speak with your craft

Speak With Your Craft: Marina Sachs!

Marina Sachs is, perhaps, the definition of dynamic…and wonderfully whacky. I first had the pleasure of meeting Marina when working on the Cheyenne River Reservation with Simply Smiles in 2015, as part of her Lakota Youth Speak project - a restorative justice and adolescent enrichment program - with friend and program co-creator Ellie Nan Storck. She is a MacGyver of creativity and creating, who harnesses her good nature, thoughtfulness, talent and sense of humor to bring joy and levity to kids on the Reservation and those around her in most every situation. I sure enjoy being around her! Check our her musings below - she’s a peach and a talented artist! (And, if you feel so inclined/moved by Marina, please check the Lakota Youth Speak Project and consider making a donation here.)


Meet The Maker

Name: Marina Sachs

Location: Cambridge, MA

Creative/crafty outlets: painting, drawing

Where to find you/your wares: www.softpushstudio.com; Instagram: @marina_sachs

Marina Sachs

Marina Sachs

When did you first realize that you like to create?

I grew up without a television, internet access, and a microwave.  Around 2007, my parents got a television and wireless internet, but up until that point, there was no time or value placed on these things. I realize that this is a privilege; many parents cannot afford to make fresh food every day, and need to use a microwave to feed their families quick and easy meals. Other parents need their children to watch television so that they can be occupied while they make dinner, clean, or are working. I am very aware that living without these commodities was still a choice that my parents could make because they were in a position of privilege.

And yet, growing up without television or internet undoubtedly influenced the kind of thinker and maker I am today. My parents gave my sister and me art supplies, and the simple rule that boredom wasn’t an option, and playing outside always was. In our basement, we had chalk, paint, markers, paper, and recycled materials that my mama picked up from the supermarket (for a great styrofoam printing activity, click here). I was always allowed to use permanent markers, and was never scolded for getting paint on myself or making a mess as I created. I was never scolded for being a messy artist, and my parents gave me freedom to express myself in whatever medium was available. I am very grateful for their style, and something that has inspired me in the way I work with young artists.

Artwork by Marina Sachs

Artwork by Marina Sachs

To attempt to answer the question: I vividly remember creating a painted scene of a few trees in kindergarten on thick, pink paper, but I know that I was making art before that. I think I always loved to create, but the ways I have realized it have changed over the years. It wasn’t until high school, when I was attending an arts magnet high school in New Haven, CT, that I felt myself pulled towards performing and visual arts; drumming, mixed-media art, and theatre. My parents separated during my college years, and it was around this time that I realized I no longer just loved to create, I had to. I needed to sort out all of the shifting, clashing, dark parts in my head. My art became less inhibited, the impetus behind creating art had changed.

Artwork by Marina Sachs

Artwork by Marina Sachs

Who or what are some of your creative influences and/or where do you seek inspiration? And, has this changed over time?

I think that much of what I was exposed to as a child affected how I am as an artist and a creator today. There are some very specific, visual artists whose influence you can see in my art; the pen and ink-work of Quentin Blake, Alexander Calder’s circus drawings and sculptures, Jean Paul Basquiat’s journal entries, Beatrix Potter’s botanical paintings, to name a few.

About four years ago, I took issue with many of my creative influences, not because they aren’t talented or unique, but because my influences were mostly white males. How can I be an artist who fights for equity and access, how can I harness my privilege if all of my influences are white? I grappled with these questions, the most poignant being, “Who are my heros?” I think this is a really important question, because it demands a tracing of one’s history, a questioning of what one has learned, and more importantly, what they haven’t learned.

I’m always trying to figure out how to creatively show - and share - what I stand for.

Describe your process: Do you map things out? Just go for it? How do you get to the end product?

If I’m painting, it’s usually because I’ve got something stirring up my bones that I have to get out. I work on the floor. Barefoot. I spread out my materials, get a big glass of water, and throw on music. Delta blues, psych-rock, 90’s hip hop, ambient electronica... I move quickly, drawing first with sharpie, and then begin painting. I don’t like using pencil, I make more mistakes when I have an eraser.

If I’m designing a workshop, or working on a collaborative piece, then the first thing I do when I start is think about access. Who is represented in the collaboration? What voices aren’t being heard loud enough? If it’s a visual piece, is it accessible to everybody, affordable? Are the materials inexpensive, sustainable? What language is the project in? Whose histories are being told, or overlooked? Access is directly connected to diversity and equity; who has access to the project and who doesn’t? I’m much more thoughtful and planned when I’m working on a project. I constantly seek to collaborate with people whose viewpoints challenge, supplement, and intersect with my own. Access, tension, diversity, and equity are very important when we think about art, both local and global.

