Archive for June, 2008

Lynn Thomas – Equine Assisted Therapy

We often get asked “what is the difference between coaching and therapy?” The boundary between therapy and coaching is not defined by a set of absolute rules and terms. They sometimes overlap, especially with some contemporary therapy modalities. In general though, therapists are trained to diagnose and treat mental illness and may work with their clients to understand the ‘why’. Coaches view their clients as naturally creative resourceful and whole, and as having their own answers; working in the present and future – “what’s possible from here?…”

Just as there are many different types of coaching there are also many types of psychotherapy and in today’s nourishing conversation you are going to hear from someone who has a passion for helping people in crisis, and about the gentle giants in this partnership, Lynn Thomas, Executive Director of EAGALA (The Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association).

What is EAGALA’S vision and mission in the world?

EAGALA is dedicated to improving the mental health of individuals, families, and groups around the world by setting the standard of excellence in Equine Assisted Psychotherapy. Our vision statement says a lot of what that is, but in essence its about our desire to help people around the world to live happier healthier lives and we know that this is a powerful, effective tool for change. EAGALA provides education, standards, innovation, and support to professionals providing services in Equine Assisted Psychotherapy.

What is EAP?

Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) incorporates horses experientially for emotional growth and learning. It is a collaborative effort between a licensed therapist and a horse professional working with the clients and horses to address treatment goals. EAP is experiential in nature. This means that participants learn about themselves and others by participating in activities with the horses, and then processing (or discussing) feelings, behaviors, and patterns. This approach has been compared to the ropes courses used by therapists, treatment facilities, and human development courses around the world. But EAP has the added advantage of utilizing horses, dynamic and powerful living beings.

The focus of EAP involves setting up ground activities involving the horses which will require the client or group to apply certain skills. Non-verbal communication, assertiveness, creative thinking and problem-solving, leadership, work, taking responsibility, teamwork and relationships, confidence, and attitude are several examples of the tools utilized and developed by EAP. EAP is a powerful and effective therapeutic approach that has an incredible impact on individuals, youth, families, and groups. EAP addresses a variety of mental health and human development needs including behavioral issues, attention deficit disorder, substance abuse, eating disorders, abuse issues, depression, anxiety, relationship problems and communication needs.

Why Horses?

We are often asked, “Why horses? Why not other animals?”
Horses are large and powerful, which creates a natural opportunity for some to overcome fear and develop confidence. The size and power of the horse are naturally intimidating to many people. Accomplishing a task involving the horse, in spite of those fears, creates confidence and provides for wonderful metaphors when dealing with other intimidating and challenging situations in life.

Horses are very much like humans in that they are social animals. They have defined roles within their herds. They would rather be with their peers. They have distinct personalities, attitudes, and moods. An approach that seems to work with one horse, does not necessarily work with another. At times, they seem stubborn and defiant. They like to have fun. In other words, horses provide vast opportunities for metaphorical learning. Using metaphors, in discussion or activity, is an effective technique when working with even the most challenging individuals or groups.

Horses require work, whether in caring for them or working with them. In an era when immediate gratification and the “easy way” are the norm, horses require people to be engaged in physical and mental work to be successful, a valuable characteristic in all aspects of life.

Most importantly, horses have the ability to mirror exactly what human body language is telling them. Many people will complain, “The horse is stubborn. The horse doesn’t like me,” etc. But the lesson to be learned is that if they change themselves, the horses respond differently. Horses are honest, which makes them especially powerful messengers.

What one thing would you want people to know about EAGALA?

I have a deep desire to see people live the most fulfilling lives possible, and this is a great modality for helping people in crisis. Whether it be someone in an emotional difficulty or just wanting to self improve, people can use this to help them in their journey.

What’s new for you?

I’ll be going to South Africa this year. It’s great to see how EAGALA is growing around the world. The journey has been really exciting. We hear from our partners around the world that,” It’s working.”

Thanks Lynn, for sharing your love for people and horses, and have a blast in South Africa!! For anyone wishing to know more about Equine Assisted Psychotherapy and EAGALA please visit their website at

Photo Credit
© The Red Barn Cooperative – Working together to nourish lives
A Red Barn Coaching initiative

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Harry Hopkins – Motivational Landscaper

With Summer Solstice and Midsummers Day upon us and what seems to be an extraordinary heat wave here in Laguna Beach all signals pointed to time in the garden with friends this weekend. My own plot is very small and overgrown, just the way I like it and it was a treat to sit and be witness to various wildlife seeking both food and shelter from the harsh summer elements. This week also saw me having a nourishing conversation with Australian import Harry Hopkins, Hamptons landscaper, to learn more about what occurs in high end landscape design.

