The Boundary Project
collaboration with Nikyta Palmisani, Anya Gleizer, Pablo Fernández Velasco, Katja Lehmann, Eleanor Holton, Eleanor Capstick, Alice Hackney, Katrine Spilling, and Neeli Malik
Lopez Island, WA
The Boundary Project began in Oxford through part of the ABC Network / The Flute and the Bowl in Spring of 2022. I joined the project in July of 2022 as an artist, and worked directly with Nikyta Palmisani, Anya Gleizer, and Pablo Fernández for a two-week exercise on local eating and artistic cartography of the local food systems that were feeding us on Lopez Island. At the end of the two weeks we were able to present the work and give an artists talk about what we had learned at Alchemy Art Center on San Juan Island.
The Boundary project explores how to teach and learn transformative change, resilience, sustainable behaviour and care for the world in the face of an ecological crisis. Led through a series of epistemic dialogues and interactions at the crossroads of art and science the partner organizations Oxford University’s Flute&Bowl and UdK Berlin will collaborate to create a novel course curriculum reflecting a radical new interdisciplinary pedagogy.
In the fall of 2022, a new chapter of the project was approved, and Nikyta (who also resides on Lopez Island) and I began scheming about what we could bring to this next chapter, and how best to inspire others with our work.
I have been investigating how to engage with nourishment that grows in your boundary of place, as well as exploring a new passion for wearable and historically inspired textile art. So, for this chapter of the Boundary Project, Nikyta and I decided to create wearable handmade stories and ballads of love and place in wool, and hopefully provide much food for thought and action around participating in sustainable food systems in the process.
I find that my ability to relate to land, place, and boundary is deeply connected to and informed by my ancestral histories of these relationships, and so my work on navigating a present day food system is inextricably tied to the past and the places I come from.
The garment that I made for this project draws on ancestral reservoirs, specifically from Eastern Europe and times past, to tell stories through textiles and embroidery. I enjoy the practicality and function of wearable art to enhance the act of living, and always create with a endeavor from Elsie de Wolfe in mind — “I will make everything around me beautiful. That will be my life.” The purpose of my textile art making is to tell stories in beauty while also being functional, and I am currently stitching with motifs from both ancient ancestral stories and my own present life. Themes and images of nourishment that have fed me and my ancestors as well as the current foods that feed me within the sea bounded place of Lopez Island where my family lives close to the land are key features and inspirations too.
Nikyta is also exploring the placehood of Lopez Island and its echos of island living to the larger comparison of the British Isles. She is working with the confluence of art, biodiversity and climate within images of reweaving myceliolocigal webs of health and resilience both physically within regenerative agricultural practices on Lopez Island and metaphorically within the interconnected relationships of healthy community. She is hand carding and felting local islands wool and needle felting story and image onto wearable art in parallel with how we also literally wear the food systems we eat on our physical bodies.
In November of 2022, Nikyta and I are traveling to Oxford for an art show at St. Johns College where we will be presenting our textile work alongside the work of the other artists and scientists involved in this project, and hopefully inspiring and educating others about how to reintegrate into their mycelial community of local food and nourishment.
The Nourishing Ancestor Project
Using life coaching to examine how we are being nourishing ancestors
“How are you being a nourishing ancestor?”
This is the question I spent hours talking about this spring. I’d just completed Co-Active Institute’s core training, and was high on the potential of coaching to shift destructive ways of being to nourishing ones, starting on an individual level.
I coached dozens on this question and fantasized about being able to keep working with some more long term.
Most of the people that I worked with were ones I knew from my community, who were showing up with curiosity and the desire to help me out. Some sessions were amazing and affirming. Most were challenging. But more often than not, I walked away feeling like I’d just engaged in reciprocity— not as a life coach, but as a niece/granddaughter/daughter of the folks I talked to. (The art piece above is the feeling of what came out of those sessions). I didn’t feel inspired to stick to the professionalism of coaching, I wanted to get deep and personal with the intention, especially as I witnessed the coaching world move towards the corporate and money driven in a strong current. In trying to coach about being a nourishing ancestor, I ended up feeling like the most nourishing thing I could do was lean back to old wisdom. It felt as though the best thing I could offer especially to the people around me began with the work of my hands. It was not the intentional and professional setting of coaching that I now yearned for, it was the rough and beautiful, the act of every day things that hold our world together.
Instead of spending your $ trying to make change with coaching, I’d invite you to do the every day things first, the old things, and the necessary, sometimes uncomfortable, change making things— spend your $ sharing your abundant resources, fighting for those who are oppressed, investing in your mycelial community of place. Spend those hours learning folk craft on the ground at the side of wisdom keepers. Go outside. Spend your time figuring out how you are oppressing and how to change that. Spend your time learning about reciprocity, about trust, about joy and the magic that happens over good food.
When it comes to being, I have found, your actions do weigh more than words.