Spring Break


Spring Break. Whether you garden, paint, draw, sculpt, bake, build houses, craft furniture, or enjoy other manual occupations, its deeply satisfying to create something with your own two hands. Unplug, dig in the garden, build a treehouse, create in the sand, walk barefoot, do cartwheels on the lawn. Do something you love. #getyourhandsdirty.

Art Of Intention


Hand Painted Botanical Prayer Flags

As a nature-loving artist, educator and spiritual seeker that appreciates traditions of cultures across the globe, I’ve enjoyed painting prayer flags in the art studio and instructing others in this sacred activity. Spring is a great time to consider a thought, a prayer, or a wish that you would like to manifest, then create handmade prayer flags with a symbol, or representation of that thought or image. Themes to explore within this project could include: Balance, Wonder, Imagination, Courage, Clarity, Compassion, Strength, Awareness and Grace etc. Prayer flags can be hung above doorways, pathways, in gardens, or anywhere wind and prayer meet. I like to believe that as they wave in the wind, prayer flags carry our intentions around the world.


Traditional Tibetan Prayer Flags

For over a thousand years, generations of Tibetans have created prayer flags as a ritual, honoring their spiritual traditions, ancestors, and connections to the elements. The Tibetan word for prayer flag is Dar Cho, ‘Dar’ means to increase life, fortune, health, and wealth, and ‘Cho’ means all sentient beings. Prayer flags are simple devices that coupled with the natural energy of the wind, quietly harmonize the environment, increasing happiness, and good fortune among all living beings. Tibetan prayer flags are hung outside as offerings, prayers, and blessings for the wind to transmit healing energy throughout the world. Traditionally, a typical prayer flag has a picture or symbol image in the center and around the image are written mantras. Prayer flags are designed to fade and disintegrate over time.


Collage Prayer Flag Project

People of all faiths can use the concept of the prayer flag by using writings, wishes, blessings, or affirmations around images that are meaningful to them, or to the world. If you would like to create a series of prayer flags to hang outside your home, in your garden, or over your front door, here are a few simple steps. You could make this a solo project, where you make five flags -or more or less, or you could decide to invite others to join you. This is a great project for families, friends, or coworkers. An engaging project that is highly adaptable to age, skill level, and artistic ability. There is no right or wrong way to make a prayer flag. The most important element is that your flag is meaningful to you!


Sharpie Water-Based Paint Pens 


  • 6″x 6″ squares of cotton fabric. Determine the number of squares based on how many flags you’d like to paint. This is an ideal size, but you can make yours smaller or larger. A simple idea is to buy a few yards of cotton muslin at the local fabric store, cut the pieces, and then tape each edge of the flag to a piece of cardstock as a backing. The taped edges allow the fabric to stay in place when wet paint is applied, and it provides a nice border edge when the tape is removed. Or feel free to paint straight on the muslin without backing, and fray the edges for a natural, rustic sort of look.
  • Acrylic paints, permanent markers of assorted colors. I like Sharpie Paint Pens -acrylic paint in marker form that are great for so many things, especially art journaling, as they can be applied over most surfaces and bases.
  • Water cup, paint palette, craft glue and scissors. Additional collage materials of choice.
  • Paintbrushes -some detail brushes, some thicker brushes, small ink rollers and stencils -for simple relief prints.
  • Thick jute or twine on which to assemble the flags -enough to allow plenty of string on both ends so that you can hang your flags easily.


Mixed Media Prayer Flags


  1. Gather all of your materials. Have them out and ready in front of you, but before you begin creating, take a few moments to prepare yourself.
  2. Find a comfortable seated position, and take a few slow, deep breaths to settle into your space.
  3. Consider an intention, a prayer, or a wish that you’d like to manifest. Examples could include something you’d like to see more of in the world, a trait you’d like to strengthen in yourself, or an aspect of nature that you admire.
  4. Leave a couple of inches at the top of each flag where the fabric can be folded back and glued/hot glued for jute/twine to be easily threaded through each flag for stringing.
  5. Begin painting! I think it is important to honor your intention and allow yourself the freedom to paint whatever comes to mind. Although it may be challenging, try not to judge yourself. This project is a form of prayer -and I believe there’s no wrong way to pray! If you are painting with others, make an agreement before starting that you will honor the silence and engage in the meditative process of creativity.
  6. Experiment with mixed media, painting, printmaking and fabric collage techniques to create a one-of-a-kind art. You can add hand stitching, stencil and relief print with organic materials, or just write with permanent markers. Add words, journaling, or symbols as desired.
  7. Assemble your flags and hang them with intention! Allow your flags to dry completely before removing the tape. Position them along the jute or twine, and be sure to allow plenty of cord on either side of the end flags, to easily stretch the flags out and tie them to something so that they can wave in the wind.

