Monday, December 2, 2013

Holiday Gift Wrapping Workshops

Thanks to my students that came out for my November class: 

Gift Wrapping: Repurposing Discarded Materials
San Mateo Community College 
Community Education
Saturday November 23rd.

Hope everyone enjoyed taking things out of the recycling bin and leaving with
new wrapping techniques and a bagful of artfully repurposed and wrapped packages!

Shredded Ledger Paper Gift Bow

For my next holiday workshop I'll be teaming up with my friend and artful crafter Monica Lee teaching how to transform materials found at Scrap into Gift Wrapping ideas.

Scrap Wrap It
Saturday, December 14th

There will be time available to shop Scrap and wrap your own holiday presents. 
See SCRAP Newsletter for Details. Hope you can join us!

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Tribute to Thanksgiving (2013)

Thanksgiving never gets its proper MOMENT with Christmas holidays making its debut earlier every year. December is the month for Gift Wrappers but I wanted to give Thanksgiving its due recognition. Happy Thanksgiving with gratitude to my family, friends, dog Rue and fans of wrapping!  Special thanks to my husband Doug who is working hard overseeing construction so that I can have my studio back in December.  

                      So nice to have the family all together again. Back home for the holidays... 

Keeping my table centerpiece simple 
My temporary Wrapping Studio sharing space with the dining room

Thank you to Aileen for the beautiful dried flowers!
They were on my table but found its way on a gift box of simple thoughts of gratitude.
Thanks to Shirley for the fabulous crumpled art paper! 

Artful Reflection with Students from Africa

(November 3-23 2013) Reconnecting with Ayusa and UC Berkeley's Center for Cities and Schools YPlan Youth Leadership Program, I was invited to work with students and teachers from Africa (Mauritania, Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso).  My job was to help students create an artful portfolio connected to their leadership curriculum.  

In my world, this translated to an opportunity to package intentions and share the value of hands on, artful reflection to deepen and offer meaning to experience.  It was a dream assignment to work together with my former A team (Deb, David, Shirl, Natsumi, Jessie-thank you!) and critical new member of the group- Peace Corps alumni, African culture and french language interpreter, talented facilitator Sean Cochrane. 

Instructor Natsumi shared a wonderful article by Jessica Lahey in the Atlantic that captured the precise meaning of what I wanted to achieve here- to embody the message the article suggests:

"Access is not synonymous with learning. 
Every external pressure, social and technological, is pushing students in the other direction, 
toward immediacy, rapidity, and spontaneity—and against this other kind of opportunity. 
I want to give them the permission and the structures to slow down.”

Working with the students who not only had limited exposure to art as a medium for reflection but also who never had much previous experience in paper folding, cutting and composing repurposed materials in this way, became a mutually inspiring experience.  (I learned there is an average of 80-100 students per classroom back home- wow! This undoubtedly proposes inherent challenges.)  

I was struck by the students' boldness and their immediate willingness to experiment. They all had an affiliation for color and bold patterns. Their work had a vibrancy and energy that was so uniquely their own.  Representations of camels, home country flags, large mango trees and tents reflected "place memories" of their environment in Africa.  Fabulous!  This observation expanded my own creative repertoire in such a big way. I would love to see one day the kind of materials available and utilized in Africa.

What transpired from this artful dialogue with the students was an emotionally charged series of portfolio books symbolically articulating what was taught and learned on the YPlan Leadership Roadmap. It showcased everyone's hopes, dreams and aspirations. Their creative pages on Africa resonated such a strong, powerful love and loyalty for African heritage. The reward for me came out of the process itself and what it revealed: a transformational soulful journey of each student communicating a deep commitment to make a difference as leaders of change (cheers to YPlan) in their home communities.  

Really enjoyed my time with the teachers and students from Africa! 

Teaching my students the art of paper folding:
A 16 point star to represent their "community of practice"-
the people who will support the students  in their action plans. 

Oakland Museum of California
My daughter Mel brought home made cookies and helped me in the Art Room.
Thanks Mel! Always nice to connect high school students with one another. 

Asking everyone to make a personal handprint collage
 on their Action Plan Page

Our Awesome Team: Creative Director Shirl, Instructor Natsumi
and African Culture and French Language Interpreter Sean!
Thank you for the continuous advocacy for Artful Reflection! 
Special Thank You to friends Jeanne Allen and Marc Grant
for the invitation to visit the Fashion Incubator in San Francisco
Will miss my students!!  They were lovely!
Thank you for teaching me about Africa. 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

The Art of Recology

I was fortunate to be en route to Portland when I discovered The Art of Recology Exhibit at
San Francisco International Airport Terminal 3.  I heard it unfortunately ended but I hope it will make the rounds in more public spaces.  It was fantastic!