Harry, what first interested you about landscape design?

I lived in Japan, Tokyo for a couple of years when I was 15 to 17. My Dad would take us all out to spend a couple of weeks in Kyoto and I think the gardens there got me into it. The incredible beauty of the zen gardens and the shrines, the whole area kind of blew my mind. When I returned to Australia I studied horticulture and landscape design. There was also a property where we lived in Sydney that had one of the first Camellia groves imported from China, with a propagation house and 20 diff. species of Japanese maple, an incredibly well planned property, studying design made sense of it for me. These are the two main reasons and I have never thought about doing anything else.

Where do you undertake the majority of your projects?

In Bridgehampton and Easthampton, people are building or renovating homes on the potato fields out here and we landscape them. There is not a lot of old growth up here on the fields and we create gardens that look mature, bringing in large trees, the smallest of which will be approximately 20ft. Some people out here still create monsters where maintaining 2 acres could cost them $100,000 each year but after working out here for 22 years I now have clients that really appreciate their gardens and it is not about keeping up with the Jones’.

The hard part of being out here is being at the end of an island, everything gets thrown at you at once, there are short seasons and it is initiation by fire trying to plan and plant. We have just worked 15 hour days for 3 months so we don’t have a lot of time to think during this time, it is a pressure cooker. You have to explain to people that everything we do is alive and we can’t always just put plants in while buildings are being built, it’s an on going education.

You spend many years nurturing the gardens you work on, how do you view them?

Well firstly there is the responsibility, I guarantee trees and plants so there are punch lists and a lot of monitoring going on, that is the side of it that is ‘work’ and takes time and then there is another side of it when I go the the properties early in the morning or late afternoon to photograph them and it is wonderful. It’s the feeling of awe and satisfaction, I love it. The process can be a little hectic sometimes but the outcome is mind blowing.

You are struck by the beauty but what about getting dirty?

That is the best part! Getting dirty and watching it, I am sat here at a house I landscaped 12 years ago and looking at one of the most beautiful trees that I planted, it is incredible, there is definitely huge satisfaction from the dirt side of the job. After the first 4 or 5 years you watch and see what has really grown, it is an inspiration.

What are your clients looking for?

Not to get their hands dirty. My clients prefer to walk the property not work it. There is a lot of paranoia about lyme disease and ticks from the woodland so families are looking for gardens that include a lawn, (somewhere to place their hammock), maybe a treehouse, a pool, with enough money anything can be created. These properties are often only used for 12 weeks of the year and families might only get up to their property for 3 days each week, so they want something that is complete and looks good. For some of my clients their gardens represent precious time with their children in an open space, living in Manhattan appreciating an open space here with their families feeds their soul.

How often to you encourage vegetable gardens and do you find that children become more aware of nature and the concept that vegetables actually grow and not just appear on shelves?

I now have 3 or 4 clients who do small scale things with their children for example we will install small cut flower areas, herb gardens and small vegetable gardens. Children can also appreciate small agriculture out here; picking strawberries, we also have apple time and farms that produce cheese. Showing kids these things is a part of being out here. I also have a couple of clients who have cooks on property and they grow their own veggies.

All our properties are now organic, it is harder as it is a slower process, a tree may take longer to look its best but there is an important integrated relationship between the plants and the lawn etc.. it can be quite a hard sell to educate people that this is important.

What about water usage?

Long Island has lots of water and we use ‘leaky pipe’ irrigation which I first found out about in the kibbutzs in Israel. Some people also have their own well but for many years the potato farmers used harsh pesticides so the well water needs to be properly filtered but it can still be used for plants. Irrigation is a real art, in the first year of planting we need to pamper these newly planted mature trees and plants as they are still in shock, then we need to regulate as time goes on. People are also becoming more aware of indigeneous plants that require less water.

We also use a lot of Mycorrhizal it’s like a soil fungus, what might be created on the floor of the forest when plants integrate within each other where they have this kind of symbiosis. So instead of standard fertilizer we will use this fungus that really promotes root growth and the plants to relate to each other, it is a pretty new thing, people have only been really aware of it in the last five years and it works incredibly well. There is a lot of green thinking out here but it is hard to promote with the NY mentality.

You sound like quite the educator.

