Aritzia Magazine DIY & Interview

March 27, 2013 in craft, DIY, dream catchers, fashion, Interviews, Wisdom by rachaelrice

Dreamcatcher earrings?! YES PLEASE.  Check out this feature in Aritizia’s magazine. There is a short interview on the website, but I’m pasting the full Q&A below:

 

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See the full DIY here!

The interview…

Where are you from originally?

Stillwater, Oklahoma.

Do you remember your very first dream catcher (perhaps when you were a kid)? Can you describe it and what it meant to you at that time?

I remember a lot of really commercial looking stuff they would sell at fairs. The first one that really stands out in my mind was made by one of my 5th grade students when I was a public school art teacher, after I taught them how to make them. It was so carefully crafted, I still have it.

When and how did you discover your passion for making dream catchers?

I really wanted to experiment with making them in a different way, with salvaged materials, more conceptual. That was a few years ago, and I created several and put them in an art show. I blogged about it on my Tumblr (http://cosmicamerican.tumblr.com) and one of the pics went viral, got the attention of someone in Australia who wanted to buy it, so I decided to open an Etsy store.

What draws you to dream catchers—why do you love them?

I graduated with a teaching degree when there was a big push for multiculturalism in school curricula. And I naturally have been inspired by camp crafts, indigenous art forms and non-western/European art. I love the decorated circle, which is found in every culture on Earth. I love how you can cut up an old leather jacket or table cloth and it will still look awesome, that you can forage for feathers in your neighborhood.

What do you enjoy most about making them and what are your favorite materials to use?

I like the meditative aspect of the weaving, how you never know exactly how it’s going to look. I love using feathers from local farmers, scrap lace, and raffia for a dreamy beachy effect.

How many dream catchers do you have in your house?

Haha, good question! It varies, but probably around ten?

Have you always had an interest in nature, mysticism, dreams?

Definitely. My parents were quite bohemian, definitely products of the 60′s…so there was that vibe growing up. I used to have all kinds of visions, with sacred geometry symbols, and some kind of sense of the vastness of my inner world. Some people call it the “dreamtime”…and rock stars are like modern shamans, so in my musical life I tap into that as well.

How do you identify with indigenous cultures and mysticism, what about these topics inspires you most?

I’m glad that there is a renewed interest in societies that payed extremely close attention to what is going on in their bioregion. I think it’s important to be mindful that Native American nations are as diverse as, say, European nations. We shouldn’t think of all Native Americans as a giant bloc just as we wouldn’t group all Europeans together in the same group either. And I’m not so interested in romanticizing indigenous cultures as a whole, when there’s plenty of misogyny and war there too. But every culture has wisdom, has medicine, has belief systems and cosmologies that are worth examining. People are clearly looking for and creating new paradigms out of the available wisdom. It’s important to do that, AND it’s important to honor the wisdom of the land you’re standing on, even if it’s a suburb. Where does your water come from? Where does your trash go? What are the edible plants in your area? And what are you creating that is useful to future generations? What is your legacy?

Do you feel a special connection to the culture and traditions of Native Americans in particular?

Again, it depends on which Nation, they’re not a homogenous group. I grew up in Oklahoma where the street names were in Cherokee. So there was a sense of togetherness, rather than “otherness.” I lived for a very long time in Northern New England where the Abenaki were struggling to get recognition. Now I live in the Pacific Northwest, where some folks still speak a really interesting pidgin form of Chinook language called “Chinook Wawa” and the traditional housing was a longhouse, not a tipi. Plants and animals (especially the ones I see in my area) are extremely important to me, their medicine is powerful. I feel a sense of responsibility to give back to the people whose traditions are in part providing me with a livelihood as an artist. So I sent up an automatic monthly payment from my bank to http://NAYApdx.org, the Native American Youth & Family Association of Portland. And I have deep respect for the #IdleNoMore movement.

How would you define “Cosmic American” art?

I would say it’s a mix of camp crafts, rock and roll culture, Eastern mysticism, salvaged items and earth-based inspiration.

How and why did you decide to start your Dream School Salon? What do you enjoy most about helping other women develop and follow their dreams?