Recipe For Renewal


According to Ayurveda, one of the keys to maintaining health is to practice ‘ritucharya’ -seasonal routines. Adjusting daily self-care rituals to seasonal changes helps us to maintain balance and reminds us that we are a part of the natural world. Spring is ruled by the kapha dosha, whose qualities are heavy, cool, soft, dense, stable, solid, and cloudy. To adjust for the season, consider the following practices:

  • Wake with the sunrise. One of the best practices to minimize the heavy quality of kapha in the mind and body is to wake with the sun. Dawn is ruled by vata and is light, clear, and subtle.
  • Get your move on. When kapha is dominant in the day, the muscles are strongest between 6:00 – 10:00 am. Getting outside for a brisk walk or doing some vigorous yoga will melt away excess kapha. Kapalabhati pranayama is a great way to stoke the fires of digestion.
  • Eat lighter foods. In the Winter months, we naturally gravitate toward sweet, sour, and salty foods to mitigate the dry, light qualities of the cold season. This can cause kapha accumulation in the physical body. To lighten up, try foods that are pungent, bitter and astringent, including kale, collards, dandelion, spinach, and mustard greens, strawberries, cherries, blueberries, green peas, barley and quinoa.
  • Got allergies? Break out the neti pot to irrigate the sinus cavities and clear out the nasal passages. Use ¼ tsp of salt with purified water -warm up the water until it is just warmer than room temperature, and use half a pot for each nostril. Alkalol -a soothing natural nasal wash that can be used at various strengths depending on preference, works well too. Always end a neti pot routine by massaging a little Sesame oil or Nasya oil into each nostril. Breathe easy!

Art Of Couture

Galerie Edwynn Houk is presenting an exhibition of photographs by the extraordinary, fashion-meets-fine-art Paris-based photographer Cathleen Naundorf on view now through 16 May, 2015.


Cathleen Naundorf, La fille en plâtre’ in Dior Couture 2007 © Cathleen Naundorf /Hamiltons Gallery London.

Following her photographic training in Munich, working for renowned publishing houses around the world, Cathleen Naundorf traveled to Siberia, Mongolia, the Gobi Desert, and the Amazon headwaters in Brazil to shoot native cultures; however, today she is better known for her fashion photography. Through her mentor Horst P. Horst’s tutelage and guidance, she began taking backstage photographs at Paris Fashion Week for Condé Nast in the late 90’s, and since 2005 has been working on her ‘Haute Couture’ series called “Un rêve de mode,” for which she has been granted access to the archives of Dior, Chanel, Gaultier, Lacroix, Elie Saab, and Valentino.


Cathleen Naundorf, La Manée d’Orée, Haute Couture, Lacroix, Collection Winter 2007 © Cathleen Naundorf /Hamiltons Gallery London.

Because of her extensive knowledge and understanding of the garments, she has been able to personally select gowns from the couturiers’ archives, and with her team of models, assistants, make-up artists, and hairdressers, she constructs elaborate and almost cinematic settings for her photographs, capturing the grace, grandeur, and remarkable beauty of the clothes.


Cathleen Naundorf, My little darling, Dior Haute Couture Winter 2006 -n°30, 2009 © Cathleen Naundorf/ Edwynn Houk Gallery, New York & Zurich.

For nearly 15 years, Naundorf has been using large format cameras with Polaroid film. After shooting the image, she then transfers the film onto a special paper -often watercolor paper. Using various techniques and manipulations directly on the transfer, she creates unique surface particularities, visible on the final chromogenic prints -the bleeding and blurring of the images and the pooling of color. An alternative printing technique that works perfectly with her imagery. For the black and white photos, also shot on Polaroid film, each is reworked and retouched by hand.


