Thursday, December 31, 2009

Once in a Blue Moon!

Tonight is the last night of 2009 (on this side of the world at least) and guess what else it is... a blue moon!! Ever wonder where the phrase comes from? A blue moon refers to the second full moon within one month. We had a full moon on December 2nd and now again today! And the fact that it's on New Years Eve is special as well, because that won't happen again until 2028!

I've been in love with the moon for a long time now... I've always said that I'm happiest with my face to the wind, with the ones I love, or underneath the moon. I toast to her tonight ! :)

(image from google image search: not my own!)

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

light from my camera **

The following photographs were all taken in Italy. Somehow, I'd like them to be paired with as few words as possible, as the main theme throughout all my photography is more of what you can feel than what you can see. Taken with my 35mm Pentax on black & white film and developed by my own two hands. I think you can really feel the connection I have with these images. I will leave plenty of white space in between them , room for * * breathing * *

bisbigli della mattina ( whispers in the morning )

bisbigli della mattina

( whispers of the morning )

this is not a lonely glass ;)

when the moon sails out

cuando sale la luna

we breathe

( silent breathing )


( ** )

Friday, December 25, 2009

Buon Natale, Mondo!

grandma !!!!!!!!!!!!!
Some people, as far as the senses are concerned, just feel like home.
~Megan Beardsley, a girl in my book making class this past fall

"Merry Christmas, World!"
from Marissa and the baby snowmen and all the little stars **

snowmen in the making :)
Aren't you happy to know that I am still making miniature things?

:] + ^o^ = <3

le mie stelline :) ** * *
One of my favorite Italian words: stellina* (little star)

I never forget the places I've been. :)
an italian candy cane :)

Friday, December 18, 2009

I knew it !!

Word on the street : It is officially snowing in Firenze !! I knew it would happen!! I knew it! How many doubted me? "It doesn't snow here, every 5 years maybe!" I'm ecstatic for the Florentines, but also melancholy because I didn't get to see it with my own eyes. I wonder if all those times I wrote "neve, vieni **" on the fogging windows helped too. If only that worked in the desert too ;)

Photos from Lorenzo! Che bellissimo!! Che magico! I am so happy !!!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Soul


I heard once that certain Native American tribes used to be afraid of cars and airplanes because they moved at such speeds that the soul got left behind and would need time to catch up.

I think I'm catching up slowly.

as the sun sets in the sky

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


It is possible that it will be snowing my last two days here !!!!!!!!
Che magico!! **

* * *
The night before I found this magical news out, I read the first page of a novel by Maxence Fermine titled Neve. Neve means "snow." People are doubting me, but I know it will snow! I believe it will happen. . .

Vento invernale
Un monaco scinto
Cammina nel bosco
~ Issa

deja blue

La neve è una poesia. Una poesia che cade dalle nuvole in fiocchi bianchi e leggeri. Questa poesia arriva dalle labra del cielo, dalla mano di Dio.

(The snow is a poem. A poem that falls from the clouds in weightless white flakes. This poem arrives from the lips of the sky, from the hand of God.)

Monday, November 30, 2009

Tiny Worlds **

I have always had a fascination for tiny things. Raindrops, dollhouses, pieces of glitter, "silt" that you could find on the playground, pocket-sized board games, teenie beanie babies(!!), rainbow sprinkles, tiny kids with their miniature features! and so on. When I was younger I used to make tiny things out of clay, felt, toothpicks...anything I could think of, really. I even wounded my hand early one morning when I was 8 making a house out of popsicle sticks. I don't know why, I just LOVE miniature things. I still do!!

Tiny photographic prints... your first peek at my black & white photos!!

One of my many ideas is to make miniature worlds... fare mondi piccoli. I want to create places where we can all go and have a smile. It began with two medium-sized paintings of tree branches, intricately sculpted, reaching, growing, breathing. . . You can't really tell from this photograph, but the branches have become 3-dimensional rather than flat. I literally build them up to the point where the paint casts shadows on itself under bright lights.

On November 5th, I went to an art store with the intention of buying a huge canvas to try my luck at working large. I came out with 17 canvases ranging in size from 4x6 cm to 6x7 cm. As soon as I saw them, I knew I had to bring them to life!! It was too perfect for words.
Not even the canvas could escape the snow!

a fairy's home
A fairy's home, perhaps.

morning snow
Vallee says this one looks just like a Colorado morning sky on the first day of snow.

