AEDM 23: Medusa – Rumble Strips

AEDM 23: Medusa – Rumble Strips

Medusa - 24"x36", acrylic on canvass by Tammy Vitale

Medusa – 24″x36″, acrylic on canvass by Tammy Vitale

Here is an amazing post that pretty much explains what I’ve been trying to say the past week, but says it way better:

This past 2 weeks, the energy has seen a lot of us deep-diving. 
Diving down into the depths of ourselves – our feelings, our thoughts, our beliefs, our patterns, our life journey. 
Soul diving.
It’s as if an electric current is pulsing through your body, wiring and firing you to awaken, awaken, awaken. 
More and more and more.  
To shed and cleanse, to release and intend.
Peace comes, clarity comes, followed by challenge, distraction, emotion, disorientation,restlessness
A feeling that things must be going wrong, or need to be changed and quickly.
Yet you do not have the energy to make the changes in the timescale you feel you need to. 
This is electricity, moving through your energy field and the field of the collective.

detail, Medusa, by Tammy Vitale.  words for generations to follow to wonder about.

detail, Medusa, by Tammy Vitale. words for generations to follow to wonder about.

This is the electrified living of these times, bringing us all to clearing.
It can be relentless – it can make you mad, bring you to sadness, and then, it can elevate you into a moment of blinding clarity. 
And yet the waves of inner-change keep coming…
Are you feeling it?   A lot of folks I know are, so it isn’t just me.  Wide open.  VERY interesting.
So I had great intentions of making something new for today, but I worked this morning longer than usual because there was a communal gathering and breaking of bread afterwards.  Then hubby and I had to go grocery shopping.  You know, the mundane things that need to keep happening even in the face of things like the energy of the above description.  And by the time we were home it was dark and my body doesn’t do well with dark – it looks out the window and says:  hey!  it’s dark.  Time to sleep.  I hung out on the computer instead.
detail Medusa - did you know that traditionally Pegasus was born from Medusa's blood?  Medusa was framed you know.

detail Medusa – did you know that traditionally Pegasus was born from Medusa’s blood? Medusa was framed you know.

I actually have a spirit doll waiting in the bead room, and some holiday sewing that I better think hard about, and more pieces to make for raku this coming Friday – that’s going to be a fast push to fire – so tomorrow morning it’s into the studio and no excuses.

Meanwhile, here’s a poem that’s interesting, from the 90s where most of what I’ve been sharing comes from.  It’s based on an actual dream – at least the part about the cat and the fish.  The picture of Medusa that I have used for this post took me two years to complete.  It sat mocking me for a long time until daughter bought me some red paint and said, “Here, Ma, this is what is needs.”  And she was right and I finished it.  It has words randomly in it.  One is “rumble strips”.  That was also from daughter.  We laughed and spoke of some time in the far future when we were dead and my paintings were famous and people would make up

detail, Medusa - the finny fish - I can still see that dream in my mind's eye

detail, Medusa – the finny fish – I can still see that dream in my mind’s eye

stories about those words, which were, in actuality simply pulled out of the air for fun.  Such is art.


Medusa – Reprise


I am the chosen one
who will re-vision the world

who knew that writing it down
would make it hard and unyielding

My voice is water
and the wearing down has already begun.



smell of crushed herbs
wreath of healing amidst
dark night’s sweating dreams

there is blood here
on forgotten ribbons snaking
like streamers that could herald spring
but do not.

The wound is raw
the edges serrated, torn and tinged

How to cut it out and still
still remain alive.



In the dream the yellow cat with six eyes
longs to be touched
taken from the darkness where it lives
beside the cartoon house
with rainbow bricks.

The river is rising.  It has crested the old pathway
and the house may soon crumble.

But the cat loves the finny fish
flashing turquoise and blue in the meadow’s pond
and will not leave.



The rumors were all wrong.
It isn’t stone.  Never was.
Illusion has always been my specialty:

dark onto dark makes
light, the double negative
black owl eyes
reflecting white
as the moon escapes
from thick storm clouds .


The halo tells
of more rain.



There will be no front page report of this
but tonight 100 women will share the same dream.



In the cycle of seven upon seven upon seven
four more times
the ocean’s fingers have flattened sharp edges
smoothed away  visible lines.

