Manuel Klarmann—Eaternity: One can never predict who might show up at one of the weekly Awakin circles in Santa Clara. Awakin circles, which have spread all over the world, are one of the longest-standing of ServiceSpace’s several projects. There are many rewarding aspects of attending one of these circles; one of these is listening as each person in turn has a chance to share his or her thoughts. The level of sincerity the circle fosters is always touching and frequently afterwards, before heading home, I can’t resist approaching one or two strangers to learn more about them. It’s how I met ... Jan 13, 2016, 8063 reads


Remembering Robert Lax—A Conversation with Steve Georgiou: My introduction to S. T. Georgiou came via his most recent book: In the Beginning Was Love: Contemplative Words of Robert Lax. The name rang a bell. It was buried in memory, but wrapped in an aura connected with Thomas Merton. I’d never followed up on Lax and had forgotten about him long ago. So I was surprised to find myself suddenly alert in front of that name.      The book had arrived with Georgiou’s handwritten note. Perhaps I’d take an interest. It happened that I was headed for a getaway. Perfect. In addition to the beauty of the northern Oregon ... May 11, 2017, 3851 reads


Interview with Ronald Hobbs: I first met Ronald Hobbs over thirty years ago. In those days, in the late sixties, should the conversation have taken a certain turn, I might have laid a claim to poetry. I'd read at the “I and Thou” on Haight Street, run an open-mike poetry program in the basement of a Presbyterian church, and even had won a prize in San Francisco’s Ina Coolbrith Circle’s poetry competition.  Ron was in another league, however. In the mid 1960s he had established himself in the New York poetry scene. He had done actual campus tours to read his own published work. He ... Jul 23, 2004, 9252 reads


Mark Bulwinkle—What Drives Us?: by Richard Whittaker Mark Bulwinkle at his studio in West Oakland, CA 1997 While Mark Bulwinkle was a student at the University of Pittsburgh his eyes were opened to the world of art. In 1972, four years after his BA and after a year spent in New York, he moved to the Bay Area where he continued his art education at the San Francisco Art Institute. At SFAI, he managed to complete  his MFA in only eight months. It was a pretty quick trip to the degree, I suggested. "Well, I’d been doing a lot of work," he said. A substantial understatement, no doubt. A friend of mine happened to have ... Mar 2, 1998, 6840 reads


The Sound of One Hand Clapping: An Interview with Terrance Meyer  One morning I looked up from my cup of tea in a local coffee shop and was surprised to see a man at work on a little painting sitting at a table nearby. Such a sight was a first for me in this particular neighborhood. I walked over, took a peek, and was surprised again. It was really good. I complimented him on his work and we struck up a conversation.        He was just passing through, he told me. He’d been in Seattle and had come down to the Bay Area where he was staying for a few days with a friend. It didn’t sound like his accomodations were any ... Oct 2, 1999, 27260 reads


A Conversation with Doug Burgess: Weeds On the walls of the photo lab in west Berkeley where I take my black and white film for processing, there’s always a photo exhibit on display. This one came with a xeroxed eleven page catalog: "Weeds" by Doug Burgess, in which he describes weeds as our constant companions. He adds, "The relationship between weeds and people may be one of our most enduring relationships with the natural world.”  As a kid, like Burgess, I too was given the task of removing weeds from the front lawn, but Burgess’ career of weed-pulling extended through his teen-age ... Dec 4, 2002, 7801 reads


Pottery and the Ancient Life: A Conversation with Michael Miller I met Michael Miller through John Toki. He called me one day around noon and said, "Richard, there’s a guy giving a presentation to my class who I think you’d like. I know this is late notice. He’ll be here in an hour. Any chance you can make it?" I did make it.      Here’s a brief note Toki wrote about this potter from Louisiana: Michael Miller’s first slide at his lecture on the wood kiln firing process at the California College of the Arts Ceramics Department was of a tent. I thought it was a unique first image for a slide ... Apr 2, 2007, 10287 reads


A Conversation with Irene Sullivan: Understanding of the Heart It began with an email. Someone had discovered the magazine and had been touched, Irene Sullivan. It opened an exchange. I learned that Sullivan had lived in remote regions of Alaska providing health care as a nurse practitioner to the Inupiat speaking peoples there, that she was an avid photographer, that her experiences with indigenous people awakened an interest in the role of women in shamanic practices among arctic peoples, and that later she found herself doing independent research as a Fulbright Scholar in Denmark at the Institute of Eskimologi.      When ... May 18, 2008, 9267 reads


For the Love of Bees—A Conversation with Meredith May: I heard about Meredith May from the founders of UC Davis’ Art and Science Fusion program, artist Donna Billick and entomologist Diane Ullman. As part of their program they've created a honeybee haven and forage garden.      “A reporter from the San Francisco Chronicle was up here," Donna told me, "Meredith May. She has two beehives on top of the SF Chronicle building.”      A few days later, I was at UC Davis interviewing Billick and Ullman. What they're doing at UC Davis is inspiring on several levels. And what ... Aug 24, 2013, 23901 reads


Gabriel Meyer: Stretching Identity “There’s a concert this evening,” the message read. I had an hour to get to Canticle Farm. Comprised of five houses on three adjoining lots in the Fruitvale District of Oakland, Canticle Farm is grounded in the vision of Joanna Macy and the spirit of St. Fancis of Assisi.      Having no idea what to expect, I got in my car. At least I’d get to visit my friends at Casa de Paz, which is part of Canticle Farm. Besides, Samir Doshi, from the Obama administration and who I’d met earlier, had just gotten into town and would be there. In fact, ... Mar 21, 2015, 10637 reads


A Man Impossible to Classify One of my first experiences in San Francisco was of being flagged down by a ... Read More 719426 views

The Dumpster      “We can’t use these. They look like ... Read More 139719 views

Cotton and Silk Vorbeck quilt, detail I’m working on the last panel of a pair of ... Read More 7562 views

A Conversation with Silas Hagerty I met Silas, a young man in his twenties from New England, at a ... Read More 59103 views

Remember to Remember - Nicholas Hlobeczy I had the pleasure of getting to know the late Nicholas Hlobeczy over a ... Read More 89216 views


A Man Impossible to Classify One of my first experiences in San Francisco was of being flagged down by a ... Read More 719426 views

Interview with Bill Douglass—Jimbo's Bop City and Other Tales At the time I'd first gotten to know the widely respected jazz musician Bill ... Read More 362183 views

Greeting the Light It was thanks to artist Walter Gabrielson that I was able to get in touch with ... Read More 292682 views

Interview: Gail Needleman Gail Needleman teaches music at Holy Names University in Oakland, California. ... Read More 188627 views

Interview: Stephen De Staebler John Toki encouraged me to interview his old friend and mentor, sculptor Stephen ... Read More 149993 views