Spring In England


Back from a long journey to England.  Had some delays due to illness and life events, but I eventually made it to my destination.  Had to skip the usual “Spring in Amsterdam” aspect, unfortunately, but as a result, I then had a good deal of down-time during which I spent time wandering around London, hitting museums, shops, parks, and hanging out with friends.  The weather was mostly glorious!  Not too many downpours, temperate air, and enough sun to satisfy.

The spring Mandala with Jill Purce was “Yellow Tara”.  We had about 74 folks in attendance, with some old friends and many new folks.  The weather was a mix of rain, clouds and cool air with some sun here and there.  Enough sun for enjoyment, but it would have been even more fun with more warmth and sunshine.

Spent many an evening in the hot tub with my pals.  We find it the best way to end the day, and it helps to go to bed all clean and warm.  It’s also a spectacular space in which to sing and chant together!  I so love to soak—-can’t wait to have my own tub in our backyard.  

One of the most fun parts of the week, for me, anyway, was teaching the crowd a fantastic song I’d discovered last year.  It’s Bluegrass version of a Buddhist chant by Peter Rowan.  It’s called “Padmasambhava—Across the Rolling Hills”.  I’d been singing it to myself for months, and spent a bit of time practicing how I would teach it to a crowd.  We learned it early on in the week, and it was MUCH enjoyed by all.  It’s the type of song that really sticks in your heart and mind once you hear it.  Here is a live version on You Tube:

I slept pretty well most evenings, fortunately, and ate very well.  The chef, Martin, was new to our group, and became much loved by us all.  Wonderful to be npourished body and Soul by a tuned-in Chef and his staff, who were all delightful. 

Spent a few days at the end with my dear friend Rosie at her home in Wiltshire.  Her gardens, some in porcess, some well-established, were truly inspiring!  I will definitely incorporate some of her ideas and plants in our upcoming garden plans.

This trip was one of learning and growing on many levels.  I faced personal challenges daily, in and out of the Mandala.  I battled with physical pain—-my knees were very painful, and my old nemesis, plantar fascitis, kicked in big time as well.  Suffered some spasmodic back pain mid-Mandala, and was rescued by a choir of earthly Angels.  

There were still some Magnolia blossoms on our tree when I returned, the grass is green again, and spring is warming the groud as well as my aching limbs!  


New Year, New Fun


It’s been a very chilly winter here in the Northeast. We’ve had to batten down the hatches, wear lots of extra layers, and navigate proliferating icy patches on foot and on wheels.  It’s lovely and peaceful when one is settled in somewhere cozy, but can be quite nerve-wracking and difficult in many other circumstances.

It does allow for quality hibernation time, however. I’m fortunate to work on my own and very close to home, so I’m able to adapt to outside conditions easily, which so many folks simply cannot.  Time and space to stir the creative soul, and to gather the pieces, both real and metaphorical.  I’m moving from an external Studio, which I rent, to one which is being built over our garage.  The vision of the space was born in mistiness, honed over years of rumination and experience, and is now coming to fruition with the help of talented and dedicated craftspeople.  

The room will be used everyday for work, very often for gatherings of music and art-making, and as a guest space, art gallery, and escape pod.   The room will be heated soley by a gas room-heating stove, which means “off the grid”, which means warmth in power outages.  Out little pod of warmth, with views out into the woods, way up to the zone of the tree branches where much bird and squirrel activity ensues.  Delightful.

Much has been percolating underneath, as well.  Circles with kindred spirits have kindled creative flames, gently but insistently.  Opportunities to share my work and vision have happily and organically come my way.  The Open Studio (in October, 2013 at the Artist’s Mill where I work) was a truly wonderful experience, where I received so many kind and potent compliments on the work, and sold pieces to folks who truly felt a potent draw to particular pieces.  

I’ve started an ongoing collaboration with the folks at The Respite Center in Hopkinton, helping them with publications and community outreach.  Currently working on their all-important Marathon newsletter, which should help them to raise enought funds to continue assisting so many families.  

“Creative, collaborative flow” shall inspire the manner in which all will proceed.  

Organic, grounded, enlightened, inspired.


You Tube Debut

The Open Spirit Center in Framingham, MA held their “Day of Spirit” on November 5, 2013.

They had a series of workshops for mind, body and spirit, and I presented a one-hour Mandala workshop which included speaking about my own work (on display at the center that month) as well as exploring the meanings and uses of Mandala in other cultures.  We then worked with tools and templates to create our own Mandalas.

The Center is a lovely place, filled with good folk, good intentions and great inspiration.  I am hopeful that I’ll be spending more time at the Center in the future.  What a delightful place it is!  I was so pleased to receive very good feedback on the presentation, and high scores from the attendees afterwards. 

Lili Christian prepared some video about the Center and the event, whoch can be seen here: 

Open Spirit Center video, with Joan Hill

I show up about a minute in.  Thanks for checking it out!


The Open Studio wrap-up


Holliston’s Water Street Mill Open Studios event was held on October 26 & 27.  Dozens of artists have been preparing all year for the big event, which attracts thousands of people from all over Metrowest and beyond each year.  

I’d been anticipating it for months, and with great zeal, as last year I’d nly been able to be present in my Studio for one of the days, but this year, I was there to prepare and be present in a more complete manner.