(This is the true story.)


Open your eyes
see what you are become

Move if you wish
but first you must open your eyes

There is so much to see.

AEDM 22:  Traveling Incognito

AEDM 22: Traveling Incognito

assemblage mask by Tammy Vitale titled, Silence is...

assemblage mask by Tammy Vitale titled, Silence is…

(What is more perfect illustration of traveling incognito than a mask?!)

Gal friend, Tina Tierson (whom I mentioned in yesterday’s post of Wise and Wylde people in my life), sent along this dazzling interview with Nikki Giovanni, the poet.  An excerpt:

Today, I am 64 years old. I still look good. I appreciate and enjoy my age. While I have always liked my career, I have way more fun with it now. I’ve got nothing to prove, and I don’t care what the critics say. When I finish writing a book, I don’t push myself to start the next one; I enjoy having just written one.

A lot of people resist transition and therefore never allow themselves to enjoy who they are. Embrace the change, no matter what it is; once you do, you can learn about the new world you’re in and take advantage of it. You still bring to bear all your prior experience, but you’re riding on another level. It’s completely liberating. Now, everything I do, I do because I want to. And I believe the best is yet to come.

Yes.  Hell YES!!!

I think after a certain age it is as if we are all traveling incognito – the picture of who we are in our head not quite matching the one we visit daily in the mirror.

Year of the Woman
by Tammy Vitale



In front of the quicksilver mirror

            Mercury’s reflecting glass

she places a hand under each breast

            pushes up, arches her back,

stretches and watches the shadow

            of a 23 year old waist emerge

blurred as an old photograph.  She

            smiles.  Relaxes.  Chants, “Fifty. Fifty.


Fifty.”  Thinks of Manet’s picture,

            Olympia, and the roundness of Renoir’s

women; wonders what any one of them

            would think of Kate Moss.



If she were a month, she would be

            August.  Hot.  Wetness everywhere.

As she brushes her hair, she sees blue

            lightening, watches her hair move

around her face

            like something alive.


She has noticed that somehow she has become

             invisible.  She thinks, Crone.

And the snakes rustle in her skirt, wrap

            around her shoulders, whisper soft

as water wearing down stone, telling

            stories she has never before heard.

Loran Hills (also mentioned yesterday, Wylde Brazen Woman that she is) encourages taking and posting selfies on her Skin Deepest private Facebook page to get over the mirror shock

Raku mask by Tammy Vitale

Raku mask by Tammy Vitale

and get used to seeing ourselves as we are.  Interested in joining her page, friend her on Facebook and ask!  It’s a gathering place for soul chat!

I just finished getting certified to facilitate Conscious Aging workshops with The Noetic Science Institute (along with Loran).  As I worked through that course, it became clear to me that aging is nothing more than one more transition – but a transition that we can pull on a full lifetime of experience for.  We KNOW transitions (if we have done our introspective work), we know that some of them feel deadly yet here we still are, marching through life and sometimes (but only sometimes) taking time to note sunrises and sunsets and thinking about the magnificence of the ordinary.

And for this transition, almost no one is watching or paying attention.  We are free to try on new roles (freer than when we were teens and were trying on those roles in the context of what others think not what we wanted) with no embarrassment because no one is watching!  They never were.  We just thought they were.  NOW we know that.  Now we can participate in magnificent gatherings where we can be comrades and community instead of watching to see who is going to stab us in the back because our hair/skin/clothes/shoes/language is wrong.

That, my friends, is freedom.

As with all transitions, getting older brings with it work.

Now is the time to forgive ourselves and others for all trespasses (or come one step closer to that. It is, after all a journey and a practice, not an end).  Almost all of them, if we are truthful, were done when none of us knew any better.  We thought we were doing something that would lead us to happiness or truth or whatever.  And many may even have done that  – for a while.  But all things pass.  As we gather years on this earth, we can begin to embody that for *everything.*  And stop trying to hold on to the stuff we name good because it feels good since it is only for now.  Something else is coming.  Don’t get stuck!

