Spirit Journey Carving–what is it?

I am excited to be embarking on my first teaching experience this summer with a new beginning sculpting workshop entitled ‘Spirit Journey Carving’.  What is Spirit Journey Carving? And why learn sculpture? Why carve stone?


‘ananchel’, onyx, 18’h

There are so many great benefits to sculpting, and just as many approaches as to how to do it. Regardless of whether you consider yourself an artist, thinking sculpturally can truly expand the mind! Thinking sculpturally and the action of sculpting can increase personal power to bring ideas and visions into form, which applies to all parts of our lives. To generate a form in a three dimensional material is a great exercise in seeing, being and generating action to achieve a result. Creating a sculpture always has exciting and sometimes surprising elements in the process of creating form, no matter if it was a based on a preexisting image/idea or spontaneously inspired, whether representative or abstract. The process has become like a wise teacher to me.

I find sculpting, and in particular carving stone, very soothing to my relationship with time and space. Using the body and its energy to shape the raw material of the earth into a sculpted form inspired by personal will is an act of spirit, defined as the force within a person that is believed to give the body life, energy, and power. It is also a relationship, and a journey. It takes just the time it takes, relative to everything, and the sense of time passing can disappear. Constant awareness of the occupation of space, in the creative endeavor, stretches the mind as it must think in shape and form. How can the hands execute the vision? How can the mind release the ideas to achieve a result? –seeing, being and generating action.


Back to there being many approaches and forms for sculpting, of the main two processes, there were originally modelling and carving–additive and subtractive. My focus here is on subtractive sculpting, the carving process, with stone as a medium as it applies to my workshop ‘spirit journey carving’. Say you have a chunk of stone or a block of rock in front of you. Your spirit says ‘I want to make something’ –well, where do you start? If you already have a plan of what you want to make it may be easier to begin, but what if you do not? How does one start?  It begins with seeing, defining your mental image to the extent that you can. Maybe it is a grand vision you get when you squint looking at it, awesome! Or, only a simple shape, -or a hole. In that case, that is where you begin. After seeing, begin being. Commit to the journey, the relationship, be that shape, that hole. Be that vision in your mind and generate action to create it.

The same applies if you have a plan, or a vision (and maybe it is grand…an owl!). How do you start? Where do you begin to shape that owl? Spirit will inform you! (in the pictures in this blog, I did see an angel, although I didn’t see what she would look like at first) and once you commit, you have a place to begin. Will it look like an owl? Probably not for what seems a long time, haha! But hold the vision, see it in your mind. Put in the time, even if it is rough, and keep working on the details. Choose a detail. It may be boring. It may surprise you and do something unexpected. It may change how it looks. The process may change how you see. The process may mirror a relationship, a job or a life commitment.. the result may change, the vision could change. It takes the time it takes, and becomes what it becomes! It may be heavy or work out some new muscles you didn’t know you had, but it will never move away (unless you sell it, then, yay!), or fire you, or slip away if you have other things to do for a bit. You can come back to it time again, the timeless learning is just where you left it, and ready to meet you where you are. And it is entirely possible to have a masterpiece to enjoy that will live on! Spirit Journey Carving–seeing, being, and generating action to create a fine piece of work!

Ready to begin the journey? You never know where it may take you! Here is a link to my four-day workshop happening on two weekends this August at Pratt Fine Arts Center in Seattle!




heart, my Heart, this stone, this Stone heart is a poem written~


dear friends, April is national poetry month! –and yes I write poetry! before the sculptures, before the collages, before the life felt very lived, I was writing poems…and because I share myself with so many other mediums, the poetry gets overlooked sometimes. without poetry however my soul would be dry, and I would have nothing to share. this spring i have had more opportunity to reflect more on the great dying than new life yet such as the spring brings. so while it has been a warm winter and early spring, this spring feels late to arrive in my life, in my heart. a perfect time for poetry!

in honor of spring, 2015  with lunar eclipse!