I have a good sense of forecasting trends. I think it’s partly because I worked with young people for so many years, they’re “early adopters” of new technologies. Now I’m seeing a lot of creative folks who are recognizing the need to get their online presence together in a meaningful way, but it can be overwhelming. So I use the marketing and branding process to help the women in my groups get clarity on their vision, voice, and the feeling states they would like to experience regularly. This can be a very powerful process as it reveals what is truly your soul’s calling, and that may be radically different from the dreams our parents have for us, or our society’s. It may mean you need to do some psychotherapy to learn how to let go of your father’s expectations, or it may mean you get into mindfulness meditation to cultivate the observer self that can tell when the negative self-talk is broadcasting in your brain, and not follow it down the rabbit hole of doubt and fear. It may mean you have to get really uncomfortable, in the way that caterpillars turn to mush before they transform into butterflies. That’s the yoga of full expression, right? You’re like, AHHH I CAN’T STAND THIS, but if you breathe through the really uncomfortable moments, and ASK FOR WHAT YOU NEED, you will come out the other side with a sense of your business as a spiritual practice. What I enjoy the most is the synergy of working with a group of women who can see each others’ greatness at times when we can’t see our own. So we’re creating a community that’s based on collaboration rather than competition. And like Lao Tzu said about good leadership: When his work is done, his aim fulfilled, the people say “We did it ourselves!”

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Mid-Winter PNW Coven

February 24, 2013 in DIY, dream catchers, travel, tribe, Wisdom by rachaelrice

I had the extreme fortune of attending a retreat with some amazing women, none of whom I’d met in person before.

I wish I could have stayed for the full 3-day sleepover, but I had to get back for a Vulva Underground show.  I was in good company at the home of Jenette Neilsen (photos are of her home): Maya Corinne of Urban Organica (watch her Ted Talk here), Umberdove Kelly Clark, HerbMother Latisha Guthrie, Madelyn Mulvaney, Marybeth Bonfiglio, Smashing Rubbish Jennette Neilsen, Robyn Rae Johnston, Inhabit Earthways Sarah Stevens, {eye} wonder workshops Eileen Nishi, Merrilee Kennedy, Danielle Cohen, & Blue Stocking Salon’s Jill Pettinger Clifton.

Yeah, so I was blown away.

Of course I piled a bunch of dreamcatcher makings in the Nissan for the trip.

First stop, Seattle. To see my best friend. We’ve known each other since we were 14 back in Vermont. At the time, I was gay and he was straight…uh, sort of.  Now the tables have turned, and we’re both living with our partners. We have been through some shit. We’re both trauma survivors, and we’re both super engaged in our healing process. So every time we get together we talk about the healing we’ve done, what we’re up to in therapy, it’s like a huge multilevel check-in. I could use them more often. People who have witnessed your growth and development. And we laugh our asses off.

I spun a public art installation wheel on our way to dinner:

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I can’t even describe Jenette’s home. OMG. Every single woman at the gathering I want to snuggle into infinity.

They’re like…my new family!
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cacao ceremony

cacao ceremony

Herb Mama Latisha Guthrie guides us through the ceremony

Herb Mama Latisha Guthrie guides us through the ceremony

cacao with cayenne and cinnamon

cacao with cayenne and cinnamon

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creation

creation

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And then I had to go.

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bald eagles on the ride home

bald eagles on the ride home

 

heading north

Heading home to Portland. I live there now…crazy.

Amulet Magazine

February 7, 2013 in DIY, dream catchers, fashion, nature, tribe, Wisdom by rachaelrice

It’s an honor to be featured among a circle of badass witches like these:

Amulet Magazine

http://amuletmagazine.com

From their about page:

We wanted mind-blowing real + raw content all in one glorious + safe place. And what began as a love letter between friends, is now Amulet, a home + Protectress for modern sacred information in the visual, creative + writings arts.

Amulet is a vessel for simple connections. It’s a field guide to not only wise living, but a place where we can boldly say: We are PeaceKeeper & WorldShaker. We are Mother & Other. We are what casts light and digs deep into the shadow of the soil. Here is what we do.

We witness the seasons turn and the moon change shape and consciously take part in that dance. These have always been the ways of the woman, to time keep the seasons.

We honor the rhythm that rolls with the beats and meters of the Earth,+ beyond. These rhythms are meant to ease our worries, smooth our stress, and bring us back to what nourishes us: our connections to Earth, our family, our creatrix, our community.

May we pick up our shovels, rakes, seeds, candles, stones, children, pens, paintbrushes, needles, welding supplies, or fresh baked bread and truly know we are shifting words and worlds, we are shaking paradigms and patterns. We are coming together, writing our stories, making our art, doing our work, reaching out, touching what’s real. We are constantly makin’ magic, yo.