Talk more about your Tipi Talks/Lakota Youth Speak project, in terms of the role of creativity, identity and self-expression for Native youth. I saw, firsthand, how teenagers changed and opened up - namely, using art and creativity to harness their vulnerabilities, self-esteem, fears, and aspirations. It was and remains really incredible. How did this project evolve in terms of pre-trip planning to the Reservation and then actually living and working on the Reservation?

Lakota Youth Speak Project (2015)

Lakota Youth Speak Project (2015)

I have always believed that young people are capable of harnessing art to transform the lives of those around them; Lakota Youth Speak is another iteration of my commitment to this belief. In 2015, my close friend and project co-designer, Ellie Nan Storck and I received a Davis Project for Peace grant for Lakota Youth Speak.  It is a youth-driven restorative justice project that collaborates with young folks on the Reservation to create adolescent enrichment and community programs. The planning process that led up to funding lasted around 7 months; we had to prove that the project was holistic, sustainable, and that the community was interested in it. Crudely put: Ellie and I had to prove that we weren’t just two white folks going into a vulnerable community to start a project that we would then forget about the next year. We corresponded with dozens of organizations, the Davis foundation, Honor the Treaties, and a number of tribal nations across the U.S to coordinate this project, and finally connected with Simply Smiles in La Plant.

The first year of Lakota Youth Speak was challenging because Ellie and I had to build trust with the young folks before we could begin to collaborate. After a month of knocking on doors repeatedly, and eventually realizing that 10am meetings aren’t a good time for teenagers to meet, we started to make some headway in terms of trust, respect, and creative programs. We got involved with Lakota mental health professionals, introducing them in safe, low-stakes settings for both adolescent and community workshops. Meeting twice per week, we worked to plan a community meal that had hands-on art stations, two awesome Lakota professionals who spoke about their work, and live music. That year we really focused on space; forging common space for teens to feel comfortable, safe, and cool, visiting sacred space (we took trips to the Badlands and Black Hills), and making space for every person who wanted to be involved in the program.

This summer, we’re working to simplify Lakota Youth Speak, and collaborate with more Lakota makers and creators.

I believe that it’s really important for the young folks we work with to have artists, professionals, and all around bad-ass adults who are similar to them.  I’m white, I didn’t grow up in La Plant, or on a Reservation: I can be a facilitator, and an ally. I can support the beautiful young people I work with as they push up against the systemic challenges that abound for indigenous folks in the U.S., but I don’t think that I’m fit to be the best role model for them.

Heroes, role models; they’re people who a young person can identify with, aspire to become. If a child don’t see someone who looks like her, talks like her, acts like her in a position of power, in a heroic role, then she becomes instilled with the idea that people like her don’t become role models.

Whatʼs one of your favorite projects - past, present, or a project in the works?

Tattoo design by Marina Sachs

Tattoo design by Marina Sachs

My most recent project re:love is a self-published magazine that features work from 30 artists, many of whom had never shared their work publicly. Spanning 6 months, I facilitated the project from inception to distribution, and worked with artists in-person and virtually. Each contribution was submitted in response to being asked to think critically about identity. re:love derives its form from each contributor’s original work; this zine is about approaching each other’s differences with curiosity and love.

(I’m also working on a book for my favorite tattoo shop, which I’m really excited about!!! I’ll let you know when it’s coming out.)

Whatʼs the best piece of advice/quote that youʼve received about creating? Or, conversely, what would you recommend to other artists?

Try to be in conversation with people who are going to challenge the way that you think. While it’s been important to surround myself with people who support me, it’s been just as important to engage with people who challenge me. People who look at my art and say, “I don’t get it,” or “Is that even art?” It’s easy to become emboldened by supportive communities, both in-person and online.  We often forget that tension and challenges are fertile ground for innovation and self-expression.

Bonus: If you could be any plant (existing or made up), what would you be and why?

A sweet potato (Oven-roasted at 425 for 45 minutes with some olive oil and sea salt)


Thanks, Marina! Be sure to follow her on Instagram at @marina_sachs and www.softpushstudio.com. And, get updates on the Lakota Youth Speak initiative here.


Have an idea for Speak With Your Craft? Know some interesting makers, crafters, cooks, bakers, food growers, woodworkers, herbalists, photographers, writers, actors, musicians, painters, fiber artists, and creative forces in your life? I have friends lined up in the near future, but I'm open to suggestions! Leave a comment or contact me! Remember, makers or creators need not fit into a neat box to be featured. So, here’s to more creating, crafting, listening, learning, and collaborating!

