Monday, December 31, 2012

Past Year Contemplation: 2012

"Prosperity to All" in Latin, "Safe Journey" in Sanskrit, "To Life!" in Hebrew, "Eat, Drink and Be Merry" in Gaelic
I spent some time this morning thinking about the past year.

It was kind of a rough one for my family.  There was crisis and death.
There was fear, heartache, desperation and anger.  There were moments of weakness and doubt and worry and frustration that took me to dark places.  I’ve been reminded of the inevitability of my own mortality and the possibility of losing those I hold most dear.   I’ve become more aware of the ticking of the clock – of the hours of my life passing at a seemingly ever-accelerating pace, and the changes that aging brings.

But I also feel like this year has been one of significant learning for me – precisely because it has been so challenging.  I think that this year has taught me to learn from every experience – to be a student of my own life.  To see every event – the good, the bad, the random, the intentional – as an opportunity to observe myself and the world around me and try to understand it and myself better, and therefore learn to navigate and cope and contribute better.

I’ve been getting better at widening my perspective, seeing the greater patterns - overarching and underlying webs of cause and effect, of influence and unfolding processes.  The very real reality of how everything and everyone is connected.  How our thoughts shape our experiences, our behavior, our lives and the lives of all around us.  How the connections we perceive and the meanings we assign create our reality.  As I grok this more and more deeply, I realize how much power I have to consciously create and change my life.

I’m on the cusp of 40 years old, which seems to me a general half-way mark, if I live to old age.  Realizing that has given me a bit of a jolt; a kick in the pants to help propel me forward with plans and dreams I have been kind of vaguely puttering around with.  This realization coincides with other developments that have been slowly coalescing throughout my life, coming together in ways that I am only now beginning to be aware of.

Looking back, I start to glimpse the cycles of my life.  I realize that I have ups and downs.  I am mostly a positive and optimistic person, but at times I sink into depression, self doubt, paralyzing fear and procrastination.  It’s something I am slowly gaining more control over. Perhaps the most important thing I’ve learned about that aspect of myself is that it is always temporary.  I am starting to learn how to remain aware of that, even when I am in the darker places…to allow myself to ride it out, knowing that I will find my way back to the light. And to trust those who love me, and accept their comfort and reassurances when I cannot trust my own self-perceptions.  The more I practice this, the shorter the bad moods last, and the easier it is to shake them off.

Looking back, I see that I have failed over and over and over again.  Seriously – I have tried so many different things in my art career – and most of them have met with a tiny bit of success, but nothing close to recompense for the time, effort, money and energy invested.  Over and over and over again I have done this.

Strangely, at this point, this pattern does not indicate to me that I am a Failure.  What it tells me is that failure is not as scary as I once thought.
I am still here.
I am still trying.
And I’m better at what I do than I have ever been before.
This applies to my career, my relationships, my self-awareness and control.
Every failure teaches me something that I apply to the next attempt.  My failures haven’t broken me, or ruined my life or doomed me to misery. 
On the contrary, they have helped me build a better understanding of my self and the world that now guides me to navigate it with more confidence and determination than ever.

I have learned a lot this year, but I also know that I have much yet to learn.  I start to feel like I’ve got things All Figured Out, then I realize I am mistaken about something and am humbled and must admit my ignorance and helplessness. 
But that is the first step to further learning.  We must admit we have room to learn in order to be open to the teaching.

And I have many amazing teachers;  my family, my friends, my husband, the work of teachers and authors and speakers and filmmakers and artists who share their visions and ideas.  Even random strangers and brief encounters. The world itself, observed through personal experience and the ever-improving tools of science.  The sense of Wonder that drives me to soak it all in and put it all together like an amazingly complex and ineffably beautiful, ever-shifting puzzle.

