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Desert Poet

April 26, 2013

Desert Poet
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THE INSPIRATION: The dusty hues of a desert sunset. Nature's aimless traveler, the tumbleweed. Driving through New Mexico's jagged landscapes: the Badlands of the Painted Desert. Landscapes rife with poetic possibilities. 

Artist Interview

Dora Malech

April 12, 2013

Dora Malech embodies the spirit of Ode. She's a poet (author of Say So and Shore Ordered Ocean), artist, traveler, teacher, great friend, and she knows how to wear red lipstick in the morning. Those are only some of the reasons why she's the perfect woman to launch our Desert Poet Spring Collection. With her mastery of both language and the stuff of the heart, Dora will lead this Spring fashion show with her poetry, spirit, and beauty.

Meet our Desert Muse/Poet/Prophet: Dora Malech:

How did you get started?
Scribbling. Making believe.

What do you love about your job?
Getting to think big and feel deeply. Being surrounded by inspiring people of all ages.

Where do you find inspiration?
Language. Nature. Patterns. Color. Intimacy. Complications. Uncertainty.

Who is your role model?
My mother. Robert Coles. Emily Dickinson. Linda Hamilton in the second Terminator Movie.

What are your plans for the future?
Keep writing. Keep making art. Keep teaching. Keep enabling others to use their voices and think creatively. Keep building community.

"Shore Ordered Ocean" Dora Malech

What's your favorite line from a movie, song, or book?
And so live ever, or else swoon to death. –John Keats
See through me. See me through. –James Merrill

If you were a piece of clothing, what would it be and what color/pattern?
Something bright and tight.

What's the first line in a book about your life?
An epigraph by Basho:
I've hit the bottom / of my bag of discretion: / year's end.

What is your favorite word?
“Limn” (to outline, detail, describe, delineate; from Middle English limen — to illuminate, as a manuscript) and “liminal” (transitional, in-between; from Latin limin- —threshold.). I also like “glimmer,” “limb,” “limbic,” and “limerence.” But not lymph. Or limp.

Whatʼs the best advice youʼve ever gotten?
About work: The perfect is the enemy of the good.
About performing: Don’t get on stage and then act like you’re not supposed to be there.
About making art: Try again. Fail again. Fail better. --Samuel Beckett
About interpersonal stuff: Nobody’s thinking about you that hard. (Thanks, Mom.)

"Began & Begins" Dora Malech

What super power would you like to have?
The power to heal others physically and emotionally. And the power to rock spandex and a cape.

Who would you want to play you in a movie about yourself?
I’d like any movie about me to have an all-animal cast. I’d be played by Mishka, the dog that can say “I love you.”

What inspires you?
This photo is from an Iowa Youth Writing Project "poemics" (poetry+comics) workshop. The creativity of kids keeps me in contact with why creativity matters.

To read more about Dora:


Join us Friday, April 12th from 6-8pm for our Spring fashion show and readings from Dora Malech.

Window Design

HOW-TO: Embroidery Hoop Dye Paintings

April 9, 2013

The time lapse sunset paintings needed to be soft and foggy like the edges of a cloud. Fabric dye on wet muslin had just the right effect of creating naturally faded colors that blended into one another, using the translucency of untreated fabric to filter natural light through the "paintings". This can be a fun way of tie dying, dip dyeing or ombre-ing circular panels to hang on a wall or in a window

-fabric dye (can be bought at Joanne Fabrics)
-unbleached muslin
-large wooden quilting embroidery hoops
-paint brushes
-plastic containers for mixing dye
-utility knife, scissors

First, mix up your various dyes in the plastic containers (this is when the salt comes in).

Lay out your muslin on a clean flat surface. Separate the embroidery hoop halves and fit the muslin over the interior hoop, securing the fabric by placing the adjustable half of the hoop over the fabric from the other side, pull the fabric tight and secure the adjustable hoop. Trim the excess fabric from the edges. There are two ways you can go from here:

1. Take the fabric out of the hoop and dip it in water. Twist it into a log and dip one end of it into dye. Re stretch it between the embroidery hoops and let it dry with the died side facing up, and let gravity take over the hard part of a natural looking fade as the dye seeps into the un-dyed wet fabric. With this method you can tie dye, dip dye, get creative.