Speak With Your Craft: Jill Verzino!

Welcome to Speak With Your Craft, a (semi) regular feature that profiles the many creative individuals in my life and my attempt to shed light on what inspires them. I also want to expose readers to crafts, talents, and skills that may be slightly offbeat or unusual and encourage the support of the movers and makers in the handmade world. Today, the spotlight is on Jill Verzino, an incredibly talented Connecticut-based artist and teacher whom I got to know through - where else - food growing! You know when you meet certain people in your life and you just get one another? Well, that's Jill. I had the pleasure of working with her in the garden on the Cheyenne River Reservation in 2016 (she was the garden assistant and she also designed the project's logo!) and bonding over our Jesuit educations (she went to Fordham, I went to Fairfield), blueberries, social justice, music, and, of course, more food and farming. Jill is equally talented as she is insightful about life and her creative process. I encourage you to check her out:


Meet Your Maker: Jill Verzino!

Location: Waterbury, CT | Creative/crafty outlets: drawing, painting, jewelry making, woodworking | Where to find you/your wares: jillverzino.com; Instagram: @dailyavian

When did you first realize that you like to create?

I can’t recall exactly when I realized my obsession with creating, but I do know it was at a very young age. I remember my family would always refer to me as “the artist,” but looking back at the work I was creating then, there really was no apparent reason for them to call me an artist based on the quality of the work I was putting out. It looked no different than your average 5-year-old’s scribbles, so it must have been the quantity and frequency with which I was creating that made them label me as an artist.

Who or what are some of your creative influences and/or where do you seek inspiration? And, has this changed over time?

I’ve been lucky enough to have had some incredible teachers and professors over the years, and I think they are my greatest heroes in the art world. I’ve always loved the creative connection that comes with the teacher and student relationship. Every once in awhile, you have an instructor that you want to impress every class, no exceptions. Casey Ruble and Amie Cunat were two professors of mine at Fordham, and I feel forever indebted to the knowledge they imparted on me, the help they selflessly offered, and the opportunities they handed to me. 

Beyond my teachers, I became infatuated with two female artists I discovered back in high school. They remain two of my greatest influences to this day. Robin F Williams and Hope Gangloff deal mostly with portraiture in their distinct styles. Now that I’m teaching high school students, I find that I am inspired by them. I have such intense gut reactions to their work, and the reflecting that results from my feelings about their work shapes how I think about my own work.

To return to something you hinted at in the beginning: it’s definitely a female thing to undercut our own work or belittle our accomplishments. You say there was “no apparent reason” for your family to call you an artist (this is not to say that your family weren’t supportive - they seemed like they completely are!), but clearly you were doing something both productive and creative. Why do we, as women, have to be so critical of ourselves?! You were onto something when you were younger and being “the artist” - you liked it and found enjoyment in it so much you decided to pursue art in higher ed and as a career, right? How has your confidence grown as you’ve matured as an artist and, now, as a teacher?

Self portrait  |  Jill Verzino

Self portrait | Jill Verzino

This question is perceptive and the topic resonates with me quite a bit. I’ve never been able to master the art of taking a compliment. I loathe situations where myself or my art is the center of attention, whether it be a gallery reception, an award ceremony, or even a celebration for some rite of passage. My insides curdle when others compliment my work. I usually reject the compliment while avoiding eye contact. I then feel like a hypocrite for doing so because I am the one putting my artwork out there for everyone to see, not anyone else. If I didn’t want people to see my work I wouldn’t be making it. It’s a process of research - research of myself and of this world. I’m not creating for the sake of private self aggrandizement and I’m not creating for public self aggrandizement either. I think of it like this, in the same way I want to consume art and talk about how it makes me think and feel, I want to share art and hear how it makes others think and feel. But god forbid you try to commend my work, I just can’t deal. A serious character flaw, I know, but I’m working on it.

As far as my confidence and my teaching goes, it’s easy for me to ignore my own work and focus on what the students are creating and how I can help them better their work. I have pushed myself to incorporate my own work in slides when introducing new projects. However, I don’t let on that it is my work until someone asks who the artist is. Alas, baby steps.

Describe your process: Do you map things out? Just go for it? How do you get to the end product?