I have many things I still want to improve in myself and my life- bad habits to break, good habits to install.  Dreams to catch and  fears to release.  I think this year I have found some tools with which to tackle those challenges.  I have a better sense of both my limitations and my potential.  At least I think I do!  :)

The world did not end in 2012.
Some say we have entered a New Age.  I don’t know if there is a Cosmic Calendar that moves us, but I do feel that I am, personally, entering a new age.  I think 2013 is going to be a year of unprecedented accomplishment for me.  I am determined to strive and to thrive, and to continue to learn.

And I hope that all of you will find the lessons and inspiration you need to move forward with strength and joy.  Thank you for your presence in my life.  <3
Happy New Year!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Shakti Art Pendants Now Available!

Express your Spirit with a sparkling Shakti Art Pendant!

"Earth Spirit" Art Pendant
 "Shakti" is a Sanskrit word that describes the sacred creative energy of the Universe in feminine form.  Shakti represents the balance of the dynamic forces that form our reality.  She embodies creativity, bliss, freedom and the manifestation of conscious awareness.

My new Shakti Art Pendants feature original artwork from my Shakti Series.
The initial release includes all four Elemental Shakti - Earth Spirit, Fire Spirit, Water Spirit and Air Spirit.  Each of these designs expresses the unique attributes associated with the Classical Elemental concepts, which are described on the back of the packaging, along with Zodiac and Chakra associations.

"Fire Spirit" Art Pendant
Perfect for expressing your own spirit, or for gifting to someone whom you feel embodies these traits.  Or perhaps there is an elemental attribute you wish to develop in yourself?  I've been wearing Earth Spirit a lot recently as I'm delving more into the business side of my career - to remind me to stay grounded and practical as I focus on growing and nurturing my business. 

Also available are Divine Life and Fleur De Lis - two Shakti designs that express reverence for Life, and the vital Connection between all living things (I confess that Fleur De Lis is my personal favorite!).

"Divine Life" Art Pendant
"Fleur De Lis" Art Pendant
Finally, my Metamorphosis Shakti represents the process of spiritual growth, the development of maturity and the fulfillment of personal potential.

"Metamorphosis" Art Pendant

Rectangular pendants are 1” wide by 2” tall, with an adjustable 24" chain with lobster claw clasp. Metamorphosis pendant is 1" square. They are made of a lead and nickle free zinc alloy with an antique bronze finish.  Artwork is printed on metallic paper to give it extra shimmer, and is protected by a glass tile with smooth, rounded edges, which gives them a dynamic, 3-dimensional effect.

Available now at the Gypsy Mystery Arts online shop!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Metamorphosis Shakti Art Pendant

Introducing the first release in my new line of Gypsy Mystery Jewlery.
These beautiful pendants feature my Shakti designs printed on a shimmering background, under sparkling glass and framed by a vintage-style setting in an antique bronze finish.

"Metamorphosis" is an art nouveau-inspired celebration of spiritual transformation;
Like the life stages of a butterfly, we move through the metamorphosis of maturity and spiritual growth. First, our caterpillar phase; like a lowly grub we crawl through life, ravenously consuming with care for little else. Then we wrap ourselves in a chrysalis; turning inward to explore the potential within. Finally, we emerge as radiant beings, soaring aloft on graceful wings of serenity.
The symbol at the top is a West African adinkra symbol that means “self-directed transformation”.

Art pendant is 1 1/8” square, with an adjustable 24" chain. Made of lead and nickle free zinc alloy with an antique bronze finish. Packaging includes art description and symbolic meaning.

I make each one of these myself, and I'm selling them for $16.50 each, a perfect price for gifting - to yourself or to loved ones.  Click the button below to order direct from my new and improved Gypsy Mystery Arts online store:

Stay tuned for more designs!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Getting Crafty

I'm very excited to announce that I will be hawking my wares over the next month at Crafted at the Port of Los Angeles!

 This indoor, year-round craft marketplace is chock-full of creative vendors offering their unique items - including original art, jewelry, clothing, accessories, gifts, decor, ceramics, toys, handmade bath and beauty products, and artisanal gourmet food products.

