ancient memories…from early 2020

I was going through photos today and realized that my memories from January and February seem like a lifetime ago. Us Vermonters are now in the 5th week of sheltering in place. It’s quite remarkable how much the world has changed in such a short time. WOW!

I decided to give my not-so-old images a treatment to make them appear as vintage and fading as they now feel to me. I provided captions for the images and a few links below.

“Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it is a memory.”
― Dr. Seuss

  1. Spiderman ready to take on the Bad Guys
  2. Celebrating in Burke, SD
  3. Ellis napping with Karen at home
  4. Jeff’s daily coffee snuggle with Karen
  5. Dinner with Chloe and the clan at Frank Day’s in Dallas, SD
  6. New Year’s Eve in Burlington, VT
  7. Joan & Maggie—Trivia Night at the Saint John’s Club/Burlington, VT

martyr v. trickster energy

One of my favorite books is Elizabeth Gilbert’s BIG MAGIC.  She writes about creativity and what type of energy we let dominate our lives.  She boils it down to two types.

The martyr OR the trickster?

“Martyr energy is dark, solemn, macho, hierarchical, fundamentalist, austere, unforgiving, and profoundly rigid.  

“Trickster energy is light, sly, transgender, transgression, animist, seditious, primal, and endlessly shape-shifting.”

“I believe that the original human impulse for creativity was born out of pure trickster energy. …Creativity wants to flip the mundane world upside down and turn it inside out, and that’s exactly what a trickster does best.  The trickster is obviously a charming and subversive figure.

But for me, the most wonderful thing about a good trickster is that he trusts.

He trusts himself, obviously. He trusts his own cunning, his own right to be here, his own ability to land on his feet in any situation. To a certain extent, of course, he also trusts other people. But mostly, the trickster trusts the universe.”

—Elizabeth Gilbert/BIG MAGIC


Who wants to live with mostly martyr energy?

Martyr energy is a total bummer.

If the universe is meant to be played with, then we must PLAY.  This doesn’t mean we can escape the mundane parts of daily life, grief or death.  However, deploying our creative trickster energy when needed (even in very difficult passages of our lives) gives us more options and lets us access more creativity.

The trickster trusts and doesn’t let doubt or paranoia get in the way of a good time.

The trickster would invite the martyr to discuss something very serious and then maybe coax them into skinny dipping instead.

Come on, let your inner trickster out.


When I pay attention.

A few weeks ago, my friend Maggie Pace shared the Elle Luna book “The Crossroads of SHOULD and MUST” book with me.  It changed everything for me to think about my “MUSTS”.  I’m not making a living off of my art AND I’m not discouraged that I’m not making money from my work right now.  I’m learning.  My work is gaining depth. I’m increasingly more comfortable getting “out there” in the world and not just being alone in my studio (which I adore).  If I’m so driven to make things there has to be some real value in what I do—it simply hasn’t quite revealed itself in it’s entirety…yet.  I believe it just might one day and when I say VALUE I mean all kinds—quality, authenticity, relationships of all types (including self), originality and perhaps even monetary.

I wanted to explain how I ended up in Elizabeth Bunsen’s studio on Lake Champlain in Charlotte, Vermont last week.  Tomorrow I’ll begin a three part blog series and you’ll get to see her work.




the cycle of listening

“jumping through hoops” at REVOLUTION KITCHEN


My new work is up in Burlington’s downtown vegetarian restaurant…trust me folks you won’t miss having meat options.  The food is amazing!  If you get a chance please go check out my FREAK SHOW—be sure and tell the staff you’re a friend of mine (and tip them handsomely).

The dress that is hanging with “jumping through hoops” was created by Maggie Pace and I for the ART HOP FASHION SHOW, STRUT in 2012.  It started out as wedding dress from Goodwill and ended up like this.  Maggie did some crazy stitch work with objects we found around the studio.  In the 11th hour leading up to the fashion show it wasn’t quite runway ready and my friend from Minneapolis, Marita Meinerts did some stitch work too.  I think it looks cool with stripey tights on this new girl.  She is going places!



I will be changing this show while it is up and swapping pieces out

ADVANCED STYLE—burlington edition?

This week my friend and highly fashionable jewelry designer Ina Deane ( suggested that I watch the documentary “Advanced Style”. The documentary is about gorgeous, stylish New York City women over the age of 60 and it’s a blast.  (Available on Netflix, Google Chrome and Amazon for streaming). I remember seeing Ari Seth Cohen’s book a few years ago and just loving the spunk & style of these women.  So inspiring! Scroll down to the bottom of this post to read about the most memorable fashion moments of my life.

MY FANTASY PROJECT: I want to do a Burlington, Vermont version of Advanced Style.


I would love to put together a gathering and maybe even hire Ari Seth Cohen to come speak in Burlington sometime.  Wouldn’t that be a blast?

If you know of fashion forward men and women in Vermont please get in touch with me.  E-mail is best:

About ARI SETH COHEN from Advanced Style blog


 “My name is Ari Seth Cohen. I roam the streets of New York looking for the most stylish and creative older folks. Respect your elders and let these ladies and gents teach you a

thing or two about living life to the fullest. Advanced Style offers proof from the wise and silver-haired set that personal style advances with age.”


Ari-Seth-Cohen-collage Advanced-Style-Ari-Seth-Cohen-Dogwoof-Documentary-34 Karen-Walker-Eyewear-x-Advanced-Style-5  photos by Ari Seth Cohen

When I watched Advanced Style this week I was reminded of these two big Advanced Style moments in my own life.