heart, my Heart, this stone, this Stone heart is a poem written~

all springs springing
hard plastic pen finally broke

excited to get the spring out
fascinated by it–for a second–
flash it sprang so fast and so far
pen springs are really springy

for some time there was no one to turn to
every reflection appeared blank
eye wallow shortly confusioned
while the rods reorganized a soft mortis
and light became reimagined
at least there will be flowers soon

taking only one reach across the sky, Star

lived many millions of years for one Supernova moment

coiled light jumper + impact detonation…sSpring eclipsed spring

–istara freedom April 9, 2015





some stories never told     her voice as soft as rain    the smells of things                                   smell of blood and ink    human pain of choice    tattooed hues                                                       constant telling story     to the witness in my head     wear the face                                               current fixation    human or otherwise   rarely told details begging                                                     to be said aloud    right now the face    the witness is you                                             thunder/desire   light of surprise    I have made the effort                                                                    to be wise    now I make    a fort of eyes

istara freedom, 2011




ms Align ment

locked inside a star room
in a Gods body
wrapped in the petals
of Her heart
listening to his breath
If I have a skin
it is stinging
with the brightness
of the light

a winged sea
collects the dew
frothed full moon
waxes through the night
still pearl in infinite array
our take is for the birds
and i am free

bigger walls have fallen
i will move you with a look
that is like the sun
on the lake at noon
what is found true
and has not been shaded
with the scandalism of matter

istara freedom 1-19-2010


the rainbow and beyond–why transgender persons are important to human evolution


in honor of transgender visibility day, i want to share a few thoughts about the expansion of transgendered people and their visibility in our communities. personally, I celebrate transgendered people! i see them as a gift to assist in balancing our very polarized societies and enriching our communities with a switched perspective in gendered expression. don’t worry, if you are feeling confused i am going to bring it home here. many times we have heard silly colloquialisms regarding gender such as  ‘men are from mars, women are from venus’ or, ‘the battle of the sexes’…and the frequent references to painful relationship situations due to misunderstandings between masculinity and femininity. people shrug and give up– “well, guess that’s a man thing”, or ‘women! so complicated’. and the painful experience prevents them from experiencing love and acceptance. and if that happens we become stunted. to have women among us that have known from the inside out what it is like to have a mans biology and a mans social expectations and conditioning, and vice versa, is to have a rare opportunity to heal the divisions and misunderstandings between the genders—on many levels, both physical and subtle.

why now more than ever are there trans people coming out of all walks of life and class/age groups and claiming their right to choose or change their biological gender to one that more accurately represents them? there are more children being born that are informing their parents of a true gender they feel beyond the biological gender they came in with. I’ve heard wonderful stories of parents allowing their children to express themselves as their claimed gender and fighting for their rights to attend school and church etc, –also of abuse and repression that have led to trauma and loss. it is often life or death for many trans people to be themselves. our communities are crying out for healing in relationship, and the birthing of transgender people is an answer to that crying. it is a wonderful healing opportunity to have a whole, healed person that feels their appropriate gender grace our communities.

i have loved ones, friends and friends of friends that are transgender. I have been by the side of a person I love while they made the only choice to transition to honor their true identity even while I had celebrated their fine example of being the other gender, the one they were not, and  though I had an initial sense of shock I embraced the opportunity to grow as a well rounded community member. i truly advocate for the support of well being in transitioning and pray that others will learn to celebrate the differences and opportunities we have for learning more levels of acceptance and understanding. people are people and it is be painful to be misunderstood and judged just for expressing ones true nature, as our birthright is to express our true nature.


there are many ways of gender blending in the spectrum, however– if one says they are a different gender than they were born with, then they have come to an edge of self awareness that defies biology. that is evolution, and that is not a frivolous choice, as no one would choose to make the most complete change that a person could make and suffer the potential abuses and misunderstandings that may come with such a change. in many ways we are desperate for evolution as a species! truly there are more people wanting friends and partners that are caring and true and committed and deep, than can fulfill an extreme version of gender, one that has been rendered for so long we are physically evolving out of it. societally, there is too much attachment to the definitions of masculine vs. feminine, and women, men and children–people–are hurting because of it. transgendered persons are part of the rainbow tribes, and are guides into new and more hospitable territories, where aspects of peoples divine masculine and divine feminine are embraced individually to bring us to being more complete and expressed, satisfied selves. and that is why I celebrate transgendered persons, the rainbow and beyond!