Not so much the educator, I think I see myself more as a motivator, a landscape motivational speaker. I spend a lot of time getting people involved looking at both the big picture and getting them excited about a tree or branch. I called a client recently to tell them to come out to see a tree that had just blossomed, they hadn’t seen it blossom in a couple of years. I am trying to get clients to understand more and I spend a lot of time motivating.

Is there anything that you refuse to do?

Yes, to take out trees that shouldn’t be taken out to create clearings, that is the main thing. I will say that I think we should work around it and will try to reign people in as far as maintaining the integrity of the landscape. I have actually walked out of a couple of jobs because of things like that. I also draw a line at pesticides.

Are you someone who believes that we should all grow something regardless of how small our space is?

Absolutely, even if you live in a tiny studio you can have a small herb garden on a window sill or small table or even figure out how to get out onto the roof, everyone should work out how to grow something, it is incredible therapy and good for the soul. In NYC I see so many people in Central Park who are passionate about it, soaking it all up, maybe more passionate than those who have 2 acres out here. I will always promote this in urban areas, I could never imagine not having plants around, even where I live in Australia it is a relatively small property and there is something going on in every corner. When I work on smaller projects like that I look to see what I can put into every nook and cranny.

Harry, thank you so much for taking a quick break to talk with me and for motivating us to get growing! Have a fun summer break (or would that be winter break?) back in Oz.

© The Red Barn Cooperative

This nourishing conversation was picked up and featured in Her gardening blog, a gardening carnival.

Would you like to read about nourishment in all its guises twice a week? We issue ‘Nourishing Conversations’ to our subscribers every Monday and Thursday, click here to subscribe by email or if you prefer to use an RSS reader you will find the orange chiclet up on the right…

Teresa Manley & Joe Raffetto – Stepping up in a disaster

It’s that time of year again, I am packing up my important papers and personal things that I really don’t want to lose. It’s Southern California and I’m preparing for fire season.
I am a lucky one, even with four evacuations under my belt in eleven years. Many of my friends and I’m sure many of yours have not been so lucky. Wildfires have become a way of life in a strange way.

From having all your precious things in boxes at the door ready to throw into the car at a moment’s notice, to that network of people you have on speed dial when you see that plume of smoke hit the sky. Which elderly neighbors need help, who has horses but no trailer? These are just a few of the myriad of thoughts that go through the minds of people who have lived through wildfires.

Today I would like you to meet two people who have met these challenges head on.

Teresa you and Disaster Relief are no strangers. Can you tell me what Disaster Relief means to you?

There are many phases of disaster including immediate relief/response, long term recovery/rebuilding and preparedness. The area I have been most involved with is long term recovery which is just that – long term! Immediate relief is usually very well taken care of with many agencies and individuals involved with supplies and sheltering. Community led long term recovery is where groups of community leaders come together to bring resources to their community such as insurance advocacy, rebuilding expos, organization of volunteer labor, fund raising, unmet needs committees, etc. This is typically a 2 year process, although sometimes longer, depending on the magnitude of the disaster. What was surprising to us is that while immediate relief is very well organized, there really isn’t an agency or any ‘plan’ for long term recovery. A bag of clothes, water and food is fantastic, but if you don’t have a home to live in at the end of the day…….

How did you become involved?

I went to volunteer at our local chamber of commerce after the Cedar / Paradise fires in 2003 — for just a few days 🙂

What’s going on in Southern California since the fires?

In San Diego, the communities have come together and there are resource centers located in each of the fire affected communities with funding through the San Diego Foundation. There are weekly insurance meetings, rebuilding workshops through the County of San Diego, and our unmet needs committee has held its first meeting. Volunteer labor (Mennonite Disaster Services, etc.) will likely be here in October to begin the first round of rebuild projects (safe, sanitary homes for the most at risk families who have gone through FEMA, SBA, Case Management and the unmet needs table for assistance.

Are there ways people can get involved in helping?

Yes – there are going to be many projects where volunteers are needed, such as clearing brush from properties for the elderly and at risk who are unable to do it themselves.

Teresa, why does it take such a long time for people to rebuild their Homes?