Cathleen Naundorf, A Midnight Summer Dream I, Valentino Haute Couture 1993, 2012 © Cathleen Naundorf/ Edwynn Houk Gallery, New York & Zurich.

In all of her photos, the various marks, distortions, and reworkings give the effect of the passing of time to a long ago grand age of elegance and beauty. Timeless classic scenarios which have a day-dreamlike quality, in which models merge with moody and artistic, carefully curated landscapes and interiors. Naundorf’s style of photography combines a poetic sensibility and painterly approach with theatrical presentation of Haute Couture, taking into account the traditional lines of classic glamour photography. A highly individual pictorial language, unique in the world of fashion photography.


Naundorf has exhibited extensively in Europe and in America, and her work is frequently published in various fashion and lifestyle magazines including Harpers Bazaar and Elle. Since 2011 she has been working privately with Mr. Valentino Garavani on several projects such as “An Italian Story” and “The NY City Ballet.” The book Haute Couture: the Polaroids of Cathleen Naundorf was published in 2012 in a limited edition by Prestel. Naundorf lives and works in Paris.

Naundorf_BookHaute Couture: The Polaroids of Cathleen Naundorf, by Ira Stehmann (Editor), Hardcover, 180 pgs, Prestel Publishing, 2012.

Featuring stunning couture images, this book presents renowned fashion photographer Cathleen Naundorf’s work with Polaroid photography from the past decade. Whether the incredible pieces of haute couture were designed by Chanel, Dior, Gaultier, Lacroix, Elie Saab, Philip Treacy, or Valentino, their beauty is preserved in the gorgeous images captured with a large-format camera using Polaroid material by Cathleen Naundorf and collected in this book. Her well-honed technique, inspired by her mentor Horst P. Horst, which combines instant film’s distinctive colors and shadow with the artist’s remarkable instinct, results in photographs that resemble paintings -haunting, muted, and raw. A testament to the talents of this artist who has forged a formidable reputation in the fashion world.

Rose Petal Sugar Scrub

Spring is widely referred to as a time of re-awakening. As the flowers start to bloom and the temperatures rise, we shed the stagnation and layers of Winter -both literally and figuratively, and begin to feel naturally lighter and more energised. As we peel off the layers of clothing, we do the same with skin. For radiant skin, try this simple homemade treatment to rejuvenate Winter skin and usher in Spring. Pamper yourself with a Coconut Rose Petal Sugar Scrub that is natural, fragrant, exfoliating and ultra-hydrating. Wash away Winter and get your glow back!


Rose Petal Sugar Scrub, Oh the sweet, smell of Roses! The fragrance and the romance surrounding them is legendary. Now you can capture it in this lovely beauty recipe that truly delivers. Not only will this decadent treatment slough away Winter’s dry skin, but it will also nourish the new skin beneath, leaving you soft, glowing, and smelling divine. A Scentsational Spring Indulgence!


  • organic coarse raw brown sugar
  • organic unrefined virgin coconut oil
  • Petals from one fragrant organic rose
  • jojoba oil
  • canning jar of choice


  1. Start by scooping some coconut oil into the bottom of the jar -fill approximately 1/3 of jar. For this recipe the oil should be at room temperature, which is indicated by its buttery-like texture.
  2. Next, place your rose petals into the jar on top of the coconut oil.
  3. Then fill the rest of the jar with brown sugar. Drizzle your jojoba oil on top of the sugar and let it seep down to your rose petals -approximately 1 tablespoon. Then top it off with a bit more jojoba oil.
  4. Now secure the lid onto the jar and let it sit so the oils can soak into the petals. This scrub is best made a couple of days before you plan to use it.
  5. When you’re ready to use it, take a spoon and crush the ingredients within the jar mixing the layers. The coarse sugar will break up the rose petals -which will continue to happen as you rub the scrub onto skin. Scoop out a small amount of scrub from jar, combine with water and use a gentle motion to buff away dead skin cells on the body. Take some time to enjoy the scent and sensation, let the oils soak into the skin, breathe deeply, and rinse. Ritual of well-being. Enjoy!


Measurement guide: Amounts can be adjusted depending on the size of your jar, each layer of coconut oil, rose petals & sugar should take up 1/3 of the jar proportionally for best results.