In Conscious Aging, Kathleen Erickson-Freeman offers a guide for writing a life review.  I’m going to point out that 12 step programs do this in Step 4, take inventory, so it’s not a revolutionary idea.  But having had to do an autobiography for my master’s thesis, I can attest to its being hard to know where/how to start on something like this.  Here is her advice:

1. Write on cheap paper and write freely, allow for mistakes, cross things out or even throw away a page if you so choose.
2.  Avoid writing chronologically …memory is often associative and you’re more likely to recall similarly themed events that occurred over the course of your life than to remember those same events chronologically.  Your mind naturally groups experiences.  [Note:  as I have reviewed my creative work over the past 20 years for recent blog posts, this realization has come front and center for me!)

3.  Don’t allow anyone, especially family members, to “correct’ Your memoir…Our interpretation  has more to do with the context than the content.  And I would add – don’t even share what you are doing unless and until you are with someone who is safe and non-judgmental.  

4.  Go where the energy is.  What wants expression?  [draw it if the words won’t come, collage it if drawing is intimidating]

5.  Don’t pre-plan.  Allow one piece of writing to lead to the next.

6.  Start with the most important experience in your life:  events, people, memories.

AEDM 21:  All Hail Wise and Wylde Women

AEDM 21: All Hail Wise and Wylde Women

I will start with pictures for AEDM 21:

fired masks, one of which will be rakued tomorrow afternoon, and the other two, if number one goes well, next Friday, along with a few more things I may make.


3 masks by Tammy Vitale, bisque-fired for raku.  the middle will go into the fire 11/22 and we'll see about the others after that.

3 masks by Tammy Vitale, bisque-fired for raku. the middle will go into the fire 11/22 and we’ll see about the others after that.

Earrings for longest friend, Linda’s, birthday.  She doesn’t read my blog so these are safe here.  Made and mailed today.  Just in time – almost missed it.  Where has this month gone?


birthday earrings I made for my longest friend, Linda and got in the mail just in time to get to the other side of the country for her birthday - where did this week go?

birthday earrings I made for my longest friend, Linda and got in the mail just in time to get to the other side of the country for her birthday – where did this week go?

Now on to hailing Wise and Wylde Women, which is more a gratitude list to all the wise and wylde  women in my life who are helping me through this transition I find myself in the middle of aptly as described by Briand Andreas:  If you hold on to the handle, she said, it’s easier to maintain the illusion of control.  But it’s more fun if you just let the wind carry you.  Titled:  Illusion of control.

I can say that after this week, I think any notion I had about even a modicum of control has swirled off into the vast wilderness of space and I am wafting along on the wind.  I didn’t choose it, seems it must be time.  I can track it (and that has to be another post) and it seems so right that I’m not even trying to pretend I’m in control, understand, have a clue.  I’m wrung out and happily exhausted and wide open and waiting for whatever it is that wants to come through – not here yet I don’t think, because I do believe it will show up here and I’m not sure it’s done that yet.  Well, actually I think it has done that over the last 10 years I’ve blogged, and before that in journals, and everywhere and always in my art (written and visual).  What I haven’t done yet is connect the dots, and truth be told I don’t think I’m supposed to scramble to do that.  I get the distinct gut feeling that it’s all going to lay itself out in front of me and all I will have to do is record it.  Of course that remains to be seen.

At the risk of leaving someone out, I’m going to name names.  If you feel left out please recognize that this isn’t a comprehensive list, it is a list of Now.  There are so many wonderful women and men who have played into my growth that I’d be typing for years.  So this is just right NOW in the vortex of this wind storm where I find myself shedding layers and getting scrubbed all shiny and clean.

Loran Hills for her work in honoring post-menopausal women on her private Facebook page.  Loran has sparked more than one journey for me since I met her on-line several years back through the Goddess Leonie (who has since changed her name and become like all the rest of the “do this and you’ll make a million” people out there)(that’s just my opinion of course).  Most recently, in addition to providing a really safe space to explore aging, she and I urged each other on to certification on Conscious Aging through The Noetic Institute.  We are running on parallel lines.

Jacqualine Marie Baxman (J.M.) and Tina Tierson – women who came in (how?  how did you ladies come in?) several years back at about the same time and who are forever linked in my mind even though none of us has ever met face to face.  I think of both of you as guides who appeared to walk with me and say wonderful supportive things to me and inspire me.