Yes. That’s right. Magic. Let’s get down with it.
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Mermaid Lifestyle: DIY Fish Scales Water Bottle

June 10, 2012 in craft, DIY by rachaelrice

I have an ongoing obsession with mermaids. I used to want to be a cowgirl mermaid. How awesome would that be? Riding a seahorse and whatnot? Yeah.

So for a couple bucks I made a mermaid water bottle out of gold foil envelope seals and a plastic bottle. After taking off the label, I started at the top and worked my way down to the base of the bottle, overlapping the gold stickers at their midpoint in a straight line across as I went down.

Now I drink water and get to pretend I have a fish tail. Cause that’s not weird at all.

Dreamy Portland Birthday Party

June 2, 2012 in craft, DIY, dream catchers, Portland Oregon by rachaelrice

Got the best gig ever doing a DIY dream catcher birthday party for Michelle Clabby at Instrument in Portland, an amazing converted industrial space featuring animal heads, teepees, lots of Macs, posters about fonts — you know, my kind of place. And check this out: a lot of the folks there were Vermonters! So of course that means we have people in common. Special thanks to Burton for covering the event on their blog, as well as Portland Sunshine.

 

Foam Magazine Print Feature DIY

April 9, 2012 in DIY, doilies, dream catchers, nature, reuse by rachaelrice

Lahaina Aloha

Lahaina Aloha: A Mermaid Catcher!

Foam Magazine ran a feature about my work in their print magazine and asked me to make a little video to accompany their online DIY article. Great excuse to learn how to use iMovie on my iPhone!


Music by Kevin Macneil Brown: http://kevinmacneilbrown.bandcamp.com.

Here’s a shot of the magazine with the article.

FOAM Magazine Feature

Sea Dreamer feature in Foam Magazine

I made two pieces for the feature — one is called Lahaina Aloha (after a Beach Boys song) which features a huge doily center and salvaged hula grass from SCRAP PDX. It also has hand-felted jellyfish from my mermaid-in-arms Suki Kapinao of Suki Healing Arts. Her stuff is super fun and you can see it on her Etsy shop: http://sukihealingarts.etsy.com.

Lahaina Alohoa Dreamcatcher Detail

with Suki's jellyfish!

With sand from Canon Beach, Oregon, The Great Salt Lake, Utah, and Bellows Beach, Hawaii

Lahaina Aloha detailThe other piece I made is called “Little Surfer” and I got a lot of the materials at the hardware store…chain…paint samples…neon nylon…

so easy!


Thanks Foam!

Valentine Heart Garland

February 13, 2012 in craft, decor, DIY, Paper, reuse, trash by rachaelrice

heart garlands

heart garlands

I’m not into flowers and chocolates but I do love an excuse to cut hearts out of paper. In Montpelier, Vermont where I was living the Valentine Phantom would plaster the town with thousands of red hearts. That means spending several hours in sub-freezing temps in the middle of the night taping pieces of paper to every window on every store in town. Amazing when you drive down the street on Valentine’s day…

Sometimes my friend Suki and I would do guerilla arts and crafts for V-tine’s with kids or other women and would write love poems on pretty paper and stick them in random public places…on elevators…bathrooms…etc. I love the idea of spreading love…not just romantic love…but love for everyone.

Anyway, here’s a simple project I used to do with my students. Start by taking a magazine and cut strips about 1″-3″ wide. I used an older Free People catalog.

Fold strips accordion-style…

If it’s helpful, you can draw a heart on one end, but make sure you leave a little room where they will connect to each other on the folds!

Cut the top half…

And then the bottom! Unfold and tape together to hang where you please, or to wrap around a small gift.




Free People Catch A Dream DIY Event!

December 7, 2011 in art, craft, DIY, doilies, dream catchers, fashion, feathers, holiday, Portland Oregon, sculpture by rachaelrice

The DIY dream catcher event at Free People Portland was totes amazeballs (lol)! It was featured on their corporate blog, and lots of people came out to get their craft on. My inner art teacher was so excited to share my creative pursuits! And the pieces that people made were unbelievably beautiful. Plus, we had Maple Butterscotch cake with EDIBLE GLITTER (!!!) from Cake & Mukti (check out her blog The Yoga of Cake), and supplies donated by Relica Vintage. I hope I get to do it again! Valentine’s….?

Free People blog screenshot

from the FP blog

FP Event Poster
Interior Portland Store shot

THE CAKE!!!

Best. Cake. EVER.

FP Crafty Girl!




gettin crafty!

 

cake goddess!

Samantha Cullen from Cake & Mukti

Samantha Cullen shows off her piece

store window

exterior shot of the store window with raffle piece