M Train

have you read Patti Smith's "M Train"? it is my new favorite book! there are so many passages in it that i love and wish i could have written them. her writing is so poetic and really resonates with me. here are some passages that i just can't get over:

"I believe in movement. I believe in that lighthearted balloon, the world. I believe in midnight and the hour of noon. But what else do I believe in? Sometimes everything. Sometimes nothing. It fluctuates like light flitting over a pond. I believe in life, which one day each of us shall lose. When we are young we think we won't, that we are different. As a child I thought I would never grow up, that I could will it so. And then I realized, quite recently, that I had crossed some line, unconsciously cloaked in the truth of my chronology. How did we get so damn old? I say to my joints, my iron-colored hair."

"it fluctuates like light flitting over a pond", "unconsciously cloaked in the truth of my chronology" - !!!! such beautiful images! oh, i felt like i could live on these words forever.

"Home is a desk. The amalgamation of a dream. Home is the cats, my books, and my work never done. All the lost things that may one day call to me, the faces of my children who will one day call to me. Maybe we can't draw flesh from reverie nor retrieve a dusty spur, but we can gather the dream itself and bring it back uniquely whole."

"the amalgamation of a dream" - i really wish i could have written that!

ok, enough of me drooling over Patti Smith's words! go and get "M Train". read it and tell me what you thought of it!

Puppet Slam on May 16th

it has been a full month.  we celebrated a birthday as we came to the end of the month - my youngest daughter turned 5.  it is hard to believe how big she is getting!  we are also seeing the slow recession of the snow.  we are impatient for spring weather, but the warmth is slow to take over.  there are still small mounds of snow and we wonder when we will see the last of it?

my shadow puppet project is finally coming together! last week, i managed to run through my entire piece, minus the music, to the class.  this week is our last class and i will be performing for the class again with the music.  i have been busy rehearsing at home.  i tell you, it hasn't been easy.  because i am rehearsing for a performance, i find that i must minimize all the moments where things can go wrong. but there's also a fun element to that, that some of the magic of a performance comes from the very fact that i can't control it perfectly.

some background info about my shadow puppet project: it is around 10 mins long, set to the music of Erik Satie.  a while back, i had written a novella titled, "Winter With Satie" and the story is about a young pianist who is crushed by certain events in her life and withdraws from the world by closeting herself in her home.  she encounters the ghost of Satie and this encounter sets off the healing process for the young woman.

i couldn't use the entire story for this short performance, so i am excerpting the most important part of my story, the young pianist's encounter with Satie, for the shadow puppet performance.

if you are in the Boston area and would like to see my performance, i will be performing "Winter With Satie" at the Puppet Showplace Theater on May 16th, 8pm, during the Puppet Slam.  this is an event for adults and teens.  i have been asked by the Puppet Showplace Theater to warn you that their Puppet Slams usually sell out, so if you plan to come, i would recommend getting the tickets early.  you can purchase tickets online here.  i also know that the Brookline Public Library has passes for the Puppet Showplace Theater you can check out.  with the pass, you can get up to 4 tickets for half price, a really good deal!

i hope you can join me on May 16th - there will be some great performances from puppeteers who know what they are doing! :)

here are some more "work in progress" photos:

A fellow classmate and i practising with our shadow puppets

A fellow classmate and i practising with our shadow puppets

there was a lot of cutting involved...

there was a lot of cutting involved...

part of a scene from my performance

part of a scene from my performance

New Project

i am eager to share about a new project i've been busy working on.  several weeks ago, i started a class at Puppet Showplace Theater, a puppet theater in Brookline that's just down the street from where i live.  i took my girls there a few times to see puppet shows and they loved it.  then i discovered they have adult classes!!  i picked the shadow puppet class as i thought it would be an easy transition from my art to theater.  plus, i wanted to put my novella to some use.  i am excited to have found a medium where i can marry my writing with my visual art.  the class runs to the end of March and then i believe we have an opportunity to showcase our work at a Puppet Slam, an adult puppet show event the Puppet Showplace Theater puts on every couple of months.  i will share more details about that as we get closer to the time.

the story i'm working on is my novella, titled, "Winter With Satie."  in trying to keep things simple and short, i won't be using any dialogue, but will use Erik Satie's music and only tell an excerpt of the story.  here are some "work in progress" photos:

the last two shots were taken by a fellow classmate, Sally Moore, and edited by me.  the characters still need some work and some refinement and change.  i will share the final product in the coming weeks!


