Thursday, July 16, 2015

"Dreaming Earth's Body": A Long-term Collaboration

At long last the collaborative work of poet, Carol Alena Aronoff, and Creation/Migration artist, Betsie Miller-Kusz, has become a published reality. Dreaming Earth's Body, described by poet Bill
Brown as a "luminous collection of poems and paintings" has been in the making since Betsie and Carol came together many years ago in San Francisco. They found an immediate affinity to one others' work while involved in the Braided Lives project.

Rarely has a book title been more appropriate. Meeting in that realm between earth and spirit, the poems and images come together with the force of birthing and slide into the golden liquid of regeneration. It is a place words and images do not inhabit, and yet Carol has found the words and Betsie the guardian figure to guide the senses in interpreting the mysteries of transformation.  Two examples follow.

Rain Dance

              Savoring the still after storm,                 
The only sounds: raindrops on stone,
a few peeps from plovers
sheltering under wing.

Above, the clouds release their gloom
in fragrant downpour, leave tentatvie 
smiles to cover sun, moist
folds in verdant pasture.

The stillness will not last
nor will the musky scent of soil--
air fresh as orange blossoms; soon,
day's symphony will start again,

willows weeping softly while wind
bows her head to nudge dead leaves
along the way of wary travelers.
Air grimaces at the return of dust,

the smoke and rot of daily living.
Algae grow anew in tide pools,
sunflower faces wizened
by the heat of unmuzzled sun.

Dry riverbeds creak their warning
to dying fish; it is time to pray for rain.


Slight as the whisper of chrysalis
on cloud branch, she is painted
with the black brush of underworld, 
trailing wings of lambent white past
raven sky. She faces east to sun's
 rising, awash in creation's fire.

Guardian of all that is changeless,
she carries the promise of morning 
to yesterday's children, transluscent
vessel dispelling fear. With darkness
her mentor, she dances
to the music of temporal reality.

Floating beyond time, 
she will listen to your night terrors,
heal your inner stories.
Her wisdon, forged in temple rites,
will protect those in childbirth
then help them cross Stygian waters. 

Both Carol and Betsie were present for the recent well-attended readings in Taos, which were especially well received at the SOMOS bookstore.
The many years of  work and collaboration shine through in the finished work of art that is this stunning new book.

Dreaming Earth's Body is available through Blue Dolphin at

Carol Aronoff, Ph.D, is a psychologist, teacher and author of many books, including a chapbook of Native American/Hawaiian poems, Cornsilk, published by Indian Heritage Council in 2004. and an illustrated poetry book, The Nature of Music, published by Pelican Pond/Blue Dolphin Publishing in 2005, as well as Her Soup Made the Moon Weep, in 2007 and Blessings From an Unseen World in 2013. Currently Dr. Aronoff lives in Hawaii, working her land, meditating in nature and writing.

Betsie Miller-Kusz lived and painted in San Francisco for over thirty years and has exhibited widely in the San Francisco area, as well as New York, Santa Fe, and numerous international locations. She now lives in  New Mexico, where she owns a small rancho and studio, drawing continual inspiration from her surroundings in the beautiful Jemez Valley. Dreaming Earth’s Body is her first literary collaboration.

Friday, July 10, 2015

A New Direction for Creation/Migration: Under a Common Sky

It is with great excitement that Betsie Miller-Kusz and Donna Caulton plan a new direction for Creation Migration. Two of our founding members, Belinda Edwards and Harriette Tsosie, have retired from the collaboration (see right sidebar, "retired founding members"). While open to the inclusion of new artists to the group, a thoughtful process is involved in making that happen. To have a group come together and coalesce in the magical way that this one did requires time and incubation. For now the structure has changed and the planning process has also taken on new life.

We are very excited to have been invited by Taos Arts Council to produce the closing exhibition of the year long celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Taos Society of Artists. Opening November 13th, at Taos Town Hall, is what promises to be a thoroughly engaging exhibit, "Under a Common Sky", the first in a series of exhibits that feature the diverse works of multiple New Mexico artists. 

The focus of this exhibit, in keeping with the anniversary celebration, is to recognize the works of artists who have gathered here under the magical skies that surround us, invite us here, and hold us in the Northern New Mexico mountains. Some of the artists have spent their entire lifetimes here, but most have migrated from other places. Many work in tradition manners, others add new slants to traditional art languages, and still others bring entirely new ways of working. Without doubt, all are influenced by the skies above and the land that holds us side by side with the native peoples of the region. It is a place like no other.

Fifteen artists join this upcoming exhibit. The small selection of pieces shown here are examples of the works of some of the exhibition artists. They are not the exhibition pieces, but provide an idea of the diversity we will be displaying. The final pieces will include each individual artists' interpretation of the theme, "Under a Common Sky",

EXHIBITION ARTISTS (alphabetical order):           
Chevrons, Nick Beason, monoprint

Nick Beason, Llano de San Juan, prints
Esteban Bojorquez, Santa Fe, assemblages
Trish Booth, Truchas, paintings
Donna Caulton, Chamisal, paintings
Mary Cost, Santa Fe, tapestry
Jim Forcier-Call, Jemez Valley, mixed media
Lorrie Garcia, Rio Lucio, retablos
Ralph Greene, Albuquerque, paintings
Theodore Greer, Jemez Valley, photographs
Betsie Miller-Kusz, Jemez Valley, paintings
Michael Miro, Taos, glass
Jean Nichols, Llano de San Juan, mixed media
Kimberly Pollis, Chamisal, tinwork
Lise Poulsen, Llano de San Juan, felt
Harriette Tsosie, Albuquerque, encaustic

Distant Rain, Mary Cost, tapestry
Retablo, Lorrie Garcia


Oil on Canvas, Ralph Greene
In addition to the fine selection of artworks this exhibit brings to Taos, there will be a preview event featuring poets from locations throughout the United States. Each of the ten poets will select a piece that strongly resonates with his or her poetry. Both the poems and the matched work will be presented on November 7 at a reading in the Mural Room of the Old Taos Courthouse at 7 PM. This event was organized by Andrea Watson, writer and Taos Arts Council representative.

Opening event:
Taos Town Hall, November 13, 2015
Exhibit runs through Feb 5, 2016

Twilight, Trish Booth, oil on canvas