book stand - la art book fair

I am just over the moon about being a part of Book Stand at the LA Art Book Fair this weekend at MOCA! The fair is hosted by one of my favorite book stores, Printed Matter, the worlds largest independent non-profit organization dedicated to the promotion of publications made by artist. 

Stop by Book Stand's table to see a special collection of books on plants, hand picked by Claire. She has also chosen a selection of original prints, weavings, textiles, collages all by artists that are featured in her shop, as well as an ikebana arrangement by Tigers to Lilies
I will have a few things there: a large watercolor of the plant henbane (this is an amazing plant that is both an aphrodisiac as well as very poisons, and good for treating scorpion bites, you can read more about it here) (color tests can be seen in the photo above), a limited edition run of a drawing, Keep Telling on Yourself, and custom bookmarks for Book Stand!

Thank you Claire for inviting me to be part of this amazing weekend!

Hope to see you there!


my ten favorite things // claire cottrell \\

It's been a while since I have done a My Ten Favorite Things post, and from the first time I visited the amazing home of the sweet, charming, 
and super stylish Claire Cottrell I knew I wanted to feature her and some of the beautiful things she has collected. Claire is the kind of person 
that the more you find out about her, the more you want to know about her (and i know no one else who loves books, Paris, Joan Didion, French lingerie, minimalist design, and the color pink the way i do). She is fascinating and is a woman of many creative talents, but has recently opened Book Stand, the online book 
shop featuring a thoughtful and beautifully curated collection of art books, zines, journals, films and rare vintage books. 
I am so happy to have Claire share her ten favorite things!

WAKA WAKA wooden stools
I am a minimalist at heart (although not always in practice), and these simple, beautiful, handcrafted stools satisfy a lifelong (insanely impractical) dream of having an all-white house with tatami mats and these small wooden stools, when needed.

Lace Bra from Odile de Changy in Paris
On a very memorable trip to Paris I stumbled across the loveliest little lingerie shop on rue du pont aux choux. Teeny tiny. They only had about 10 things, and everything was handmade. Handmade lace. Handmade tiny little bows. All just slightly imperfect. No two were alike. Not only do I have a serious weakness for beautiful French lingerie, but I also have incredible respect for anything of that quality that's made by hand. Handmade lace lingerie is right up there with couture in my book.

SC, 2003
Sophia Coppola made this little pink book in 2003 with photos of memorable things from her year.
I love how unexpectedly humble and intimate it is. It sits at the top of this towering stack of books I have next to my bed because (a) I love the design and the cover's the perfect shade of sun-faded pink and (b) it's a reminder that (even if you're Sofia Coppola) the most beautiful things you create can be the least assuming.

18th Century Hungarian Bed  
This is the biggest impulse buy I've ever made. The second I saw it, I said 'I have to have that.' At the time, I lived in an impossibly small studio with a murphy bed. I didn't have room for it until just this year, so the beautiful thing has been sitting in storage for almost ten years. I love it, and I'm so happy to see it every day. I'm pretty sure it's magic.

Blue Nights inscribed with 'For Claire' 
Meeting Joan Didion after she gave a reading from Blue Nights is one of the most memorable experiences of my life. It was at Vibiana - an otherworldly nineteenth century cathedral in Downtown Los Angeles. She wore a lilac sweater, and she stuttered, but not when she read. I don't think I'm alone in thinking this, but her California is my subconscious. 

My grandmother's sapphire ring
To remember her by, always.  

Poesie polka-dot book
This little book is a happy reminder of a really wonderful chapter of my childhood. My family lived in a tiny Swiss village at the base of the Alps for a few years when I was growing up. We used to ride horses bareback in the street and climb through caves to reach frozen waterfalls. It was that kind of extraordinary. Anyway, the Swiss children had these little books that they gave to their friends. When you received one, you'd write a poem and then draw something. When you were done, you'd return it. It then got passed on to another friend. Not only does this little book remind me of my dear friends, but it also has drawings and notes from my grandparents (my grandfather drew his Zammy, a wire-haired fox terrier) and a lovely old artist who lived in our village and had a talking parrot (I used to visit her while she painted). 

 My Typewriter
I've had this typewriter since college. I found it at Two Hands Paperie, this incredible paper shop in Boulder, Colorado. In architecture school, I used to type all of my design briefs on it. It got me through many long nights. It's so much more motivating than a laptop.