Coconut oil is my favorite year-round go-to skin-loving multi-use product. Find a high-quality organic unrefined virgin coconut oil you like, and it will become your most indispensable and beneficial beauty and beyond product. Its flavor, aroma, versatility and health benefits are all outstanding.

Carrot Ginger Soup

The change of seasons can easily throw us off-balance in body, mind & spirit. Fortunately, we can rely on ‘food as medicine’ to help this transition be one of ease, health and wellness. As the Winter season comes to a close, avoid a cold and the chill outside with a bowl of warm nutrition like this Carrot Ginger Soup. Carrots -loaded with carotene, pack a nutritional punch, enhanced with the cleansing powers of freshly grated ginger, gives this sweet soup a hint of heat and flavor. The roots of carrot and ginger combined are one of the most delicious flavor combinations I know of. Perfect Synergy. It’s just what the doctor ordered to get yourself out of a Winter funk, fortify the immune system, and transition into Spring.


Ginger Carrot Soup, Enjoy this soup alone as a light meal, preferably warm and served with a cooked grain, such as brown rice or quinoa. For some crunch, add a garnish of toasted pumpkin or sunflower seeds. Simply Scrumptious!


  • 1 organic onion
  • 1 lb. organic carrots
  • 1-inch piece ginger
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 tsp cold-pressed olive oil
  • Pinch cayenne pepper, or more to taste
  • 1 quart water plus 1 Tbsp light miso
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • sea salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 Tbsp fresh sliced chives for garnish
  • 1 Tbsp pumpkin or sunflower seeds for garnish


  • Peel and coarsely dice onion. Peel and slice carrots. Peel and slice ginger (scrape skin off ginger with the dull back-side of a paring knife). Peel and chop garlic.
  • Warm olive oil in a heavy bottomed saucepan. Add onion, carrots and ginger. Sauté over medium heat until starting to soften. Add garlic, and continue to cook for a minute longer. Add cayenne, water and miso, and bring to a boil over high heat.
  • Turn down to a simmer and cook, covered for 15 minutes. Taste, and add salt and pepper as needed. Continue to cook another 10 minutes, until very soft.
  • Puree in the blender until smooth. Adjust seasonings and add more water if too thick. Stir in lemon juice.
  • Garnish bowls of soup with pumpkin or sunflower seeds, and serve. Makes 6 servings -about one cup each. Enjoy!

Inquire Within

“Meditation brings wisdom; lack of meditation leaves ignorance. Know well what leads you forward and what holds you back, and choose the path that leads to wisdom.” ~Buddha 


March Mindfulness. Meditation has been used for hundreds of years by individuals seeking inner peace, enlightenment and a break from the everyday stressors of life. The practice is thought to benefit the mind, body and spirit in a multitude of ways. Here are ten significant positive effects of meditation to encourage you to ‘Commit To Sit’ and ‘Take a Deep Breath and Reflect’.

  1. Meditation decreases oxygen consumption, heart rate, respiratory rate, and increases the intensity of alpha, theta, and delta brain waves, which increase the relaxation response. This effect is thought to lower blood pressure, enhance exercise capacity and reduce stress, all of which promote cardiovascular wellness.
  1. When we meditate, we become more aware of, and more capable of controlling, our thoughts. A key part of meditation revolves around noticing our thoughts without judging them or getting caught up in their stories or meanings. This helps us to develop a different perspective on our internal dialogue, develop a greater understanding of ourselves, and practice noticing our thoughts and feelings without attaching meaning or judgement to them.
  1. Practicing the mind-body exercise on a regular basis may help strengthen an individual’s immune system by stimulating blood flow, inducing relaxation and helping the body eliminate free radicals, which are known to cause cellular damage.
  1. Meditation has been shown in multiple studies to reduce a person’s response to pain. This may be especially beneficial for individuals with chronic conditions in which regular discomfort is experienced.
  1. Individuals who meditate on a regular basis find that they have improved self-esteem and a more positive outlook on life. This may be due to a number of physiological factors, such as increased serotonin levels, as well as a clearer sense of one’s self stemming from introspection.
  1. People with fears or phobias may be helped by meditation, since the mind-body practice is thought to help individuals resolve inner conflicts.
  1. Meditation can increase creativity, strengthen one’s ability to focus and improves memory. Grow your largest organ -the brain!
  1. People who meditate may also find themselves becoming more compassionate individuals, as introspection has strong potential to promote empathy.
  1. Meditation can help individuals deepen their spiritual connection with the transpersonal, or simply become more aware that they have a spiritual side. Today, many people unfortunately overlook this aspect of themselves.
    1. Meditation is essentially a practice in concentration. Once we learn to concentrate on our breath, notice when we get caught up in thoughts, and return our concentration to our breath, we can translate that skill into any number of settings we choose. A focus on the present is what meditation is all about. Living in the moment by pushing aside the worries of the past or future is known to help people achieve a more fulfilled existence.