Happy Thanksgiving and some thoughts for the holiday season

Happy Thanksgiving, friends!! i'm sure many of you are travelling to visit families or getting your homes ready for visiting families.  we are staying put this year and getting together with some friends.  i won't be cooking the turkey!! mixed feelings there, since i enjoy eating turkey and sort of like the leftovers, but it's also a treat to eat someone else's cooking. :)

there have been so many changes and transitions, i feel like i've been running to keep up.  i'm looking forward to this long weekend to relax and enjoy some time with my family.  i am thankful for our new life here in MA.  i am thankful for all my new friends here and my friends who keep up with me here on the blog and facebook.

i want to share with you a snapshot of a big project i've been busy working on.  i'm not sure when it will be completed, but i have a feeling it will be a long term project:

and here is the poem that inspired it:


"Hope" is the thing with feathers -

That perches in the soul -

And sings the tune without the words -

And never stops - at all -


And sweetest - in the Gale - is heard -

And sore must be the storm -

That could abash the little Bird

That kept so many warm -


I've heard it in the chillest land -

And on the strangest Sea -

Yet, never, in Extremity,

It asked a crumb - of Me.


Emily Dickinson


i've quoted this poem in a previous post, but it has been meaningful to me again lately.  the installation i am working on is partly inspired by it, along with this mixed media piece:


i've been thinking a lot about hope, especially as we head into the holiday season.  as we celebrate thanksgiving in the US, we are naturally encouraged to think about what we are thankful for and that always leads me to "hope."  i associate being thankful with looking back on the past and seeing all the goodness we have to be thankful for.  "hope" is that same thankful attitude, except we are looking forward into the future, into the unknown, the things that haven't happened yet.  it is the song the bird sings even in the storm.

i tend to be rather pessimistic about my future, but lately, i've been hearing that bird's song even "on the strangest Sea."

with that, i'd like to share that i've opened up a sort of holiday shop through Etsy where i will be offering some miniature original art (sized 6 x 4 inches) and some holiday garlands.  you can find the shop here.  you will also find an "etsy" tab at the top of my website which will send you directly to my shop MadeBySLK.  i would really really appreciate it if you would spread the word about my holiday shop.  the miniature artworks will make great gifts for art lovers and the star garlands will appeal to those with minimalist tastes for their holiday decor. thanks so much!!

here are some photos of the works in progress and the finished products:


have a wonderful rest of the week and weekend, friends. 

Well, Hello, from Brookline, MA!

it has been WAY too long since i've been here!  i am sitting in our apartment in Brookline, alone for the first time in goodness knows how long having finally found a wonderful little preschool for my 4 year old, surrounded by stacks of boxes that still need unpacking, but hey, it will be good for my soul to jot down some of my thoughts here and reconnect with y'all.  so, here are some thoughts while i listen to U2's latest album, Songs of Innocence (which btw is free on iTunes right now).  i'd like to share some images of our trip to the east coast, some from my Instagram feed.


so, how are YOU??  i hope all is well wherever you are.  i am sure you have been busy with life, work, your own moves, and your own children going back to school... but do drop me a line here and catch me up on what you have been up to!


mid-August, we said our goodbye to Madison, WI, packed up our life in boxes and took to the road for a week.  my husband stayed behind to wrap up and i took our girls and stopped over in Michigan for a few days to visit with my parents.  we visited our favourite spots there before continuing on the road.  this is us, beginning our journey:

running through the tunnel to get to Tunnel Park on Lake Michigan

running through the tunnel to get to Tunnel Park on Lake Michigan

Tunnel Park

Tunnel Park

i saw a lot of these on the road...

we met up with my husband in Indiana and continued across the country in our two cars.  and since we were driving by Niagara Falls, we had to stop by and show the girls this awesome and wonderful part of the world.

most of the drive was a blur for me, but it was fun to see the landscape changing as we entered NY and then MA.  it really is as beautiful here as everyone has been telling me.  we tried to explore a little before the girls started school:

Walden's Pond in Concord, MA, was delightful, esp on a hot summer day

Walden's Pond in Concord, MA, was delightful, esp on a hot summer day

Allendale Farm, a local farm that's minutes from where we live

Allendale Farm, a local farm that's minutes from where we live

Wingaersheek Beach - we loved swimming in the water, but also loved climbing these huge rocks and exploring the tide pools in between the rocks