Located near Ports O' Call Village in San Pedro, CA, Crafted is a vibrant marketplace filled with intriguing booths filled with countless distinctive treasures!  When I went down there a couple of weeks ago to check it out, I had to forcibly restrain myself from spending waaaay too much money on supercool stuff!

If you're looking for holiday gifts that are more interesting than the standard mall offerings, and you'd like to support some talented artisans who have worked very hard to follow their dreams of creative enterprise, you have got to hit this place up.  It's open every week on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  There's no admission fee, but parking in their lot costs $5 (though there is plenty of free parking in the area if you're up for a walk by the seaside).
There are also special events going on - bands, refreshments, demonstrations, kids activities, etc.

Starting next Friday, my friend (and incredibly talented jeweler, sculptor, painter, dancer and teacher)  Deborah Wright is graciously sharing her Artistic Rite booth with me.  I'll have some of my hoodies (including the new Autumn Queen design), as well as a selection of Under $20 items perfect for gifting.  I'm especially excited about the new art pendant jewelry we've put together, as well as the new Shakti Art Cards.

I'll be manning the booth on Sundays from Nov. 11 - Dec 9.

Calliope has also been invited to strut her stuff.  We are working on picking a weekend to showcase our flamboyant gypsy wagon - and I am inordinately excited to have a chance to decorate her for the holidays. I know Calliope will be thrilled to dress up in some twinkling lights and festive decor.

I think I've used the word "excited" at least 3 times so far.  I guess I'm pretty excited about this.  :D

I invite you to come on down and spend an afternoon near the ocean, exploring this exceptional marketplace.  Discover some truly novel and wonderful items, get some shopping done, meet some very creative and talented people, and when you're done - hit the other great seaside attractions at the Port of Los Angeles.

And come see me on Sundays!

How to get there and more info here:

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Calliope Goes to Los Angeles Decom 2012

Calliope the Wonder Wagon @ L.A. Decom 2012

           I found my way to the Burning Man community in Los Angeles after attending my first Burn in 2003.  Since that life-changing experience, the Burning Man community has become a vital part of my life that has brought me profound joy and inspiration.  I’ve met countless amazing people (including my husband), been a part of fantastic creative endeavors and learned many inspiring lessons from my participation in this community of exceptional individuals - not to mention having a whole lot of fun!
Photo by Mike Smith
            Every year, the Los Angeles League of Arts puts on an event called “L.A. Decom” – short for “decompression”.  This is a bit of burner jargon that references the common experience of returning to the “real world” after the radical freedom of Burning Man, and realizing how “compressed” modern life feels.  “Decompression” has come to mean a Burning Man-related event held a month or so after the main event in the desert that brings a taste of the Burn home and gives participants a chance to “decompress”.
Photo by Mike Smith
            Numerous regional Burning Man organizations hold these events, including San Franscisco, San Diego and Los Angeles.  Many of them take the opportunity to reach out to the local communities and share a bit of what makes Burning Man so special – the art, music, costumes, participation, playfulness and core tenets such as “Leave No Trace”, gifting, civic responsibility and gratitude.
            As we did last year, Dore and I displayed Calliope The Wonder Wagon at L.A. Decom this past weekend, and we had an absolute blast!  There seemed to be a lot more people this year – especially new faces – folks who just stumbled upon the event, or were curious about Burning Man and wanted to see what it was all about.  Everyone I met seemed to be having a great time.

Hobo clown shenanigans!
            We literally had hundreds of people visit Calliope and take a look inside and out.  At many points throughout the day and evening, folks were lined up outside to get a peek at the interior.  In less crowded moments, small groups made themselves comfortable for a brief respite in Calliope’s colorful, cozy space.
            It brings us so much joy to share our magical gypsy trailer with people.  She inevitably arouses smiles, delighted surprise and inspiration.  People are first captivated by the vibrant exterior artwork, and then they get a glimpse inside and their faces just light up.  Calliope’s combination of artistic whimsy and functionality seems to inspire people like nothing else I’ve been a part of. 

