Monday, March 31, 2014


I finished this piece over a month ago, but have had some issues with getting things photographed due to my camera not working and the weather not cooperating (to say the least!). It's hard for me to describe what this piece is about, so I'll just say it's about essence. I was going to title it Between the Veils, but maybe Essence would be a better title.

ingredients: vintage book cover, pages, and spine; image transfer, drawing, collage, stitching, feathers, watercolor pencils

by Mary Oliver


Understand, I am always trying to figure out
what the soul is,
and where hidden,
and what shape
and so, last week,
when I found on the beach
the ear bone
of a pilot whale that may have died
hundreds of years ago, I thought
maybe I was close
to discovering something
for the ear bone


is the portion that lasts longest
in any of us, man or whale; shaped
like a squat spoon
with a pink scoop where
once, in the lively swimmer's head,
it joined its two sisters
in the house of hearing,
it was only
two inches long
and thought: the soul
might be like this
so hard, so necessary


yet almost nothing.
Beside me
the gray sea
was opening and shutting its wave-doors,
unfolding over and over
its time-ridiculing roar;
I looked but I couldn't see anything
through its dark-knit glare;
yet don't we all know, the golden sand
is there at the bottom,
though our eyes have never seen it,
nor can our hands ever catch it


lest we would sift it down
into fractions, and facts
and what the soul is, also
I believe I will never quite know.
Though I play at the edges of knowing,
truly I know
our part is not knowing,
but looking, and touching, and loving,
which is the way I walked on,
through the pale-pink morning light.


  1. vu mon voyage au maroc, je rattrape les visites manqués... que de belles choses.. mais ta dernière oeuvre est fantastique..bon mois d'avril!

    1. Thank you so much Elfi! I envy you... I've always wanted to visit Morocco. Happy April to you, too!

  2. The composition of elements in this piece is fabulous. One can stare at it for hours.

    1. Thank you so much, Maya. This piece is somewhat different than most of my recent work, so I was anxious to see what people think.

  3. love the space you have caught here at the edge of the dream

  4. "Essence" is a great title as well as the addition of Mary Oliver words. I agree with others ... the composition is perfect, pulling the eye up and down making itself a lovely space.
    I am working with dove images, messengers and I think a bird in flight is beautiful.

    1. Thank you, Mary Ann. Since this piece is a bit of a departure for me, I wasn't sure what people would think. Kingfishers always represent messengers, to me, in my private iconography...

  5. I'm with Maya, I particularly like the composition of elements and find the piece quiet intriguing - sometimes I struggle with titles too especially when an artwork is more an expression than a preconceived idea, so I often sit with an open title until the 'actual' title finds its way...

    1. Thank you. Kim. Some pieces seem to title themselves, it seems, while others do need to wait for the title to show up...

  6. I like how "Essence" leaves an endless space to fill with wonder. Such a peaceful piece, still yet full of movement. Lovely how the poem you chose provides more clues to the meaning of your work.

    1. Lynne, I'm not sure what to think of this piece, myself. I like it, I think, because it seems to convey the way I felt when making it. The Mary Oliver poem expresses something of its meaning in words much better than I can.

  7. i was here yesterday but did not have time to leave a comment, and i am back to say i think this piece is terrific, like "the edge of a dream" . . .and the Oliver poem is perfection.

    1. thank you so much, Rebecca! Mary Oliver is probably my favorite contemporary poet - she's truly great!

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. I love how the drawn lines echo the stitched line, and the book spine (?) is echoed below. These things make the piece so satisfying to me. And of course who doesn't swoon over a Mary Oliver poem. A lovely pairing.

    1. Thank you, Carole. This piece comes from a place deep inside me, but I wasn't sure how well I was able to express that in a way that would touch others. Not sure if this makes sense, but I guess I'm saying I'm glad it affects people in some way.


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