Ten minutes a day is all it takes to achieve mindfulness. Watch this TED Talk by meditation expert Andy Puddicombe on how to meditate to achieve mindfulness. Andy wants everyone to learn the power of meditation, so he created a Headspace app with free guided meditations to help start a practice. Making meditation accessible to everybody, for a happier, healthier you.

Art Of Environment

For over two decades New Zealand-based environmental artist and photographer Martin Hill has been creating transitory sculptures from ice, stone, and organic materials that reflect nature’s cyclical system. Often working with his project collaborator Philippa Jones, the duo create land art that “metaphorically express concern for the interconnectedness of all living systems.”


Martin Hill & Philippa Jones, Ice Circle, 600 mm height, 2007, Lake Wanaka, New Zealand. Part of a year-long commissioned project about a sense of place and being connected to nature. Jones and Hill extracted a slab of ice from a frozen pond and cut it with a penknife into a semicircle with a base that sat below the water level on the lake bed. The reflection completes the circle. This was only achievable in calm weather and it lasted about two minutes before it broke at the surface where the temperature is warmest.

Jones and Hill travel to remote locations around the world to create environmental sculptures that represent a visual circle of life. What sets this land art apart from the rest, is that many of the works don’t completely form until the water is calm and the sun hits them, creating a stunning reflection in the water. Impermanence is an essential part of the environmental art movement, which celebrates nature as alive and constantly changing. Ephemeral by design, the photographs are all that remain of the sculptures.


Martin Hill & Philippa Jones, Synergy, 1300 mm height, 2010, Lake Wanaka, New Zealand. Made from raupo stems interconnected by a network of flax threads, using nature’s universal construction system known as tensegrity. None of the stems touch, they are held under compression by tension from the threads. This means the system is in total dynamic balance and stress is distributed equally throughout the system making the sculpture flexible. Photographed in the shallows of Lake Wanaka in the calm at sunset to create a reflection.

Speaking specifically about the use of circles Hill shares “The use of the circle refers to nature’s cyclic system which is now being used as a model for industrial ecology. Sustainability will be achieved by redesigning products and industrial processes as closed loops -materials that can’t safely be returned to nature will be continually turned into new products. Of course this is only one part of the redesign process. We need to use renewable energy, eliminate all poisonous chemicals, use fair trade and create social equality.”


Martin Hill & Philippa Jones, Encircled Stone -with Pohutukawa leaves, 2000 mm diameter, 2007, White’s beach, Waitakere Ranges, New Zealand. The Pohutukawa, an indigenous tree in New Zealand, grows abundantly along the coasts and sheds its leaves on the sand where they change through a myriad of colours. Here they have collected and organised them in a circle to catch the light at sundown where they encircle an isolated rock below the tideline at Whites Beach on the West Coast of Auckland in New Zealand.

“I work in nature because we are nature… My materials come from the earth to which they return… Learning to live by nature’s design is our only hope for the future.” ~Martin Hill


Martin Hill & Philippa Jones, Stone Circle, 800 mm height, 1994, Whanganui Bay, Lake Taupo, New Zealand. This idea could only work because of the lightness of pumice stones. A hole was made in them to thread them onto a green stick which was bent into a half circle in the shallow water. The photograph was taken in calm early morning conditions with the camera near water level at Lake Taupo, New Zealand.


Martin Hill, Ice Guardian, Detail -Cast ice figure, pigment dye, inkjet print on Hahnemuhle photo rag paper, 2012, Ed. of 5.