2. Keep the fabric in the embroidery hoop and paint water over the whole surface. Then use your dyes as paints across the surface. This way you have the most control but still get those pretty fuzzy edges.
TIP: if you would like to get more detailed, start painting with the dye before you wet the fabric for the detailed parts. Let them dry, and then wet the whole surface. Now you can add the softer puffs of color.

Artist Interview

Carolyn Cushing

March 21, 2013

We always love meeting women whose work inspires and helps others. Carolyn Cushing is definitely one of these women. A spiritual adviser through the art of Tarot, Carolyn uses her teachings to foster growth and self improvement in others. Her approach is gentle and informed, not focusing on a determined fate, but, rather, a malleable future. She'll be offering one card readings and demonstrations of the Tarot for Arts Night Out at Ode, March 8th, 6-8pm. You can learn more about Carolyn on her website, The Art of Change.

Now, meet (and be inspired by) Carolyn Cushing:

Carolyn Cushing [photo credit: Valley Advocate]

How did you get started?
In June 1994 I stumbled upon the Tarot when I thought I was helping someone else, but as it turns out, I was the one who got the gift.

An acquaintance, Elly Glover, was out of work due to advanced kidney disease and was raising money to work with her spiritual teacher in Seattle by doing Tarot readings so I went for a session. I hadn’t really given a thought as to how I might benefit from this outing.

Before my evening with Elly, I don’t remember having an impression of the Tarot. I knew it involved cards and perhaps even glimpsing the future, but my previous years of life had protected me from both the outlandish stories and the positive myths about what the Tarot is and what it can do.

Perhaps it was the lack of expectation that opened me up to magic in the moment because as we sat on the floor in Elly’s basement apartment and she spread round, brightly-colored cards with symbols from global traditions out on the floor, I was captured, immediately and truly.

You see, the Tarot was responding to a secret hunger of mine, a longing I had been trying to tamp down for a more creative and integrated life. Fortunately, this longing recognized the Tarot as an opening and leapt to call my attention on that early summer evening.

The Tarot and its 78 cards organized into 5 suits connected to elemental energies invite us to express all aspects of ourselves. The structure is comprehensive; fire, water, earth, and air invite us to bring our emotional, inspirational, intellectual, and physical selves into the equation as we live our everyday lives and at the center of it all is the mystery of the Major Arcana, the life lessons that have appeared to us humans over and over again.

We can use it for anything.

I use the Tarot as inspiration for daily spiritual focusing, decision-making for practical matters, meditation prompts, creative inspiration, decorating my walls, and, yes, getting a glimpse into what is unfolding into the future if I keep doing what I am doing. As I don’t believe the future is fixed, sometimes the Tarot helps me change what I am doing to work toward a better result!

What do you love about your job?
I work in a collaborative intuitive way with the Tarot. Of course, I bring my intuition to the work, but I want people working with me in a session or in a class to tap into their own intuitive abilities. We are all intuitive! It’s not a special gift for the chosen few! When a flash of insight comes to a client or student from looking at an image or responding to one of my questions prompted by the Tarot that is the magic moment.

I think we all would benefit from using an oracle like the Tarot to help us navigate the complex world we live in. Not everyone has to use the Tarot because there are other wonderful guides like the I Ching or Runes, but I have to admit being excited when people choose to work more deeply with the Tarot. It is a very comprehensive guide that keeps developing as more and more decks are created.

Roots of Asia deck. "It is beautiful and multi-layered so it calls forth a deep intuitive response" -- Carolyn

Where do you find inspiration?
The symbols of the Tarot are deep wells of inspiration. The Tarot as a deck of cards comes from 15th century Europe, but something about its structure has allowed it be adapted as a conveyor of symbols and thought systems from traditions across time and the globe. There are decks that spring from the wisdom of ancient Egypt and from Steampunk culture. People just keep innovating with the Tarot!