dear day, dear Valentines…

dear blogging world…I promise to take our relationship more seriously and become more committed to our evolving process…now what are you going to do for me? Ha!! –okay just kidding, here is a quick update as I have been negligent here for some time…I have been getting out more and enlarging my community again! I went to a fantastic party for Valentine’s day, danced, and shared my large heart collage which was absolutely perfect for the event, as it was a fundraiser for my friends ‘hippocampus’ burning man bus, and it being Valentines day, my heart –which also has seahorses entwined as a central feature, (maybe this is obvious; hippocampus bus people love seahorses!) and it was sold to a happy hippo-camper! good bless, heart! at least I will get to visit you so long as we are both in Seattle.

who feels it knows it

who feels it knows it

I took part in a fashion show here in Seattle at the legendary local club, the Re-bar, where I modeled the designer Kiymbah’s incredible costume she created for me, and danced in it to my song ‘alien’, to great response! the evening was awesome, with great art, beautiful and fantastical costumes and a visit from a friend i’d not seen since my previous Seattle incarnation, more than 15 yrs ago…what a treat!

alien angel rebar

I had a small area to display my art and get my email list signed and cards out, once the performance was over, I mingled and met some great people and sold another piece of art, my last music box of the original 10, which happened to be number one! now I am excited to get to make some more, and as I have a new opportunity, with a possible show coming up in about a week, so, stay tuned! thanks for taking the time to read and for the appreciation!


PS…here is a link to my video where I first performed in costume, in case you missed it before ;)

universal upgrade, part 2

wow, this has been a beautiful passage in my life and i had lost track of some time since the last upgrade. in the beginning of the year, i had the pleasure of being called to have my art represented in a newly opened gallery in Santa Barbara, the Jadenow gallery. interesting timing as i had put down the idea of making more sculpture and visual art for a time while coming to terms with what is necessary to make my music happen, to try out new muscles that usually lie dormant while sculpting, my mouth being covered by a mask. what great honor however to be asked to be a part of the opening and how much work there actually was to get everything ready to take down to the gallery. i had to re-sand and polish a couple of different stone sculptures to bring them up to gallery level, and to finish bases on a couple of others.

Jadenow Gallery

Jadenow Gallery

IMG_3456   IMG_3546

there was much excitement and a video documentary was made of the last eight hours before the grand opening, with everything coming together at the last minute. it felt like a miracle that there was a grand opening, and even with the genie lift still being on the floor and a few boxes and chaos going on, we all managed to make it happen.

IMG_3500 IMG_3501 IMG_3504

i had some space to call my own by the end of the day.

IMG_3638 IMG_3633



i had fun. afterwards we packed up a few things i had brought down, and i said goodbye to new friends and to my art! now some months have gone by, and last week i received a call from the gallery to tell me that two of my sculptures had been sold! very exciting news, and with it a fleeting sense of loss as i realized that, not having met the buyer, i most likely will never see these two again as they move on to their new lives and homes. it is good to know that my work will exhibit grace in a new place. goodbye, Poe! ….goodbye, Ancestor! …i love you!

Poe, Chlorite and Granite base

Poe, Chlorite and Granite base


i am in fact thrilled that all this occurred and it is my great pleasure to be able to have been well compensated and to have the funds from the sale of these two beauties feed back into more art and expression! thank you, Jadenow Gallery, art patrons, friends and thank you Universe! maybe it is time to return to the workshop…

stay tuned for more….


the artist on sex, the shadow and spirit

yes, I am choosing to write about a risky topic, in that it entails broaching the conversation of our most private and often unexplored topic, sex!  it gets our attention and regardless of our opinions, preferences and experiences will command a moment or more of attention when we see it in a topic.  it is natural, biological, and humans are captive to the impulse regardless of their personal conception and whether it involved sexuality or was a scientific experiment.  the biological sequence of becoming a life form involved an exchange of energy to initiate development.