"Recology San Francisco believes art has the power to influence behavior and hopefully inspire new ways of thinking about resource conservation and sustainability."
–Deborah Munk, Director
Artist in Residence Program and Environmental Learning Center, Recology San Francisco
One of my favorite pieces in The Art of Recology Exhibit
made from old telephone books
There is a gift wrapping idea here somewhere

My friend Tracy inspires a similar idea with folded books!
Love what you did here!  
More of Tracy's creations!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Fall Birthdays

Not sure what it is about the winter months but it definitely facilitated many fall birthdays in my life circle (including dogs) 

My dog Rue turned three along with three of her other dog friends
Herby and Mocha who celebrated fall birthdays.
Dogs get wrapped presents too around here. 

Chicken Jerkey for Rue from her dog friend Herby
Fresh Homemade Chicken Treats for Rue
from her dog friend Mocha

Dog Cupcakes for Mocha
Happy Birthday

Dog Treats for Rue and her friends
 homemade by her "Mom" -thats me.

The Book "A Letter to My Dog" is a must read. It shares
personal stories of how dogs have touched the lives of their owners.
I gave it to my brother who lost his beloved Siberian Husky this year. 
Mocha, Rue and Herby at Fort Funston

My daughter Maddie turned 18 and her friend Paige 
sent her 18 gifts with 18 memories attached. 
Loved this idea. Wish I thought of it myself.

18 Gifts and 18 Memories to Share


My son Michael is a September baby.
It won't be the same without him having one of
my repurposed bows to mark the occasion!

Michael Turning 21
celebrating at Marc Hopkins Hotel
San Francisco

Gifts from Unexpected Places

A huge box arrived unexpectedly from a childhood friend (we met in first grade) who read about
the house fire on my blog.  Out came piles of sewing pattern paper, threads, string, papers, notions and all things repurposed to replenish what I lost.  I was so emotionally overwhelmed!  No wrapping but pure good, heartfelt intentions.  I want to somehow bottle that feeling I felt when I opened the box and capture and infuse those emotions into my wrapping.  How can this be consistently achieved?  Wish I can be a conduit to bestow that kind of emotion to people - will be a lifelong attempt.  Thank you to my friend June who so captured the essence of a true gift.  I am slowly getting my things back and putting my studio back in order now in time for the holidays.

for a gift that truly touched my heart!

My First Grade Class Photo
Can you guess where I am? Third Row 5th over.
My friend June is in the Second Row5th over.
Thanks for sending this June.
I loved first grade and so glad I met you! 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Letting Go

“Learn to let go.  That is the key to happiness.”
                                                               The Buddha

This past month was defined by the experience of finding peace in “letting go”. Just as I was preparing my daughter’s move to Portland for college, (theme of “letting go” starting to make its presence) we had a house fire.  Luckily no one was hurt and our house, with the exception of my studio, was left for the most part unharmed.  

As my fellow crafters and artists can surely understand, its difficult to put a value amount on the things we create, the tools that enable our creativity and the materials we spend our lifetime collecting.  We only know it means a lot to us. What I want to share in the aftermath of this unfortunate situation is what I learned from a Buddhist Reverend during an anniversary memorial service held for my mother who passed away twenty four years ago.  (Love you Mom!) 

We honor the things we lose by letting it go with gratefulness for what it represented and gave to us.  We give meaning to it not in sadness or mourning but in our reflections and continuous appreciation of its memory.  The Reverend asked us to thank our mom daily for all she gave to us and continues to give us in her absence.  She is bringing us together and looking out for our wellbeing.  She continues to live on. 

It’s in this spirit that I replay my CreativeBug Trailer with gratitude for what was beautifully captured in those few minutes - the heart behind my studio space, what I do and who I am.  It’s a source of comfort now while I await for what was taken away and now in the process of recovery and restoration.  As I contemplate a new vision for my space and determine a direction for my gift wrapping work, I sign off with words of reassurance..

“You only lose what you cling to.”
                            -Gautama Buddha- 

I'm embracing “letting go” and leaving room for meaning in new sources of inspiration.  I look forward to sharing what transpires and transforms from the ashes of this journey. 

THANK YOU to all our friends who brought meals, invited us
to dinner, shared words of support and offered to replenish supplies.
You are Gems! 

With gratitude for the many wonderful things created in my studio 
With gratitude for my husband Doug who built
this custom 'wrapping' station for me from recycled wood.
A new beginning.... to be determined

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

"HOPEFUL INTENTIONS" Project and Exhibition 2013

Tomodachi/Softbank/Ayusa YPLAN Leadership Program @ UC Berkeley
July 22- August 10 2013

It was another transformational teaching experience for me (year two) as one of the instructors of the
YPlan Leadership Program at UC Berkeley for 100 high school students who
came from the Earthquake, Tsunami devastated region of Tohoku Japan as part of the
Tomodachi /Softbank/Ayusa Leadership Program.  (Press Coverage: KTVU and SF Chronicle-
see my class and students!)

