I am filled with joy to be posting one of my favorite people's Ten Favorite Things.
I met Ann in 2001, on my first day of undergrad at Art Center. We were at orientation, it was also her first day there as the assistant to the head of Fine Art. I remember her so well, even down to her red skirt. But what I remember most was that I knew I wanted to know her. There is something radiant about her, she carries with her such profound wisdom and truth, and I could see all of this beauty the first moment I saw her. Over the years we have grown closer and closer, and today she is one of my dearest friends. Every day I am thankful for her in my life. She and her wonderful husband, Dave Muller, live in Pasadena with their two amazing girls, Grace and Frances. I feel even more grateful to have known the girls since they were born, and I think it goes with out saying that they are the two most magical and special little ladies I know. Nothing makes me happier than spending time with the Muller/Faison family, everything about them inspires me to no end.
Ann is an amazing artist, and does beautiful drawings of trees, and is working on a new group of drawings of birds for her upcoming show in August. She is also a wonderful writer, and has published an incredible book, Dancing with the Midwives, and is currently working on her second book. I posted a while back about her book, and you can read about it on the website, where you can also find three great videos of Ann. She also has a blog where she posts writing and sometimes a drawing or two. And on top of all of this talent, she is a gifted healer!
Ann and her family are getting ready to move to Vermont for a year. Dreamy, right? So, I am extra happy that I got to document her ten favorite things before they leave in July.
I started collecting feathers a few years ago when I began to notice pigeon feathers in my path. I drew one for a friend and he remarked that it was a pigeon feather. Until that day I hadn't even considered what kind of bird it had come from. His comment made me think more about birds and which ones held significance for me. Soon after that I started finding different kinds of feathers. I don't keep them all but I hold onto the ones that mean a lot to me. My favorite feather is the loon feather. It's all white except for a triangle of black at the tip. I was in a canoe with my two girls on a lake in Vermont feeling very lucky when the feather appeared alongside the boat. I reached for it and the feather floated right to me.
I picked up this butterfly specimen in another lifetime. I was living in NY in the late 1980s and I found it at a flea market in Chelsea. I have never been able to find out what kind of butterfly it is. On the back it says it was collected in 1894 and donated to a museum in 1919. It comes from an era when everyday naturalists carefully collected specimens and preserved them for posterity, donating them to collecting institutions. This lives on my altar, I keep it there to remind me of my own abilities to transform.
Deer Skin Shield
I got this last summer in Vermont at a trading post that I had heard about for a while. Local native Americans from the Koas Abenaki Nation sell their handmade products there. That summer in Vermont I had a few close encounters with deer and I went to the trading post with the intention of finding something for my healing room that would represent my affection and admiration for them. When I saw the shield sitting on a crowded shelf I knew it was for me. The man at the counter was surprised when I brought it up to him. He said he'd had it more than 10 years and he couldn't remember anyone ever asking about it.
My dear friend Lauren, who knows a lot about rocks and gems and has given me every crystal I own, gave me this magic piece of the earth. Ever since it has graced my studio/healing room incredible things have been happening in there. It obviously possesses supernatural powers. It holds down the center of my altar. I love the way it looks like it's bursting with energy like a perpetual flower.
Ashtrays are a thing of the past. Soon cigarette smoking will be outlawed and ashtrays will be relics whose purpose people can only guess. When I was growing up we had ashtrays scattered about the house even though no one in my family smoked. Most people did so they sat around waiting for guests to use them. I use this one to burn sage. It belonged to my mother Sue. She crossed the Atlantic on a french ship named SUZE and figured because it had her name on it she had a right to the ashtray. But Sue had never stolen anything before and was cursed with guilt for the rest of her days.
I knit this purse a few years ago when I was just learning how to knit. I started it without a plan or any idea what I was making. Experienced knitters often ask how I got the pretty edge on the front flap and I tell them I have no idea. I have made many purses since but never one as lovely as this.
Book and cards
This little set comes with a fairy tale: Once upon a time there was a woman who was ready to settle down and have a family. One day her friends threw her a birthday party and invited her future husband. Her future husband brought a birthday present. A book about trees he had purchased at a ranger station in the Sequoia National Forest. He knew the woman was very interested in trees and thought she would like the book. He made a nice card. Six years, a marriage, many hikes into Sequoia and two (really three) babies later he made another card that read, "somehow I think this all started with a book about trees."
I love horses. After our second child was still born it took a while for us to get pregnant again. I wanted to be pregnant badly and sometimes wanting it that much makes it harder. I was trying to hold my desire for a baby without clenching it. I saw this tee shirt and it seemed to perfectly describe what I wanted. To run free with my offspring. I bought it and wore it like a totem as much as I possibly could. It definitely helped. I still wear it almost as much.
Frances made this drawing around age three or three and a half. It's is a cool age because they start drawing letters without really knowing how. Frances was writing a story. I wish I knew what it was. Now she is five and just beginning to write out readable stories. Writing is one of her favorite things to do.
My daughter Grace made this painting with her father when she was about three years old. He cut the paper for her and wet it down and handed her some paint. It hangs across from my bed so I stare at it all the time and I never tire of it. A curator friend of my husband's saw it and thought it was a Sam Francis. Now she is nine and a very good artist. She still appreciates this painting as much as I do.
Thank you Ann!