Leah Piken Kolidas for creating Art Every Day Month, which has pushed me to let go and create *something* for the last 8 years.  This year I shall again attempt to stay with the space that writing and creating every day opens up.  I wouldn’t have known about it were it not for her.

Dhyana McKenzie who encourages me to think so far out of the box that it reminds me that the only box there is out there is the one we create in our mind.

MaryIda Rolape and Connie James who, in addition to being great art pals, have expanded my view of what is possible here and now.

Suzanne Sheldon, another artist friend, who has willingly agreed to work with me to get the creation poem at the core of my Master’s thesis into ebook form, with my art, and then work with me to take it to a limited edition print book.

All the campers at Patti Digh’s Life is a Verb Camp that I recently attended (the weekend of the full moon as it turns out).  Patti calls it a Tribe.  I can’t help but agree and was and continue to be amazed at the wide open generosity and creativity of *everyone* I ran into.

Finally, Anne Rutherford with whom I’ve shared many an adventure over the last 15 years or so.  We had coffee today and as always slipped into deep spiritual conversation rather quickly.  Anne helped me uncage and free the hamster (if you want that to make andy sense you have to go back and read) and is the first to identify her when she returns in disguise.  Today I got smart because we have these amazing conversations and I leave and think, “WOW!” and then can’t remember the details – so I took notes.  Here are some of the things I jotted down:  Conscious Transformation is another way of saying “personal Alchemy” (I love that phrase and told Anne I am stealing it – instead she graciously said – “Just take it.”).  We talked about how transformation that is not coerced or controlled (as if – I think those things just make you stop in your tracks and *think* you are doing something – I’m learning it’s about riding the wind), when it comes through, is about how well you have prepared the field, what seeds you have planted or have drifted in on their own, about tending this garden and being patient because some seeds take a long time getting to harvest.

We talked about how alchemy is not magic (or magical thinking).  Alchemy connotes work – that work which each of us must do in our own unique way to turn the dross we have in hand into the gold we intuitively know is there.  Much like my intent to bring the archetypal Crone into modern day consciousness, a curiosity and playfulness around alchemy can bring the “dross to gold” of the initial meaning into our own spiritual realm where real gold is always waiting to be discovered, with careful respect, as we dig into the dark earth of our garden.  *Everything* goes into the cauldron at harvest. If the work isn’t done, the harvest will be lean.   And the Crone then works her alchemy *with* us, not on us at any age of transformation.  (Okay – admittedly, if I step back here, the metaphors aren’t all working….but remember this is my week of total imperfection and riding the wind – the work is translating the feeling, not worrying, just yet, about the wording).

We talked about politics, my own dismay/discouragement/depression over this last election and my wondering about what’s next and not having a clue.  Anne pointed out that none of us is responsible for solving all of the world’s problems – it has to be a collective effort and I thought then of what my own part is to be in this, and told her of how I would like to create a gathering place for creatives here in Southern Maryland, and women’s retreats on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, and wondered if we had folks who might actually be interested in that.  We talked about women’s circles and drumming and dancing and, when one incubates in the earth (to continue the planting analogy)/hybernates through the winter of not knowing, how the Muses and all our mothers,  dreams and random thoughts, and art and words  show up and whisper to us what is next.  So it becomes important to be present and pay attention.  And instead of being in reaction (where I think I’ve spent my whole life), acknowledge and use that resting stage, however you define it, as a “pause” button to clear the thinking process away and make space for what’s a birthing.

We talked about so much more and despite my thinking I took good notes, I apparently did not.  Some things are meant to be captured in feeling and not in words, and that feeling will lead you all the way home, because, unlike words, it can’t be argued with.

I’ll stop here for tonight.  Stay tuned for more.  And thank all of your for walking with me on this journey.



AEDM 20:  In Search of Myself

AEDM 20: In Search of Myself

I am in (yet again) another transition.  I do believe that I spend way more time in the interstices than I do in the actualities.  Perhaps that is the lot of the creative soul.  Or maybe it is what makes the creative soul.

What better place to look for myself than in my art and writing?

