I Hold Zilli’s Tongue

It’s Friday night and I’m having my own party…a bag of organic chipotle flavored potato chips and a small dish of organic bread and butter pickles.  I see an ad I recorded in my journal that reads: “Baker kneaded”.

An email pops into view – a quote from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, “Sit in reverie, and watch the changing color of the waves that break upon the idle seashore of the mind.”

The rare ‘Paper Nautilus’ is not fastened to its shell and can leave the shell and start another life.  This was mentioned in, ‘Gift From the Sea’ by Anne Morrow Lindbergh. What a remarkable thought!  Leave and start another life..

A friend calls from her Benz idling in front of the building, “Can she come up, or is it too late?” “No, it’s not too late,” I reply, “There’s still some chips left”.

“Sometimes I feel I have left the lives of others around me,” Zilli spouts as she walks in the door straight through to my spot on the chesterfield.  I graciously overlook the loss of my comfort zone and move my cup next to a chair but not before lifting the chips closer.

Zilli was right on the seat of the next thought and it was LONG…here’s how it went  as later recorded by ‘Moi’.

“I’m that rare or unusual one the others of my kind stand and blink at.  Something I don’t know about is being transmitted outward and creating a pause in the space to be filled between me and others.”

Before I could get clarification, I heard, “Too many faces in Whole Foods swarming between the products, the aisles, and one another.”

“Hmm…next…” Zilli’s ongoing, “Their expressions  move back and forth between them and across their faces and stab my vision with unpleasing impressions surrounding me as I make my way among them.  Each one works to extinguish my smile, my energy, my openness, with blaise oversight and self-importance.  They work all day on their appearance and they leave their smile on ice while leering daggarishly around themselves.”

“Drink Zilli?”  No can hear!!  Off she goes, “They’re either pausing to blow their own horn with an acquaintance, or I hear their cellphone conversations projecting loudly into the department around them, making them appear absurd!!”

While Zilli coughs on a pickle she scoffed, I reply, “So what you’re giving me is a warm-hearted critique of mall shoppers in a 40,000 square foot food store.”

TGIF to all!!!

I have Zilli for days and dreams by night, internal dialogue, white noise, din, construction racket, gardeners’ engine driven tools, garbage and recycling trucks, diesel-powered Handy Darts, the freight train, sirens, false alarms, the elevator shaft, the laundry machines, dogs barking, and I’m to clear my head and write something new every day.  I think I’ll write a dream recall instead:

I woke up to remember seeing a pigeon with a Keno entry form held along one side with its beak.  The form was white with red print, as they are, and the pigeon was warming up to fly off with it.  The heavy paper was flat and smooth as it protruded from the small dark beak.  The bird took a flight at a low, low, level across my vision and after a couple of trys it made a veer to the old stone stairs. There was a bright spot in the sky at the top and it was in that scene that I saw the pigeon successfully gain altitude and rise above the length of the staircase.  The bird now exhibited “smooth sailing” and the ability to fly upward while holding something heavy.  I discovered I was with someone and we had left a dark basement-like space to come outdoors and see the lesson nature offered. The other person was a slender young woman; she and I looked like two figures in a color comic strip where the background was a dim grey and I saw myself viewing us this way as I dreamt.  “The End”

There’s always worry in a day, only this time it’s not mine, it’s Noah’s:

Noah confesses he’s worried about the beavers on the ark.

Zilli left after the snacks ran out and I’m putting the kettle on…the evening’s just begun!

Copyright © 2010 Nicole Rigets

Spilling Blindness on the Seat of a Bus

Excerpt from My Journal – May 16th, 2009.

Tucked into these sheets everything feels more comforting.  Spilling over into this beautiful book with French white-lined paper receiving my feelings, my frets, my fears.  I am releasing, reliving, and relieving.  All I wanted was a serene, semi-elegant life of creating, contemplating, and finding my calling.

Instead I feel like I’m walking through a storm of sheets of paper that are flying helter-skelter in the wind’s force.  The driving gale batters me with these pages. They’re blank and they act like moment to moment barriers blocking the way to my long range vision.  I can’t see ahead, movement is slow, and interference is never-ending.

I was dreaming when the phone rang this morning.  Bailey (my soft-coated wheaten terrier b.1986-2000) and I were on a bus together.  She had her head in my lap and someone near me was with us; sort of. Someone further up in the bus criticized my having a dog on the seat.  Inwardly I replied, “Dogs are perfectly clean.”  Then Bailey and I were standing at the edge of a solid green lawn that could have been the perimeter of a golf course and it had an underlying coldness to the atmosphere and a darkness and it wasn’t a golf course and it was daytime.

Bailey was so real and yet I could feel the light weight of her skeleton confirming my knowledge of her passing in 2000. ‘The End’

Things didn’t seem so rough when I had “Snuffer” (Bailey).  I’m crying a lot and Rand gives me a hug standing beside me as I sit here.  He then brings me a big roll of toilet paper as I fill up a cocktail napkin and as if that isn’t enough he reaches for my Hermes scarf draped over a nearby chair and that brings up a laugh.

Bailey always took an interest in me:  it was perpetual.

Maybe not being able to see where you’re going is a blessing.  In our culture it is the norm to make plans, set out goals, and say what it is you’re going to do; not be buffeted about by the winds of change.  Do I anchor myself, or do I set sail and observe the view. The latter I guess.  I’m a romantic looking for adventure.  I am???  When did this happen?? I wrote it, I must be feeling it.  Now to try it.

Note:  The exterior of our apartment building is being pressure-washed pre re-painting. Our glass enclosed solarium has lots of windy leaks and I have insisted we plasticize the inside of the glass walls and tape them securely in place.