After a disaster, 95% of survivors find they are underinsured. The underinsurance can range from a small percentage to severely underinsured, through no fault of their own. When you call to get an insurance quote, even if you ask for full coverage, they know you are shopping around, so the agents tend to ‘underbid’ so they will get your business. Then when the gigantic binder comes, very few people have the time or expertise to read the entire thing. Even very intelligent, wealthy people are surprised to learn they are underinsured. With a regular one-on-one house fire (that seems strange to say!) the underinsurance may not be as noticeable. But, after a disaster, the demand for building materials increases as well as for architects and contractors, so what may have been $125/sf to build may jump to 155/sf, for instance. Two income families with ‘disposable’ income typically have the ability to take out a loan while they pursue their insurance company and / or litigation. We found that families in the backcountry were less likely to have the ability to do that. Some of the ’03 survivors are just now getting back home and some have not. These families are in the worst position. The long term recovery committees and agencies assist all families with insurance advocacy, rebuilding workshops, etc., but with unmet needs and volunteer labor groups, there is a criteria of working with the most at risk families (elderly, disabled, widowed, uninsured, etc.). After the ’03 fires, we only had one family that didn’t have insurance because of ‘philosophical “reasons. Most low income individuals simply could not afford it. Elderly on fixed income had to choose food or insurance – it was not that they were being irresponsible. Others were simply unable to get insurance because of where they lived.

If people would like to volunteer to help in some way, who should they contact?

For San Diego, it is Volunteer San Diego who will be ‘brokering’ all of the misc. volunteer activities. Last time, we had a volunteer coordinator but it was too much for one person, and Volunteer San Diego does this as their normal life.

From what we have heard from our FEMA VALs (voluntary agency liaisons), it is going a little slower in the LA area. There is a group in San Bernardino called Mountain Hearts and Lives. They were active in the ’03 fires too so they might know. Ira is the person we met with a few times way back when

Is there any other individuals or agency that could be of service to people still needing help?

George Kehrer is a gem. He is an attorney and was a general contractor. He and his wife lost their home in the Oakland Fires and after discovering the horrific problems with underinsurance, they began their insurance advocacy group. They assisted us with families in Katrina as well is his website. He has all of the insurance quote programs on his laptop and can sit down with survivors and make sure they receive maximum benefits from their policies and many times, can get more than the policy limit.

Thanks Teresa.

Joe how did you become involved with the Red Cross?

I became a Red Cross Volunteer sort of by accident. On the Friday after the 9/11 attacks I couldn’t take just sitting home in Jersey so I went in to Manhattan and met up with a friend who lived there. That night we decided to walk along the Westside Highway towards Ground Zero. Maybe because of my government NOAA sweatshirt and big camera bag we were able to walk right through 3 checkpoints and ended up at the Red Cross Center. It was set up in a public school building just behind the Pile. They were short staffed as you can imagine so we lent a hand. We ended up being there for about 8 hours until dawn. Tom, the director, thanked us and said that he could probably use us again later that next day but had no way of getting us credentials. Somehow despite tightening security we were able to work our way back. He smiled when he saw us and shook his head in disbelief. Later that day we were able to sign up at the Red Cross Center further uptown and became official. I’ve been with them ever since.

What other disasters have you helped with?

Ground Zero, two floods in Jersey, a few house fires in Jersey, Waveland, Mississippi after Katrina (we were the first Red Cross team to reach the town center), and of course the school evacuation center right here in Borrego Springs during last year’s fires. I’m very conflicted right now because they desperately need Red Cross people to head for the Midwest but I just can’t do it because it is a very critical time with my business and they need at least a two-week commitment.

What is the best part of being a Red Cross Volunteer?

I think the greatest thing about being a Red Cross volunteer is that it allows me to directly help people in need which is what most people want to do when a disaster strikes. I’m just lucky enough to already be in a position to do that. It’s by far the most rewarding volunteer role
I’ve ever had. I look forward to every aspect of it.

Thanks Joe !!

To Teresa & Joe and all the amazing people who step up to the plate when others need it most we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

If you would like to nourish your heart and soul and volunteer you can read about opportunities at or at any of the other organizations mentioned in this post. You can also learn a little more about the longer term disruption that disaster causes by checking out the new tv series on Greensburg post the 2007 tornado that wiped out the whole town.

© The Red Barn Cooperative

Would you like to read about nourishment in all its guises twice a week? We issue ‘Nourishing Conversations’ to our subscribers every Monday and Thursday, click here to subscribe by email or if you prefer to use an RSS reader you will find the orange chiclet up on the right…

Jill Donello – Zero In on Zero Waste

Ex-business consultant specializing in process improvement and corporate education, now mom of two boys striving for Zero Waste.

Jill, what is the purpose of the Earth Resource Foundation?