I have an altered book of sorts that I started 8 years ago when I started doing AEDM (Art Every Day Month) with Leah Piken Kolidas.  She was Leah Piken then.  At the time I thought to finish it quickly.  As it turns out it is a work in progress.

Here’s a share from last year (11/13/13)

AEDM 11.13, from an on-going altered book project I started 8 years ago the first year I did Art Every Day Month

AEDM 11.13, from an on-going altered book project I started 8 years ago the first year I did Art Every Day Month

And here’s the piece I put together for today – yes, totally created a new piece, but based it on an old poem from 97.  I have to wonder where my head was when I wrote this poem, winter doldrums?  There are several around the same time and it’s as if I were creating a mythology because I recognize bits and pieces as taken from my life (I still have the purple scarf, and the fish is from a restaurant we used to eat at in the 1980s.  And yes,  I do have a bird feeder and very persistent squirrels, and if I remember correctly there actually were some dried blue flowers on my windowsill that were finally falling apart),  but a lot of it is pulled from thin air.

AEDM 11.20.14, a quick addition to the altered book based on a 1997 poem of mine.

AEDM 11.20.14, a quick addition to the altered book based on a 1997 poem of mine.


Dining at the Red Sea Restaurant

It begins with the way things drop

from between lips like blue flowers

full of unnamed nectar reminding

one of a childhood memory – something spicy,

perhaps an undertone of medicine –

something hidden.  Full of this I watch

transparent bubbles rise

from the mouth of the fish in the octagon bowl.


The fork travels from the plate to the air

in front of me, pauses, makes promises,

drifts back to the place where it began.  Taste

is a thing to read about in Thursday’s paper

on the subway when the train emerges

from its dark tunnel.  As Winter curls

its fingers across the window, I trace the sparkles

of ice, try to remember what my mother used to say.


Soon snow will come.  Already

the birds chide my procrastination from perches

around the wooden feeder.  Even the squirrel

has taken to hanging upside down from the feeder door.

Its small squirrel screams echo though my house, now

inexplicably empty except for the purple scarf

with gold threads flung in a far corner.

At the window blue flowers wilt, dry, drop

sapphires onto the peeling sill.  By the time I notice


they too are echoes.  I toss them into the water flowing

under the bridge the train crosses every day.

The forgotten words rise again and again, but I do not

understand the language; the sound escapes in bubbles

from my lips.  Maybe the fish will tell me.  When

the fortune cookie is served, it will not break.

Some things are best left unknown.

Along the line of seeking the me that might be revealed by my unconscious through my art, here’s Discoverature, a ceramic tile from the early 2000s.  The name is taken from a poem daughter wrote in college, which got panned by the professor and was the only time in my life that she said:  go get him, Mom.  Her classmates loved it and I think it is magnificent, so I have included it here too.  I will report that when I read it, she said:  “Now, Ma, don’t read too much into this.  It’s an assignment.”  But you and I know about poetry, don’t we?

Discoverature - an original tile by Tammy Vitale

Discoverature – an original tile by Tammy Vitale



            Jessie Vitale

sand sloughs dead skin cells that cake

            over true identities.

time requests masks for safety

            measures against a world.

hidden secrets, deceiving lies of complete

            control at all cost demand upkeep.

unconventional interests in unaccepting circles

            force individuals into silence.

smiles on lips require constant

            practice in unpolished mirrors.

search deep within, concealed caves hold

            answers to the moon’s question “you are who?”

Finally, from the early 2000s (as is Discoverature), here is Mina Pauses.  I find the image perfect for the Wylde Crone as it grounds the image in nature (curling plant, paw prints), spirit (spirals) an love (heart).  The hair, of course, is my trademark “Wylde” significator.  It seems that the poem from last year’s share is appropriate (and the autobiography there is that I burn wood for heat in my house – which on nights as cold as this is very very full of grace.).


Blessed be the air through which the acorn fell.

Blessed be the earth that accepted theacorn
against its breast.

Blessed be the water that fed the acorn as it grew.

Blessed be the sprout that climbed through the
earth back into the air.

Blessed be the sapling that grew in the shadow
of its parent.

Blessed be the years that passed, the roots that
spread wide and deep, the branches that reached
out and up, the crown that whispered secrets to
the wind.

Blessed be the end of cycles when things die.

