Bhutan's Gross National Happines: A Conversation with Anne Muller I first met Anne Muller at one of’s planning meetings. It was a surprise since I hadn’t expected anyone outside our usual group. Anne Veh introduced Muller, telling us her friend had recently returned from a photographic project, something about “gross national happiness.” About what? My attention suddenly piqued. In fact, I felt a little disoriented. It happened that our meeting was being held at Leah Perlman’s Happiness Institute, a name I still wasn’t quite used to.      “Gross national happiness—did I ... Aug 15, 2012, 3892 reads


A Conversation with Jane Wodening: Doors of Perception Anne Veh told me about Jane Wodening. She told me Jane wrote about animals, about the intimate life of nature around her. That her writing was like no one else she knew of. Then she thought. "Well, maybe Barry Lopez." Anne spoke about Wodening with both fervor and reverence. She was planning to include Jane's books in a big exhibit at the diRosa in Napa, California. Maybe Jane would come out from Colorado. It turned out she did and I got to meet here at photographer Linda Conner’s home in San Anselmo. I remember being struck immediately by ... Aug 1, 2012, 10455 reads


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, 20863 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, 30830 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, 22159 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, 2343 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, 18557 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, 6574 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, 52989 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, 22240 reads


A Man Impossible to Classify One of my first experiences in San Francisco was of being flagged down by a ... Read More 720666 views

The Dumpster      “We can’t use these. They look like ... Read More 140389 views

Cotton and Silk Vorbeck quilt, detail I’m working on the last panel of a pair of ... Read More 8030 views

Say Grace I am deeply delighted to live on a planet that is so big and varied that I can ... Read More 4908 views

A Conversation with Silas Hagerty I met Silas, a young man in his twenties from New England, at a ... Read More 60403 views


A Man Impossible to Classify One of my first experiences in San Francisco was of being flagged down by a ... Read More 720666 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 363112 views

Greeting the Light It was thanks to artist Walter Gabrielson that I was able to get in touch with ... Read More 293594 views

Interview: Gail Needleman Gail Needleman teaches music at Holy Names University in Oakland, California. ... Read More 188890 views

Interview: Stephen De Staebler John Toki encouraged me to interview his old friend and mentor, sculptor Stephen ... Read More 150246 views