Category Archives: not about shibori

Museum Ethics 101

You know I don’t want to have to go here again. You do. But Here We Are. Once again.

Let’s restate this, o n e  m o r e  t i m e.

If you are teaching a class, use your own work to sell or market the class. Your work. Not someone else’s. Doing so is unethical and fraudulent. If you are a museum, make sure the images you are using to sell these classes are the works of the instructor you have hired.

In this day and age you cannot simply say you “didn’t know”, you “thought it was OK”, or that “it wasn’t my responsibility”.  Your desire to “pretty up” your website does not supersede copyright infringement laws.

I thought a museum was the caretaker of art, artists, and artworks. If not museums, then what is your contribution to the art world? What happened to being a good citizen of the art community?

Here is a good set of rules to go by:

You stole an image, used it fraudulently for commercial purposes, and made money from it. You used it on your website to sell workshops. You posted about it all over the web and your various social media sites.

The United States statutory damages for copyright infringement are set out in 17 U.S.C. 504 of the U.S. Code. The basic level of damages is between $750 and $30,000 per work at the discretion of the court.  Isn’t it easier and more cost effective to use your own work?

What?  You don’t have any credible work to show? No work worthy of museum presentation?   Ethics people!!  Do they teach you nothing these days??  Is this how you wish to be known, as someone who steals the work of others?

A letter has been sent.  Screenshots taken. Requests made. Their response?

We’re “looking into it”.

What should happen?
I’m just wondering…


There have been some changes around here. There will be more coming.

Some things are Free(r).

Free to choose, free to contribute or not. Free to participate in freedom.

Free to be…Free(r)

Feel Free 

Oh yeah-today WordPress reminded me I’ve been blogging for 9 years now! (And I did one year before that on the old Blogger.)  That makes 10 years of blogging.  Somehow I believe it. Thanks for following along.  I know some of you have been here since the beginning. And guess what?  We’re still here.  A few of us are not, and I do miss you…

9 years
thanks WordPress!

just wondering

the reduction of something to nothing more than a commodity is what you are doing. 

are you aware of what you are doing? do you even care? 

to copy the work of another without a thought other than to gain monetary enrichment – is money your God? 

do you understand from where the material you work with eminates? how it comes into being? do you teach others of this eminence? do you reach for the deepest understanding through your work and pass that knowledge along? or are you just seeking financial rewards in the moment, unaware and uncaring of that which you may destroy along the way? 

please think about what you are doing. 

I realize it may be hard to understand when there really is no intention other than personal enrichment- but try to imagine another view. 

I really don’t know what else to say.  






my what a proboscis!

Metamorphosis, transformation, balance, grace, and the ability to accept change. The monarch butterfly offers itself as a beautiful example of such ideas.  We have yet to know if the changes we humans are imposing on the world will end their beautiful illustration of these useful qualities.

You likely know that for the past few years I have been growing milkweed in the yard to tempt them into laying some eggs here.  Finally- this year, success!

monarch laying eggs on backyard milkweed!

monarch laying eggs on backyard milkweed!

on tattered wings...

on tattered wings…

this was in March..then, on June 21st (summer soltice!) I found these guys munching happily…

cat detail

cats munching on milkweed in yard

cats munching on milkweed in yard

Unfortunately, they ended up being overtaken by by other pests.  Some kind of orange bug. Even their friends the ladybugs couldn’t keep ahead of the deluge. But I am not daunted! Another spring awaits!

And in the meantime I went to Houston to do the show and teach and when I returned I had brought back a couple of friends-two to be exact.  They had been hanging out in the garden across the street from the Hilton. They were fine travelers.

one of two friends...

one of two friends…

By the next day the first one had exchanged his skin for a chrysalis and 24 hours later so had the second one.

monarch chrysalis

monarch chrysalis

I was in awe…such beauty to marvel at.  To observe…
The gold “beads” that developed intrigued. They were like real gold. More beautiful than any gold ever seen.  I wondered at their relevance (as if beauty needs relevance to exist).  I searched google trying to find an answer… almost glad not to find any real consensus.  Ahhh…beauty just because.

But reading that it took 10 -12 days for the butterfly to emerge I waited-the kitchen table once again the scene of discovery, science and nature observatory.  Finally, one morning I came into the kitchen and discovered that one of the two chrysalis’ had turned black! Horrors! What had I done?  I was a monarch killer.  I decided to go look it up online and see what had happened.
Delightfully, I read that this is what happens when they are about to emerge!  So for the next two mornings I dutifully watched the two beings emerge.  It was amazing, gorgeous, inspiring and riveting…soon, the chrysalis turned more papery and transparent and you could see through-

prior to emerging

prior to emerging

and then…

it begins

it begins

feet first!

feet first!

head down!

head down!



a monarch emerged!

a monarch emerged!

-kind of fat and wrinkly, all this from inside that small chrysalis.  Liquid in the plump abdomen gets pumped into the wings and they hang, dry, and rest.

my what a proboscis!

my what a proboscis!

So off to the backyard they went to finish resting, first one, then the other.  When they met it was nothing short of a joyous reuniting! (see the video for how exciting…)

we meet again

we meet again!

the full monty

the full monty

almost a full 4″ fully spread!  they played together a bit in the lemon tree where I draped a few blossoms from around the yard.  They were all excited when I placed the flowers near them and immediately they rushed toward them to nourish themselves.  It had been a very long trip…

Eventually, after about an hour they flew to the persimmon tree and one at a time after circling above they headed over the back fence and away.