Wingaersheek Beach - we loved swimming in the water, but also loved climbing these huge rocks and exploring the tide pools in between the rocks

Crane Beach was great for finding these baby mussels washing onto the shore and the hermit crabs running around everywhere

Crane Beach was great for finding these baby mussels washing onto the shore and the hermit crabs running around everywhere

it's been a week now since school began for the girls.  we are all sort of being carried by the tide of routine and that's been good.  i'll have my moments when i get teary for no reason, a symptom of uprooting and displacement.  no matter how often i do this, that part will never go away.  but i am grateful for my friend who lives a block away from us here and has made the move and transition so much smoother and easier (hugs, Lisa!!) and i am thankful that the girls seem to be managing ok.  we all have our moments, but on the whole, we are doing well.  there's so much beauty around me to appreciate.  there's so much good food close by (ok, the Korean food we can get here just doesn't compare to Madison, WI, i'm afraid :))  and it was wonderful to reconnect with an old friend from Nairobi (SO great to see you, Sarah, and meet your wonderful family) who lives about an hour away from Brookline.

Isak Dinesen wrote in Seven Gothic Tales: "The cure for anything is salt water - tears, sweat, or the sea."  i have seen much of all three lately and i have to agree with her.

my youngest told me yesterday that she likes Brookline, but not living in an apartment.  she believes we must find a house here like Madison.  when i asked her why she doesn't like living in an apartment, she said because she always has to be quiet! :)

i haven't been able to do much art, but i do have some news.  i will be participating in another art show through SpaceWomb Contemporary Art Gallery that opens 18th September, next week.  so, my NYC friends and those of you with friends in NYC, i hope you'll spread the word for me.  i will post an update early next week.  in the mean time, here are some shots of my sketchbook of recent sketches:

i hope to be here more often now.  i do ask that you subscribe to the blog by entering your email address in the space at the top left bar and hitting the subscribe button in order to keep up with my goings on.  thanks so much and have a lovely rest of your week!  

Good Friday

A Light exists in Spring

Not present on the Year

At any other period -

When March is scarcely here


A Color stands abroad

On Solitary Fields

That Science cannot overtake

But Human Nature feels.


It waits upon the Lawn,

It shows the furthest Tree

Upon the furthest Slope you know

It almost speaks to you.


Then as Horizons step

Or Noons report away

Without the Formula of sound

It passes and we stay -


A quality of loss

Affecting our Content

As Trade had suddenly encroached

Upon a Sacrament.


Emily Dickinson




"Hope" is the thing with feathers -

That perches in the soul -

And sings the tune without the words -

And never stops - at all -


And sweetest - in the Gale - is heard -

And sore must be the storm -

That could abash the little Bird

That kept so many warm -


I've heard it in the chillest land -

And on the strangest Sea -

Yet, never, in Extremity,

It asked a crumb - of Me.


Emily Dickinson


i think this poem best captures what i've been feeling and thinking lately.


it's been a while since you've heard about the teacup installation, but they are on the move again. :)  and this time, they are traveling all the way to NYC!!  it's kinda crazy - i will give you more details later, but right now, i'm packing them up in a box.

U2 + Oliver Jeffers

i always love a good collaboration between artists i admire, but this collaboration has got to be one of the tops.  i grew up listening to U2 and what gets me always about them is that they never fail to deliver.  how is that possible?  i wonder about that as a creative person.  i sometimes feel like one day i will run out of things to express.  i wrote a post about Oliver Jeffers some time ago (you can find that here) - i am a huge fan of his books.  what i love about him is that he has such a unique voice and he is so fluent with it.  fluency of voice is something artists and writers are constantly striving for.  i think both U2 and Oliver Jeffers have that in common - that ability to express themselves in voices that are unmistakably their own.

and of course, it helps that this song is about Nelson Mandela and is the soundtrack for the movie about his life.  i loved reading his biography, Long Walk To Freedom.  this song is nominated for the oscars - along with "Let It Go".  i haven't told my girls yet that i will be rooting for "Ordinary Love" instead. ;)