Representing the theme of "Public Space", I had the privilege of teaching the Y PLAN leadership/planning methodology providing students the foundation for future action plans helping to rebuild and revitalize their communities back home.  The experience offered the opportunity for students to deepen their leadership skills motivating them to become agents of change at home. The discussions around "place memory" and the need for honoring personal and collective memories in planning of public spaces were profound and resonated most with my students especially as many of them lost homes, friends and family.

My "Public Space " Yellow Team Students
Human Web "Community of Practice" Exercise
Teaching the value of everyone's contribution,
strengths and involvement to community 
Similar to last year,  I was able to incorporate an element of art as a symbolic representation of the student's "hopeful intentions".  Thank you Deb and David! With the help of the Y Plan Teaching Team  (Thank you Junko, Natsumi, Carol, Jessie, Chikara and Shirl) students wrote their action plans, hopes and dreams on strips of various repurposed paper (representing the rebirth of materials often discarded). They were made into bows I designed for installation and later given to the students to bring back home. It was intended as a visual memory of their experience, reminder and source of symbolic inspiration for actualizing their vision back home.

Student Action Plans, Dreams, Hopes  on Bows 
Hopeful Intentions Installation (Wall A) 
Hopeful Intentions Installation (Wall B) 
Special THANK YOU to mentor Stephanie Lam for
your dedicated help and the creative installation work! 
Emotional Good Byes...
Student Leader Taiki Handa

Notes from my Students
THANK YOU so much for inspiring ME! 

Enjoyed our time together! 

LEAVING MESSAGES AT Ferryland, Oakland

Another opportunity to team up with designer, educator, urban planner Shirl Buss to incorporate a creative element to the students' service project visit to Ferry Land. Inspired by the Sendai Tanabata Festival in Japan, we cut strips of colorful paper and students left messages to the children visiting Ferryland.  Loved the process of working with the students who took seriously the mission of leaving something of value behind.   Read more about the story in the OAKLAND LOCAL

Great working with you again Shirl! 

Friday, June 14, 2013


"Move Slowly and Mend Things.."

The validation for my love of repurposing, wrapping, packaging and things hand made was validated at my daughter's High School Graduation Commencement. 
A speech made by Lick Wilmerding High School instructor Rebecca Hong asked us all to pause and reflect often, sharing a message to "Move slowly and mend things...(the antithesis of the Facebook motto of "move fast and break things") because as she pointed out" there is much in the world that is worth noticing, worth keeping and worth fixing". She asked everyone to consider our individual and collective impact on others and to act in ways that are to the best of our ability intentional and good.  She associated leading a meaningful and fulfilling life to embracing the difficult- yes, the difficulty that comes with worthwhile pursuits, the difficulty of slowing down and caring deeply and the difficulty of commitment. Equally she wished upon the seniors the pleasures of the difficult- the sense of purpose and the sense of connectedness that comes with doing the right things.  She concluded, "it's the difficult things that require you to move slowly and more deliberately but its the difficulties that will keep you from sleepwalking through your lives."

While I'm certain gift wrapping and packaging or even repurposing materials was not on her mind when sharing her profound thoughts, it spoke to me about why I treasure the art of using our hands and heart to "wrap" an intention, a thought, a sense of gratefulness that needs expressing and why even the careful selection of materials matter. It's a time consuming gesture when time is so limited but a worthwhile process that initiates intentional reflection. It allows our consciousness a moment to think of what we are doing and for who and for what purpose.  It requires you to "move slowly".

In celebrating this special moment in my daughter's life,  I'm grateful for the message shared by Rebecca Hong as it conveys what I too value. To my daughter Maddie who is our peacemaker -- Take the time to reflect always and appreciate your impact on others. "Move slowly and mend things" along the way.  There is importance, energy and significance to the thoughts and intentions behind one's actions and like gift wrapping, HOW we do things shares equal importance to WHAT we do or give.


Made Slowly with LOVE

Monday, April 15, 2013

Asian Art Museum: Craft Warriors

Thursday APRIL 18, 2013  (5:00pm-9:00pm) 
Join me for an evening of crafting at the Asian Art Museum as I team up with a group of talented artists Emiko OyeEalish WilsonKathryn Kenworth to teach various techniques in our respective specialties to create armors and jewelry inspired by the popular Terra Cotta Warriors Exhibit!
Come see how discarded and repurposed materials can be transformed to fashion armors and other
artifacts mirroring the vision of the first Emperor of China himself!

It'll be a fun workshop evening of serious crafting, drinks, music, photo booth and inspired
creations.  Click here to RSVP and for more information:  Craft Warriors 

Asian Art Museum
April 18, 2013

by Megumi
inspired by Ealish Wilson