Earth Resource Foundation (ERF) is an environmental educational non-profit organization whose mission is to preserve, conserve, and restore the Earth to a healthy and sustainable state by redirecting available human, technological, monetary and academic resources. ERF works with youth, communities (government bodies) and businesses to make responsible choices about using the earth’s resources in a sustainable way.

Who should attend the upcoming Zero In on Zero Waste event?

The Zero In on Zero Waste Business Conference is open to all but focused on businesses who are interested in increasing their profits by eliminating or drastically reducing the amount of waste that is sent to landfills or incineration. Many businesses who have achieved zero waste (or darn close!) have realized increased profits of millions of dollars annually simply by rethinking the way they use resources to produce their products or within their businesses processes. There are so many ways that companies have found to improve their businesses while reducing their environmental impact…this conference is designed to educate, demonstrate and inspire those who wish to do the same. It is one of the few opportunities to network and learn from zero waste companies.

When you talk of savings of millions of dollars it sounds like you are referring to fairly large companies, what would a smaller business owner get out of the conference and the networking opportunity?

It is true, most of the speakers are from multi-nationals (Toyota, Ricoh Electronics) which I think shows that zero waste is an attainable goal for all businesses, not just ones with small operations. The participants in the conference, however, range from large to small businesses (and also include government organizations, academics, and others), many local businesses attend making this a great networking event for companies looking to find “partners and collaborators” in their desire to build more sustainable businesses. The focus of the conference is to turn waste into profits, something I think businesses of any size can benefit from. Also, many cities (around the world) are beginning to adopt zero waste goals and standards (A few California examples include: Santa Monica, Burbank, Irvine, San Juan Capistrano, Oakland, and San Bernadino county), so the sooner businesses learn about potential new regulations, the better they will be able to respond successfully.

Which companies are proud to claim ‘Zero Waste’ today?

There is a listing of several zero waste companies at Zero Waste Businesses. It’s by no means inclusive but provides some case studies on what companies are currently doing. Some really neat innovations have come from companies who have re-examined what’s being put in the trash…Vons (Safeway Stores) turns old produce into compost and donates non-saleable but edible items to local foodbanks, Ricoh Electronics eliminated a source of toxic waste by changing to re-usable containers for chemical deliveries, Interface carpet collects old carpeting and makes it back into new…Being a “zero waste company” is currently defined as one who is diverting 90% or greater of it’s waste from landfill or incineration.

What is important about your own involvement in this initiative, what meaning does it hold for you?

For me, the Zero Waste “movement” is important because it has the potential to impact a variety of “world struggles”. Mass consumption-ism is destroying the planet through overmining, pollution, global warming, landfill offgasing and land destruction, the destruction of our oceans… it also encourages unfair trade practices, worker exploitation and a plethora of other “societal ailments”. What I think is different about zero-waste from other green initiatives is that it’s goal is not to ask people to deny their basic needs or material desires but to fulfill those desires in a more sustainable way. The success of a zero waste isn’t based on guilting people/businesses into making more environmentally-friendly choices, but demonstrates that profitability and sustainability are equally-achievable goals. ZW is truly a win-win which is critical to making any real, sustainable change—businesses make more $, people get more needs satisfied, and the world becomes healthier…

Thank you Jill for sharing your passion for this topic, I hope that many businesses sign up for the conference to get educated. To register, view the speaker line up or to see how you can get involved visit

Thursday, June 26, 2008 8:00 am to 5:30 pm
Location: Ford Motor Company
1 Premier Place, Irvine, CA 92618

© The Red Barn Cooperative

Would you like to read about nourishment in all its guises twice a week? We issue ‘Nourishing Conversations’ to our subscribers every Monday and Thursday, click here to subscribe by email or if you prefer to use an RSS reader you will find the orange chiclet up on the right…

David Womack – Wide-Grin Rides

Writer, Sommelier, Adrenaline Seeker, Marginal Puzzlephile.

What compelled you to share the pleasures and pain of this sport in your book ‘Mountain Bike! Orange County: A Wide-Grin Ride Guide’?

I answered an ad on Craig’s List. Menasha Ridge was looking for someone to write a Los Angeles mountain-bike book. I told them they should publish an Orange County book since the mountain biking is so good here (they published both). So, after a short audition process, I was given the job. I thought it was a great opportunity – to get paid for doing something I loved. It also allowed me/motivated me to travel all around the county and ride all the trails. Some of the trails I’d never ridden and others I hadn’t ridden in fifteen years. And, now, after all the good times, I have something to show for it… a book. I’m really happy with how the book turned out and would do it again given the opportunity.