iphonebella11 031

“untitled” collage 10″ x 10″ istara freedom

development from the infinite unknown, or spirit world into a life form took some sort of attraction and environmental arranging to occur.  thus the occurrence of matter!  any matter formed also creates a shadow.  shadows can be fun.  we can play with shadows, and become the master of our shadow.  we can turn in a certain way to the light and with our eye see the smallest shadow possible.  if we desire we may grow that shadow to immense proportions with the right angles of light, and make a large impression with our shadow.  some may call this a negative impression, and indeed it can be.  however there is another side besides the negative shadow, and it is the protective, powerful guardian side, that we can also depend on if we know how to work the light.  and now of course you know that I am speaking metaphorically as well as physically.

okay back to the sex, time to keep the attention going here, for real! –a quick review, how are all those things related–artists, sex, shadow, spirit?  oh yes, by nature of having a physical form, attention is drawn toward the impulse of exchange, and energetic exchange that creates more energy is a matter to consider, along with its shadow.  a psychological shadow also develops as a psyche forms when the matter begins to relate/exchange with other forms.  it all may seem very abstract but there is a basic exchange, a relationship.  in that sense spirit is drawn to that which is energetically embedded in our primal impulse, from that moment when energy surged into the cells that began to grow into us.  that universal occurrence of biological exchange makes us especially drawn to the idea of sex.  regardless of the opinion we have regarding sexuality, we will respond to the word or idea with some attention.  artists are the ones that visibly, consciously externalize the shadow–both physically and psychologically to the world, becoming a reflection for other lifeforms to relate to.  many artists have an ongoing representation of the shadow in their work.  it is an opportunity to have a reflection, and to share the reflection, as there are those that are conditioned to believe that the shadow is bad, or to be feared somehow, and want to minimize it to be more comfortable.


“untitled” collage 10″ x 10″ istara freedom

we can benefit by being aware of the shadow–as a performance of personal power, or to provide a distraction, or open a conversation with the psyche as to ones fears and challenges.  I have found the dialogue can be very helpful, to assess where i am in relation to my shadow.  by looking at it, envisioning it, and playing with the shadow, we can communicate with the parts of our psyche that are pre-lingual, and deep in shadow.  it may well be an uncomfortable conversation at first, as our very powerful imaginations combined with deep elemental forces will detail any type of fear or fantasy we may have.  artists and creative types, scientists, are agents of this primal creative energy, and often explore aspects of shadow sexuality in their work.  the commercial viability of sexuality is part of our collective human shadow and is a consideration for many artists and the phenomenon we know as ‘selling out’.  because sexuality is viable, it will often dominate certain types of commercially successful art forms, especially in film and music.  as artists with integrity we can minimize the grotesque exploitation of sexuality for profit by looking at the shadow sides of ourselves and use the sexual energy to create work that honors the sexual impulse of all life as a more elemental occurrence.


“O” collage, mixed media 2′ x 3′ istara freedom

as I am transitioning from the more quiet side of the visual arts to songwriting and singing, I am beginning to consider performance again and selling an image.  I get to play with the ideas of sexuality and how much of a sexy image I want to portray.  i consider the challenge it has been for me from time to time to present or ‘sell’ my  visual art, as it is open to interpretation and has the energy of self reflection.  it gives the viewer a mirror to go deep inside and that can be uncomfortable for those that want a pretty and conventional surface to relate to–or people will get distracted by my physical presence, and want to shift the focus to me. so now i get to play with selling my own image in the presentation of the songs if i choose.

perhaps you were expecting a more juicy expose on sex, shadow, spirit and the artist. i will admit, i have been curious to see just how much of a difference in the traffic to my site will be affected by including sex in the topic, and this is part of my research. maybe another day i will write a more ‘juicy’ piece to make up for it if my readers seem interested. let me know. thanks for the visit!

ON MYTHS ABOUT ARTISTS: explained from the 5th Dimension

Istara (595)

istara freedom –photo by Jamileh Dille

–A conversation between my expanded 5th dimensional brain and my here-self now:


one: artists are flaky

5D BRAIN:  …seen from the 5th dimension, artists tend to have many layers of complexity. on the extreme end there are people with diagnosed conditions–idiot savant, autistic and so on, that are accomplished or prolific artists that operate from parts of our immense brains that most 3rd and 4th dimensional humans never access. yet artists that function in your conventional societal structures also operate from these extra-dimensional, typically unused parts of human brains. this becomes challenging for those that live solely in three and four dimensions to understand.