Photo by Mike Smith
            Dore loves to talk shop with folks interested in the details – what we started with, how much it cost, where we got parts and how he built various bits, roadworthiness, how we tow it and other practical considerations.  There are many people who have dreamed of something along these lines since they were children, and we wholeheartedly encourage folks to chase that dream and make it come true.  I imagine a caravan of caravans, having joyful adventures and bringing smiles to all we pass.
            I particularly enjoyed seeing the kids’ reactions.  There were a lot of young people at the event this year, and Calliope seems to be particularly alluring to little girls.  One of my favorite moments was when a couple of mothers brought their toddler girls in to take a look.  Afterwards, I offered them art postcards to take home.  As I stood on the porch of this little fairytale house in my colorful, sparkly gypsy costume, their eyes got huge and round and I imagined them wondering if I was some kind of fairy godmother.  It was a brilliant “I love my life!” moment.  :)

Cristina McAllister working on a panel of Seraphim

            I also got to contribute to the Los Angeles CORE (Circle of Regional Effigies) project, Seraphim.  This marvelous installation piece features four large angel figures, representing the diverse ethnic and cultural influences of our fair city.  I was invited to paint one of the panels that make up the base, and spent the morning working on that.  I went with an angel figure design reminiscent of my shakti, with human, angelic, animal and plant features, holding a flaming heart.

             Participation was encouraged by having markers available for writing personal messages on the raw wood areas of the piece.  This is a Burning Man tradition inspired by the Temples built every year at the Burn.  These spectacular structures, unique each year, serve as non-denominational sacred spaces; places to reflect and share, and memorialize events and loved ones.  On the last night of Burning Man, the Temple is burned in a glorious and reverent ritual, sending the hopes, dreams and emotions scrawled upon it into the heavens.
"Seraphim" flame vortex structure surrounded by angels

The original plan was to burn the Seraphim installation at the L.A. Decom event (the first time a “burn” was to be sanctioned in Los Angeles) but unfortunately, dry conditions caused the Fire Marshal to cancel the burn.
            There are plans in the works for a future event in a safer location to make the CORE team’s plan a reality.
Photo by Curious Josh @
                    All in all, L.A. Decom was a great success.  I connected with so many wonderful people and got to share some of the inspiration that has enriched my own life beyond measure.  
Cristina McAllister and Dore

Some links to follow down the Rabbit Hole:

Info on Burning Man:

More about the Seraphim project:

L.A. Decom and Los Angeles League of Arts:

Photos of the Temples at Burning Man:

Black Rock Yearbook Photo Booth pics from L.A. Decom:
More about our Hobo Clowns from Diatomaceaous Love:

More Photos by Curious Josh:

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Gypsy Mystery Goes to France!

Oooh la la!

Last year, I was approached by a publisher in France who was putting together a Lunar Calendar with a theme of celebrating the Sacred Feminine.  They had come across my artwork and wanted to use a couple of select pieces in their publication, which featured art by many different artists from around the world. 
I agreed, and last year’s Rev’Elles Agenda Lunaire 2012 was published.  When I got my 2 copies, I thought they were beautiful – full of vibrant artwork and useful information (226 pages worth - this little book is 3/4 of an inch thick!). 

Along with a lunar calendar, it had writings on various pagan holidays, seasonal information, a planting almanac for your garden, astrological descriptions, datebook pages and even a few recipes.  Of course, all of this was in French, so I couldn’t actually read it, but even in a language I don’t know, it was lovely.
Unfortunately, only one small, altered piece of my art made it in…printed super teeny tiny! Ah c'est la vie!

Today I got 2 copies of Rev’Elles Agenda Lunaire 2013, and it’s just as beautiful.  This time my “Sacred Feminine” piece got a nice, juicy spot on it’s own page!  And my little half-Namaste icon is featured throughout once more – printed super teeny tiny!

Anyone read French...?

More info (in French) about these publications:

Friday, August 10, 2012

NEW! Metal Prints Available!

