Beast Mode


I’ve been coming and going so much these past three months it has been impossible to really sink into any fresh ideas in the studio.  I’ve found it best to simply embrace some small scale production work.  It’s so much fun!  It’s straightforward.  I sit down and I make a batch of one thing.  I make as much of it as I can until I am ready to make a batch of a different design — I go into beast mode.  These are rings and necklaces and earrings that I cannot seem to make enough of.  I fall into an easy rhythm.  I’m past the point of persnickety calculations and problem solving.  I simply make.  I make, over and over again and the making is a meditation.  My mind wanders towards the light.  I talk to myself, the dogs, the cat.  I miss him.  I think about my impending late evening run in the grasshoppers and gold.  I think about swimming in the river, feeling the smooth green run over my pulse points to cool me, vein by vein.

I’ll probably carry these designs into the fall and probably into part of the winter, too.  And gladly.  I love them.

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Idaho is beginning to burn.  The sky above the Snake River is heavy with smoke today.  I watched it drift in and turn the sunset deep orange last night while I was running the dogs.  I begin to worry for him this time of year.  Just a little.  I fret.  Just a little.


I finally acquired a very grown-up thing — it’s called a coffee bean grinder.  I like it.  I grind my cute little coffee beans in the morning, make a squatty little French press, add my milk and enjoy the heck out of that cup of coffee.  The sun rises over the canyon wall in a terribly beautiful haze, the river swirls, the herons (the herons)…


Tater has been starting his day by rolling in some heinous carcass somewhere so once he comes home after his death-bath I drag him outside and shampoo him with dish soap because nothing else will strip the stink of decay from his fur.  He’s disgusting.  But I love that about him.  He’s so much more macho-wolf-y than the other dogs.


We bought a farm in June.  We closed on it in mid-July and the people we bought it from are so great.  There was no penny pinching niggling negotiation.  There was only straightforward neighborliness.  One day we were standing in their kitchen with them celebrating the official sale and purchase of the place and they simply said, “Hey, do you guys want the washer, dryer and fridge?  We don’t need them.”


We will move in sometime in October after all this fire season madness.  I’ll be able to sneak in, by the end of August, and begin painting and gleaning furniture.  Our bed is in the Airstream in McCall so I have, quite literally, been sleeping on a Thermarest since May.  I’m over it.  I’m really over it right now because it has a hole in it and I cannot seem to find the time to patch it.  It’s ok.  There are worse things.  I just pretend I am always sleeping out under the stars with a stone for a pillow and the huge loft window kind of makes that a not-pretend thing anyway.  That said, I look very forward to having a bed and sheets and blankets again.


I read until I cannot keep my eyes open at night.  It seems a good way to fall asleep.  This summer, I have liked:

Barbarian Days

My Brilliant Friend

The Journals of Grace Hartigan

Wabi Sabi


The Cloister Walk

Thousand Pieces of Gold

River of No Return


And finally, copper Birks.  How could I resist?



I am boiling water for coffee when he arrives.  I am aware of his presence, I cannot see him yet, I only hear the whirr of his wings beating the air into an invisible froth.  I look to the left and he appears, as suddenly as any lovely surprise.  He hovers inches from my face.  He is bold.  He is curious; so am I.

It is disconcerting to have his sharp, nectar sipping beak so close to my wide open eyes but I remain that way,




gripping the olive branch of my heart,

with peace on my lips.

He comes and goes over the solid tick-tock of an hour, maybe more.  Watching me, returning repeatedly to hover inches from my face — his eye contact is earnest, I think I see tenderness there and a glimmer of omniscience.

I sit and sip my coffee.  I watch him flit through an open truck door, buzz around the interior space, checking out my digs (the truck pales in comparison to the nest he built with his lover), he zooms out the opposite door and returns to hover at my face, speaking some inaudible language that I cannot answer, or hear, or understand.

He lands on a willow branch above the chattering creek and watches me from a distance.  The morning light is golden, turning his emerald feathers to jewels.  His breast is pale and flecked with umber.  I think I have a crush on him or maybe this is the ultimate phileo love.

He is my brother.

Eventually, he leaves me and I decide I will remember this place as the place I had an excellent sleep, the place I cooled my feet in the creek, the place I met a cherished friend.

Photo Round Up (between here and there and everywhere else)

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7I9A9504The world seems like a very dark place right now.  I find the violence of the past decade, the past months, the past days, the past hours, specifically here in my country of residence (the USA), deeply offensive to my soul — to the eternal portion of my being.  I don’t talk about it here very often because I don’t know how to talk about it, I only know how to fight the tide of my own inner battles, to temper my own clash of darkness and light.  To be more clear, there are many different kinds of violence.  There are many different ways and degrees in which one human can murder another.  There are many different ways in which we can reach out and murder ourselves, cut away at our own personal souls, slice at our own minds and bodies.

It is our way, the human way.

It is also the human way to rise up from those small and large deaths, to shake off the bitterness of unbreathing, to bandage those shattered and fractal pieces of ourselves and each other, to learn from brokenness and darkness and to pass through the flame not as lifeless versions of ourselves but as bolder, brighter things of faith and beauty and grace — to not remain victims of ruin but to rise and to keep on rising.

A few summers ago I was reading Makoto Fujimura’s book Refractions and in one of his essays he talked about the role of artists in society.  To paraphrase him heavily (and might I add, you should read the essay yourself for a full sense of context), he said the true work of artists is to bring light to the world, to illuminate.  I took that notion to heart because it’s a beautiful notion but sometimes, it’s the only thing I have to cling to in my work, in my life.  It’s the only way I can fight back against a tide of shadows in a world that cuts itself to ribbons as quickly as it is able to heal.

So I go forth.  I walk the natural world, I glean what lessons I can from the energy cycles I witness there, I disappear, I reappear, I catch the light with my cameras, I try to tell you the what and why of my experiences as best as I can.  I attempt to find the Truth and draw it up and out for myself and for you — to light one match in the darkness and claim that flickering space for Good.

I don’t know what else to do.

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Oh drat.  I meant to get a preview up for you much earlier than this but life happened.  Trips to acupuncture, the vet, a grocery run to the city, cooking food for myself to eat, galloping to and from the post office, another trip to the city for printer cartridges…yadda yadda.  Anyway, there are duplicates of pretty much everything you see here.  Lots of turquoise crosses, labradorite, wapiti…I had so much fun making this stuff for you and coming home to a few series I thought I was finished that I’ll never  be truly finished with.

It will be live in the shop tonight at 5PM MST.

See you there, bumblebees.