I’m not much of a planner when it comes to my art. To a fault, I’m mostly self taught at crafts beyond drawing and painting. Many of my closest friends can attest to my stubborn nature. For example, instead of sitting down and reading a book about carving or whittling, I sat down and hacked away at an extremely hard wood for days with newly gifted beginner’s tools until I had something that looked like a spoon. I choose the hard way, but I like it that way strangely enough. I try to get to the end product as quickly as possible. I remember spending all nighters in the studio last spring finishing life sized portraits in three to five days. I often wonder if that need for somewhat-instant gratification is now ingrained in my brain as a millennial and has something to do with my inability to put down the paint brush, pencils, or tools until whatever I am working on is finished. Who knows? Just a thought.

Some of the most creative people I know have some connection to agriculture and food. You’re one of those people - among many things, you’ve worked summers on an organic berry farm, did some urban farming when you were at Fordham, and worked on a garden project (with me!) on a Reservation. Your work, especially your Sovereignty collection, shows a sense of reverence for the people, plants, and animals behind the food. Talk more about this collection, and, maybe, what connects the food/farm and creative worlds together.

Jill working on a piece for her 2016 show and collection,   Sovereignty

Jill working on a piece for her 2016 show and collection, Sovereignty

I try not to force the connection too much. I enjoy the ebb and flow of my art world and farming world. The two come together when they can and want to. This question reminds me of my time in college when people would ask me what I was majoring in. When I would explain both Visual Art and Environmental Policy, I’d always receive a disgruntled lip curl followed by a half smile and an “Oh! How do you plan to make those two work together?” I never had an answer for them, but I also never wanted to be a one trick pony that needed to meld the two interests into one cohesive career. For my senior Visual Art thesis, I painted life sized portraits of farmers for and with whom I’ve worked over the years. The detail attributed to the subject’s faces, their specific props, the Velázquez-esque composition, and the general size of the paintings portray the subjects as glorified individuals, much like one would depict a sovereign leader. The reality is, however, that these individuals are anything but glorified in their daily lives. Their profession consists of behind-the-scenes work that is physically trying and often visually grotesque. My intention was to highlight the working class in a way we might traditionally depict the rich, famous, and powerful. Their work is inherently valuable to our livelihood, ecosystems, and economy, and that is often overlooked by society. The paintings depict only white, middle aged men, correlating to the statistic that, though changing (!), a large percentage of our farmers are just that - older white men. Because I had strong connections to the work, the people, and the topic of this thesis, I felt satiated with the intention and humility I experienced while working on the portraits in a way I hadn’t felt until then.

Jill's 2016 show and collection,   Sovereignty

Jill's 2016 show and collection, Sovereignty

Whatʼs one of your favorite projects - past, present, or a project in the works?

American Robin: Turdus migratorius   by Jill Verzino as part of her  Daily Avian project

American Robin: Turdus migratorius by Jill Verzino as part of her Daily Avian project

I just started an Instagram page called Daily Avian (@dailyavian), and my goal is to illustrate one bird a day for an indefinite period of time. I hope I can stay with it for a while. Having the Instagram page is a way for me to hold myself accountable for keeping up with it. That way I have other eyes watching. Either I’m taking requests for specific birds to paint or I’m closing my eyes, opening my Sibley field guide book, and putting my finger down on the page to choose a bird randomly. It’s been quite fun so far!

Whatʼs the best piece of advice/quote that youʼve received about creating? Or, conversely, what would you recommend to other artists?

Work smart, not hard. And there’s purple in everything.

Wait, please talk about the purple thing.

Next time you’re outside, look at the bark on trees. That is the easiest way to see what I’m talking about. The gray/brown hue of the bark takes on a hint of purple. Then you’ll start to notice that there is a shade of purple in most things because of the way the light hits them. Imagine you were going to mix paint to attain the color of a shadow on a white wall. You would most likely mix a shade of purple into that shadow.

**Bonus round**

If you could use only food and farm-related inspired words for a band name, what would it be?

Ghostface Tillah.

What’s currently your favorite song?

The first song that jumped into my head was “No River” by the immaculate Esmé Patterson.


Thanks, Jill! Stay tuned for details about how you can own her work, but in the meantime, visit her site: jillverzino.com. Be sure to follow her recent Instagram project, Daily Avian (@dailyavian), and send in some suggestions for bird drawings!


Have an idea for Speak With Your Craft? Know some interesting makers, crafters, cooks, bakers, food growers, woodworkers, herbalists, photographers, writers, actors, musicians, painters, fiber artists, and creative forces in your life? I have friends lined up in the near future, but I'm open to suggestions! Leave a comment or contact me! Remember, makers or creators need not fit into a neat box to be featured. So, here’s to more creating, crafting, listening, learning, and collaborating!

Speak With Your Craft: Bailey Raha!

