I’ve been so damn prolific this year and this is all I manage to post. Burning Man is over but the cleaning isn’t, and I’ve spent most of the day in bed. Story time!
In March I completely rearranged the New Orleans apartment, and part of that redecoration was getting a plant for the bathroom. Something leafy to fill the corner behind the toilet and give the grime some jungle charm, and I got a plucky offshoot from a neighbor’s garden.
After a few weeks, the lengthening stalks told me the plant wasn’t getting enough light, so I moved it from its gold stand in the corner to the shelf in front of the window. It was still leggy, but it seemed to be adjusting. Over a few months I watched my plant grow thin and start to yellow. A larger pot helped but didn’t address the real problem.
My desire to keep that plant in my bathroom was killing the plant and filling me with guilt. That plant’s need for sunlight had nothing to do with my desire for a plant that would thrive in my bathroom. I had to let go of how I wanted things to be and accept reality.
I immediately moved the plant outside, laughed at my foolishness, and have loved seeing the plant thrive on my back deck. It’s been an excellent object lesson in acceptance of myself and others.
I’m looking forward to choosing an appropriate plant for the bathroom when I go back, and having a glass of sake with this creole queen.
How’s that for turning 30 tao reflection? I’ll mike drop on my favorite Gandhi quote.
My latest painting project at Regeneration Springs is also my biggest. The deck surface is 16’ square, although there is a large hole in the center which cuts down on surface area.
This cold tub was built behind the massage studio, as a relaxing alternative to the swimming pool. All of the water comes from a well, and is wonderful to drink and bathe in. I stood in the pool to paint, though occasionally I climbed out and sat on a dry section of deck, or stood on the ground around the platform. I’d been concerned about my posture, but this variety of positions allowed me to adjust and be comfortable (so long as I worked in the shade).
My client supplied the themes of each panel and some references, while I designed the imagery and the aesthetics followed my previous work at the site. The core of the design is the Toaist bagua, supplemented by Native American and local symbolism, as well as centrality of the navel. It was a very peaceful project to work on!
Heaven / metal, maturity, presence, security. The step up to the deck is behind and below the sun. This deep blue/violet represents cosmic life energy in my work (it’s the first color I ever ‘hallucinated’ and Oliver Sacks backs me up, though I’m not full indigo here).
Transformation is a constant theme in every panel. The lines change and evolve, but are still connected to their origins and are always beautiful, so long as you can accept the change.
I took these panoramas from the center of the pool.
And some in-progress shots!
I’ve never had a clear answer to the get-to-know-you question ‘what’s your favorite holiday?’ until now. It’s so obviously Mardi Gras! I grew up with the Mardi Gras, I know how to hang at a parade, I’ve made bead crafts my whole life, I tramp around the Quarter with friends on St Anne’s, and I thought I knew what it was about.
In true Mardi Gras voodoo fashion, I was called. A friend connected me to his Krewe, Jason and I quickly re-arranged our travel plans, and our local network helped us make it happen. The world is what I make, and making costumes for one of my favorite parades felt like destiny.
AND THEN Jason and I were asked to be guardians! We would wear our official tee shirts and act as support as our drunken Krewe careened for miles through the French Quarter. My job was to be a buffer between the marchers and our jazz band, so I got to hear the great music and laugh with the Krewe all night. And of course, offer some 5 star level costume support.
You can see me on the bottom right, furiously hot gluing as we prepare to roll. Costume designer gets it done! I’ve never worked so close to my deadline before, even with Burning Man; I’ve never asked for help before, and I look back at the whole project with pride, relief, and gratitude.
Miss Pink Mess above is the Spirit of Roman Candy (basically a taffy stick sold in Audubon Zoo). The Senator! He requested a two-piece toga, which is basically a toga shirt worn over a toga skirt. The toga layer is worn over his gold long-sleeve and pants (worn over thermals).
I made his costume too: tunic, toga wrap, and wreath. The wrap is lined for comfort, so he can wear it for Red Dress Run and not worry about sparkly chafing!
If you’re still suffering with post-Mardi Gras post-Lent blues, check out this great video my husband made of our night.
One of the key players in my 2016 Mardi Gras work was LEWD co-captain Drew. Not only did he help me connect with the Krewe, he also ordered his own custom costume. He was smitten by Malcolm McDowell’s fresh little outfit, and I knew I could up the ante Mardi Gras style.
Drew’s costume consisted of the gold shirt and pant layers, gold tunic, snap-on silver cape, sword skirt, and the laurel wreath made from fleur de lis. Quite a kit! I try to make each piece interchangeable, so that instead of being a particular costume, it’s part of an overall costume wardrobe. Cause we like to party, and the party is always weirder when there are costumes!
Complimentary and independent couple costume (see shots of Lady LEWD here). I’ve had so much fun with this gang since Mardi Gras!
My favorite part of this costume was the sword skirt. I glued Mardi Gras beads onto felt-backed glitter foam, and the proportions and placement makes me laugh every time.
The plan was to head back to California in early January, but luckily plans aren’t forever. Through the help of many friends, I was able to stay in my city and contribute my own art to my favorite time of year.
I landed a dream gig designing costumes for LEWD, a sub-krewe of Krewe du Vieux (considered the start of parade season and a spectacle of weird and raunchy satire). For KdV’s 30th year, the theme was XXX and my group’s float was CaliguNOLA (or: The Fall of the NOLAn Empire). Over three weeks and an inconvenient illness, I designed and sewed nine costumes for that parade. I was working around the clock, even called in my crafty lovelies Maria and Patrick for last-minute help, and was hot gluing LED wreaths at the Den as the parade gathered. It was exhausting and exhilarating, and I can’t wait to do it again.
One of my favorite creations for the parade is Lady LEWD, a Medusa / Godiva hybrid with a thrilling laugh and a lot of sass.
The gold spandex bodysuit has sparkly pink nipples and a luxurious bush, and is topped with a sheer red sequin gown. This hot momma decorated her own mask, and was accompanied by her Golden God of a husband and her delightful snakey sisters. She rocked the night!
Thank you to Gus and Jason for getting such great photos. Check out more photos from Krewe du Vieux on Where Y’at!