These painting turned into a cohesive piece, which was exhibited in the art gallery at my school.

Did you know that we have 33 vertebrae? 7 of which connect our body to our head and through which blood is carried to the brain. . . pretty important stuff, right? ;)

The response was generally good, lots of "They're so adorable!" But the best compliment I received by far was something along the lines of . . ."I love your trees. I want to be there."

...I love trees too... ^.^

Friday, November 27, 2009

Thanksgiving, Italian/Filo-Style

Last night, my painting professor Lorenzo (Remember the "Filo"?) invited us all over for Thanksgiving to see his house and studio. Never before have I seen a house so unique, so full of character, so full of love. Filo & primary colors literally everywhere ~ I kept smiling at every new discovery. It was a warm experience, being in a real home again and I can quite honestly say that never before have I ever celebrated Thanksgiving with . . . PIZZA! :D

Our class standing in Lorenzo's Studio. I wish I could describe how much BLUE, YELLOW, RED there is everywhere!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Book Arts ~ "L'arte del libro"

Have I told you that I am learning how to make books? Yes. As in, fabricate a book from scratch. Each piece of paper must be cut down to the size you want, even the board to make hard covers. All you really need aside from paper & hard board is a ruler, a razor, a cutting board, a "bone" tool for folding, an awl for poking holes, glue, needles, and thread. The possibilities are endless.

I started with these little guys. Very simple. A heavy-ish paper (Canson) + computer weight paper + thread! Comes out like a little pamphlet. I made an extra one for fun. He's green and I use him for taking notes in Italian class. (Capisci l'italiano?)
simple pamphlet stitch journals

This is a sketchbook I made toward the beginning of the semester. It's called an accordion book, as the paper folds back and an accordion! (There is a man who regularly plays the accordion on my street!) I've realized that accordion structures can easily become sculpture too. ^.^
sketchbook : accordion style
book as sculpture

...and my personal favorite so far... the *Japanese* binding! I made the hardcover case as well as the pink/yellow/blue papers myself.

(more photos on my flickr*)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Fairies, Sparks, Ideas **

I woke up this morning and made an idea box. I'm the kind of person who writes down thoughts and ideas and names on any kind of paper I can find. Usually I carry a notebook around with me, but I've found myself writing on all sorts of scraps I decided to make this little central location for all of them to meet and mix and mingle and grow. What's funny is that I usually find that all my ideas and goals somehow find a way to manifest themselves and become reality. . . I really believe in the power of the mind to MAKE THINGS HAPPEN.

For instance, there have been a few mosquitoes returning to our apartment recently, but I haven't gotten one bite yet. When I see them, I don't duck away I just acknowledge their presence and they don't touch me. Sometimes I even say "hello."

I lit 9 sparklers in my room and took photos and videos which I will one day make use of. I've had this idea for a while... it's like magic!! Sparks flying! What about in slow motion?? Or super fast? I'm letting this idea sit for now, but I think about these tiny sparks often. Perhaps that's why I'm so fond of the Asterisk key ** * * * * * *! ! *! * *! *!! *

Light & Magic

By the way, did you know that "Fairy Bread" is a popular snack in Australia? Wonderbread + Butter + Sprinkles a.k.a "100s and 1000s"-- Delicious?!

(*This fairy bread was made by Millie*)

Saturday, November 14, 2009

I swim in music.

Last night after going out for some amazing pizza (apple & gorgonzola, anyone? it's my favorite) a group of us happened upon Santa Croce, a church that is close to the Arno River. There was an unseen organist playing and so we all sat down in the pews and began to listen. It honestly felt like the entire room was just filled with music, like we were floating and at the same time so grounded, like we were inside music. Like the music was water, YES! I just had this realization now, after actually experiencing it! It felt like the music... was... water. Filling a room. Music is water that you can breathe in! It was exhilarating and wonderful and everyone was silent, just sitting there and listening to the music. Imagine it & you can be there too!! ~~ We should always use our imaginations :)

By the way, here is the link to the song that I referred to in the last post. The video itself is a little strange, so I suggest just listening to the song. Although I love videos pairing music and sound, I'm not always interested in the idea of putting visuals to music... It's just beautiful on its own.