Yin in Space

space quan, collage, 10″ x 10″ by istara freedom

ME:  our societal and structurally contrived world, for the most part, is confounded and confusing- it means nothing to me, yet well designed artifice can be pleasing and supportive to ideal human evolution. when i remember the sweetness, the nectar of the gods and how that juice is actually inside of me i breathe deeply, relaxing in the feeling that i am worthy of enjoying this moment, because Divine is inside of me. wow. god, whatever…divine nature, spirit, or ___________________. there IT is! and i am that I AM… i hear, ‘it’s okay to not know everything, and to just enjoy every breath’, or strive to, even if that means enduring some excruciating task, like paying bills or having dental work done or really getting into the nitty gritty of love with other beings and all That entails. i think i need a new tattoo just thinking about it. an enjoyable pain, just to temper the pain that I feel having to function in this society contrived to support greed and where money makes money is the motto, instead of time plus energy equals art and we are here to make art, all of us!


two: anyone can make art

5D BRAIN:  yes, anyone can. and we exist to create rich, satisfying lives, making the most of what we have: play more. play with wild abandon. respect the sacred. value safety of life more than a life of safety.

iphonebella11 004

eco art by Dylan Sturge

ME:  my son made this nature collage when he was six. he said ‘mommy, I made this art for you!’  and I love it!


three: is it art?

5D BRAIN:  in the 5th dimension, everything is art –accepting that is the first step. whether or not you view your world as art is up to you. this is the beauty of creation. how beautiful can you see? how creative can your perceptions become? can you perceive your life outside the framework of our contrived definition? how would our three and four dimensional worlds change if we could see everything we do creatively, empathically? once we see how everything is connected–each organism breathing creates another stroke or mark in the creation we all belong to.


lightwave mandala, collage 10″ x 10″, by istara freedom

ME:  this is a definition of art from Dictionary.com:

art: the quality, production, expression, or realm, according to aesthetic principles, of what is beautiful, appealing, or of more than ordinary significance.

also–art etymology [Old English eart,  part of bēon  to be ] archaic  ( used with the pronoun  thou ) a singular form of the present tense (indicative mood) of be

–this is true, right!, to be is to art and to be of the earth is to be art, eart! -listen to the earth, have the ear tuned to the being of the earth and of the self to to the being of art.


four: artists are lazy and self-centered

5D BRAIN:  simply because artists tend to do things differently isn’t enough to qualify them as lazy. many artists work tirelessly at their art or craft. it can be intensely physical as in dance or quiet and heady, writing for instance. also many artists keep different schedules than the structured societies they live in, so it is easy to judge them as they may sleep at odd hours or have a fast from food or friends or display an obsession or fascination with a color or idea or movement for a time. it is easy to look from the outside and say, self-centered madness! -yet artists are truly service workers even if they appear to be self indulgent or self centered, as humanities soul development and evolution depend on those that bring beauty or whimsy or humor or magic and any unique perspectives on perception. artists and visionaries magnetize on many other subtle layers of existence and are vital to our communities.

hungry heart

hungry heart, collage 10″ x 10″, by istara freedom

ME:  if more people considered art and expression to be important just think how much more amazing this world could be. it is time for a renaissance! -of what only the living <being> organisms that we call artists are able to conjure up and share. and that is anyone willing to contribute to a larger collaborative vision. to really sink into the one universal energy that everything alive shares, that is the collective ability and freedom to create. to direct our creative impulses for the benefit of all, and to show that we truly value the artist in everyone, including ourselves. what do we want to create today?


five: art doesn’t make money

5D BRAIN:  money doesn’t exist in the fifth dimension. everything is light and attainment is by joyful focus on the concentration of many densities of light, and by agreement.


space i reach 4, collage 10″ x 10″, by istara freedom

ME:  I am still trying to figure this out. I have made some money selling my art, my sculptures especially. I see some artists making money. I see people that make an art of making money. I see some business people making art that makes money because their art is a business. artists need money just like all other people. and there are other ways to benefit from making art provide in ways for your life than just monetary exchange, as in barters and for charitable or educational gain. if you are making art to make money then make it a business. or make a part of your art the part that makes some money, like I have done with tattooing and painting murals, and make the rest of it just to experience making art for the sake of art.