Combat Papermakers Drew Cameron and Drew Matott: An Interview in Two Voices Papermaking is an art of transformation. Papermakers recycle local plants, old clothes, and rags—break them down and reconstitute the fiber as paper. In a radical new version of “swords into ploughshares,” papermakers Drew Cameron, an Iraq veteran, and Drew Matott, an activist artist, have taught 100s of war veterans to slice up their combat uniforms and to transform them into paper. Cameron and Matott call their process “liberating rag” and the fiber that results “combat paper.”      Invented in 105 AD in the court of the Chinese ... Jun 7, 2011, 20580 reads


Steve Karlin and Susie Bear: Over the past year Pavi Mehta, Chris Johnnidis and I have been visiting a wildlife sanctuary in Half Moon Bay to listen to and record the remarkable animal stories and personal journey of founder, Steve Karlin. Sitting on his back porch one day last spring, Steve casually alerted us to the piercing cries of a young red-tailed hawk above and motioned us, mid-sentence, to look beyond the fence at a bobcat moving stealthily in the tall grass. To be in Steve’s company is to be reminded that the vast play of nature is all around us, and visible if only we cultivate our ears to hear and ... Nov 22, 2013, 30515 reads


Three Short Pieces: The Post Office; Time-Sensitive; Reckless Abandon The Post Office I have an incurable love for lines at the post office. This is a luxurious indulgence, I know. The kind important people can ill-afford. But I am comfortably insignificant. Nothing catastrophic happens to the world when I am made to wait for indefinite periods of time, so I am at liberty to love these lines and the speed of molasses at which they move. They give me opportunity to admire the cheerful competence of our postal workers. How brisk and good-natured they are. Even the curmudgeons among them, the ones who speak sharply, criticizing sloppy packaging, pointing ... Jan 23, 2014, 22026 reads


Half a Mile from Taos Pueblo:      Walking a dirt road about a half mile from the Taos Pueblo I happened to meet an old man who lived there and was walking home. I had a paper bag with two chocolate covered donuts in it, so I offered him one.      As we walked we bit at the sweet treats and talked about one thing and another. But you know how it is when you look ahead of you on a long stretch of road in hot summer and you see the undulations of heat flowing horizontally in the distance? Well I was seeing that and, even though we spoke only of casual matters, I was sensing something ... Oct 26, 2016, 2222 reads


Interview: Jacob Needleman: Art & Philosophy, Oakland, CA 11/21/00 I visited Jacob Needleman at his home. We sat out on his deck in the sun and talked...      Richard Whittaker:  Not too long ago I heard Lobsang Rapgay, a psychologist and Tibetan Buddhist from Los Angeles speak. One thing he talked about was "a tremendous fatigue of thinking that prevents us from thinking aesthetically." He said this way of thinking makes it possible "to transform a numinous experience and share it"... To be shared, he said, "it has to be transformed in a way that someone else can understand and learn from." He said ... Sep 21, 2001, 17729 reads


Interview: James Melchert: Getting There Is Half the Fun December 1991 As part of his doctoral dissertation at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley CA, Svare conducted interviews with several prominent Bay Area artists. The question of "self-indulgence" had come up in a discussion of particular American cultural and religious views which are practical in nature and value social service, but which regard art-making with suspicion as a self-indulgent activity. James Melchert:  There’s something I've thought about that's tied in a little bit with what you're saying. It stems from a visit I made to ... Jan 12, 2018, 6428 reads


Interview with Painter Michael Beck: by Razi Mizrahi Sunday In The Park, oil on canvas Sometimes life gives us with a chance to reconnect with a harmony once heard as a child and, as an adult, explore variations that the mature self can hear and appreciate. Reconnecting with Oakland (CA) painter Michael Beck, a long-time family friend, has been just such an experience for me.      Michael was a teacher at my mother’s preschool more than four decades ago, when I was a child. Over the years, I enjoyed glimpses of Beck’s work as his career and vision developed through reports from family and friends, ... Nov 30, -1, 52533 reads


Interview: Enrique Martinez Celaya: Self & Beyond Self It was several years ago when I first heard of the artist Enrique Martínez Celaya. John Evans, founder of Diesel Books and a poet as well, suggested I’d find him worth looking up. Two years were to pass before we met. I’d learned that Martínez Celaya was teaching at Pomona College and, one afternoon, on a visit to Claremont, I decided to look for him. I got lucky and arrived at his classroom just as his students were leaving; the timing was perfect.      To my surprise, Martínez Celaya was already familiar with works & conversations. We ... May 2, 2003, 21906 reads


Portfolio: William Fuller III: Richard Whittaker The work of William Fuller III came to my attention by chance, as seems to happen with so many good things. My wife and I were passing through Trona, California, when she spotted a hand-painted sign. "Hey," she said, "I think there's some art over there." I’ve learned not to expect much in my travels whenever I run across an art moment, whether it’s at a gallery or private studio. At the same time, I’m always ready to be surprised. And coming across Fuller’s work in Trona did surprise me—no disrepect meant to Trona. The place is a ... Dec 1, 2007, 3800 reads


Livia Stein: A Visit To India: For over thirty years India has held a strong attraction for Stein. [As an undergraduate at UC Berkeley, she completed a degree in Indian History.] “I always feel more alive there,” she told me.      We talked at Stein’s Oakland studio surrounded by her recent work, large canvases and prints inspired by her most recent visit—her fourth—to India earlier this year, where she spent three weeks as a visiting artist at M.S. University in Baroda, Gujarat.   Richard Whittaker: I’m interested in your Gandhi series. What attracted you ... Dec 1, 2007, 4068 reads


A Man Impossible to Classify One of my first experiences in San Francisco was of being flagged down by a ... Read More 718801 views

The Dumpster      “We can’t use these. They look like ... Read More 139510 views

Cotton and Silk Vorbeck quilt, detail I’m working on the last panel of a pair of ... Read More 7411 views

A Conversation with Silas Hagerty I met Silas, a young man in his twenties from New England, at a ... Read More 58733 views

Remember to Remember - Nicholas Hlobeczy I had the pleasure of getting to know the late Nicholas Hlobeczy over a ... Read More 89041 views


A Man Impossible to Classify One of my first experiences in San Francisco was of being flagged down by a ... Read More 718801 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 361462 views

Greeting the Light It was thanks to artist Walter Gabrielson that I was able to get in touch with ... Read More 292394 views

Interview: Gail Needleman Gail Needleman teaches music at Holy Names University in Oakland, California. ... Read More 188454 views

Interview: Stephen De Staebler John Toki encouraged me to interview his old friend and mentor, sculptor Stephen ... Read More 149814 views