Blessed be this wood that has come to me.

Blessed be the fire that warms my home.

Blessed be.

AEDM 19 – I am the one who is keeper of the stories

AEDM 19 – I am the one who is keeper of the stories

I collect them, you know. Untold

Stories.  It isn’t

That they’re untold really, it’s that

They aren’t written

Down.  I started because

I am a woman.  Our stories

Are found inside our bones, behind

Smashed window panes and broken

Doors, in bottles of gin, nestled atop

Gleaming counters and under just swept

Rugs.  Sometimes they are written

In the blue of bruised children.  There are

Tales that ride the wind, whisper in your ears

At night when you think it’s just the dog

Dreaming.  There are yarns the cat plays

With sharp claws meant to comfort.  If we

Catch them, nail them down safely – no blood,

On white sheets – something gets lost: a word

Here, there a whole phrase; the ending changes

So the babies won’t cry and momma’s broken

Arm is already healed.   And the hero of the tale

Becomes, witchery you know, male.  Just ask

Little Red Riding Hood, who knows the true

Secret  of walking in the woods alone.

(untitled but dated June 2002,  by Tammy Vitale)

collage by Tammy Vitale

Story Keeper, collage by Tammy Vitale

AEDM 18:  Synchronicity

AEDM 18: Synchronicity

It started with AEDM 15 – Raven Dreams a World and tracking the lineage of a new artwork over the arc of 20 years.  A door or my eyes were opened but suddenly all kinds of synchronicity started dropping into my life.

Then I tell a friend about Brooke Castillo and her book, Self-Coaching 101 which makes The Work of Byron Katie, finally, accessible.  And Brooke gives kudos to Byron Katie, and Eckhert Tolle and Pema Chodron and other people from whom she drew wisdom to write her book.  I know this because I start to reread it thinking that it wouldn’t be bad to revisit.

Then  from Seth Godin: Originality is local. The internet destroys, at some level, the idea of local, so sure, if we look hard enough we’ll find that turn of a phrase or that unique concept or that app, somewhere else.

But no one is asking you to be original. We’re asking you to be generous and brave and to matter. We’re asking you to step up and take responsibility for the work you do, and to add more value than a mere cut and paste. Give credit, definitely, but reject vemödalen.

I take all of this in response to my though about writing a workbook around my thesis poem, Night Vision (which I may sooner than later have here on my website under “Resources” – but not yet), and not having anything new to say.

Stir in Life is a Verb Camp last week, and a great meeting with Erin Lewis’ Southern Maryland Women In Business networking group (please, under no circumstances be fooled by that name:  there is magic in this group, just like at Patti Digh’s Life is a Verb Camp), and suddenly I am very aware that something is coming at me at warp speed, something that wishes to be channeled out into the world.

Need I anything else?  Not really, but once you start seeing, it doesn’t stop, and here is where the AEDM (Art Every Day Month) piece comes in.

I was looking through my paintings, which are scattered all over my house in closets and under the basement steps and behind doors, for a picture for illustrating or starting to illustrate Night vision and ran across this picture that I drew before I had any kids.

Here is the picture


picture drawn in the mid 70s before I had any children.

picture drawn in the mid 70s before I had any children.

Here is a picture of my son at about 4, more than 10 years after I drew that picture.  Maybe it’s me but I am thunderstruck by the resemblance!

Son at around 4 years of age

Son at around 4 years of age


There’s the arc – all things are connected.  How did I know?  My hair is dark dark brown as are my eyes.  His birth dad has hazel eyes and dirty blond hair.  Son was all blond blond hair and blue eyes (now his hair has a reddish tint and his eyes change with the color of the shirt he has on).

There are things about this world and the threads and strands that weave themselves over and under and around and through this world that we just can’t know.

I am in the middle of that not knowing right now – it is freeing and scary and compelling.  I want to be strong enough to see whatever this is through to what wants to be birthed.

Have you had synchronicity drop into your life?  Share!