Wow, that’s so cool..and the wide-grin is produced by what? Exhilaration? Inspiration? Freedom?

“Wide-grin” was actually coined by the publisher. So I can’t take credit for that. However, the bliss of mountain biking comes from getting away from the grid of pavement and concrete and out into the world of trails and trees. It is a freedom we all experienced as children. As soon as you get going and the wind hits your face, all the troubles of the world seem to perish. Also, since mountain biking is usually about going up and down, there is an endorphin rush from the exertion of climbing and an adrenaline rush from the exhilaration of going downhill.

What is it about a particular trail or outing that makes it a truly ‘wide-grin ride’ ?

There are so many, but my favorites rides generally begin at my house in North Laguna. From there I either ride up El Morro Canyon or up Dartmoor Street into the Laguna Coast Wilderness. These rides generally end with a jaunt down Emerald Canyon. The scenic canyon is quite narrow with steep walls. It’s easy to feel isolated there, away from civilization. It’s a perfect place for a fugitive to hide. I don’t think there are any fugitives in Emerald Canyon, but there are plenty of coyotes and rabbits and a few deer.

Why do you choose mountain biking over other sports?

I chose mountain biking originally because my doctor told me to stop playing basketball. I continue to mountain bike because I think it is important to experience the outdoors and also enjoy the adrenaline-fueled excitment of riding fun and challenging trails. Laguna Beach is just a great place to mountain bike. We have fair weather and access to good trails. I do participate in other sports though. I’m an avid windsurder, I like to play ultimate frisbee and volleyball and, in the summer months, I spend a lot of time in the ocean swimming and bodysurfing.

….And you do crossword puzzles…you are an intriguing man Mr Womack.

David is promising to keep his new blog up to date with information on OC rides, so buy the book and check the site out at

The great outdoors is calling…

© The Red Barn Cooperative – working together to nourish lives

Would you like to read about nourishment in all its guises twice a week? We issue ‘Nourishing Conversations’ to our subscribers every Monday and Thursday, click here to subscribe by email or if you prefer to use an RSS reader you will find the orange chiclet up on the right…

Goodbye Grossmont High – Hello independence

I want to request your indulgence because this blog post feels very personal to me. I wondered how interesting it will be to read without knowledge of the characters involved however the more I thought about it, the more I see there is a connection that any one of you will feel if you’ve ever taken that big leap, closed one door and walked through a new one, or made a decision where life as you knew it changed.

This is about rites of passage, we all know them, many of us have experienced several along our journey. Today we hear from 5 wonderful young women (my daughter and her best friends) who are all transitioning to college this fall and the amazing women, and 1 charming gentleman who have been the faithful guides in their lives.
Thank you for reading,

Carol with daughter Hannah, seeking independence at C.S.U. San Francisco

Hannah, what is the adventure in your next step?
It’s being able to choose my own adventure.

What two things will you miss the most?
My dog ( Oddie) and my support group.

Carol, what is your hope for Hannah?
I hope that Hannah finds true happiness… and to find fulfillment and love. I just want her to have happiness – to really reach her potential as a human being and to feel glad about how she gets there.

What two things you will you miss the most?
Watching her surprise me with another aspect of her creativity – it just comes out in a surprising way. Her sweet company, my friend & companion in the house.

Carol what is your next adventure?
I can start to do some artwork again, and focus on an old part of me that’s been waiting to blossom. Hooray!!

Charlotte with daughter Sam, seeking independence at C.S.U. Chico

Charlotte what is your hope for Sam?
One of my greatest hopes for Samantha is that, filled with the never-ending love of her parents, and buoyed by the support of family and friends, she will have the desire and confidence to go forth into the world and share the gifts and talents that are uniquely hers.

What two things you will you miss the most?
A good morning kiss and hug while her cheeks are still warm from being burrowed under the covers. The sound of her laughter.

Charlotte, what is your next adventure?
Adjusting to the new family dynamics as our “party of five” shrinks to four.

Sam what is the adventure in your next step?
Freedom to make decisions. Being responsible for my own actions. Not having my parents around all the time, being an adult.

What two things will you miss the most?
I can’t have just two things, my dog, my bed, and my family.