My Print-On-Demand partner, Fine Art America, has recently made a
new product available - high-quality digital prints on aluminum, ready to hang!

"Autumn Queen" by Cristina McAllister

Metal Prints
Bring your artwork to life with the stylish lines and added depth of a metal print.   
Your image gets printed directly onto a sheet of 1/16" thick aluminum.
The aluminum sheet is offset from the wall by a 3/4" thick wooden frame which is attached to the back.   The wooden frame includes a hanging wire for easy mounting on your wall (see photo on the left).
All metal prints ship within 2 - 3 business days and arrive "ready to hang" with mounting hooks and nails.
Metal prints are extremely durable.   They're lightweight.  They won't bend, and they're water resistant.
The high gloss of the aluminum sheet complements the rich colors of any image to produce stunning results.
 These are great because, though they may be more expensive than the paper prints, they do not require framing (which can often be more expensive than the artwork itself!).  These Metal Prints are also durable - no glass to crack or break, they won't tear or crease.  Hardcore!!!  :)

Sunday, July 29, 2012

NEW: "Shakti: Gratitude"

A Spirit of Gratitude exults in the glorious beauty of Being. With radiant heart and embracing wings, she expresses deep appreciation for the blessings, challenges, wisdom and mysteries of the Universe. The Gratitude symbol is centered at top. Bouvardia blossoms twine around her, emblems of appreciation and enthusiasm.

"Gratitude: We learn the magical lesson that making the most of what we have turns it into more. Say thank-you til we mean it. Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. Denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity...problems into gifts, failures into successes, the unexpected into perfect timing and mistakes into important events. Gratitude makes things right. Today, I will shine the transforming light of gratitude on all the circumstances of my life."
                                                                  -Melody Beattie,
                                                        The Language of Letting Go Journal: A Meditation Book and Journal for Daily Reflection

I've been thinking a lot about gratitude lately - realizing more fully its profound power.

I often find myself stuck in negative thought patterns - worry or frustration or just plain crankiness...but once I become aware that these thoughts are dominating my mind, I can take a step back, widen my perspective, and bring my focus back to the positive things.
I begin to realize that the bad things, scary things, annoying things...they are only a small part of all that there is.  By acknowledging the good as well, I can find some Balance. 

Gratitude can turn a harrowing experience into a valuable lesson that can serve you for the rest of your life.  Gratitude can turn boredom into joy, apathy into enthusiasm, self-pity into motivation.  It is a path that always brings me back to Center - to realize the powerful potential of my own consciousness to shape my own experience, rather than being a victim of my circumstances.

Prints available here:

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Shakti Gypsy show at the Freedom Gallery in Downtown Los Angeles

Please join me this Thursday evening (July 12) for The Freedom Gallery's Grand Re-Opening!
I'll be showing a selection of work, including a brand NEW Shakti design!
Calliope the Wonder Wagon will also be showing off her sassy self. :)
Indulge in a bit of wine & cheese, live music, art, jewelry and fashion!

More info here:

Sunday, May 20, 2012

To Dye For

So, I've been experimenting with printing my artwork on apparel, and have gotten a good response.
So far I've tried t-shirts, tank tops and hoodies, which are turning out cool and are popular, but I want to do something more interesting and expressive, something more feminine and unique.  I also want something that I, personally (as well as other voluptuous ladies like myself), would and could wear.  The cute tanks and tees are usually sized for more petite women.  I'd like to make some styles that are flattering to all kinds of figures.
"Fire Spirit" on black burnout tank

I started looking around for options and discovered the Dharma Trading Company, (not to be confused with the Dharma Initiative!), which has a drool-worthy selection of fabric dyeing supplies, including a large variety of plain white garments made to be dyed.

The extent of my dyeing experience has been a few instances of using RIT to make something from the thrift store more acceptable.  But I adore textile arts - the fabrics, yarns, textures, colors.  It's something I've long admired but haven't actually jumped into.  Now I had the perfect excuse!