“My life has been defined by adventures in wild places being absorbed by the natural wonders of nature. I have marveled at the way nature works and evolution occurs. As a designer I recognize our human lifestyles have become unsustainable and that this can only be reversed through better design informed by the way nature works.” ~Martin Hill

Like all land artists, prior to leaving each location, Hill makes sure that each site is left exactly as it was found. Their temporal works fade away as soon as they’ve been photographed. Photography is all that is taken from the landscape and the materials return in time to nature from where they came. Hill says that he hopes his work helps people reflect on their relationship to natural systems and how they can help to improve the environment through the way they live their lives. Hill’s land art photographs are held in International collections and published in printed media worldwide to help the paradigm shift to a sustainable future.

Hill_BookEarth to Earth: Art Inspired By Nature’s Design, By Martin Hill & PK Blackwell, Hardcover, 192 pgs, 2007.

Martin Hill’s Earth to Earth transforms the beauty of everyday items found in nature and elevates them to ecological art. Ecology is a science that is entering its renaissance as issues of global warming, greenhouse emissions, and ozone depletion make their way from scientific debates and newspaper headlines to everyday consciousness. Environmental photographer Martin Hill and project collaborator Philippa Jones visit remote locations around the globe to create a stunning array of evocative photographs that represent a visual circle of life promoting ecological sustainability and responsibility.

Leica Correspondent


Lenny Kravitz with the new special edition Leica M-P by Kravitz Design

Legendary camera maker Leica, known for its defiantly old-school designs, is launching a limited edition camera set in collaboration with musician, actor and designer Lenny Kravitz, who carved out a spot in the design world when he founded Kravitz Design in 2003. New York-based Kravitz Design specializes in commercial and residential design, product development and branding. The camera design for the special edition Leica M-P was inspired by Kravitz’s first camera, a Leicaflex his dad gave him in his youth. Born out of Kravitz’ passion for photography and design, the limited edition dubbed the ‘Correspondent’, is a desirable collector’s piece crafted in the style of legendary reportage cameras.


Special Edition Leica M-P by Kravitz Design

The Correspondent features a handsome bespoke case containing a Leica M-P digital rangefinder camera with an artfully distressed finish, and two classic lenses -the Leica Summicron-M 35 mm f/2 ASPH. and the Leica Summilux-M /50 mm f/1.4 ASPH. -that harkens back to its 1959 incarnation with a scalloped focus ring and knurled aperture ring. The distinctive camera has been designed to look aged, in reference to the first camera Kravitz ever used. All 125 examples of the strictly limited edition Leica M-P Correspondent set are unique, each in its own way. An elaborate wearing process completely by hand has carefully rubbed, scuffed and scratched the black enamel finish away in several places on both the camera and lenses to let the bright brass surface shine through. The intentional aging is in homage to a well-used reportage camera, showing a distinctive patina that would usually hint at years of constant use.


Special Edition Leica M-P by Kravitz Design

The camera may look weathered, but its materials are exotic. The finest-quality durable snakeskin has been used for the trim of the Leica M-P camera, acquired naturally from controlled sources not subject to species conservation regulations. This material has also been used for the set’s camera strap and wrist strap, in premium glossy black. The custom case, which was handmade in Germany, continues the product design theme and is covered with the same snakeskin. The special edition Leica M-P Correspondent is limited to 125 sets worldwide and will be available from Leica boutiques March 2015.

Kravitz, an avid Leica shooter and collector, is releasing a photography book offering unusual insight into the nomadic life of a musician in conjunction with the special edition camera release. Photographs from Flash will be on exhibit at the Leica Gallery Los Angeles 5 March – 12 April, 2015.

Kravitz_BookFlash by Lenny Kravitz, Hardcover, 96 pgs, Published by teNeues, March 2015.

The inimitable poetry of black and white images is reminiscent of the early days of 35 mm photography where the name ‘Leica’ immediately springs to mind. This extraordinary book of Lenny Kravitz’ photography, entitled ‘Flash’ fits perfectly into this picture. Hounded by the countless cameras of photographers, paparazzi and fans, he turns the table on them all with a Leica M in his hands. Intensely emotive images expose what it means to be constantly recognised and a favourite prey of photographers. In Flash, the interesting tension that develops between Kravitz and his subjects is tangible. Flash, a book of photography by Lenny Kravitz, will be published as a special limited edition of 900 copies.

For more Leica Camera Special Editions see previous posts Leica Hermès and Leica Anniversary