New Year's Day Sledding Party

We love sharing our epic 2 mile downhill sled run with gleeful kiddos and jolly adults. Forty adventurers young and old giggled and screamed their way down our mountain again and again. Momma Nature offered blue sky, sunshine and stellar views, we contributed shuttle rides up (1000 foot elevation gain). My studio a warming hut/party place complete with hot chocolate, warm soup, yummy treats. What better way to enjoy New Year’s day? [embed][/embed]

Reconnecting with you...

I haven't been much of a blogger while feeling my way through sooooo much life, love and loss these past months. Challenging is hardly word-enough to describe events since the dog pack attack last spring.  Grief is healthier felt than oppressed.  I have cried buckets of tears over the loss of my mother and Cliff.  I have been scared to the point of puking in attempt after attempt to navigate the horrific pot-hole-ridden road of PTSD.  I have not created much of anything in the studio but I have lived so much outside the studio. I got married.

I managed the emotional task of sorting through the myriad of things left behind by mom and Cliff.

The list actually goes on and on but the point I want to share is that now and then I thought of you...!  Honest.  You entered my mind after many of the beautiful, funny, interesting, news-worthy moments (which have been plenty).  I have so much to share!!!  Grace and Gumption have stood by my side during crises after crises.  Thank goodness for Grace and Gumption, they team up to point me in a colorful direction or paint a crazy-beautiful skyscape or hang a fat oozing moon or tickle my senses or slide a random bit of beauty and lots of love into moments just when things seem unbearable.  I also have Raymond, who's strength, patience and love bless me day and night.  Of course there is Tala.  Smile-inducing energetic little bugger who entices me to pull on hiking boots or running shoes even when my body and mind don't want to.

Meanwhile, I just want to say hello.  I'm back on the blog...

My HUSBAND and I outside an opening some of my work at Coila Evans Gallery last month...


Rewind to Fast Forward

"I Have Heard the Dead Singing" Pete Strom introduced me to Sasha.  I knew I would like Sasha before I met him simply because he is Pete's friend.  Pete is pure blue/white light - a warm hearted BIG soulful being I met through HATCH.  Sasha is an instant friend but mostly I admire his gumption - what a brave open soul....!  Please take time to watch the video introduction of his story.  I wanted to support Sasha's fundraiser event.  Brandon Weber of Upworthy called Sasha's project, "horrifying and enlightening and beautifully healing all at once."

My sculpture "I Have Heard the Dead Singing" perfectly expressed Sasha's fundraiser theme so I donated the $10,000 sculpture to a silent auction that took place on a Friday night which I happened to spend in ER with my mother.  Raymond went to the event without me.  Raymond is more-than-perfect advocate for me, my art and Sasha's cause.  Karma arranged for the perfect person to buy the sculpture - she was beside herself with joy since the sculpture spoke to her spiritual journey.  A good cause was supported by a piece of my art, good people connected and one of my favorite early reliquary sculptures found a new loving home - warm fuzzies shared by all...

BIG beginnings...

I had a good feeling about 2016.  Simply the number "2016" looks and feels friendly and inviting.  A focus on shifts, growth, acceptance and ease after an exceptionally challenging few years has lead to some fine fun news to report from my first month into this New Year: Detail from the sculpture chosen by the Yellowstone Art Museum for their auction this year.

- I was asked to join HATCH South America and will be in Panama later this month - Prime minister of Bhutan is interested in having me visit the country to carve for the kings family - I got engaged (just a few days ago) - I created a small fundraising sculpture for HATCH (at the foundry being cast) - I delivered the Bison Bench to the airport - I have begun the palm-size bronze sculpture for this year (4th in an annual series) - One of my reliquary sculptures is in an exhibit at the Yellowstone Art Museum and will be featured in their annual live auction.

Pretty awesome beginnings eh?

Sliding into a season of wonder and light...

Raymond lining up the young sledders Momma Nature blessed us with perfectly fun sledding conditions Sunday so we hosted a gathering for a few families to enjoy our 2-mile downhill sled run.  SO much fun!!!!  I guess I was too busy playing to take photos but we promise to set up a GoPro camera next time to capture the crazy fun run surrounded by beauty.

Winter Solstice is my favorite lunar holiday as I welcome longer light-filled days...