Welcome to Speak With Your Craft, a (semi-)regular feature that profiles the many creative individuals in my life and my attempt to shed light on what inspires them. I also want to expose readers to crafts, talents, and skills that may be slightly offbeat or unusual and encourage the support of the movers and makers in the handmade world. The first profile of 2017: Bailey Raha! Bailey, an Northwest CT-based artist, is an incredibly talented quilter, who specializes in natural dyes and recycled and natural fibers. Her designs merge traditional patterns with a modern, thoughtful perspective and one that is heavily rooted in nature. I could get into a major discussion of quilting and its relationship to modern feminism and self-expression, but I'll refrain for now and let Bailey speak for herself. Settle in and learn more about Bailey and her beautiful wares!


When did you first realize that you like to create?

As a small child I was always making, creating, and collecting things. I think I took to creative outlets to help quell anxieties I had about the world. Working with my hands continues to bring me peace.  

Who or what are some of your creative influences?

Maura Ambrose, Andrew Wyeth, Season Evans, the women of Gee’s Bend, Edward Hopper. The collective history of the quilting craft and all the female quilters who came before me.

Describe your process: Do you map things out? Just go for it? How do you get to the end product?

I spend a lot of time looking at quilts in books and online, both old, and new. By looking, I collect little fragments of things I like, things that stick with me. On the whole, I tend to be drawn to traditional, simple patterns. I sketch a lot, but most of my drawings will never become quilts. Even after I’ve settled on a design, there’s always a bit of improvisation that goes on as the fabric I use speaks to me in a different way than a paper and a pencil. I trust my ability to make decisions and don’t take the process too seriously. 

A lot of your work (as seen on your Instagram feed) has a strong aesthetic, with a focus on natural light, textures and colors, and, well, nature in general. What inspires you about nature, or, more generally, what inspires you to create? 

Pokeberry dye (photo by Bailey Raha)

Pokeberry dye (photo by Bailey Raha)

Daffodil dye (photo by Bailey Raha)

Daffodil dye (photo by Bailey Raha)

Every breath yields new ideas, new processes, new excitement. With every inhale there comes an exhale, but the landscape plays on. I look to honor that cycle through my process. My work is materially born out of the landscape. The fabric I use begins in the ground. The dyes I use are both harvested and foraged. There is something about being in nature that is so humbling. I am reminded of how minute my existence is, as I couldn’t do what I do, live the life I live without the natural world in all its quiet grandeur. 

Your quilting work uses a lot of repurposed or natural fibers, and you dye your own fabric with different roots and flowers. Why did you choose to integrate sustainability into your wares?

Being able to spend my time creating is such a privilege. As an artist, I believe it is important to be conscious of how I source my materials. I use only natural fibers and naturally hand dye my own fabric. Beautiful dye colors can be achieved with food scraps, weeds, and natural debris with little to no chemical mordants or modifiers. 

What’s one of your favorite projects - past, present, or one in the works?

Every piece I make teaches me something new. My two most recent quilts were satisfying for different reasons. The Winter Sky quilt for its large size, and the Cowgirl in the Sand quilt for the way all the naturally dyed fabrics interact with each other. One of my goals for the new year is to expand my natural dyeing practice. 

Cowgirl in the Sand quilt, designed and made by Bailey Raha. (photo by Bailey Raha)

Cowgirl in the Sand quilt, designed and made by Bailey Raha. (photo by Bailey Raha)

What’s the best piece of advice/quote that you’ve received about creating? Or, conversely, what would you recommend to other artists?

Be kind to yourself, others, and the world. Trust your instincts. Be persistent and stay true to what you believe in.
— Bailey Raha

Bonus: What are three of your favorite books and why?

  1. East of Eden by John Steinbeck, for its extensive multi-generational narrative. 
  2. The Betsy and Tacy series (a childhood favorite) by Maud Hart Lovelace, for its quiet scenes of girlhood. 
  3. In the Company of Women by Grace Bonney, an incredible catalog of successful women, all of whom inspire me to keep pushing forward. 

Thanks, Bailey! Check out her quilts and quilted pillows (like the ones below) and learn more about her process her site: baileyraha.com! I strongly recommend that you follow Bailey on Instagram and her images from the Northwest Hills of CT.


Have an idea for Speak With Your Craft? Know some interesting makers, crafters, cooks, bakers, food growers, woodworkers, herbalists, photographers, writers, actors, musicians, painters, fiber artists, and creative forces in your life? I have friends lined up in the near future, but I'm open to suggestions! Leave a comment or contact me! Remember, makers or creators need not fit into a neat box to be featured. So, here’s to more creating, crafting, listening, learning, and collaborating in 2017!