Thoughts for Kenya and last week's event

i had meant to write a post about the opening of Madison Central Public Library, and i will, but i have been sidetracked by the horrific events that took place in Nairobi.  if you have been following the news, you have heard of the attack on Westgate Mall by terrorists. you've probably seen photos of the injured and the dead and watched the movie clips of the activities at the mall.  

i remember going to that mall when visiting my parents in Nairobi.  i have even taken our daughter there and i am grieved to hear that the terrorists attacked on a day when there was a children's activity at the mall.  but such is the working of terrorists' minds.  i had hoped with all my heart that all the hostages would have been released by now, but the siege continues today.  i can only continue to hope that the terrorists will be overpowered soon and fear replaced with justice and order.  i am grateful that no one i know has been hurt by this, but i know many who knew someone that died in the attack.  and i know this mainly through Facebook.  i am sort of reeling from how FB puts me in touch with what is going on in Nairobi, but at the same time, i am living far away, in Wisconsin.  

the tension of being pulled by two physical locations and two emotions, one of grieving for what's happening in one place and one of celebrating something going on in another, is very disconcerting but i think is very much what life is.  while we grieve over someone's death, we can at the same time, be celebrating the birth of another life.  so, while i grieve over what is going on in Nairobi, i am celebrating something in Madison. 

this past weekend, the brand new Madison Central Public Library opened its doors, after being closed for 2 years for renovations.  when i attended STACKED, i couldn't quite believe my eyes to see all the people queued up to get in.  the line ran all the way down one side of the library wall and completely around the corner!  it was great to see so many people excited about the public library!!!  how often does a library fill up with hundreds of people?  i don't have an official number for the attendance that night, but it seems there were over a thousand people, close to 1500. :)  and it was fun to be in a space that still smells new.  here are some photos from that night, a mix of shots from my phone and camera. 


Some new works

now that the kids are back at school, i am finding some time to begin working again.  i am starting something new in both my writing and my art, so that's exciting.  it's always fun to explore, to begin a new journey.  although, the theme i am obsessing over right now is nothing new.  i think about it all the time.  it's been a part of me from a very early age.  it is the idea of home.  i wrote an earlier post about this and you can find it here.

the word "home" conjures up so many emotions, images and meanings.  how do you define "home"?  what is your "home"?  is it a physical location that has always existed in your lifetime?  

i obsess over the word because i feel rather conflicted about it.  to me, "home" connotes something permanent.  i always feel i should have a place to call home, just like most people.  but instead, my home is where i am.  there is never any home to "return" to.  and so the identification with the nautilus who travels with its home, rather than the sea turtle who returns home to lay her eggs.


Ode to summer

the house is very quiet.

no sounds of little feet pitter-pattering about the house.

no busy chattering.

no bickering.

just me and the clicking sounds of the keyboard.

first day of school. all the little people are gone. at least, for a couple of hours.

like all parents, the beginning of the school year is a bitter-sweet moment for me.  we are sad that summer days are gone.  but we do look forward to the return of routine, to reclaiming some time to ourselves.  i do miss those moments when i can sit still and think without interruption, when my precious few hours are mine to do with as i like. but i will miss the fullness of our summer days, when i have no time to introspect, when i am thrown into living life. because after all, it is from that fullness of life that i draw inspiration for my work.  it is this rhythm of life that keeps me going - time to live, and then time to reflect.

i thought about sharing beautiful shots of our summer break in Michigan where we celebrated my dad's 80th birthday (i know, he is an old man, but he acts half his age - he still runs half-marathons!!), but instead, i'm going to share some underexposed film photos i took at our pool.  because you know what? this was our daily life this summer - sun-bleached days at the pool. 

the smell of chlorine. 

the feeling of chlorine-crusted hair. 

the constant sound of splashing water that drowns out all other sounds. 

the excitement of watching your child swim to the finish. hoarse throats from cheering. 

the colors aren't very vibrant here because i closed the aperture too much, worried that there was too much sunlight on the day i took these shots. but i sort of like them because they look sun-bleached themselves, just how i feel after a summer at the pool. 