So I grabbed a few sample garments to play with, some dyes and other required supplies and began making a mess!  I mean...being creative!

My first experiment resulted in hands and feet stained a nice bruise-like purple.  I guess they were serious when they recommended wearing gloves and protective clothing. I'll have to get over my dislike of working in gloves. The colors ended up a bit less vibrant than I'd hoped, and one color didn't dissolve properly, which resulted in little flecks of intense effect I actually quite like!
Apparently, colors with red in them tend to be harder to dissolve fully. 

My next attempt had much more vibrant colors - I'd realized that I hadn't used enough dye powder for the amount of water last time.  I also was using cold water instead of lukewarm to mix the dyes, and adding the salt at the beginning with the dye and soda ash, instead of after the dye had had a chance to dissolve.  I was also working with a different fabric this time, which may be a factor - further trials are required to confirm this.  I also used a slightly different technique and let it develop for a full 23 hours (so I got a little impatient!), instead of the 6 hours I'd done last time.

"Namaste Reflectograph"

I’m discovering that dyeing is a bit like baking…there’s chemistry involved, so you have to stick close to the recipe or it’s not going to come out right.  I am by nature more of a soup or stir-fry/improvise and modify type of gal.  But this medium requires a bit more diligence, and I found myself getting into the process and enjoying taking the time to measure and mix things correctly…though I have to admit that it does take a fair bit of time to do it right.  But splashing the dye around and playing with blending colors and whatnot is pretty fun!

There's also an interesting element of surprise involved that I really like.  The colors often do not look the same in powder form, or even when mixed, as the end result, so you never know quite how it's going to turn out once it's processed, rinsed and dried,  or how colors are going to interact.  How wet the fabric is when you apply the dye is also a factor.  It reminds me of the random accidents that happen when working with pottery glazes or patinas - a little bit of chaos thrown in with your creative choices.  Just like LIFE!!!

Rayon sundress
Sun in my eyes...

Once I had the garments dyed, I screen printed my designs on them.  The results weren’t perfect – my printing press is not designed for apparel – but I think there’s potential here!

What do you guys think?  Would you buy something like this?  And how much do you think would be a fair price for this kind of one-of-a-kind, hand-dyed and printed-with-unique-designs apparel?

Cotton tunic with flowy sleeaves

Click here to see what I've got for sale!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Art Spotlight: Shakti: Metamorphosis

A glorious Spirit of Transformation.

 Like the life stages of a butterfly, we move through the metamorphosis of maturity and spiritual growth.
First, our caterpillar phase; like a lowly grub we crawl through life, ravenously consuming with care for little else. Then we wrap ourselves in a chrysalis; turning inward to explore the potential within. Finally, we emerge as radiant beings, soaring aloft on graceful wings of serenity.
The West African adinkra symbol "sesa wo suban", (at center top), represents self-directed transformation.

 The word "metamorphosis" is derived from the Greek words "meta", or "change", and "morphe", "form".
It is used in biology to describe the literal, often dramatic, physical changes that take place during the developmental cycles of many life forms.
It is also a term used in myth to describe the (often temporary) transformations of gods, sorcerers or other magical beings into alternate forms.
It can also be used symbolically to refer to profound internal, spiritual change - a transformation of perspective, attitude and understanding.

It is generally defined as: "A marked change in appearance, character, condition, or function."*
It's antonym is stagnation.

"It's not that some people have willpower and some don't. It's that some people are ready to change and others are not.
 ~ James Gordon

For most people, change can be a scary thing.  We are comforted by the familiar.  But change is necessary for growth and improvement.  We must learn to transform ourselves from within, and develop the flexibility to flow with changes that we cannot control.

Follow this link for more information of the symbolism of the butterfly.

"Metamorphosis" is part of my "Shakti" series, featuring female figures and symbolic elements that express a particular theme.