Jenny with daughter Nellie, seeking independence at University of Nebraska

Jenny, what is your hope for Nellie?
My gut reaction is I hope for her complete happiness and safety. With every news article and media bit I hear, I pray that God keeps her sheltered in the safety of his love. This is a product of the times we live in. As her mom, I hope this journey is everything she expects it to be and even more. As she learns about the world and herself and her place in it, I hope she challenges herself and doesn’t hold back. I hope she siezes every opportunity. This is such a beautiful world I want her to know it all. I hope music provides her with a life long passion and tremendous sense of personal accomplishment and satisfaction. How wonderful to have such a sense of direction at this young age and to be able to live and learn your passion in college.

What two things you will you miss the most?
Like us all, I will miss Nell everyday. I will miss just the day to day things, like her asking me what to wear, telling me where she is going, or asking me about something she does not understand. I will miss having two children in the house and the energy that generates. I will also miss the overwhelming sense of pride I feel when I hear her play the flute. There will be many fewer opportunities to hear her and I will miss that. I will miss the girl I am sending to Nebraska, because when she comes home, she will be different, a young woman. I am anxious to meet her at the same time I will miss her.

Jenny, what is your next adventure?
As I send one off to college, I send another into high school. My son is so different than my daughter. I am looking forward to enjoying him and nurturing him as he finds new opportunities and grows. It will be different. I also am looking forward to more time (sans the band) for myself. I’ve kicked around in the back of my mind taking piano lessons. I played through high school and let it go in college. Maybe I’ll take it up again. Or maybe I’ll pick up the two half finished quilts I have and finish them off. I like to sew and would like to be more creative. I also hope to continue the friendships I’ve made these last four years. Friendships are important, so let us keep them alive.

Nellie, what is the adventure in your next step?
Being on my own and learning to do things on my own. Being able to do whatever I want when I want, independence.

What two things will you miss the most?
Rituals, familiar things, my mom’s food, driving the same route to school, going to my brother’s school. Things my mom does for me,( today she washed my sheets) things I probably don’t even realize she does.

Warren with grand-daughter Kylah, seeking independence at Dublin City University, Ireland

Warren, what is your hope for Kylah?
I hope there will not be too much loneliness, and that she will be successful and meet her challenges by herself, being so far away. Like her Irish ancestor Edward Rutledge, (youngest man to sign the Declaration Of Independence) as she goes from the States to Ireland, to study International Affairs and foreign languages, I hope she will make her mark as well.

What two things you will you miss the most?
I won’t miss the loud stereo. I will miss her companionship, her helping me and taking me places I needed to go, and going for lunch & dinner.

Kylah, what is the adventure in your next step?
Going to a foreign country, experiencing all the new and crazy things of a whole new culture. Being able to study what I want to study.

What two things will you miss the most?
My Grandpa, and American things I love and won’t be able to get there.

Me! with daughter Jacquie, seeking independence at Grossmont College
San Diego

My daughter and I have switched the expected roles where in fact my daughter is going to remain in the same city to attend college and I am the one moving away to start something new, what follows is really a dialogue between the two of us, where Jacquie gets the opportunity to be curious too.

Jacquie, what is the adventure in your next step?
Being thrown into a whole new circle of people. Being able to make more of the decisions on my own.

What will you miss most?
People, friends, you, Angel face (my kitty) band & the band room, French class, beach days, and the balance between living in the country & the city.

Mum, what is going to be the most exciting part of your move to Calgary?
Doing something completely new, more opportunities, being close to my sister. Being able to have lunch with my high school friends. Rediscovering my home town after 30 years. Accomplishing my coaching career and leadership goals. As well as being able to inspire and support you in the pursuit of your goals.

What are you going to miss the most?
You and I finding something hysterically funny at the same moment and laughing till the tears run down our cheeks. Seeing your face light up when you tell me a story. Shanna (my horse), the beautiful, amazing women of Mountain Tribal Gypsy, my belly dance troupe. My wonderful community of Julian, but in my heart I know it’s not good-bye.

Carol & Hannah, Charlotte & Sam, Jenny & Nellie, Warren & Kylah, and my Jacquie, thank you for sharing a little of who you are becoming as we all take another step towards our next adventures, filled with opportunity and a greater knowing of ourselves. Leap with this in mind,
“Follow your dreams; for as you dream, so shall you become”. – James Allen

© The Red Barn Cooperative

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Victoria Milne & Mark Garry – Public Art

For some reason I started pondering what our cities would be without public art. While I was thinking about this I became even more aware of the art around me, suddenly I was seeing it everywhere which brought my original pondering into sharp focus, it seemed to me that if all the public art (even the pieces that I have little appreciation for) were taken away my environment would be somehow out of balance.