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A Beautiful Movie

first off, i'd like to welcome those of you who have come here through RAW - look forward to meeting you on August 15th!! 

i came across this article and movie about Oliver Jeffers through pi'lo , a blog that i follow. i first encountered Oliver Jeffers through Lost and Found, a picture book my girls and i checked out from the library. i instantly fell in love.  i love the way he sees the world.  and the movie captures his wonderful spirit.  hope you enjoy it as much as i did, and feel inspired. :)

Thoughts about "home" and new work in progress

first off, welcome to my new readers who were introduced to my work through Mystery To Me!  thank you for visiting and i hope you'll continue to return. for those of you who haven't visited Mystery To Me yet, please do!  the bookstore has opened to a great start and i hope you will support this new local business.  there are not only adult books, but many children and young adult books as well, so please stop by.

i also have some new projects that are in the works - will share more about them next week!! 

it's that time of the year when i have to say goodbye to friends moving out of town and anticipate changes in the neighborhood when i see "for sale" signs going up.  i live in a town where there are constant shifts and changes, usually related to work. i have done a fair amount of moving in my life and lately, i have been thinking about certain images that speak to me about my idea of home.  i have called three different continents home. the longest i have lived in one city was 11 years and that city would be Nairobi.  i have lived in the US the longest, but have moved from city to city.

what is home? i know what home is not: it is not a physical place where i was born.  i was born in Seoul, South Korea, but i feel like a foreigner when i'm there.  i feel that the word home should mean a place of comfort, a place where i am accepted the way i am, where i can be myself.

i think about sea turtles, how after decades of travelling oceans, always return to their place of birth to lay their eggs. how do they know? is it some imprinting of geographic location that beckons them when they are ready to lay their eggs? 

i'm more like the nautilus than a sea turtle.  i carry my home with me.  routines and familiar faces are tenuous and constantly shifting. houses are bought and sold, cities come and go.  relationships span the globe.  i love the image of the nautilus, in its beautiful shell, swimming about the ocean, traveling here and there.

i don't have photos of the works i have in progress right now, but i wanted to share with you that they are based on this idea of home. what are your ideas of home?


Belated thanks and some goings on

i know it's been a while - my husband was out of town for most of last week, so it's been a little crazy here.  but i wanted to say a big "THANK YOU" to those of you who have stopped by at Gail Ambrosius to enjoy some chocolates and see my installation!! and great to see those of you who stopped by during Gallery Night.  thank you, thank you thank you!  and many many thanks to those of you who were at the New Morning Nursery School auction to bid on my print of Girl In Red, No. 3.  thank you for supporting New Morning by bidding and congratulations to the special person who got to take home the print. :)

besides holding down the fort on my own, i was busy last week with a commission as well - a papier-mache teacup went to a special mother on Mother's Day.  i was tickled to get the commission!

i haven't shared much here about the journey i have been on with my novel manuscript.  mainly because it is such a long drawn out process with lots of waiting and lots of rejections.  but i will say that some times, the rejections get me so down that i end up second guessing myself and my ability to tell stories.  sometimes, it is hard to get up, dust myself off and carry on.  but the sun rises every morning and i have to do just that.  i wanted to share with you a photo i took on instagram recently.  nothing like red to chase the gloom away!

Rainy Day

Rainy Day

and speaking of red, i love watching this:


Red, scarlet, vermilion, magenta, crimson, maroon, burgundy, carmine, ruby…so many words to describe the varying shades of red.  Some other names from my paint box: cadmium red medium, quinacridone magenta.  Red is such a strong color, you can never be undecided about it.

My mother dressed me mostly in red when I was young. Here is the earliest photo of me in red.


There were many more later: red dresses, red boots, red swimsuits.  Red seeps into my childhood memories.  Until I turned six.  Then we made the big move from Korea to Kenya and there were no more red dresses for me.  Instead, there was the red dirt, the red bougainvilleas, the red cloaks of the Maasai.  Red was no longer on me, but it was everywhere else.

When I made the Girl In Red pieces (you can see all four of them if you click on the Mixed Media tab), I was inspired by my three daughters.  The four pieces hang in my girls' room and my girls always ask me, am I in this one? and this one?  I answer yes to them all.  My memories of my three girls have become tightly woven into this single girl that appears in each piece.  But the red also snuck in there, reminding me how much of my own memories get tangled up with the new memories my girls create.  

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For those of you who are local, a 8x10 print of Girl In Red, No. 3 (shown above) will be part of the silent auction at New Morning Nursery School.  This year's auction will raise funds for a new classroom which will be added in the fall.  My youngest daughter will be a part of this new room!   If anyone is interested in prints of any of the Girl In Red series (or all four of them!), please contact me at: madebyslk@gmail.com.  Thanks!