Reliquaries Exhibit

I was asked if I would participate in a local show featuring reliquaries created by artists.  I was even asked politely if I would mind having a group show inspired in part by my own work with reliquaries.  I assured the curator that I did not by-any-means claim the term "reliquary" and I would by-all-means be honored to join the exhibit.  The word "reliquary" is an architectural term meaning "house for a relic."  I decided to use the opportunity to exhibit my first carved tree reliquary sculpture titled "Secret Miracles at Work." "Secret Miracles at Work"

Here is a statement about the first series of reliquary sculptures shown in a solo exhibition at Paris Gibson Museum of Art:

I remember looking intently into the gilded gold and glass reliquary for the relic…the knucklebone of a saint. I don’t remember if I was amused or disappointed. The reliquary consisted of a box inside a box, inside a box, and sat on a stand which must have weighed a ton for all of the gold and glob. Detailed with exquisite craftsmanship but overdone…like a wedding cake which struggles under the weight of more frosting than substance. Slender spun threads held the bone. The attempted illusion of magical suspension seemed comically befitting the odd juxtaposition of pomp and filigree which housed a dull dark dusty bone…the object of veneration. I was seventeen…impressed not so much by the object than by the idea of the object. I was told that thousands of people made pilgrimages to this place to visit the relic. A cathedral was built to house the reliquary which housed the relic…money exchanged hands, artisans made a living and believers made offerings in light of the artifact of a bone left behind by a saint.


I have experienced spiritual epiphanies in nature-made cathedrals. Moments of soul-bearing insight have come to me bereft of pomp…totally unexpected and usually without a pilgrimage. One such moment occurred the summer after college while alone in the backcountry as a wilderness ranger. Memories of that summer are pleasantly woven together from an endless array of eye-pleasing images…a subtle wash of untainted colors instantly calming in a solitude enriched time of contentment. Damp dark nights, dewy mornings, snow-capped peaks, deep blue glacier lakes and moss adorned cold creaks blend together on a canvas pungent with aroma…the rich mixed smells of spring and the dry hot singular smell of dust in the mid-summer air.

A piece of my grandmother's lingerie

One memory leaps from the canvas of that summer with intensity beyond the pleasant harmonic spread of sound, smell, and color. The epiphany happened unexpectedly at the base of a tree. Struck by lightning, the tree stood twisted and torn, dead and alive, insistently bold and strikingly humble. Sap ran like tears. Crimson red streaked the black charred trunk. Nakedly exposed dead limbs savagely intermingled with the tender life-bearing leaf-filled branches. Passionate clinging …survival …acceptance …love and loss …all wrapped into the trunk of a tree made more beautiful by the scars… more majestic in its humility. I was awestruck. The powerful mixed message struck my soul and blazed my heart…charred and scarred. Instant communion… I felt deeply ALIVE.

I cried.

The ordinary made extraordinary…a relic holds more power for me than an idol. Existence based in experience rather than an image made in the likeness of something other. The energy emanating from a relic or the care given to a reliquary both have the potential to be captivating. The fortuitous spirit I witnessed that afternoon touched twisted triumphant places in my own soul. Split. Relic and reliquary. Raw and adorned. Shockingly disturbing and deeply comforting. Tragic and triumphant.

I embrace life with its contradictions and plunge headlong into the marvel. I offer these sculptures as pages torn from a journal of my journey. Think of them as leaves dropped from my tree to walk among quietly or dance around venomously. Tip toe. Skip. Lounge. Laugh. Raise an eyebrow. Ask a question. Nap. Cry. Crinkle the leaves between the fingers of your mind or let your soul chuckle with the crispy crunch of them underfoot.

I did.

(exhibit can be viewed at The Frame Garden until the end of the month)

Yellowstone Art Museum Opening of Works for the Annual Art Auction

If I was totally on top of things rather than pulling through the grand grief that comes from losing my dearest little constant companion dog Zaydee - then I might have actually gotten an eNewsletter off to everyone to announce the opening at the Yellowstone Art Museum before it happened. Then again, I might not have gotten that done.  But I am pretty certain the event on January 22 was a special "members only pre-view" night with the artists rather than being open to the general public anyway.  The roads were dry.  Weather was friendly.  The gala was a blast (and a fine chance to wear my new beautifully fashioned one-of-a-kind suede fringe jacket gifted to me last month).  I love the opportunity to visit with other artists and find myself honored to have had two works selected for the event this year.  My large reliquary sculpture titled "Live it Gently with Fire" is in the live auction and can be seen in a photo of the main museum gallery on the YAM's website.  

On view now at the Yellowstone Art Museum

"Silent Dreams" - one of the sculptures from my recent "Neruda Series" is also on view at the museum and is open to bid for the silent auction with a "Buy it Now" price.