A eucalyptus branch 
I found this branch up on the Mount Washington Dog Trail. It had blown down after a windy night. I have yet to see a work of art that is more beautiful than the perfect branch. And eucalyptus is my favorite. The leaves are the perfect shade of silver-y green and palest peach. I nail them up on my walls.

Truffle the dog
To have a dog is to understand unconditional love. This little guy brings me so much joy. He's the best hiking companion a girl could have. 
He's an absolute treasure.

Thank you Claire!

See more My Ten Favorite Things - Kate, Lilly, Christopher and Ann.


january // full moon


Wolf Moon
Saturday, January 26th, 2013, Leo, 8:38pm

Before we get into everything, can we just take a moment of acknowledgment and gratitude? I feel like these last few months have been really hard for everyone: mentally, emotionally and physically (i don't know one person who hasn't been sick... i have a theory). And after the transition on the 21st and with the beginning of a new year I feel the energy in the next few weeks should be lighter, there is a sense of expansion and forward movement, and a sense of completion from what opened up for us on the 21st. Just take a moment right now, and how ever your like, acknowledge the people in your life that have shown up to help you grow: people who have been teachers or guides or partners, people who have delivered lessons even if they were painful, people that have been supportive and loving... whoever it is. Also really acknowledge yourself, for having the courage to face life, for looking deep within, for uncovering things that are sometimes hard to see, for feeling things that are at times painful, for being brave and being willing to reach though all those difficult moments for something magical you know is waiting for you on the other side. Acknowledge your darkness and your light, there is wisdom in both. Take a moment to acknowledge how much you have grown, how fortunate you are. Have gratitude for the times you have fallen down and for the times you have been willing to take a great leap and risk. Acknowledge your wounding, your pain, your anger, and your fears. Take a moment to acknowledge your heart, your body, and one thing you know you are really good at. Acknowledge they ways you give to others, how you love, how you allow yourself to be loved, how you allow yourself to be seen. Take a moment to acknowledge your willingness and ability to change, to surrender, to trust, to heal, to love. You are so rich with experience and knowing. Don't let it go unnoticed.  

Because this moon is in the sign of Leo, the big question is, "Who am I?" That's why it's good to take time to look at the self, and acknowledge all that it is. This is also a powerful time to connect to the sun. Use Leo's relationship to the sun, let yourself be seen fully for who you are. Leo's don't hide! Tap into your inner Leo, into your heart, your fire, your confidence, radiance and self expression.

If you live in LA, take time to be grateful for the rain we have been having. It is so nourishing and cleansing (i love the rain). I feel it is important around this full moon to be in the sun and feel the power of the sun, if you live somewhere where the sun is shining brightly, take some time to feel it's rays on your skin, feel it's heat (i also love the sun, it does something to me, and it always makes me so aware of my body, i love feeling it on my skin). The sun can be very healing.


from around

- an interesting read about the difference between pleasure and joy by Zadie Smith for the NY Review of Books

- this short video about color takes me back to my days of Color Theory in school. Light and color are endlessly fascinating to me

- loved this article in the NYT's about why you won't be the person you expect to be... and that's a good thing... I think.

- a video of the great talk at the Hammer between Catherine Opie, Alec Soth and the Rodarte sisters

- no one will be as excited as I am about James Frazer's The Golden Bough being newly available as an audiobook

- click through this amazing slide show of Contemporary Cultural Icons on Feminism 

- see - Laura Owens new show 12 Paintings by Laura Owens

- video interview with the inspiring Mary Heilmann

- and last but certainly not least, my dear friend Scott will be leading a workshop this weekend for any of you who are interested and live in LA, called Discovering the Voice of Your Heart. Read more about it here. (i am one lucky duck and got to run part of the workshop with him this week and it is a-maze-zing.) 

my favorite painting in the Matisse show at the Met. if you are in NY make sure to see it before it comes down in March. It's an amazing show!


let's talk about books

So, it's not news that I am banana's for books. 
I love books, reading... and sharing. So, here we are at the second installment of Let's Talk About Books (sung by me to the melody of Let's Talk About Sex, you can thank me later for getting that catchy lil' number in your head for the rest of the day). If you missed the first LTAB post you can see it here. This is a regular feature where I ask friends and people I admire to share what they have been reading. I hope that it can be a place where when you are looking for a good read you can check out some titles shared here. 
This group of ladies is pretty darn special and unique. Jennifer is a friend I met through ACME, where her husband shows (he is a rad painter). She is the designer of Ermie and is just overflowing with talent! I am always inspired by her dedication to her creative vision. Joanna... well, I have been an admirer of Joanna's, and we have become new friends through Jennifer. This lady has some serious style! She runs the amazing online marketplace Kneeland Co. Mercado. And Christine is a dear friend I met in undergrad at Art Center. We bonded over tears and immediately became close friends, she is brilliant and is currently in the PhD program at UCLA for Art History (she's not messin' around)

Here are their picks!

e  n  j  o  y  !