While I was mulling this over Marc returned from London with tales of Paul St George’s Telectroscope . Visitors of the installation at Tower Bridge, London and Brooklyn Bridge, NY are able to communicate in real time through these curious sculptures. Keen to hear more about how public art is commissioned, who it is that keeps my environment in balance and what the journey of public art looks like I spoke with two people who know about such things….

Victoria Milne is the Director of Creative Services at New York City’s Department of Design and Construction where she and her staff work with New York City’s Department of Cultural Affairs to commission and execute approximately a third of the public art commissioned by the City of New York. Currently that portfolio is roughly $3 million.

Victoria, what do you believe is important about having art in public spaces?

Art dignifies the public sphere, and when I say “dignifies” I don’t mean that it makes it elegant or formal. Some of the best art is vulgar. But it identifies the public sphere as an area for communication, and as an area for give and take, a place for something more than what is necessary. When a governmental entity has devoted the funds and energy to commission art for a public place, it has demonstrated its values. Whatever the artwork is, having it there proposes a richer civic life.

What do you mean by vulgar?

Well, I think vulgar actually means something like “of the people,” or common, as in Catholic mass being taught in the vulgate, meaning the people’s language as opposed to Latin. So by that sense grafitti art would be vulgar, and it can be great.

What are your own beliefs/filters around commissioning public art?

When we are selecting work for the public art program, I am always one voice among many in the decision-making process. In that role, though, what I look for and advocate for when I find it is work that is serious but accessible to most people. If forced, I would give up some accessability to support more challenging work. The point of the work should be something valid, or true in an aesthetic sense. Art is much better at communicating than bureaucrats give it credit for.

What are your favorite pieces of public art?

It is difficult to say what my favourite public artwork is. I loved the “Tilted Arc” when it was in New York, but it pissed people off so much that they removed the work, so I would just be being a pain if I said that it was best. I really enjoy a piece called “A Gathering ” by Walter Martin and Paloma Muñoz in New York’s MTA Arts for Transit program. They’ve sculpted crows in various attitudes on token booths, railings, and beams throughout the subway station. What’s great about them is that they are unexpected, charming, strange and durable. In terms of intellectual goals, they are nothing more than that, but sometimes that’s just exactly right.

My personal best experience of public art came on a day I was killing time driving in the hills near Seattle’s SeaTac airport. This was at that time a kind of between area that was mixed rural and industrial – the valleys were full of factories and Boeing and the hills were open and woody. I came over a crest I’d never been on and found a grass-covered work of land-art by Robert Morris that looked over the valley. This was fantastic, but much more fine an experience for being happened-upon, and not a destination.

What I think makes that great is what it says about the patron. Here was a serious work of art that was very genuinely given to the people – there was no fanfare, no elaborate entry process, and very little signage. Most importantly, it demonstrated the integrity of the vision of the local government because it supported such a challenging and abstract work. And I think it was exciting for all visitors, whether or not they were familiar with Morris or artwork – anyone coming to the site could see the sculptural form, the relationship to the hillside, view and industry below, the dramatic descent to the center, the sensuous wrap of grasses over rectangular earth. I believe that arriving at this duality of being both serious artwork and not exclusive is the difficult and ideal position for Public Art.

Mark Garry, artist and founder of Branch Collaborative Inc. based in Laguna Beach California. Branch is an opportunity for established traditional and digital artists to collaborate on commercial art projects with design industry clients.

Mark, what is your favorite piece of public art?

I’d like to have made the Washington Monument

What do you believe is important about having art in public spaces?

It is a invitation for the broader community to interact directly with the environmental dynamics of a shared location. Public art is a window into the soul of collective culture. Everybody win’s when the collective realizes what it is to be human.

What do you think the parameters or filters of commissioning public art should be/entail?

Every project is different. There is an endless list of variables that help shape the concept. Inevitably the artist sorts though these variables embracing some and deconstructing others. On some level, public art is a compromise between vision, physics, intention, and money.

What if no compromise was required, what kind of public art would you create with free reign?

Spider webs would be the primary inspiration. I think they are beautiful. Spider webs have a lot to say about innovation, survival and grace.

What is the impact of public art in your city?
Looking out for crows, spider webs and not taking public art for granted,

P.S To see Mark’s current work check out the Diana Ferrone gallery, Laguna Beach through July.

© The Red Barn Cooperative

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June 2008
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