Speak With Your Craft: Glenn Roth

Welcome to Speak With Your Craft, a (semi-)regular feature that profiles the many creative individuals in my life and my attempt to shed light on what inspires them. I also want to expose readers to crafts, talents, and skills that may be slightly offbeat or unusual. Today's profile: Glenn Roth! Glenn is an unbelievably talented musician, fingerstyle guitarist, and true music lover. While he is Connecticut-based, he travels extensively, touring nationally and internationally. If you've traveled to NYC, you may have actually heard Glenn busking in Grand Central Station and subway tunnels as part of the MTA's Music Under New York program. If you need to be perked up and/or happened to exist, I don't know, during the year that was 2016, I highly recommend listening to Glenn Roth! Check out our interview and some of his tunes below:


Musician/fingerstyle guitarist Glenn Roth! Check him out at  his site ,  YouTube ,  iTunes , or  Bandcamp !

Musician/fingerstyle guitarist Glenn Roth! Check him out at his site, YouTube, iTunes, or Bandcamp!

When did you first realize that you like to play/create music?

I started to play the guitar at age 7, after seeing Eddie Van Halen on TV. I remember at a young age coming up with chord progressions and song ides in my head. It wasn't until I grew older that these ideas became songs. 

What experiences or individuals have influenced your style? 

There are a many different experiences that have influenced my music. Number one is listening to all different types and genres of music. In high school, I attended a week long guitar camp and it was a memorable experience where I really started to learn about theory and different guitar techniques. Some of my influences include Tommy Emmanuel, Michael Hedges, Trey Anastasio, and 311!

You’ve traveled quite extensively. Any favorite place? And, how - if at all - did this place or any other regions/places influence your creativity? 

I love to travel. My goal is to bring my music all over the world. I love to tour around America and see all the different regions. So far, though, my favorite place to visit was New Zealand. 

Describe your process: How do you decide to play the pieces that you perform or create? 

My music starts with a certain tuning on the guitar. I like to experiment with open tunings. Each time I change the tuning, it dictates what melodies and rhythms I will create. The process is very improvisational until I come up with solid ideas and the song starts to take form. Some songs take me years to write and other come quickly. 

What’s one of your favorite projects - lately or in general? Why? 

Currently, I'm putting together my first album of cover tunes. It should be released in early 2017. I'm also in the process of writing for my next original music album. I'm always striving to create great music! 

When did you realize that you wanted to be a musician for a living? And, were you at all concerned that you may lose some of your drive or passion for music if you depended on it for financial stability? 

Great question. I realized I wanted to be musician when I was a youngster. It wasn't until I graduated college in 2000 that my career started to take form. After taking a few different day jobs, I started to book gigs and was, for the first time, playing my own instrumental music for crowds. It was a great feeling and sparked my drive for pursuing a life of music. The financial side is tricky. It is a constant struggle to keep trucking along. Over the years, I have managed to acquire a smorgasbord of gigs, including restaurants, hospitals, private events, and playing Music Under New York. Music Under New York is a program sponsored by the M.T.A. in New York City.  I have a lifetime permit to perform in Grand Central and throughout the subway system. This experience has helped me build my fanbase and shape me as a musician.

That's so cool! I'm sure, without knowing it, people have heard you play! What’s your latest creative project in the works (music or non-music) - either something you’re physically working on, some project or creation you’ve been wanting to tackle, or both? Or, conversely, what would you recommend to other musicians or artists? 

I'm always concentrating on my solo career, but also love to play with other musicians. I love to perform with the incomparable Kristen Graves and Shawn Taylor. My recommendations for other artists is to stay true to what your goal is and don't let all the no answers you will receive affect your dream of making music. 

What’s the best piece of advice/quote that you’ve received about creating or that’s been the most helpful to you?

Stay positive and love your life!
— Nick Hexum, 311

Bonus: If you could have any super power, what would it be and why? 

My super power would be to fly, so I could get to my gigs faster!


Thanks, Glenn! Check out more of his music, upcoming shows, background, and latest travels on his site: glennroth.com! Find links to his social media accounts - especially his YouTube channel! - to follow him on his musical endeavors. And, be sure to listen to some of his tunes below:


Have an idea for Speak With Your Craft? Know some interesting makers, crafters, cooks, bakers, food growers, woodworkers, herbalists, photographers, writers, actors, musicians, painters, fiber artists, and creative forces in your life? I have friends lined up in the near future, but I'm open to suggestions! Leave a comment or contact me: speakwithyourfood [at] gmail [dot] com. Remember, makers or creators need not fit into a neat box to be featured. So, here’s to more creating, crafting, listening, learning, and collaborating!