-  J e n n i f e r  -

The Book I Just Finished “Reading”

I have a confession to make: I have been very a poor reader in the last year. In fact, one of my resolutions for 2013 is to Read More Books and Spend Less Time on the Internet.
 When Lauren asked me to contribute to this feature on her blog, I thought (somewhat ironically), “Perfect! This will get me to read again.” But I also thought, “Oh, Crud. What was the last real book I read?”

While it is not a novel, did just finish looking at an old, favorite art book of mine: Lola and Julian Schnabel.
I also must confess, while I very much respect Mr. Schnabel’s place in art history, I am not huge fan of his paintings. I do, however, think he’s a very good filmmaker, and I love this book he put out with his daughter, Lola, when she was a young child. 
The book is a collection of Schnabel’s expressive marks in paint, combined with Lola’s drawings. There are no words, except for Lola’s text in some of the drawings. I love the spontaneity, and the inventiveness of both Schnabel’s here. The images have a freshness and a joy which I always strive to achieve in my own work.

Book I am Reading Now

I am currently reading The Invention of Everything Elseby Samantha Hunt. I received the book as a gift from Samantha, who is one of my clients! Once again, Lauren’s invitation to contribute prompted me to finally read it, and I am so glad that I am! The Invention of Everything Else is a fictional account of the real life inventor Nikola Tesla’s friendship with a chambermaid, in the Hotel New Yorker, where Tesla lives out his last days. The love of words, writing, and Hunt’s imaginativeness are remarkable. Her love for New York City, past and present, real and imagined, is almost palpable. I feel she had such a wonderful time writing this book. I look forward to reading more of Samantha’s work!

The Books I Will Read in the Future

There are two books that are on the top my reading pile: a Penguin Books edition of the the ancient Roman philosopher Seneca’s essay: On the Shortness of Life, and Yohji Yamamoto’s My Dear Bomb. My last confession: I admit I judge books by their covers (Not really! But I Do appreciate beautifully designed books…These are two lovely examples of such). I love the letter pressed cover on the Seneca book, and the black on black design of the Yamamoto text. Of course, it also ultimately matters what is contained within - and I have a feeling the content both of these books will prove to be very inspiring (I also have feeling that I will be reading both Joanna’s and Christine’s recommendations! Thank you, in advance Joanna and Christine, and thank you Lauren for asking me to contribute!)

-  J o a n n a  - 

My 3 Favorite Books

It's hard to choose my 3 favorite books.  I love to read, and I'm the type of person who can become obsessed with a particular thing if it affects me in some way, and books are probably the most affecting thing for me aside from magazines and movies.  These are just 3 of my favorites, but I have more favorites and I'm sure if I become affected by a future book that will also be added to my list of favorites.  In the meantime, these sit at the top.

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón: I read this a few years ago when it was assigned in my book club.  My good friend and book club member, Alexis, recommended it and I literally could not put the thing down.  The story is set in Barcelona (the book was originally written in Spanish) after the Spanish Civil War and is centered around Daniel, the son of an antiquarian who is taken to The Cemetery of Forgotten Books, a place where all reading material is kept from the public.  He's told to choose one book and protect it, and he chooses The Shadow of the Wind written by Julian Caráx without knowing that it's very valuable and very dangerous.  It's all a journey to find out why the book is so dangerous and mysterious, and the plot just thickens and thickens throughout.  It's a haunting story filled with adventure, love, loss, and immortality and made me feel as if I were in some epic maze trying to find my way out.  There is also a prequel, The Angel's Game, written by Zafón that I recommend reading after.  