Music should always be loud so we can feel its vibrations and at the same time as soft as a whisper. I love seemingly opposing phrases. . . They've always made sense to me.


Thursday, November 12, 2009

il vento (the wind)

Vorrei imparare dal vento a respirare,
I want to learn from the wind how to breathe . . .

dalla pioggia a cadere,
from the rain how to fall . . .

dalla corrente a portare le cose dove non vogliono andare
from the currents how to carry the things where they don't want to go . . .

e avere la pazienza della onde di andare e venire,
ricominciare a fluire . . .

and to have the patience of the waves that come and go,
to begin to flow again. . .
il vento
I found these lovely tree*spirits in Fiesole. Doesn't it look like they are dancing with each other? They ARE. :)

Monday, November 9, 2009

One-Line stories

"She was like the balloon ... except she never got stuck."

She was like the balloon
. . . except she never got stuck.

Thursday, November 5, 2009


I turn 20 tomorrow in this city.
I am the author of my own life. I can make my dreams come true.
La vita è bella! **
Photo: 31 marzo 2007

Saturday, October 31, 2009

inspired by music & the sea

We need to be like water. When water comes across a stone, it doesn't stop and wonder "should I go back? should I go forward? should I stay here?" It simply continues on its way in one fluid motion. Water is powerful, water is calm. It can be anything... we can be anything.

an excerpt from my journal mid-september-ish, shortly after a trip to Viareggio (a nearby beach) ** addressed to no one & everyone in specific.

i want to feel alive like this song, each pulse and my heart lifts, lifts until it reaches the point where it feels like it's going to burst but instead you sing & the song just comes out, breathing disappears between the notes and surfaces like your lungs gasping for air in the sea, the breeze feels colder on your wet face, your hair clings to your body and you are facing the sun, a perfect path illuminated and dancing on the water's surface, only broken by our bodies, chests rising and falling, a foot peeking out, toes wiggling, the water tickles and pulls and shimmers into every pore of your skin, the sunlight melts, you become the sun and the water and the waves and the breaths, gasps, you are alive

You are alive & you are perfect.

behold, the sea.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

just remembering...

(click to see larger)
we were looking at each other
open the gate
little hands

we were all just breathing**

Monday, October 26, 2009

A fantastic song

Music makes my heart beat faster.

Thursday, October 22, 2009


I visited the Alinari Museum of Photography this past week. It was fabulous, but honestly the best part of the entire exhibit was this little "Ferrania" guy.:o)How could I not smile back? (^.^)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Sun & Water

listen to the waves
Speaking of the sun and the water... here is a sneak peek of my current paintings in progress.
where sea and sun converge

Dear Tanzania

a memory on the wall

Dear Tanzania,
I miss you every day. There has not been a single day (I do not exaggerate this point!) where I have not mentioned you out loud. . . Whether it's a Swahili word or phrase, a memory of a person, a whispered "pole pole" to myself. . . you remain in my thoughts, my mind, my heart, my very being. I still listen to the songs. "Nimechoka" -- beep! beep! "La Vie en Rose" as sung by Humphrey, Angel, Munira, Winifrida, and so many more!

And just the other day, we had a toga-themed birthday celebration. I wasn't going to partake in the dressing up until someone threw my kitenge (which has been playing with the wind on our balcony for the past month) in my direction and that little lightbulb popped up over my head. "OF COURSE!" I thought. And that was the first time I actually used my kitenge for its common purpose -- clothing!

I felt so alive and full of energy wearing the sun and the water on my body. . .

Haraka haraka haina baracka. (HASTE HASTE HAS NO BLESSING) I still repeat it to myself. Those words have burrowed their way through my skin, into my heart, the blood in my veins. When you slow down, not only does breathing become easier, but you can start to focus on it...

And! The beautiful thing is that
I am breathing,
YOU are breathing,
She is breathing,
He is breathing,
Animals are breathing,
Fish are breathing,
The tree is breathing,
The birds are breathing,
The sky, wind, water, fire, sun, stars, moons, pebbles, grass, .. . . . . .