AEDM 17: Make Yourself an Easy Journal

AEDM 17: Make Yourself an Easy Journal

I learned to make this quick and easy journal at Life Is a Verb Camp from Maya Stein and Amy Tingle.  So I’m playing it forward:

Three 6″ x 9″ clasp envelopes
a hole punch
some string that will fit through the holes
card board about 5 3/4 x 4 1/4″
pretty paper
edging tape

1. Punch hole in each of the envelopes.  The easiest way to get them to line up is to push the punch as far up as it will go.

center "pages" - you can see the string between the two holes

center “pages” – you can see the string between the two holes


2.  Insert the cardboard into the closed end of the bottom envelope in the pile (this will be your journal’s cover)

3.  Insert a string through all of the envelopes and tie

4.  Cover the “front” and “back” of the journal with pretty paper – if you want ties, glued them under the paper on the “back” cover

front and back showing string bowtied to hold everything together, and ribbon inserted under back cover paper

front and back showing string bowtied to hold everything together, and ribbon inserted under back cover paper

5.  Decorate your journal pages however you with.  I used scraps of paper I liked and edge trims.  You could also just tear pictures out of magazines and use them for edging – they don’t have to be representative.

journal inside page

Ta-dah!  You have a small, quick and easy journal to stash items in (the clasp ends) and to paste poems and pictures you like.  These make really nice gifts for folks you love for the holidays!

journal front cover tied

AEDM 16:  Kiss the Frog So It Can Fly

AEDM 16: Kiss the Frog So It Can Fly

volunteer japanese red maples just making themselves known this fall

volunteer japanese red maples just making themselves known this fall

My REAL creative pursuit today was filling up two bins with kindling and raking half the yard.  I live in a forest, raking the yard is futile but it makes me feel great.  Along the way I discovered two japanese red maple infants, volunteers, that belong to a momma tree that died over a decade ago – I assume they have been quietly growing.  Well they put on their wylde colors for display this fall and I saw them.

I also discovered that a big old oak is a “momma” oak.  The wound was from lightning that blew out my well several years back.  Look how she has healed:  she has healed her wounds and made herself beautiful!

momma oak in my side yard

momma oak in my side yard

But I am intrigued by the great response I got from yesterday’s tracking of creative lineage, so, not to miss a day this month, I offer another set.  These not spread out so much as yesterday.  Both were created in the late 90s.  Both are titled “Kiss the Frog So It Can Fly.”    The poem written 11/23/98.  The picture created in’96.  A bit of research shows I printed the poem for AEDM in 2011.

The picture:

Kiss the Frog So it Can Fly, 36 x 36 by Tammy Vitale

Kiss the Frog So it Can Fly, 36 x 36 by Tammy Vitale

This, by the way, is a self portrait:

self portrait of a younger me

The poem:

Kiss the Frog So It Can Fly


Everything begins like this:

energy meets potential; o-

vals like surprised mouths open


then close.  In the clean blue, things live

above and below the moon-fire

surface, some transforming from one


shape to another with no more

thought than moth and flame give each to

each.  Every tadpole knows how


life moves always towards itself

like a bright sun’s shadow, docile

but aware of latent power


in red skies, black stars, glittering

wings hovering above the sweet

scent of new blooming hyacinths.

AEDM 15 – Raven Dreams a World

AEDM 15 – Raven Dreams a World

If you make art long enough, you find themes.  Myth runs through mine – myths from long ago and as new as what I write on the page.  I am a firm believer in updating myths to speak to those who are seeking that wisdom now.

Today’s mask has a lineage.  And I will share that with you.

Today’s mask:

today's mask with a print copy of "Raven Knows It's Time to Wake."  The symbol on the forehead of the clay mask is the symbol that came to me as mine at Life is a Verb Camp, under the guidance of Mary Anne Radmacher.

today’s mask with a print copy of “Raven Knows It’s Time to Wake.” The symbol on the forehead of the clay mask is the symbol that came to me as mine at Life is a Verb Camp, under the guidance of Mary Anne Radmacher.

inspired by this collage:  Raven Knows It’s Time to Wake

Raven Knows It's Time to Wake (one of my paintings hanging in my favorite room - the bathroom)

Raven Knows It’s Time to Wake (one of my paintings hanging in my favorite room – the bathroom)

which borrowed from this sketchbook drawing

the sketchbook face that I copy and use for a lot of my collages, including Raven Knows It's Time To Wake

the sketchbook face that I copy and use for a lot of my collages, including Raven Knows It’s Time To Wake


whose title was inspired by this poem of mine:


Part I.      DREAMING


In the midst of scent

from white magnolias, lying quietly

beneath a galaxy of shooting stars,

I walk between the seconds

sweeping the face

of the boathouse clock.