Speak With Your Craft: Kaitlin Clark

Welcome to Speak With Your Craft, a (semi-)regular feature that profiles the many creative individuals in my life and my attempt to shed light on what inspires them. I also want to expose readers to crafts, talents, and skills that may be slightly offbeat or unusual. Today's profile: the magical Kaitlin Clark! I first met Kaitlin a few years ago as one of the few vegans I then knew in my life. We soon bonded over plant-based eating and in the flower field, cutting dahlias and zinnias, and making bouquets during our time at Riverbank Farm. My interest in herbalism, natural medicine, and the healing properties of food is largely because of Kaitlin's influence. (Fun fact: She also got me hooked on a delicious homemade treat that she calls Brain Balls. After you giggle, you should realize they are tasty snacks filled with brain-nourishing foods, like pumpkin and hemp seeds, nut butters, coconut, a little cacao, and other magical ingredients. #hippietreat). She's an artistic soul who has a number of creative gifts to offer and is able to do so through her business, Integrative Healing Arts.  Read more below to learn about her multi-faceted, healing, intuitive and expressive work and creative process:

When did you first realize that you like to create? 

Since childhood I have been involved in artistic/creative processes. Growing up in the woods had a great influence on what I create and inspirations. I remember trying to make paint from berries and spending the majority of my childhood in trees. I moved to Philadelphia when I was 18 to attend art school (UArts) and resided there for 5 years. This also rounded out my experience, going from the country to living in the city as an artist surrounded by other artists was life changing. Philly is a creative mecca!

Who or what have influenced your style? What inspires you?

My dad has been a big inspiration as a super creative person. He always has some handcrafted creative project going on, and still does! My mom is also a great inspiration as a super motivated woman who runs her own business as well. With both parents as entrepreneurs, I look up to them with gratitude and see the dedication and passion that's put into their life's work. 

I am also inspired by other artists, visionaries, their process, ideas and aspirations. Some of my closest friends are visual artists, creators, musicians and involved in the healing arts. I love seeing and being inspired by what people are creating and offering around me. Children and their amazing capacity of creativity is also an awesome influence.

Day to day, I am moved by nature and life experience. I love observing life around me, how it moves, ebbs and flows. I feel like its a beautiful mirror that continuously teaches and reminds me of the path I am on (that we are all on), and how to move with the flow of life with grace and ease. These observations and experiences are in essence the basis of everything I create and teach. 

The products I create are often inspired by the season and rhythms in nature. The ingredients connect with the elements (sunshine, woodlands, etc.) as do the topics of my workshops, classes and events. I pay homage to photography (my first artistic love) for honing this skill, as this is where I initially embodied the focus and ability to be present and observe with an artistic sense. The very nature of photography means "to paint with light" and to exercise the skill of observation while intuitively choosing fractions in time that make a moment tangible. It became a therapeutic process like a visual diary or visual poetry.  

More recently, I have been fostering my love for working in clay and have been greatly enjoying the time in the pottery studio. Throwing on the wheel is a meditative process for me and I have been infusing the process with Reiki as I create as well. It's like magic!

Describe your process. Do you map things out? Just go for it? How do your execute your ideas?

Lotions and potions, made with the best intentions:  Kaitlin creates her own line of oils, scrubs, tinctures and flower essence body products. All are available on her Etsy site. Take a look  here ! (Photo by K. Clark)

Lotions and potions, made with the best intentions: Kaitlin creates her own line of oils, scrubs, tinctures and flower essence body products. All are available on her Etsy site. Take a look here! (Photo by K. Clark)

It depends on what I am creating. Usually with photography and clay, I am spontaneous or inspired by something I felt or a dream/vision and I go from there. I might sketch ideas or research or sometimes it comes though as an urge to create. Usually the end product does not match the vision, but that is what I love about the creative process. It takes on a life of its own! 

With the wellness products, I create blends inspired by nature and this process embodies a great deal of intuition as well, but I also follow closely to ratios for blending so they are safe. It's a great mix of using both the left and right sides of my brain.

In Dance and Creative Movement music is the initial inspiration and i go from there. Those classes my vision is to share the love of movement and its all about feeling good and moving energy! Working the emotions through the body as a vessel of expression. Especially with the 3-year olds.

