Mexico City Part 1: 2016 Frida Freak Tour

I’m a Frida Freak. Full on, no apologies. I’ve studied, learned from, and been inspired by her for years. I’ve created artwork with her image…     …regularly gathered images and quotes on a Frida Freak Pinterest page… …honored her along with my mentor, Ilene, with a Day of the Dead altar… …and even embodied her for an afternoon to create this gem. So what is it about this Mexican goddess that grabs me? You can click on any of the links above to read my thoughts in full. To summarize, I am enthralled with… Read More

Honoring Ilene and Frida

Ilene Satala July 13, 1951 – May 16, 2014 Ilene Satala was a beloved teacher, artist, mentor and friend. Her life’s work and teaching resonated with me from the first time I attended her art class in 1994. Through the years, her patience, unconditional acceptance, and investment in me allowed me to explore and manifest the healing power of leading a creative life. Ilene’s extensive body of artwork focuses heavily on cross-cultural images of the Sacred Feminine throughout time. She had a passionate interest in mythology, archeology, psychology, and anthropology. From the… Read More

Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos) 2014 – Ilene Satala and Frida Kahlo

Written November 10, 2014 The Fort Wayne Museum of Art held their annual Dia de los Muertos festival highlighted by an exhibit of several altars honoring the lives of departed loved ones. I enjoyed being a part of that celebration and exhibit with my altar to honor my friend and art mentor, Ilene Satala, and her deep connection to Frida Kahlo. You can see lots of pictures of the altar and read about the process of creating it in the Gallery section – Day of the Dead 2014. 

From Start to Finish: The Creative Process

A few stray pictures offer a glimpse into the creative process involved in bringing to life the altar to honor Ilene and Frida. A couple of months ago, I stumbled upon an essay that Ilene had written and sent to me years ago called “Saint Frida”. I recall reading it, loving it, and then tucking it away in my computer files. When I found it again a few months after her death, I immediately had the vision of an altar to celebrate her creative life and how it had been influenced by… Read More

Lily’s Collage

Susan Lily Lash created this collage for the altar with the following writing: Cannot Stay  Ilene rises into the mysterious, mystical world we call the ‘other side’. Her toe touches the last time this earth. Behind, the earth plane of existence fades, but the Divine presence does not. Shining her love Light as she ascends to take the hand of Mother Death, to only leave the body back into innocence of a child, back into the bosom of pure Love and Compassion and in her vulnerable surrender, carrying the undeniable, untouchable Light of… Read More

Frida’s Diary

Diane Schafer-King added this book to the altar with the following writing: Frida Kahlo: Diario Autorretrato Intimo (Diary of the Intimate Self) Ilene, several others from the Conrado group, and I had just finished touring el Museo Frida Kahlo, La Casa Azul (the Blue House) in Mexico City. As we sat in the garden area ready to enter the gift shop, Ilene was sharing about this book. I remember her saying something like this: “It’s Frida’s sketchbook, sketches of her art but also the expression of her feelings and words about her art… Read More

Close-Up Photos

The papercutting art piece is a bit intricate thus below you will find some close-up photos to help you see things more clearly. The back panel rises four and a half feet from the top of the table and is four feet wide. The central image is of Ilene with her signature features – bright red lipstick and orange hair. On either side of her swim one of her favorite feminine images – mermaids. Frida’s eyes watch over her. And above that floats a large butterfly.

Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos)

Above photo courtesy of Palermo Galindo. The Day of the Dead celebration at the Fort Wayne Museum of Art was a success! We had record attendance – more than any other FWMoA event to date. The entertainment was lively as you can see from the flowing of the colorful skirts in the photo above. The food and margaritas were satisfying and the energy of the crowd was electric. I was struck by the presence and aliveness of this cultural community. I love my Irish and Croatian heritage – I research it, I carry some… Read More

Mary Ellen ‘Mamie’ (Linnane) and James ‘Jim’ O’Connor

(1883-1972)                     (1886-1976) I have just a few memories of my paternal grandparents living on their legendary Kaukauna, Wisconsin family farm because they moved into ‘town’ when I was pretty young. I remember Grandma’s huge molasses cookies (at least they seemed huge in my little hands) and the array of wild farm cats that she kept well supplied with bowls of milk – depicted at her place setting.  She’s sharing the radio with Joel’s Grandma Ada, since they no doubt listened to the… Read More

Ada (Krueger) Wasbotten (1898-1972)

Joel’s Grandma Ada died when he was only nine years old, so his memories of her are a little blurry, but fortunately his siblings are great storytellers. According to them: Ada drank Sanka, ate Raisin Bran, and wore two different colored support hose. She always wore a hairnet. Always. And two combs on either side of her head above her ears and a pair of clip-on earrings. Always. And when anyone had an upset stomach, she prescribed hot milk with a pat of butter, with saltines crumbled in the bowl, eaten soup… Read More

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