Saturday, February 7, 2015

Check out my article and photos in Shuttle Spindle and Dyepot

It's finally out and I get to announce the sale of my article and photos to the Publication of the Handweavers Guild of America, Inc.

The Spider Rock Girls: Weaving in Beauty.

I took my first weaving class with this unique and talented family of weavers here in Chinle four years ago.  Since then we have become friends and my appreciation for the craft and art of Navajo weaving has grown along with the appreciation of how special this family is and how important weaving is in keeping them centered and  helping them to continue a life walking in Beauty.

I began my writing career with articles and photos from Malawi, Africa sold to publicans like Highlights for Children so this is an exciting full circle for me and I hope to explore the use use of digital photography to compliment my writing in future stories and articles.

Here are a few photos that did not appear in the Magazine.

 Sophia, the youngest member of the family itching to get her fingers on that loom and begin weaving.

Grandma the matriarch of the family, a stern but

loving teacher.  The girls learned early that if you make a mistake you take it out and start over.

Emily shows off the family signature design.  

Read more and see more photos in The 2014-15 issue of Shuttle Spindle and Dyepot.  Learn more about weaving, dying and other fabric arts.

Friday, January 23, 2015

I Love Gardens, I Love Books

I love libraries.  And I love to see young people using their passion, taking initiative, doing something to make a difference.  See what Lori has done:

Buliding a little free library dedicated to Cathy Horowitz, my amazing mother and elementary school librarian for 35 years, took crowdsourced fundraising (we raised $1700!) and the collective effort of the neighborhood. I moved to Black St in East Liberty in the summer of 2013. Once I became involved in the community garden in my new neighborhood, I realized how many children there are around the area, and how much they could stand to benefit from a Little Free Library. The library we built houses children's books for four different age ranges: 0-4, 4-8, 8-12,and 12+ to young adult as well as gardening books. I am so excited that it is up and running, and the neighborhood kids really seem to feel the same. We thank Karen Lynn Williams for her contribution of a number of copies of Galimoto. This is a book that I grew up with my mother reading to me, it was one of my and her favorites. I am very glad that it gets to be a part of our Little Free Library.  

See more here:

Thanks Lori!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Where is Beatrice Now?

Every once in a while I am asked where Beatrice is now.

Wendy Stone the photographer for this book I wrote after visiting Kenya sees Beatrice about once a year.

Here is what she has to say:

I see Beatrice every
year and I am in close contact with her via email. I am going to Kenya
in February and I will be seeing her then.
She is doing so well. She graduated
from Utali Hospitality School last year, after a two year course in
cooking and hotel hospitality. 
She was unable to be accepted in
University for nursing or teaching since 
her high school grades were
not high enough. 
Considering her background, she is incredibly
accomplished.  She and I visited many schools 
together and she decided
that Utali was the best choice for her. 
Her story continues to be
truly amazing. Shortly after she graduated, 
the terrorists El Shabab,
started attacks in Kenya. 
All tourists cancelled their trips to Kenya.
In addition to that, Ebola broke out in West Africa, 
so most people
who had planned to visit Africa, 
cancelled their trips. Many hotels have
now closed and thousands of Kenyans, 
who worked in the
tourist/travel/hotel industry, 
are  now unemployed. So Beatrice was
unable to find a job. 
She made a very smart decision to go back to
school again and is now 
taking a two year course at Moi University.

Check back for recent photographs of Beatrice and 
more about her story when Wendy returns from Kenya 
in February.

In the meantime see what Wendy Stone has 
been doing in her photo workshops with
young girls in Kenya.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Some of My Favorite Things

Look what another friend surprised me with over the holidays.  If you read my blog you will not be surprise to know that puppets(I  used to make them and put on puppet shows with my children), poetry and found object art are a few of my favorite things.

Books are too and Ashley Bryan is one of my favorite writers.

So I feel like he created this book just for me.  And my friend knows me well!

Ashley Bryan's Puppets  is lush with imagination and creativity.   His puppets are created from bits of sea glass and driftwood, fishing nets and bleached bones.  He is endowed with the artists eye and the ability to look at an object and see something new.  From these found objects he has created a family of puppets and for each one he has written a poem.  What child would not itch to create this kind of whimsy and write their own poems?

And speaking of found object crafts, creativity and imagination this book makes a great companion book for Galimoto written by yours truly.  There is a reason this book is still selling strong after more than twenty years.  Children love to imagine and create....all over the world.

Thank you Nancy Bo Flood.  Check out her books and life.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Make a Writer's Day! Why I love librarians!

It's kind of dreary here on the rez.  Rainy, damp, cold.

Difficult to get going on a day like today.

Then this bit of sunshine from a School Librarian:

Although my school is in central Illinois, my 3rd grade students found much in common with Facile and his family.  Our school population is  76 % free or reduced lunch and   61% minority.  The themes of hope and determination really resonated with my kids.  They know these are the characteristics needed to be successful, and this book is an excellent example of culturally responsive literature.  Thanks, Karen!

It's nice to hear from readers and their adults.

Made my day!

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

May Your New Year be Magic.

A friend of mine gave me a gift last week.  She took me to see the fairy houses hidden along the Tranquility Trail in Frick Park Pittsburgh.  There have been been ten reportedly found.  We saw about five.

Five tiny dwellings harbored at the base of trees and cuddled in logs.  Magic!

And unexpected!  I am usually a passionate observer of nature.  I found that while exploring the fairy world I suddenly saw things I had not noticed in ways I had not seen them before.


And imagine!  My imagination has been captured.  Who built these dwellings?  Who lives in them?  So much for a writer to ponder.

The Creative!  I am not only passionate about nature but about found object art.  So I have found a new wonder and new possibilities and inspiration.

Don't be surprised if tiny abodes begin appearing on mesas or canyons near my home in the southwest.  I can imagine that fairies in the desert live in very different tiny homes built out of sun bleached bones and stones and bits of cactus perhaps.

Their stories will be different too.

Look closely for the Fairy dust behind the doors in life.

 Carry it with you.

 And then this surprise from my photography instructor.  A Holiday photo.   Darcy Pino
There is a theme here.  As a writer I am always searching out the themes.

Wishing you magic and creativity, inspiration and surprises this New Year.  Embrace the unexpected and find Joy in the tiny things.

The Snow Fairy

Claude McKay
And don't forget the poetry in life.  Along the same theme I share with you this poem.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Christmas on the Rez: A Holiday Album

Even on the Rez...stockings are hung,

Hoping for a white Christmas,

A bazaar every weekend at churches and schools and community centers,

Cactuses are lit up,

Colored lights shine from out on the mesa

and closer to home.

And my Reena-dear ;-) enjoys a Christmas treat.

Wishing you Joy and Peace for the Holidays.