by Frida Kahlo and have a one-of-a-kind, independent spirit about them.  I will be posting more as the date draws closer.

LEVITY seven TRUNK SHOW @ Vintage Inspired

This Friday and Saturday I’m part of a TRUNK SHOW at VINTAGE INSPIRED in Burlington, Vermont with 6 very talented women. We call ourselves, “LEVITY seven”. We meet every few weeks over coffee in one of our studios or homes and talk about the issues of running small businesses.  Sometimes we stay on topic and often we talk about what’s happening in our creative lives.

“Without some occasional levity,

the working environment is not better than a sweatshop.”

What an amazing group of women to spend time with and learn from their collective experience. Having LEVITY in our group name reflects that we don’t want to pile more pressure on each other to do more than we already are, but rather reflects our level of encouragement and collaboration…with a healthy dose of humor.

Our group includes mostly Germans…two women are jewelers, one a fused glass artist and a garden designer. There are also a few very talented American women—a contemporary painter and the owner of CB Sacks—a Burlington company that makes beautiful bags out of coffee sacks from around the world.

Here’s what I’m preparing for the TRUNK SHOW…bracelets, pendants, a few paintings, hand-painted shoes and a few paintings.  I’m not a terribly skilled salesperson.  It just doesn’t come very naturally to me—so if you come to our TRUNK SHOW I’ll be the one showing the merits and creativity of my friend’s work.

Please stop by if you’re in the Burlington, Vermont area.

Vintage Inspired • Friday May 1st, 5-8pm, Saturday noon-5pm • 180 Flynn Ave

Here are links to see their work: (Ina Deane/jewelry designer) (Jane Frank/master goldsmith) (Kara Greenblott/bag designer/upcycled coffee sacks) (Lynne Reed/contemporary painter) (Gabrielle Baumann/fused glass artist) (Silvia Jope/garden designer)



Jane Frank/WERKSTATT photo shoot

This week I had the pleasure of taking pictures of my friend and master goldsmith German jeweler, Jane (Yanna) Frank. She has created this remarkable space in a converted garage for her ongoing classes and her own work. Jane’s work is simply stunning.

She is going to submit photos to a fabulous publication called “Where Women Create”. This magazine highlight the creative spaces of women from all different disciplines and backgrounds.

These are a few of the photos I shot in Jane’s space.


Jane Frank, chandelier earrings


Here’s the link:

If you are into INSTAGRAM we would really appreciate you checking out (and hopefully following) our instagram profiles.

dakota1966 (This is me.)
jf_werkstatt (This is Jane Frank.) (Jane’s blog)

Why do we beat ourselves up over what we DIDN’T get done?

Lillibridge week of productivity dakota 1966

I often find myself at the end of a week wondering what I have to show for it all. Since I live a creative life with a constantly emerging curriculum it’s a challenge to not beat myself up over what else I would’ve accomplished. This week I decided to see things differently. Instead of looking at my list of what I didn’t accomplish, I made my list of what I DID and it was pretty interesting. I sometimes long for a narrower focus as I written about before, but the variety of stuff I do is interesting and puts me in contact with a lot of people who really fuel my creativity.

I spent time with my former studio mate, Chicago Artist—Adam DeVarney and we had an amazing conversation that if it had been all I did this week—it would’ve been enough. Check out Adam’s funky work. LINKS BELOW

Jane Frank is a Burlington Master Goldsmith and jewelery class instructor who I am doing the branding and marketing for. We had a reporter come this week to do an article on Tuesday and the photographer came on Thursday to talk about her new WERKSTATT/workshop. I can’t wait to see how the story turns out in next weeks SevenDays (Burlington, Vermont’s alternative weekly paper). She has a great story and does beautiful work and it has been a pleasure to be on her team. We’re doing a trade and I am getting a pair of her chandelier earrings for my design/branding efforts. A great deal for both of us. LINKS BELOW

I also am trying to source the right tote bag for my kids summer business The Town Neck Company. It is a business trying to bring awareness to a barrier beach in Cape Cod where my husband grew up and we spend out summers. Oh, and I had the pleasure of getting upstairs at Champlain Leather in Burlington, Vermont and seeing the workshop. LINKS BELOW

It was my daughters 14th birthday on Saturday so there were some festivities over the weekend. I’ve spent time with friends, cleaned things out, taken loads of things to Goodwill, worked in the garden and taken 3 NIA dance classes at The South End Studio in Burlington (to keep my back from going out which renders me unable to do my work on the computer). LINK BELOW

I had a big group of people over for brunch on Sunday and it was great to hang out at such a mellow time of the week. It’s always pretty fun to have a glass of Prosecco and a bagel in the morning. I cleaned out cars and ran all of the regular household stuff we all have to do. My husband, Jeff Govoni was gone on a leadership camping trip in the rafting down the Colorado with an incredible group of people. He was so remote there was only a satellite phone so it was just me and my kiddos this last week. He’s a leadership coach and this was quite a journey with interesting business leaders from around the globe. LINK BELOW to his site too.

So, the next time you’re temped to be hard on yourself for things undone on your list. Make a DONE LIST for the week and pat yourself on the back. There is always next week. Happy Weekend!

soft as a lamb & tough as a rhino


I have been nesting in my studio which for me always means making room for new possibilities—always very exciting. I rediscovered this bird, he was hidden away all dusty. This painting is actually titled “Possibilities”. I brought him out into the light, cleaned him up and have let him be my creative guide while I clean, sort and categorize. He reminds me that as artists, too often we make these beautiful things and then never show them to anyone for risk of failure or perhaps even risk of success.

I just had a lengthy discussion with a friend today—a remarkable jeweler Jane Frank. We are both artists and we discussed how challenging it is to be creatively authentic and develop the skills needed to sell our work. I was once told that you have to soft as a lamb to create and tough as a rhinoceros to sell. These are two very different skills and one area generally suffers if you are working hard in the other.

How do we solve this conflict as artists? We need to seek as much counsel as we can—feedback about work, conferences, search out expertise in areas that challenge us— advertising, social media, follow up with clients on and on. But, good golly even typing this list makes me want to quietly create something and never show it to anyone. However, the duality of this is that we also want it out there. We do want people talking about and buying our work. OK, so here I go…

To see more of my work go to:
Now I put myself out there today. SO, what steps can you take to up your game?

P.S. Oh, and by the way lots of these works are for sale and I welcome commission work. I sure wish I had an agent.

Twins and Copper



Today felt scattered and not very productive in the studio. However, 13 years ago today I was in labor with my twin girls, Lucy and Willa so my mind is elsewhere and I won’t be too hard on myself about my lack of focus. The copper flower pieces I’ve been working on in my jewelry class to use for the center of the pendants. I am also experimenting with some leather paints to see what kind of effects I can create.

Have a creative weekend@