Just Kids by Patti Smith: I'm certain this is high on the list of many fellow readers, and it's easy to understand why.  I started reading this book while I was on a trip to Big Sur with my husband, brother-in-law and his wife.  I connected with it.  I woke up at 6:30 a.m. and went to my favorite spot, Deetjen's, with Just Kids and sat for nearly two hours with my tea and just read and read and read. It's heart wrenching, soulful, innocent, honest, fucked up, beautiful, inspiring, and very human.  There is no one like Patti Smith, and to read her and Robert Mapplethorpe's story first hand is something I'm grateful for.  It is the ultimate story of unconditional friendship and love.  I finished it in a hotel room in Philadelphia and cried my eyes out, right before my friend picked me up for dinner.  I made him drive to the bookstore and I bought him a copy and said: READ THIS NOW.

Creative Visualization by Shakti Gawain: I'm not normally a girl who reads a lot of spiritual books, although I consider myself to be a spiritual person.  But this book, written in the '70s has had the biggest influence on my life.  My mother-in-law used to go to Shakti Gawain's workshops back in the day and when I told her that I started reading this she said, "That's what I've been trying to talk to you about all along!"  It's not a self-help book or a religious book or anything like The Secret or whatever; but it's more of a tool to help you visualize and manifest the things you want in your life.  If you have goals you want to attain, this is for you.  If you have fears you want to overcome, this is for you.  If you just want to learn how to meditate, this is for you.  It holds a very special place in my heart as I started reading it when I first started my business, and it really helped me in tremendous ways.  I call it a "forever read", because it's on my bedside table at all times.  I have gifted this book numerous times and I can't begin to tell you how much of a positive impact it has had.

Currently Reading

I'm currently reading The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver at the recommendation of 3 friends.  I'm a lover of Mexico City and all things Mexican (my family is from Mexico City and I visit often) and this book tells the story of a boy and his adventures after the Mexican Revolution.  The main character, Harrison Shepherd, is the son of a Mexican mother and American father and keeps journals of his life in its various stages.  A good part of the book is set in Mexico with Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera as his employers, and the other part is set in middle America where he writes his first novel about his experiences in Mexico.  It's a good read, and I recommend it for anyone who enjoys Mexican history and an outsider's perspective. 

-  C h r i s t i n e  -

A favorite:
The Problem of Reading by Moyra Davey
 A beautiful meditation on the feelings and motivations connected with what we choose to read. Photographs by Davey, JoAnn Verburg, and James Welling appear throughout the book.

Recently read:
Camera Lucida by Roland Barthes
 In this seminal work on photography, Barthes intimately explores the medium and its relationship to love, loss and memory. This is a book I have been turning to for years, and it is a must-read for anyone with an interest in photography.

Currently reading:
Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri
 Stunning short stories of various forms of struggle from miscarriage to the Partition of India. Lahiri’s writing is touching and powerful.

And here are three more of my favorite books: The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion,  The Prophet by Kahil Gibran (I gift this book to almost everyone I know), and The Hermetic Tradition by Julius Evola. 
I am currently reading a few things (along with my friend Ann's first draft of her second book, which is amazing. I'm so lucky to be one of her readers): Laura: A Journey into the Crystal by George Sand, Wanting is Easier Than Having by Debra Baxter, and listening to Just Kids by Patti Smith in the studio. 

I want to thank Jennifer, Joanna and Christine! 
Thank you so much ladies!

And readers... 
one: if you like, please post in the comments your favorite books and 
two: if you buy any of these books I encourage you to purchase them from your local independent bookstore.

photos by Jennifer, of her books 


louvre - lens

starting to plan a big trip this summer

first stop... here 



just had to share this photo that my super talented friend and neighbor, Lili, took the other afternoon while she was over. 

h a p p y    w e d n e s d a y


let's mix it up

M   I   X       C   D       G   I   V   E   A   W   A   Y

Every year I have my favorite ladies over for a mix cd swap. Everyone makes a mix, a copy for each guest. We all take one from each pile, and then leave with a handful of new tunes! Brilliant, right?

This year I had a few of the cd's left from people who made too many. And one of you readers could be the lucky recipient of 6 rad mix's (pictured above). Made by : Claire, Jessie, Kelly, Cheri, Nina and myself. And let me tell you... you want these mix's... they are amazing!

Just leave a comment with your name, and the title and artist of your favorite song of all time. 
You have until 11:59 pm the night of January 25th, when I will choose one lucky name at random. 
(on the 26th i will email you for your address. i only ship within the US, sorry)

g o o d   l u c k !


new moon // january


Night Long Moon
Friday, January 11th, 2013, Capricorn 11:44 am PST

Happy New Moon! Take a deep breath. Who can feel the collective sigh? We made it though the last two months that were overflowing with intense energy and huge shifts and profound letting go. For myself, I still feel I am "in it", but beginning to feel my wings spreading open, not yet ready to rise from the ashes and fly, but certainly I feel more space, freedom and possibility to do so. And I am so grateful for that! 