Color fine art prints are available here:

* definition from:

Monday, May 7, 2012

NEW! Gypsy Mystery Apparel

"Fire Spirit" tank top
Over the past year as we've been hawking my wares at various marketplaces, I've had numerous people suggest that my work would look good on apparel.  I've also noticed that many people are more likely to purchase something that adorns themselves, rather than something that adorns their home.
Perhaps it is a matter of finite wall space, or maybe buying art seems like more of a commitment..?  Perhaps it is simply a more direct form of self-expression, one you can take with you wherever you go.  We humans have been decorating ourselves since the stone age, after all, and our fascination with "wearable art" has been fundamental throughout history.  What we wear serves many purposes, from the practical matter of protection from the elements, to the more complex social aspects of modesty, identification, and self-expression.

In any case – as I was pondering these suggestions and observations, I was contacted by someone else who’d seen my work on Etsy and thought my designs would look good on apparel – and he just happened to be all set up to print on apparel, whereas we are not. 

 Jeff Coleman, owner of NtheGroove Fine Art Printmaking Studio in San Diego, mainly focuses on collaborating with artists to create unique, high quality fine art prints, but has recently branched out into apparel as well.
And since I’m interested in creating attire that’s more akin to wearable art than mass-produced clothing, it seemed like a serendipitous connection.  Turns out he’s a joy to work with, as well. :)

Tupa spins some fire in one of my Fire Spirit tanks. *

We premiered our first, “experimental” batch of T-shirts and tank tops at the Lucidity Festival last month, and also did some for the IgNight Fire Flow Arts Conference (which was AMAZING, btw - more on that later!).  They were very well received, we sold a bunch, and we got a lot of great feedback.

Our available selection can be found on my Etsy Shop:

More options are in the works.  My goal is to develop some products that are more interesting than your standard T-shirt offerings, and we’re looking into more unique styles and possibly some hand-dying and other embellishments.
Stay tuned for future developments!

"Namaste" design
"P.L.U.R." design
"Fleur-des-Lis" design

Check Our NtheGroove's Etsy Shop:

* Special thanks to Curious Josh for the use of his beautiful photo.  More of this photos from the IgNight Fire Flow Arts Conference can be found here:

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Lucidity 2012; the Dripocalypse

Apollo & Calliope, Live Oak Camp  Photo by Mike Smith**
Our trip to the Lucidity Festival in Santa Barbara, CA, last weekend was truly an epic adventure! 
The weather reports promised 70% chance of rain on Thursday and Friday, and I hoped that we’d get some light sprinkles, as opposed to a miserable downpour.  Alas, my prayers to the rain gods were summarily dismissed – they had other plans!

We traveled the 3 hour journey on Thursday night, winding through dark hills and valleys in drizzle and creeping white-knuckled through pockets of fog. Dore once again managed to guide Apollo (our Jeep) and Calliope (our gypsy camper trailer) safely to our destination, though there were a few scary moments. We arrived around 10:30pm to a drenched campground, squelching through mud and getting soaked through whenever we left the shelter of our vehicle.
We pulled Calliope up near our setup area, deserted due to the downpour. Everyone was huddled in their tents or vehicles, so we climbed into our trusty gypsy wagon to weather the storm ‘til morning.

Unfortunately, Calliope wasn’t quite watertight.  This was the first time we’d taken her out in a rainstorm, and we discovered that the edges of the roof had a few gaps that allowed the copious deluge to find its way in.  Fortunately, I’d brought plenty of paper towels and extra bath towels, which we stuffed into the cracks to soak up the drippage.
Dore braved the elements to throw a tarp up over the roof, which kept us a bit drier, but got him a whole lot wetter.  We wrung out and hung his soaked clothes up as best we could and turned on the gas stove for a bit, resulting in our own personal, steamy little sauna.
Calliope's Rose Window  Photo by Mike Smith
The night shook with tremendous thunderclaps and the disconcerting, ripping sound of lightening, which sounded like it was striking VERY nearby.  It was quite the epic storm, and I nervously wondered aloud what would happen if we were struck by lightening.  “We’d probably explode,” was my husband’s reassuring answer.  But we were surrounded by trees and structures taller than us, so there was that small comfort (haha). 
We jokingly dubbed this dramatic night: "The Dripocalypse".