I also did a short video of the emerging monarch-

Monarch habitats continue to be in decline significantly in parallel with the rapid adoption of glyphosate-tolerant corn and soybeans and, since 2006, the rapid expansion of corn and soy acreage to accommodate the production of biofuels (Brower et al, 2011a,b, Pleasants and Oberhauser, 2012 and Taylor, 2012). Additionally, roadside spraying of pesticides and herbicides impacts monarchs and their habitats.

What else can we do to improve monarch habitat? We need to change our mowing practices. Protect our roadside native vegetation. Stop spraying herbicides, and mow less frequently or not at all. Speak up and tell city officials that we do not want them to mow or spray, and pat them on the back when they listen. Ask local plant nurseries to carry milkweed and native plants that are pesticide-free. Volunteer on nature preserves and at city parks—encourage management to plant milkweed. Collect milkweed seeds. Monitor a milkweed patch. Educate the public—through school programs, talks at local libraries, displays at nature centers, articles in the newspaper or on radio—by any means we have at our disposal. Realize that no one person can do it alone, we all have to pitch in—and every one of us has a voice that is valuable. (from

Alone, we cannot do much. but each of us in our small part can together do a lot. This year, I am devoting the back corner of the yard to milkweed.  And I’m planting more butterfly friendly plants.  I already have milkweed sprouting up everywhere in the yard.  (Once you start growing it, it just keeps on coming back…the seeds are windblown and prolific.) I even gathered some seeds from another type of milkweed when I was up north this year.  I wonder how they will do down here…

Want a job related to preserving and monitoring monarchs?

more info and a great interview regarding the current state of monarch population.

a video on monarch migration

(having a little flu-induced down time and feeling a bit better today.  cleaning out some photos and writing a bit…back to it in a day or so me thinks…)

mata ne!


gathering or collecting? (a workshop with Julia Parker)

Yosemite meadow-the Native Americans kept this area free from trees and saplings, it is now filled with trees that encroach on the meadow where materials and acorns were once gathered.

Yosemite meadow-the Native Americans once kept this area free from trees and saplings, it is now filled with trees that encroach on the meadow where materials and acorns were once gathered.

I am still gathering my thoughts here- it will take some time for them to settle in and find a place to live. but in the meantime, a few photos….

Among the very many wonderful pieces of wisdom shared at the recent basket workshop in Yosemite with Grandmother Julia Parker, her daughter Lucy, and granddaughter Ursula was the distinction between gathering and collecting.  Am I a gatherer or a collector?

Lucy explains the valley floor-how Yosemite indians tended it and kept it free of non native plants.

Lucy explains the valley floor-how Yosemite indians tended it and kept it free of non native plants.

Am I gathering things with intention of using them in the short term or collecting things to have them for some other reason-perhaps without a specific purpose?  Often we get caught up in the collecting of things-for various reasons.  But what if we only had what we needed now- in the present?  My, the world would look so much different!

bracken fern roots were carefully dug with a digging stick, dried and prepared for basketmaking.

bracken fern roots were carefully dug with a digging stick, dried and prepared for basketmaking.

sedge grass is used in many ways in basketry- here you can see sedge, bracken fern and milkweed

sedge grass is used in many ways in basketry- here you can see sedge, bracken fern and milkweed

detail of milkweed pod- the stalk is used.  these are different than the ones i grow-

detail of milkweed pod- the stalk is used. these are different than the ones i grow-

three generations- Ursula, Julia, and Lucy.  it was a beautiful experience.

three generations- Ursula, Julia, and Lucy. it was a beautiful experience.

Lucy demonstrates working with the willow under Julia's watchful eye.

Lucy demonstrates working with the willow under Julia’s watchful eye.

some of the participants finished baskets

some of the participants finished baskets-using twining technique. tule,willow and cattail. small example of a burden basket.

Other highlights of the three days include walking through the wonderful basketry exhibit with Julia herself (i’d provide you with a link but since the federal “government” is shut down there is no link!)  Just trust me- it was fantastic and walking through it with Julia and Lucy was really wonderful.  A special visit into the roundhouse where Julia and Lucy performed a special happy dance and song along with a blessing. Sitting outside under the trees making baskets while deer wandered through and hearing stories-priceless!

And on another exciting note- the first copy of Julia’s new book  , Scrape the Willow until it Sings  was delivered to her during the workshop.  We all got to look at it and it will be available soon from Heyday Books. It looks wonderful.  I had a copy of her previous book, It will Live Forever which is a wonderful introduction to not only acorn culture in Yosemite but also includes the baskets used to gather and process the acorns into food.  She graciously signed my copy.  She will be in San Francisco Oct. 20th for a book signing if you are fortunate enough to be able to go.

A basket can hold many things- food, objects, water-even thoughts and ideas. I gathered some cattail while I was at my friends cabin.  They are drying out in the driveway on top of the car (the dogs can’t get them there).

I intend to make a cattail basket when I return from Houston mid November-and fill it with memories from this time.  To use in the garden- a gathering basket. We all gave away our first baskets as tradition dictates.

There is a lot to do now to get ready for Houston.  I don’t even know where to start today….

just somewhere i suppose.