I recently found out during an amazing astrology reading that I was born just a few minuets before the exact time of the new moon. Which makes SO much sense, it is why I love new moon energy. It is about being in the darkness, where there is no thing and the possibility of any thing. It is about creation and bringing something new into the world. It is about going deep within and discovering the richness and mystery of the universe, of yourself, of life! If you haven't spent time these last three or so weeks thinking about your future and dreams, setting goals and intentions now is the time to do so. The energy around us already feels quite kinetic, things are happening.

This New Moon is also about the truth. If there is something you haven't been willing to see, something you have been hiding from yourself or others, or not facing, now is the time to step into the truth. So many people are afraid of the truth, afraid of their own truth, but really it is the one thing we have, and it is the one thing we can not deny (if we do it often comes back to sting us, hard). It is at our core. It is our internal compass, and we should use it as such. I am also learning that truth is such an amazing transformer. Actions that come from the truth have integrity. When you are standing in your truth you are so powerful. For me it is the most amazing and healing and empowering experience. The truth can burn away illusions, it can give you clarity, it can point you in the right direction, it can give you the courage to take a risk, it can heal, it can inspire! 

When you come from a place of truth that is when magic happens. That is when the universe swoops in to support you and is your co-creator to take what you dream and make it a reality. Make sure your New Moon wishes this month come from the deepest part of you where your truth lies. Because this New Moon is in the sign of Capricorn it is a great time to wish about anything that relates to commitment, responsibility and achievement. 

Remember you are only allowed ten wishes maximum and they must be handwritten on paper. The best time to wish is within the first 24 hours of the New Moon. But within the first 48 is alright. 

Also, be sure to share your wishes with someone you love, having a witness makes everything more powerful.

And be sure to get extra rest and sleep around this new moon. 

Happy Wishing!

Rising, 2010, Kiki Smith


sad and mad

sadness is something i am familiar with... in fact, i love to cry, i think it is such an interesting physical expression of emotion. and at times i find great joy in both the physical and the energetic release, and at other times i just feel so tired of crying that i think i can never do it again. but... i do. it's something i let come and go as it pleases. but anger... anger is something that in the past i didn't allow myself to really feel, and if i did it was a delayed reaction, and it would usually have sadness sitting right on top of it, and it was always hard to get to. but i am learning about anger right now, what it means to be in the present moment with anger that has fire. anger that can transform. and i have to say sometimes it just feels so good to get really mad. to allow myself to get angry. because i have every right to be. 


this house is a home

dreaming of these things for my home... i feel a house in my near future



from around

- 24 carrot gold; woman looses her wedding ring and 16 years later it is found in her garden by a carrot. Amazing. 

- check out a beautiful home tour and interview with my sweet friend Claire.

- what we learned about ourselves in 2012, a year in psychology.

- wishing I could buy this dreamy case study home in Ojai.

- two recipes from John Cage. 

- this beautiful passage from The Master of the Eclipse

I also wanted to say that I am so grateful for you, yes you. You who visits the blog, and you who continues to support me and what happens here, and you who sends me emails and leaves amazingly generous and encouraging comments. Some days I feel I am talking to no one, perhaps only myself, and I have times when this all feels futile. And it's you who remind me that it's not. So, thank you. Here here to YOU!

Louise Bourgeois "I want to..."



 New Years Eve at Studio 54. 1978

Wishing you all a very Happy New Year. 

My wish for you is my wish for myself:  

May it be a year that is full of deeper self discovery, magic and love. 

May it be a time when the moon and the sun reside in us equally.

May it be a time when the rewards of hard work can be enjoyed. 

May it be a time when the deepest desires of the soul can be expressed.

May it be a time of amazing, earth shattering creation.

May it be a time to stand in the truth, be courageous and brave.

May it be a time to truly learn to love the self. 

May it be a time of togetherness and tenderness, compassion and understanding. 

May it be a time when the past can be shed and a new more sparkly self can emerge. 

May it be a time to feel and know the mysteries of life. 

May it be a time to have faith in something greater. 

May it be a year where broken hearts heal and the purest love be known. 

May it be a time when the unknown can be embraced, and gratitude felt for the many unknown blessings on their way.  

photo by Tod Papageorge.