Thursday, March 5, 2015

TO WONDER//TO WANDER//TO BLOOM: Spring Collection 2015

For the past few months, my focus has been on a collection of garments made to honor the archetypes of Artist, Wanderer, and Venus. To me, they each offered insight into different parts of myself. I find myself drawn to the path of each archetype, finding balance in the practice of feeding each aspect of the psyche.

These three figures were born as a theme through a collaboration with Sophia Rose of La Abeja Herbs. As a gift of the new year, we created a collection of talismans, each stuffed with the magic of roots, minerals, leaves, and carefully selected ephemera from Sophia Rose's poetic apothecary. From this initial meditation on the sister archetypes came inspiration for the collection.


The Spring Collection- this is the first time I have used this phrase to describe my work. This first true "collection" comes from the hearts and hands of my whole muse family. I have been living back in California since last Summer, and I have been in such awe of the community of my hometown. I am in love with this place and these people, in the way you can only recognize after leaving. This collection was born from that love, which does not belong to me- it is a product of this place. And so these images represent, also, a glimpse at a small piece of this place.

These images were taken by Collin Morrow, whose work captures both the wild thorns and roots and peaceful oasis present in this landscape, and whose spirit creates a forcefield of safety and comfortability while he works. Collin and I trekked around the Russian River, close to my home, searching for a spot to do the shoot. We had a few different ideas for location, but finally scrapped them and ended shooting in his backyard. The fallen camellias and wily ivy vines of this this backyard were made more magical by delicious bright floral garlands which were gifted to us by California Sister.

Traveler, Artist, and Venus were each represented by artists who experienced a personal connection to the archetypes. The Traveler is represented by Quenby Dolgushkin, who explores expectations of femininity through masked performances, flies on a trapeze, and performs political theater with The Imaginists. The Artist is represented by Catherine Sieck, whose work has recently involved intricately sliced paper, expressing inner worlds, connection with nature, and self exploration (Catherine made the golden snakes featured in the shoot). Claire McCaffrey, who is studying women's health, singing her experience, and performing with The Imaginists, embodied Venus. 

Find out more about each garment at

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Thirteen Moons

image by Mona Varichon

I started making indigo-dyed lingerie under the name, Serpent & Bow, exactly one year ago, from a basement in New England. During a time when my life was most chaotic (I had been ill for six months, a long way from home), my art practice became an anchor to the ritual of learning to love my body and feed my spirit.

image by Ryan Converse

Indigo had been a ritual of its own, something that had and does continue to stretch and inform what an “art practice” means to me. After helping to maintain the indigo vat at California College of the Arts while I was a student, I found ways to continue my practice, which first meant dedicating a corner of my bathroom to a five-gallon vat (thank you to dear roommates for letting me do this). I can go on and on and on about what indigo means to me, but I want to save that for another post. For now, I’ll just say that it has been the foundation for many projects under many different names, and from these foundational projects came Serpent & Bow.

Serpent & Bow has served as a visual manifesto of self-discovery, more intentionally since I started “The Solitude Project/ Thirteen Moons” last June. Thirteen Moons represents the passing of a year dedicated to myself- I decided to stop dating and start recording my relationship with myself by creating a garment for each month, using imagery to describe my changes and realizations. I made mostly underwear; items that were meant for me, alone, as talismans of strength and independence. I made things that made me feel like a warrior, that made me feel protected, that let me feel vulnerable, that described the Self that I was getting to know and the person I was choosing to become. I am still making the things- each month I will be making a new item to set my intention for healing, growth, and to celebrate the experience of being myself for another month of my life.

Thirteen Moons was a response to the desperation that began to accumulate after I realized that I had spent ten years of my life (mostly) in relationships, and also within a continuous pendulum of unpredictable health. I was exhausted and disheartened by the fluctuation of my emotions and body, so I decided to dedicate a year to my healing by creating a positive relationship to my “flaws”, learning to greet things like illness and depression with love instead of judgment. 

I have struggled with depression and anxiety all my life. For a long time, I would respond to the depression with panic, knowing the familiar weight and knowing that I could not predict when it would recede. I looked at my sorrow as something to be fixed- something that came from an outside force and inflicted me with pain, rather than some integral part of myself which cried out to me; a little bell inside of me, ringing out for my attention. I have since recognized that depression is a cyclical thing that comes to me as a message. And it is a part of me.

There is another part of me that deeply resents being controlled by my depression- I want to run ahead and live my life. I want to make the library of artwork that lives within me. I long for life in constant motion and sound; I want to cultivate a voice which flows with kindness and generosity coming from a well of confidence and peace. I want to come to a point of acceptance with my body and mind. I want to hear the messages sent by sensation and thoughts and receive them without judgement. I want to be free of fear, able to process the little creaks and pinches inside of me as my humanity, so that I can keep living and fighting my part of the good fight.

For December

For November

Thirteen Moons meant creating a pact of commitment to myself. I realized that, instead of compartmentalizing and denying the existence of the darker sides of myself, I needed to come to a point of true self-acceptance and self-respect.

Eight months in to my thirteen moons, I feel closer to myself than I have ever felt before. I find it easier to say “Yes” and “No” and to take responsibility for the direction of my life, within a balance of gratitude as well as strength to approach what isn’t working. As recent months have arrived, I have grown to recognize Thirteen Moons as a project existing within a short period of time, but creating the foundation of a lasting dedication to myself. I don’t feel condemned to a year of solitude. Instead, I feel proud to consider my decisions and my body as mine alone, claiming myself as a person who I want to know.