On the edge of the abyss

between then and now and when

silver mists rise slowly

from the river; and somewhere

far away a loon swims


for its mate.


Drifting in memories, where

broken dreams sleep

curled like hermit crabs

in stolen shells,

I swim into the dark,

push my fingers into mud

velvet as a kitten’s fur, and

pull up pearls.  I peel their

layers like rosebud petals to find

the sandgrain cores and lay them

quivering on an alter of red satin


surrounded by indigo voices;

sadness drifts like incense

before that altar where

someone stands in circled

illumination amid purple-

pink anemones.

She is crying but she makes

no sound; her tears become

an ocean on which pain rides,

foam on the crest of waves.


I am under water and I am not

drowning.  Through the azure

I see the foam turn into bubbles

that blow upon a bracing breeze

and break like tear drops.  I have

no need to catch them;  it is time

to let them go.


Dancing with iridescent rain-

bows in an ascending spiral

I break the surface, watch

tears turn into crystal dew, fall

like rain on blades of moonlit

grass, and discover


I am an eagle.  In my mouth I

hold a golden fish that

speaks my name.  I let

it go and it becomes a yellow

comet with an orange tail

that trails a word I cannot

read.  I fly into the sun and


through to find

I am a woman who

has been sleeping


and knows


it’s time

to wake.


which may have inspired this painting, Raven Dreams A World

Raven Dreams a World, 24 x 36 painting by Tammy Vitale

Raven Dreams a World, 24 x 36 painting by Tammy Vitale


Ravens belong to the Morrigan, a celtic maiden/mother/crone Trinity.  Morgaine is often represented as Morgan la Fey in the King Author myths, and certainly in The Mists of Avalon, in a slightly different light of course.  I’ve updated Morgaine here.

Myth is story.  Joseph Campbell says that myth is someone else’s religion.  I have a great little poster on my office wall that says “Unfold your own myth.”  You don’t have to take the story that was handed to you by your parents/siblings/friends/community/church/school/country.  You can write your own.  Because you ARE the hero of your own story, whether or not you realize you are telling it to yourself and others every single day through words and actions.  Pay attention.

Everything is Connected.  Anything is Possible.

AEDM 14:  Masks!

AEDM 14: Masks!

Today’s offering, quicky as I want to go write, is two masks for upcoming raku classes – 2:  one with a group and one with just one girlfriend, same teacher, Ray Bogle, who is amazing with raku and I’m hoping I’ll learn some of his magic.

Anyways, this is clay so it must be made ahead of time, dry and for raku be bisque fired before it is thrown in the furnace that is raku.

I’m taking a chance with this flat mask because things that are sprigged on (that means attached and not integral) can easily pop off in the wildly fluctuating heat to cooling of raku but nothing ventured nothing gained and I’m in the mood for flat masks.  I will make 2 more tomorrow.

wet mask for raku firing in a week or so, about 18" tall ( think - I didn't measure just guessing)

wet mask for raku firing in a week or so, about 18″ tall ( think – I didn’t measure just guessing)

mask done on armature for rakuing in a week or so

mask done on armature for rakuing in a week or so

The danger with this one is all the curves and different heating since raku in a trashcan does that – that it’s all one piece I am hoping will protect against problems there.  But what’s the point if you can’t hold your breath and see if the kiln gods are going to be kind?

Did you know that in some ceremonies the mask is to protect the audience?  Because of the power that comes from the person wearing the mask transmitting spirit power (or, for us, archetypal power), the audience needs the once removal to be safe during the ceremony.  I love that.

I have a class I teach on Vision Masks where you do the outside AND the inside of the mask.  You can see an old post about them here.

Here’s a Wylde Women’s Wisdom quote for you:

There are masked words abroad, I say, which nobody understands, but which everybody uses, and most people will also fight for, live for, even die for, fancying they mean this or that or the other of things dear to them.  John Ruskin