1.  A few years ago while waiting in line to check-in at The Accessories Show at The Javits Center in NYC with Maggie Pace I got to talk briefly with Iris Apfel.  She was wearing the most beautiful pink driving mocs when I spoke to her. Perhaps they were PRADA.  It was one of those moments when I found myself so happy to even get to say hello to her. Iris has been quite an inspiration to a girl from South Dakota.  New York City was like going to the moon when I was growing up on the prairie.  I was twenty-one when I first had the privilege of seeing NYC and I never get to go there enough.

2. In October of 2004 I was in New York City for the wedding of my cousin.  My mother and I were walking up to the Jewish History Museum and we saw a women hail a cab.  This woman had a long, grey ponytail, stright dark jeans, a gorgeous neutral sweater, boots with the perfect heel, a scarf impeccably tied and lots of bracelets.  She looked so NYC cool and confident that the image of her is etched in my mind.

 Iris Apfel


I think my own style as I age will veer toward the aging silent film star.  Halloween 2014.


Fiber Artist/Lynn Ocone guest blogger Maggie Pace

My friend and fiber/graphic artist Maggie Pace visited the home studio of Lynn Ocone.  I saw a piece of hers at a party in my neighborhood a few weeks prior and knew immediately that I needed to know more about her work.  This is a world that Maggie knows much better so I took the photos and Maggie wrote the captions about the work.  It was all so stunning and interested I could hardly even formulate appropriate questions.  Thank goodness Maggie was with me on the studio visit to Lynn’s home..  Maggie has a site to purchase knitting patterns and a blog about her own creative projects. Thank you Maggie for your words, they tell a great story about the process and pieces I had the privilege of photographing.

Thank you Lynn for generously giving us your time and sharing your work.  It is always inspiring to see the work and to gain greater understanding about any creative process.  I hope our paths cross again.


Lynn created this stone by wrapping roving (unspun) wool around a stone with a spherical object tucked inside. She rubbed the wool with her fingers (probably for hours — very meditative) to felt, then cut out the interior object, revealing the depression at the top of the stone.

This is an example of Nuno felting, where roving wool (blue) is layered upon silk (green). Lynn lays the wool in several layers on top of the silk, which sits on a sheet of bubble wrap. When her design is set, she sprinkles it with a mixture of water and soap and rolls the whole thing up — imagine a cinnamon roll log before it’s sliced. She then fuses the layers together by working the “log” back and forth using a rolling-pin motion. The agitation causes the wool to shrink and fuse into the silk, which creates the pucker texture. It can take hours of agitation (all the while adding increasingly hot water), to get the level of fusion desired.


This piece is another example of Nuno felting in terms of materials and process, but reveals Lynn’s signature experimentation with the medium.  The work is made of a blend of printed and non-printed silk fabric fused together with roving wool. The unusual way she built the layers of the silk and roving created a piece that reads more like printed fabric versus the highly texturized look typical of nuno felt. The piece must have been huge before she felted it. Also it must have taken hours upon hours of rolling it, then beating it, to get the fibers so deeply interlocked. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This piece is a great example of the versatility of Nuno felting. The possibilities are endless based on the choice of raw materials and the level of felting. The color spots are roving wool and the white background is silk. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Lynn created the boots by rolling together multiple layers of wet, raw wool. These boots are an example of wet felting versus nuno felting. Nuno felting is when silk or another fabric is blended together with roving wool, which creates a lightweight, ethereal fabric, like the green and blue shawl shown here. The boots are pure wool. The circle design is “needle felted” into the boot fabric after it is already felted. In other words, bits of roving wool are pushed through the boot fabric with quickly pulsing needles. This quick action makes the roving “stick” to the boot fabric. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This was one of Lynn’s first felted pieces! Amazing. You can’t tell it here, but this rug is about an inch thick. Lynn must have piled on at least three-inches worth of raw layers before fusing them together via wet-felting in order to get create a rug this thick.


Lynn in her studio. Lynn helps create classes and workshop opportunities at Northeast Fiber Arts center in Williston, Vermont.


Thank you.

Maggie Pace designs I want to carve.

Maggie Pace design seedyflowers_2

Maggie Pace design

Maggie Pace design corn


Maggie creates these cool designs in illustrator. I want to turn them into cool designs carved into wood. I am really into the process of my work—composition, color, carving and experimenting with finishes. I think the design part is becoming less interesting to me. I would like to interpret other peoples designs and turn them into something totally different.

Have a fabulous creative weekend, wherever your projects take you. Here’s a great story about the brain and creativity from Fast Company.

ART About Teenagers at UVM

Lillibridge Dakota 1966 ouch painting

Lillibridge, Dakota 1966, Love RAge Fear girl

I am working on a whole new show to hang at the University of Vermont’s Continuing Education administrative building next week. Here are snapshots of a few of the new pieces. I have wanted to do a series about teenagers. Being them and raising them in these ridiculously complex times. I can’t wait to write the narrative to accompany this show. My friend and partner in crime—Maggie Pace was my editor today. She helped me settle down by picking out/eliminating pieces, helping me determine what was still needed and allowing me to say out loud what is dancing around in my head. Thanks Maggie! A very productive day indeed.

Give me land lots of land…

cowboys and creativity

My friend and partner in crime, graphic/web designer Maggie Pace sent this to me today. Ain’t it the truth. I know to my South Dakota friends I am no cowgirl, however the great plains of my upbringing gives me a great need for freedom and room to roam. I don’t like to be fenced in–it makes me nervous. I even like to sit close to exits in case I need to flee (not sure what that is about, I’ll explore that with my therapist later).

Thanks Maggie! Indeed words to live by.

Time to knit your gifts…

maggie pace, scarf pattern, pick up sticks online


Designs by Maggie Pace

Hey, all of you knitters now is the time to start those holiday gifts. Looking for inspiration, check out the patterns on Maggie Pace’s site. Great ideas and color inspiration as well.<img