Those who come to my classes at Groundings in Florence are great inspirations. They dive into the cards and find beauty and mystery and guidance there. We go deep – and we also laugh, too!

We are also lucky to have quite a Tarot community here in the Valley. The third Saturday of every month the Massachusetts Tarot Society gathers and we take turns presenting on a wide range of Tarot topics.

Who is your role model?
There are so many wonderful and generous teachers in the Tarot community. I did my first serious Tarot study with Rachel Pollack and Mary Greer. They took us deep into the Tarot tradition, interactive processes, deep meditation, and play. They also have this wonderful spirit of equality. They are some of the rock stars of Tarot, but they don’t act like it. Mary Greer might be your partner at a Tarot conference. Rachel Pollack will ask you what you think about the symbols on the deck she created – and like your interpretation better than her own!

What are your plans for the future?
I have some exciting teaching activities coming up in the next couple of months.

I am doing a Tarot 101 – deluxe version! – at Groundings in Florence on Tuesday nights in April. This is a version of a popular class that I have been doing since January 2012. It is open to absolute beginners but, interestingly, those with past experience have come and learned new things, too. We’ll do our usual getting grounded in our own spine of meaning for Tarot: exploring ways to use it for practical, spiritual, and creative purposes; reading for self and others; and add in an exploration of the Major Arcana card of Justice. All the details are on at: http://artofchangetarot.com/blog/

I am also going to be teaching at Readers Studio, an international Tarot conference held in NYC. My session is called Death’s Octavo: The Tarot’s Deep Support for Transition. The Death card is one of the most infamous in the deck and, well, it scares people. Transition – even if it is not physical death - can be hard. But the Tarot encodes messages of support for how to make it through the challenge. There is a way to lay out cards so that Death is surrounded by love, movement, re-balancing, purpose, awakening, earned joy, and surrender. These are 8 powerful helpers!

If you were a piece of clothing, what would be and what color/pattern?
I would be a light, silky camisole in turquoise or lavender to be worn close to the skin. Beauty below the surface known to the one who wears it – and those she chooses to reveal herself to.

What is your favorite word, and why?
Zanahoria. It’s the Spanish word for carrot. I love the sound of this word – and it shows a mixing of cultures resulting in beauty. It has Arabic origins translated to Spain in the Middle Ages. I like to see cultures mixing creatively. This, of course, also happens in the Tarot in fabulous and vibrant ways.

Join us on Friday, March 8th as we welcome Carolyn to do one card readings and gain insight on the ancient mysticism of the Tarot.

Artist Interview

Robin Lane

February 4, 2013

For over a decade Robin Lane has dedicated her talents as a singer/songwriter to helping women and children who have survived experiences with childhood and domestic violence, substance abuse, mental and physical health issues. She started her organization, Songbird Sings, with the hopes of empowering women in her community through therapeutic writing workshops and music retreats. Robin uses the creative processes of writing and performing to give women and children confidence and evoke a source of inspiration. Her work is surely an inspiration to us and we are happy to welcome her to ode for Arts Night Out this Friday night, February 8th for special live performances from 6-8pm.

Ode will be donating 5% of profits from the month of February to Songbird Sings as a part of our Fashion with Compassion program.

Robin Lane

How did you get started?
I grew up in a musical family. My father worked with Frank Sinatra and many of the greats of that era, playing piano and writing songs. He wrote Dean Martin's hit "Everybody Loves Somebody Sometime" and was also his piano player for many years appearing on his TV show. Music was a part of my life. My first professional job was singing and playing guitar with Neil Young on "Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere" album. Later in the late 70 early 80's my band Robin Lane and the Chartbusters had the 11 video on MTV with our song "When Things Go Wrong" which is also the title of a new documentary film that is coming out about my crazy life.

What do you love about your job?
I love that I can help women and children who have experienced and suffered from childhood abuse and neglect and domestic violence learn to tap into their own healing capabilities through the power of songwriting. They write lyrics about something important that happened to them or just something that is about the hope they learn to have through the process of being together with others who have gone through some of the same experiences; the validating that comes from being in a circle of women each realizing that they are so NOT alone that their struggle is every woman's struggle. I see them transforming their lives on a day to day basis. With the youth it is a bit different but I see them gain self empowerment over their circumstances through the process of songwriting. Music is powerful and telling a story in a song is even more powerful for healing transformation.

