Joell and Jeanne and I met because of the fire in the Oakland Hills in 1991. We were all raising our young kids in the fire zone. The fire transformed our lives, friendships and art. It was a bond in our friendships that was unlike any other and kept us close.
As the years passed we started going out to a house on the beach in West Marin to do art together; it was our retreat, a place to regroup, challenge each other and ourselves. We began to affectionately call the house The Hermitage, it was a sacred place where art was King.
With the ocean on one side, the protected courtyard became the perfect place to set up worktables and art supplies and share ideas, make lino block prints, paint with ink, try out new acrylics, make messes and have fun.
In 2007, Joell went to Mallorca for a workshop with her teacher Sas Colby who taught about art books. Joell came home with a book titled The Clicking, I was so intrigued by, I’d never seen anything like it. Early in 2008, Jeanne took a local workshop with Sas and made this amazing book about Ginko Trees. When I realized Sas was teaching a workshop in Taos in July of 2008 I made the decision to go. It changed everything for me: we wrote poetry, we worked with cut paper art, and we altered postcards and made art books. A few years later in 2011, I went to Sas’ art retreat in Mallorca and spent an additional 3 weeks in Barcelona exploring and painting and making more books.
At the beach house, along with our solitary work, we usually collaborate on a book and some pass around postcards. We usually send the postcards to friends we feel are in need of art and attention. I think the most beautiful book of all is a healing book we made for a friend who was in a health crisis.
All of my books have some meaning or experience or intention just beneath the surface. Books seem to help me clarify the images that show up in my paintings and my intentions during times of change or struggle. They are loose, magical, impermanent, a place to play.
Over the years books have become gifts, statements of friendship, a place to write a collaborative story, a way to set things straight. I see a beautiful story when I look at the books we’ve made over the years at the beach and in our own studios.