  As I sipped some wine and snuggled next to my husband in our slightly damp little gypsy cave, reading a good book* by flashlight as the elements raged around us, I felt my tension and anxiety melt into exhilaration and a deep gratitude for a life less ordinary.  We were in a beautiful oak forest, safely sheltered inside a magical gypsy wagon that we’d built together, while Nature’s awesome power thrashed around us.  I realized that I was really quite happy to be there.

The next morning the rain had slackened a bit, the most threatening of the thunderheads had moved on, but it was still mighty wet.  We managed (despite treacherous mud slicks and gopher holes) to get Calliope into place under a gorgeous old oak tree and spent most of Friday waiting out the storm.  We caught up on some sleep, got a lot of reading done and got to know some of our camping neighbors – lovely people each and every one!

Photo by Yay Fuzzy**
I am always inspired by the hardy resilience and good spirits of the folks who attend these camping festival events.  Despite plans being upset, hours lost, equipment drenched, unavoidable wet and mud, there are always smiles, hugs, offers of help and positive attitudes.  These are the kind of people who don’t let a bit of rain get in the way of their good time.  I know that there are MANY, MANY people who would be whining and stressed out and miserable in this situation – I’ve been that person  myself on many occasions - but this community has taught me that being whiny and miserable is a choice.  You also have the option to put things in perspective, make the best of it and be pleasant, despite things going wrong. 

Calliope & the Gypsy Mystery Arts booth
That afternoon, the sun broke through the clouds – the sudden golden glow cutting through the gray gloom of the day.  A cheer rose up from all around, hundreds of voices rejoicing, whooping and howling through the sparkling forest.

The next two days were absolutely gorgeous.  The storm had scrubbed the sky clean and majestic white clouds sailed across the brilliant blue.  The birds were singing, and everyone’s spirits were soaring.  Enduring the dreary weather had made us all the more appreciative of these bright and sparkling days.  I must have seen at least a dozen people stop in the middle of a clearing, turn their smiling faces to the sun, open their arms and just soak up the warmth and light.  Beautiful.

Once we were able to set up our booth and put out the art, we got a fantastic response.  We had opted for placement in the Healing Sanctuary area, as opposed to the main marketplace.  In past experiences, a bustling marketplace hasn’t been very conducive to folks taking the time to really enjoy the artwork.  People would just zip by with barely a glance. 
But this serene, sacred space invited people to actually explore and connect with the imagery.

One young man wandered into the booth and spent a minute looking around, smiled, and said: “It feels really good to look at these.”  I think that may be one of my all-time favorite comments on my work! 
Many wonderful discussions were sparked, many people expressed their enjoyment and appreciation of my artwork, and we sold a number of prints and shirts.  We got tons of useful feedback and ideas to explore in the future.

Photo by Yay Fuzzy**
We also set out some cushions this time next to Calliope, along with a guide to the symbolism contained within the elaborate “Garden” artwork on her side (you can explore The Garden here).  As we’d hoped, many people made themselves comfy and contemplated the piece.  Several people said they’d seen many of these symbols before, but didn’t know what they meant, and appreciated the information. 

We got to hang out with old friends and make many new ones.  Dore was, as always, a most excellent partner.  Calliope needs a bit of repair and maintenance, but she served us very well.  It’s always a joy to invite people in to explore Calliope, and share our story – she is no doubt an inspiring conversation-starter!

Dore and Myself

It was a phenomenal weekend, despite the less-then-ideal weather at the start, or perhaps in part, because of it.  I’m energized and inspired and looking forward to the other festivals we will be attending this Spring and Summer. 

*So glad I brought along my copy of Ginny Reb, by Brian Haner - wonderful Civil War historical fiction
 **Special thanks to Yay Fuzzy ( and Mike Smith for their beautiful photos