As an environmental artist I work with site energies and their stored memories to create art work that reconnects viewers to the Earth and back to the sites. I work with dreams, meditation and deep intuition—each site giving me a unique and special message. Many of us have become disconnected from the Earth and I feel a sense of urgency to communicate the messages the Earth has shared with me in a way that can be understood by the heart and soul as opposed to the mind and intellect.
I love being an artist but writing is truly my first love and I’ve always been torn between the two. I’ve been writing stories since I was a child; I wrote my first short story when I was six and started a novel at twelve. During my fine art degree I took two years of creative writing and was encouraged by my writing teachers to switch from visual art to writing. My work both at galleries and at sites is also a type of storytelling, albeit a visual and multi-sensory one. By engaging the imagination storytelling is a powerful way to share messages as a way of creating lasting change and awareness. Through the magic of storytelling I am able to blend fiction and non-fiction into an exciting adventure that communicates not only messages from the Earth and Nature but also encourages readers to access their own inner power and innate awareness of their connections to Nature.
Most of my exhibitions involved workshops with children and youth, including two years as an artist-in-residence in Vancouver schools, and I always share with students how I work at sites and what is involved. On one occasion, I was at an inner city high school explaining to the students that I work with dreams and intuition and had just shared a particular dream and how it manifested in the work at a site. A young man suddenly stood up, looking amazed, and said, “You mean you work with dreams? Does that mean that I can too?” I knew in that moment that a door had just opened in his mind. I have carried that moment with me like a worry stone, contemplating and wondering how I could help others, regardless of age, remember that they too can work with their dreams and intuition to create a deeper connection to the Earth, the natural world and themselves.
A few months after that incident, I moved to Salt Spring Island from North Vancouver after a weekend visit to this magical island. When I first drove off the ferry in Vesuvius Bay, I felt as if every tree was sending me a welcoming hug … I actually began to cry. So deep was the feeling that I was home, and that this was where I belonged, that within 24 hours of arriving I was planning my move. Little did I know at that the time that the Island has a mind of its own and tests and changes those that choose to live here. I arrived with big plans to invite participants from all over the world to attend environmental art workshops and retreats. I’d just returned from teaching a workshop in Tokyo, Japan and wanted to share this beautiful part of the world with participants. I threw myself into plans and visited potential retreat locations. A few weeks later I was emergency moved out of the seaside home I’d rented … it was completely mold infested. I was sick for a very long time, not able to keep up my frenetic pace. I had to stop. I had become like the worry stone and the Island was smoothing my edges, polishing off the things that were no longer needed. The second house I moved to also had mold as well as otters under the floors and rats on the roof. Islanders just smiled and said, but the Island keeps giving you houses to move to! The third house on the same road as the first two—was my dream home.
It was here that I truly began to heal. It was here, after I’d been completely divested of any big ideas of workshops and retreats or big art projects, that the Hunters of the Dream story quietly began to arrive. At first it was like catching the scent of succulent flowers on a warm spring breeze. Elusive. Testing. Teasing. Eagles would land in the trees outside my window and watch me as I sat at my writing desk, as I welcomed the characters and began to enter the magical world of crafting, creating and collaborating with the story. I began to understand that I could weave together bits of non-fiction, dreams and experiences I’d had at sites, with this fictional story that was developing and in the process bring together all of the threads of my understandings of this world and our connections to this magnificent Earth and her incredible inhabitants.
This is how I began to welcome the Hunters of the Dream story and I can’t wait to share it with you!
Buy a Print Book – Plant a Tree
I believe in giving back and have been carrying a huge dream to co-create a forest in a previously logged location. I began to sketch plans for this over ten years ago but was never clear on how this might be achieved. As the Hunters of the Dream story began to unfold I had the idea that if a tree was planted for each book sold, then together with readers we could plant the Eco Heart Forest, a forest that readers of the book could one day visit. For me this is a beautiful gesture of return on the part of the readers. The material to create print books comes from trees, your act of buying a book returns a tree to the forest and creates a beautiful circle of completion.