Day to day, I am pretty rhythmic in my flow, and I try to begin and end the day in positive thinking and gratitude. I follow the teachings of Abraham Hicks and my process has been greatly enhanced from this. I try to listen to at least one discussion every morning. This sets my sails for the day. I also practice daily meditation through both rhythmic movement and stillness. 

Some of my best ideas have come from running, immersed in a warm bath or driving. Other times I will be looking at the sky or hiking through the woods and ideas will flow in that way too! I think its all about being relaxed in order to allow the creative flow to come through.  I try have a journal with me (or I send myself a lot of messages) because ideas and inspirations come at any time! 

What’s one of your favorite projects?

I really love all the processes, especially creating the essential oil/flower essence body products. It's a form of intuitive alchemy to me. I love going through my essential oils and flower essences and feeling what will work together. Blends are usually inspired by people in my life or an experience that can use support. I put a lot of loving intention that is focused on the mind, body, spirit and emotions into each bottle. The process is healing in itself too, since I become so relaxed and blissed out from the ingredients.

Kaitlin, practicing Reiki. (Photo by K. Clark)

Kaitlin, practicing Reiki. (Photo by K. Clark)

I also love offering Reiki Energy Healing. It's been a process that I feel so blessed to offer. 

You have your hand many creative ventures, including herbalism, nutrition, wellness, dance/movement, photography. Does one area influence another? Is there a common thread or many threads?

That's a great question! About 10 years ago, when I was in school for a masters degree program, Integrative Health and Healing, I learned and experienced that as humans we are so complex and amazing in our capacities to heal ourselves and be well. The mind, body, spirit and emotions are such integral parts of our system and the offerings touch upon each as a whole. In the teachings and in my personal experience, wellness is an on-going process, it requires upkeep, maintenance and our dedication. Each modality taps into the many layers that we are composed of.  Whether it's needing assistance to know where to begin with changes in nutrition and exercise, enjoying the relaxation and calming effects of creating art or nurturing our bodies with wellness, they are like pieces to a puzzle. The offerings that have helped me throughout my journey is what I love to share with others.

What level of artistic fame would you like - based on a very scientific scale of, like, "Hotline Bling" fame at the top to I’d-like-to-pay-the-bills fame? Somewhere in between, both? Does it matter?

Ha! I would love to keep the momentum building and continue to expand. Maybe get a little vacation time in there, too! My daughter is a huge inspiration for this adventure and balancing time between work, self-care and providing lots of time with her, has been a great lesson! 

Into the wild:  Kaitlin uses wild and foraged herbs and plants for use in some of her natural body products, teas and medicines. (Photo by K. Clark)

Into the wild: Kaitlin uses wild and foraged herbs and plants for use in some of her natural body products, teas and medicines. (Photo by K. Clark)

What’s the latest magical things in the works? As in, is there some project or creation on the horizon that you’ve been wanting to tackle?

Latest magical works include Pottery (soon to be up on the IntegrativeArts Etsy page) and more Energy Sprays and Roll-ons, Body oils, etc. I am also completing a certification as a Nutrition and Wellness Consultant. I have also recently been asked by two local non-profits to teach art/wellness classes. Very excited for what's ahead! 

What is the best piece of advice/quote/image you’ve received about creating or, conversely, what would you recommend to other crafters and artists?

"Keep your head up!" -my dad. Focus on your vision, passion and solutions. Bumps and hurdles are fine, they are actually helping pave the pathway as they bring more clarity to the vision. If you're in a funk, move the energy, go general and do something that makes you feel good. Sometimes focusing too hard can create resistance, so it's good to ease up, step aside and allow the flow. I come from a background of athletes and artists, so the blend of these has been a great asset! I am a runner who loves hills - the challenge of going up them! That just about sums me up.

Bonus: What song are you currently hooked on?    
Currently inspired by artist, Bonobo - especially when I am creating. Music is a huge influence on my process, rhythm and flow. 


Thanks, Kaitlin! If you wish to learn more about her work, products and upcoming classes, check out her business and site, www.IntegrativeHealingArt.com. Be sure to "like" her on Facebook page: Integrative Healing Arts! She also has a pretty rad Instagram, so check that out here


Have an idea for Speak With Your Craft? Know some interesting makers, crafters, cooks, bakers, food growers, woodworkers, herbalists, photographers, writers, actors, musicians, painters, fiber artists, and creative forces in your life? I have friends lined up in the near future, but I'm open to suggestions! Leave a comment or contact me: speakwithyourfood [at] gmail [dot] com. Remember, makers or creators need not fit into a neat box to be featured. So, here’s to more creating, crafting, listening, learning, and collaborating!