Where do you find inspiration?
The clouds, the sky, the winter, the spring, the flowers, my friends, my cats and dogs, walking, hiking, gardening, working on my house, just about anywhere and everywhere. Not just beauty though...When I hear about the awful things that happen to people I want to shout it, illuminate it so that it doesn't fester hidden under rocks where it can't be seen. The only way anyone can heal is to tell their story. The people I work with are my inspiration. Huge inspiration.

Who is your role model?
The people I work with, Carl Jung, Julia Cameron, Gandhi, Pema Chodrin. The true Jesus. I have many role models. The ones who can get up every day and fight the good fight even though the odds are stacked against them. These are my heroes and role models.

What is your dream project?
For Songbird Sings to go nationwide, worldwide. To be able to take these songwriting/recording programs to anyone who needs help, anywhere there are people suffering from abuse, neglect, violence. Putting it all down on Cd's or on Internet so that the whole world can learn that there is indeed a way to heal and come together through music, song, art. I really believe that music can heal the world. Just need the opportunity to make it happen. One song at a time.

What are your plans for the future?
To find more people willing to volunteer their time to Songbird Sings, an intern or two would be great. Finding a grant writer who knows what they're doing to write the grants to bring in the funding. I do not charge people for Songbird Sings songwriting programs. And so in order to do them we need the funds. I also want to teach the teachers and other musicians who have a heart for this, some of the things I have learned so that they too can be part of Songbird Sings as we form a network all over the country. We just finished A Woman's Voice CD and it will be in some of the Whole Foods stores in New England. 100 % of the proceeds will go toward funding the programs. We're also going to start something up on Indiegogo, a platform to raise funding to bring the songwriting programs to Trafficked girls New England Wide, possibly country wide. This is very important. I was able to work with trafficked girls in Boston. Boston girls, not from Romania. You should hear the songs they wrote. Amazing. I'll be working with them again this spring through Roxbury Youth Works.

If I wasn’t doing this, I would be...
There is no way I would not be doing what I am doing. Having started my own non profit Songbird Sings and understanding the importance of these programs and how they affect the participants ability to tap into their own healing resources through songwriting, I am committed but I am also able to continue performing, House concerts, working with Red Sox organization Hot Stove Cool Music, run by Peter Gammons, the great sports writer, where we perform once a year at The Paradise in Boston, with other musicians, to raise money for organizations in Boston that help youth at risk. I'm doing what I want and need to be doing in this world. Thank you Universe.

What's your favorite line from a movie, song, or book?
"The trouble is that once you see it, you can't unsee it. And once you've seen it, keeping quiet, saying nothing, becomes as political an act as speaking out. There's no innocence. Either way, you're accountable." — Arundhati Roy

If you were a piece of clothing, what would be and what color/pattern?
A not too heavy beautiful Edwardian style tapestry long jacket circa 1960's, like the guys in "Cream" used to wear, that you could wear over T-shirts and jeans which would dress you up no matter what.

You’re building a robot. What does it do?
It would cook yummy healthy food, take care of and cuddle with my cats when I'm gone, keep me organized in all the ways I need to be organized, pay my bills, write grants, make phone calls on my behalf and would be there as another good friend.

What's the first line in a book about your life?
"Her mother gave her nothing from her mouth, there were no worms for Chirpy"

What is your favorite word, and why?
Love. Because it's all you need.

What's your go-to "happy" song?
Anything that comes into my mind when I need it.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever gotten?
All is well.

What super power would you like to have, and why?
Flying of course. Because it would be the most awesome thing ever in the history of my dream world.

Who would you want to play you in a movie about yourself?
Kate Winslet if I may so bold.

When was the last time you laughed so hard you cried?
I can't remember but it does happen quite a bit.

You can catch Robin Lane performing live this Friday, February 8th from 6-8pm here at ode.