Saturday, September 12, 2009

Homer Burning Basket '09

"Imagination is the spark that ignites the fire of creativity."
Richard Peterson

As long lines of migrating Sandhill cranes fly overhead, fade & disappear they signal the approaching autumn equinox, and once again a band of beautiful & energetic people of all ages gather at the beach in Homer, Alaska, with armloads of alder, tied bundles of grass & nettles, and determination to have fun in the rain or shine creating a large & lovely sculpture of an intricately woven basket.

Homer's 6th annual Burning Basket Project begins tomorrow, Sept 13, with an organizational meeting at 3pm, BBasket HQ, Mariner Park, Homer Spit, Alaska, with basket & labyrinth creation starting on Mon-Sat, 14-19th, 12-5 each day. Participate as much or as little as you like.

On Sunday 20th, the basket "Sustain" and circular walking path "Trilogy Labyrinth", are given as a gift to the community. All are invited to come and be part of the collaborations.

At sundown, after a potluck and short artist talk, the torches will be lit, the basket will burn, releasing all of our heartfelt inclusions.

If it should happen like last year, there will a fabulous performance of drumming and fire spinning following.

This will be number 16 in a series of burning basket enactments that I have facilitated in different communities in Alaska, California, Oregon, Hawaii, and on the New Mexico/Mexico border. View slide shows and learn more about Burning Basket Project of community interactive impermanent art,

Autumn Migration

"I hope you like birds, too. It's economical, it saves going to heaven."
Emily Dickenson

Crane filled autumn sky
more join in and more and more
oh, take me with you

Soon the Cook Inlet flocks of Sandhill cranes will pass overhead sounding the migration call, and the Kachemak Bay sub flocks, adults & fledglings, will swarm and spiral higher and higher to reach the rest, to catch that thermal current that will carry the long line of cranes up & away until they fade and disappear.

I have seen it before and it is a stirring sight & sound as the jubilant cranes can really belt it out with that 42 inch long trachea, an orchestra of blasting French Horns. You hear them before you see them a mile high above, in continuously changing formations spelling out gratitude, writing peace poems, and signaling their farewell, "kerlee, kerloo. We'll be back."

The departure of the cranes also signals the call to a number of humans to gather on the beach of the Homer Spit with armloads of alder, and bundles of grass and nettles.
It is time to build Homer's 6th Burning Basket.

All are invited to join in the creating of a large basket sculpture and labyrinth.
The upcoming sculpture will be 16th in a series.
Learn more about the Burning Basket Project,

"Art is when you hear a knocking from your soul - and you answer."
Star Riches

I began gathering materials for the big basket earlier in the summer. I tied up many bundles of grass from the field after it was cut for hay, hung them to dry along with bundles of nettles and alder. I couldn't resist using these materials as an art resource for field art of
my favorite subject, the lanky birds that frequently land, feed, and dance in this field, the Sandhill cranes.

This grassy creation is part of a global collaborative art project about climate change. The effort is to raise awareness of the need to decrease carbon dioxide concentration in our atmosphere to 350 parts per million, for humanity and for all life.

We are now at 390ppm and rising. 350 is the most important number for the world, and is the collective artistic global message being sent to the Climate Change Summit, Copenhagen, Denmark, in December. We need to get the number back down.

In the backdrop is one of the rapidly melting glaciers of the Harding Ice Field, the Grewingk Glacier.

Learn more, get involved.

My favorite part of this field mosaic was when a resident pair of cranes came by to check it out. I think they knew I was up on the ladder with my camera, but they were too curious to care. What is this? Looks like a giant one of us...

Tanana Valley

"A person might be able to play without being creative, but he sure can't be creative without playing." Kurt Hanks

What a great time at the Tanana Valley Sandhill Crane Festival at the Creamers Field Migratory Waterfowl Refuge, Fairbanks, Alaska, end of August.

Creamer's Refuge was once a productive dairy farm, but is now 2,000acres of wetland migratory bird habitat, as well as barley grain fields to provide food for them as they pass through on their autumn migration south. An amazing place, very accessible to the community, with trails, observation platforms, and a visitors center to learn all about cranes. There were more than 1500 cranes and as many snow geese.

We can feel so grateful to have protected places like Creamer's Field that sustain nature's seasonal rituals, and provide soul nurturing for we human's who go there for retreat with the wild.

I was honored to be this year's featured guest artist and keynote speaker. I facilitated 3 workshops, one of which was to create a ground mosaic of a dancing crane using natural materials found on site, such as grass, poplar, birch and fireweed. Fun for all ages.

Then we participants formed the number 350, as a climate change message to the upcoming summit in Copenhagen, Denmark. The image was captured from the air.

It was a fun detail that the 350 photo event happened at 3:50pm.

Why 350? It is the most important number for the world. See the text with the aerial photo.

Learn more, get involved.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


"Life is not a support system for art. It is the other way around."
Stephen King

Homer, Alaska~
More than 100 fishing boats, sail boats, skiffs and kayaks took to the waters of Homer Alaska today as commercial fishermen, mariners and others from coastal communities spelled out an urgent message to protect jobs and fisheries from the threat of ocean acidification. The boats arranged themselves in the ocean to spell out “Acid Ocean SOS” as part of a ‘Voices for the Ocean’ event hosted by the Alaska Marine Conservation Council (AMCC) and Sustainable Fisheries Partnership (SFP) with International Aerial Artist John Quigley (

**Compelling Video and Photos Available (no charge)**Great Visuals**
(Shot with Cineflex, Gyroscopic Helicam by Emmy Award-Winning Videographer Daniel Zatz)
**High Resolution Still Photos at: www. http://humanvoicesnow.blogspot.

Not a typical Labor Day here in Homer, Alaska. After a miraculous effort of organizing by visionary heroes including fisherman/activist Alan Parks, Homer & art facilitator/activist John Quigley, Los Angeles.

The grand, impressive idea was to write words on the water...with 100's of fishing boats, skiffs & kayaks, on a picture perfect sunny September day.

I was aboard the lead boat in a lineup that was to write an "S". At the wheel was grinning Capt. Mike Swan on the FV Beausoleil (beautiful sun). The fog bank that came rolling in at record speed added a surreal quality to the ambiance on the water, and prevented the helicopter overhead from filming the action so we continued to retrace our S's, 7 times, while everyone in the "O" chanted "blue sky, blue sky".

Then it happened, there was a blue hole in the fog just big enough to successfully capture the image of "SOS" with "Acid Ocean" spelled out in the center of the "O" by heroic kayakers who held position by paddled their butts off for over an hour. It was epic.

This action of community interactive impermanent art will send our message to decision makers world wide to rise to the challenge of ocean acidification, and protect wild Alaska by whatever means necessary to reduce carbon emissions into our fragile atmosphere.