My tribe arrived on Saturday!  By this I mean so many kindred spirits, some old friends, and some new souls who found their way into my room and felt a special kinship to my space and my work.  I was overjoyed by the response and the support.  Some of my most beloved pieces were scooped up, brought home, and hung on walls immediately.  When I was falling asleep that eve, I actually imagined the pieces in their new homes, radiating and resonating in their new spaces!  

Sunday had an entirely different flavor, with lots of fun folks and great feedback.  I had a bit more time to wander around the Studios, too, and to connect with many other creatives and the gorgeous art on display.  Listened to the delightful Erica Leigh performing throughout the day, and joined in with her “Imagine” sing along.

I am so grateful for all the opportunities, support and inspiration that have come my way.  I’ve worked hard, I’ve worked soft.  I have opened my heart and soul to the Muse, and there is only one way from here—-forward!  I am excited, and happy.  These gifts are not taken for granted, indeed, they are celebrated and appreciated beyond expression.




Perspective from a New Place

The seasons fly past in a manner I could never have imagined in my youth.  Back then, days stretched out into long segments of school, play and home, each season seemed to go on and on, the next one always looming quite far away on the horizon, enticingly.  Now each day whizzes by, the weeks accumulate rapidly, and sometimes I write last year’s date on a check.  “Sunrise, sunset, sunrise, sunset, swiftly fly the days”.  

Happily, even though days and years are flying past, for me, they have taken on an unexpected and satisfying richness.  The glory is, rather simply, the gift of time.  Being given the gift of time means that we have been blessed to keep continuing, living, experiencing.  Every moment is precious, to be savored, even the mundane or challenging.  How rare it is to be given the gift of life, and if lucky, given time enough to endure and thrive.  

There have been difficult lessons and disappointments, all of which can now be seen as necessary steps to gaining wisdom, perspective and fortitude.  The youthful Me, the one who adored childhood, play, and freedom from big responsibility, could never have imagined my NOW.  If she could have been shown a glimpse, perhaps she would not have been very surprised.  She was an optimist, after all.  She had zest for life, an inquisitive mind, and enough support to carry on.

Now I recognize that truly, not only are she and I one, but she could sense the forward motion, and I can sense the arc of time back to my earliest awareness, and I see the consistency of my being, my trajectory, and my destination.  

I can hardly wait to start rocking that next Saturn Return, when it arrives!



The Stars Align

Summer has been quite pleasant in these parts.  I skipped journaling here about most the big trip to UK and Amsterdam last spring, but it was full of excitement, beauty and exploration.  I traveled with my 22 year old daughter and it was a wonderful way to celebrate her completion of University and moving outwards.   We had a special time together in Amsterdam, exploring it all, in all kinds of weather.  Great food, great fun.

Me, taken by Hanna, at one of our fave places to hang out, near the Amstel and Rembrandtplein, at the Bluebird. 
We then proceded back to London and beyond, to Somerset, for a one week long Red Tara Mandala retreat. She was selected to be may Queen along with the delightful Macdara (soon to be married to the love of his life, Gillian) and became one of our tribe.
This photo was taken by our friend Charotte during the festivites:

It’s always good to return home, and even more so knowing that summer was advancing.  Camper Van trips to the Cape, long walks on woodsy paths (well protected agaisnt ticks), gorgeous meals made with the best of summer’s local bounty, and back in the Studio getting to work.  There is much to be done!
I have three big shows coming up this fall, which is beyond exciting, and a bit intimidating and a bit daft, to be frank.   There will be a bit of overlap amongst them, but basically they are each themed.

My work will be in the Sherborn MA Public Library during the month of October.  The images will consist of primarily selections from the best of my performance and photojournalism work, featuring Sherborn events and performers.  Opening reception in the works.  Stay tuned!  Free attendance, of course.

Also, for the entire month Of October, my Mandalas and spiritual pieces will be at The Open Spirit Center in Framingham MA.   During their Day of Spirit on Saturday October 5, I will be presenting a short tlk on Mandala imagery and will give a one hour Hands-On mandala session, all supplies provided, and also—free to attend.  

Biggest of all, on October 26 & 27, I will be one of the Resident Artists particpating in the long-running and very popular “Holliston Mill Open Studios”.   I’ll be showing an eclectic mix of Photography, Drawing, Handcrafts, and Beading.

I will debut “Honoring the Ancestors”, a mixed-media installation that will reflect my deep work on the discovery, honoring, and healing that I have been undertaking on behalf of myself, my family and our Ancestors.   I have traveled thousands of miles, spent hundreds of hours doing research, and have been working at the deepest levels of my souls understanding of the gifts and legacies of my Family Tree.  It had been buried in a heavy mist, but through diligence and magic, the veils are lifting.  This discovery and honoring is changing my being and my life, and that of my loved ones.

The next two months, plus are going to provide a wild ride!  I believe that I am up for the challenge.  I am redy, I have all the tools that I need.  I have love, support and understanding form those who matter most to me.  I have come through some dark times, and I am stepping into the light.
I do hope to see many of my friends and loved ones at some of these events.  It would thrill me to the core to know that folks are interested and kind enough to support me, my vision, and my work.
And now—-back to work!