A day in the life...(Friday's footwear)

Last Friday's footwear Friday's footwear began with ice climbing boots from 6am-5pm while I enjoyed my annual stint volunteering at the Bozeman Ice Festival.  One day of the festival is devoted to getting women on ice - the largest gathering of women learning to climb in the US.  I LOVE sharing my passion for ice with women!!!  The temps were unseasonably warm - almost balmy.

You can spot me in the bright lime green jacket belaying and teaching (photo credit: Felicia Ennis)

Pointy heels and a long gown gussied me up for a company Christmas party from 6-9pm with my boyfriend.  After which I pulled a quick "superman" change in the parking garage so that I was in western attire for spinning on the dance floor to the stellar band "The Dirty Shame" with a few people from the company Christmas party.  A fine coincidence that the Ice Climbing post party was also at the Elks with the Dirty Shame (without my previous knowledge).  Wonderful how two different worlds merged together at the end of the day.

Artprize recap

If I had a dollar for every photo taken of the sculptures... I knew next-to-nothing about Artprize until the day before the deadline when artist Adonna Khare enthusiastically encouraged me to enter. Adonna won the $200,000 prize two years ago at Artprize; her award-winning artwork was featured earlier this year at the Yellowstone Art Museum in Billings (where our friendship began). While the California artist was in Montana for the exhibit opening at the YAM the poor girl was hit with a bout of pneumonia which landed her at the hospital where she saw my sculpture installation “I Never Promised You a Rose Garden” at the Billings Clinic. Adonna said she continued to dream about the trees months after seeing them.

Despite my late entry, I was selected from more than 6000 applicants to participate in Artprize and asked to exhibit at one of the top three venues. The sculptures created quite a buzz at the world’s largest art prize competition featuring artists from more than 50 countries. A local newscaster picked my sculptures as a personal favorite from over 1500 entries and featured “I Never Promised You a Rose Garden on the local news. The public’s response was overwhelming, each day some stranger was moved to gift me something. People brought back family and friends to see the trees over and over again. I was voted the “Top 25” in my category – quite an accomplishment for a first-time entrant I am told.

The Artprize competition seemed like a good opportunity to show the sculptures and gain exposure to help realize my passion to create healing sanctuaries in hospitals and cancer centers. The sincere emotional heart-warming response the sculptures elicited from thousands of people at Artprize motivates me more than ever to continue to create art with a healing purpose.

Home Sweet Home

Beauty in Paradise "The mountains were still to me a temple, where I went not to pray, but to feel the touch of the infinite."

The lovely quote was written by a nineteenth-century prostitute whose eloquent autobiography "Madeleine" surprised me with moments of spirit-kinship.  I finished the book early this morning at sunrise - which now occurs after I get home from 6 am yoga.  The days are freakishly shorter upon my return after the month-long Artprize endeavor.   Pre-yoga dramatic sunrises have been replaced by bold stars and crisp cold.   The embrace of my cozy little cabin home in the mountains beneath an expansive ever-changing sky is tonic to a soul wearied by recent endeavors.

I took a much-needed off-grid sabbatical after my return from Grand Rapids two weeks ago.  The life of a full-time artist/solo entrepreneur so far as I've managed involves plenty of hyper-long days but I have never put myself through such an extremely demanding marathon of a public event.  The added intensity of being in the world's largest art prize competition was excruciating (just being honest).  Nineteen 14-hour days of standing next to my sculptures sharing, opening, revealing, giving, receiving, observing, explaining and smiling.

Good to be home...!

Unexpected gift

Overwhelmed by an unexpected gift Moved to tears yesterday when a man named Joe approached me.  He said he had visited my installation the day before, heard me talk to others about the sculptures, went home, watched my TED talk and "got an epiphany" which compelled him to gift me a sweet set of router bits as a gift compelled by my passion. "Thank-you for your rose garden" was written inside the wooden box carefully wrapped in a small padded cooler with bottled water for me. Blinking back tears, I drifted upstairs to settle myself into a wingback chair near the giant chandelier above the reliquary sculptures - a puddle of emotions - feeling so much from people here at Artprize

Artprize goodness

Birds-eye view - a candid photo taken from the balcony above the installation while I talked with people.

The past five days are a bit of a blur shared with thousands of art-seeking peeps. Amongst the heart touching, soul tugging, authentic and affirming connections are plenty of simply entertaining sweet bits of people watching.

Dozens of stories are piled on top of each other; some are melting together in rich gooey feel-goodness as people share their excitement, awe and appreciation for the sculptures. I have much to share – but seriously little time or energy after spending my mornings, afternoons and evenings at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel. Today I was moved-to-tears more than once as people hugged me, brought gifts, shared their stories, insights and gratitude for the work I do.

Humbled with gratitude…