The solarium has a plastic drop sheet taped over every window right down to the floor. It’s quite attractive the way the thin sheets diffuse the daylight.  “I’ve put up my sheers!” I tell Rand.

Having left the sheets up to protect us from water and fumes from paint, we saunaed as we slept in the solarium  for twelve weeks during summer’s premature arrival.

Question:  Why don’t you sleep in a bedroom?

Answer:  Because it’s tied up as a studio?

Email letter to a friend in late 2009:

Hi Judi,

“It’s exciting to hear the way our lives have somewhat paralleled each other’s.  You’re right, it’s the freedom to lock up and go out the door that is most appealing about condo living. And yes, being near water is just as you’ve described it.  Before we moved in I brought a friend over to see the space and as Katherine and I stood looking out to the enclosed glass balcony I suddenly shrieked, “I’m going to put our bed out here.”  She laughed but she knew I meant it.  I ordered an extra-long double bed, bought a funky chandelier at Jim’s Hardware across the street, placed 6 candles in it, and set 3 of Rand’s stone sculptures and my dead eucalyptus tree with tiny Christmas lights at the end of the room and I was done: all happy.  I tend to open the windows wide before getting into warm covers.  The one next to my head sometimes spits rain in.  The mixture of mountain and sea air is gorgeous. The ‘best’ is the sounds of the waves throughout the night.  Lots of freighters pass by with a long row of lights along the top of the hull and it can look like a necklace illuminated in the dark.  The cruise ships that have passed (very likely with you and your husband on them) look most magical in the early morning light.

"Room with the ocean at our feet."

Three years after I did this I picked up a design magazine and saw an article displaying interiors with a bed as the focal point of the livingroom.  YES!!  It’s enjoyable, functional, and decorative when played up with textiles, pillow jungles, throws, books, mags, your dogs and cats.  Tucked into these sheets everything feels more comforting.

Copyright © 2010 Nicole Rigets

What Jeans are You Wearing this Season?

The first question is: "What jeans are you wearing this season?"

It’s the beginning of the question session at Vancouver College of Art and Design.  I have been invited to talk to Fashion Merchandising students about my art and process by Jannette Maedel who is teaching these students fashion writing.

  • I wear Acne jeans!

Is the beginning of your design process the same every time?  Describe your process.

  • My process is always changing and evolving; fueled by my emotional nature.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

  • From nature, lucid dreams, the history of art and design, cultural – visual milieux.

Do you ever fear that you will run out of ideas?

  • No – never!  I fear I’ll run out on my life’s timeline.

Who do you do your art for:  yourself or an audience?

  • I do my art for myself because I can’t not do it:  it’s pervasive and permeates all that I am.   I like others to see the work and experience it.

How long does it take to complete a piece of art?

  • From 27 minutes all the way through to no boundaries of time (infinite).  Every project is unique.  Each one depends on process, and process depends on the following factors:  money, research, support, supplies, environment, market, resolution, time sensitivity, and the ‘Artist’s Zeitgeist’.

What was the last book that you read?  Did it influence your work?

  • ‘Second Sight’ by Judith Orloff, M.D.  Orloff is a psychiatrist and psychic who tells a compelling story revealing her courageous journey to embrace her psychic gifts.  All of us are born with psychic abilities and this ground-breaking book will show you how to recognize psychic experiences in your everyday life.  The book is hard to put down.  It’s had a powerful effect on me and I’ll likely see its influence on me as my work evolves.

Do you keep some of your art or give any of it away?

  • I donate at times to fundraisers.  Some has been given away.

Do you listen to music when you work?

  • Usually I have music playing.  I listen to jazz – sometimes blues or classical.

What do you mean by, “Harmony is a velvet universe?”

  • Years ago when I first said this, I believed peace could be universally achieved.  More recently I feel my belief to be purely utopian.  Warring parties have existed for-ever and my words are my wish, they’re my divine dream, my intent.  I want to fell weapons with mindfulness and love. Wesley, a student in yesterday’s class, has written: “As hard as we all try to make the world a perfect place it will never happen.  I once heard that angels need demons…and it’s true; how do we know we’re doing good if there is no bad to compare it to?” www.wesleyjbarisoff.blogspot.com February 17th, 2010 ‘is it just me or is it harder to breathe?

What specifically in the natural beauty of Vancouver inspired you with your work?

  • Mountains, the sea in all its moods, trees, flowers and flowering shrubs.  I have invented a color called: “Vancouver Grey.”  It is a distinct color I see all around me in our atmosphere.  This perfectly balanced neutral shade needs to be manufactured to compete with “Payne’s Gray”. “Vancouver Grey” weather makes an outstanding background for photographs; it reflects detail and adds extra depth.  Shoot when it’s overcast.

Who are your favorite artists?

  • Robert Rauschenberg, Louise Nevelson, Hannah Hoch, Alexander Calder, Edouard Manet…too many to list.  I used to sit for hours in the fine arts section of the Library at the University of British Columbia in the late nineties and pour through every book, over and over, page by page until my head was reeling with colors and lines and tangles of inspiration.  This old building that housed the library designated a large concrete room to visual arts.  I very much felt like I was below ground. The few windows were inside and small.  The glass was frosted and all the panes had chicken wire fastened over them.  I loved moving a stool along the aisles and sitting hunched over under flickering fluorescent lights dreaming of all I could construct.  I could hear the dark. The cold weather rained on the other side of the walls and this was like music to mentally create by. Strangely, I seemed to be the only one in there late at night which added another dimension to time and art absorbing me and taking me in fully.

When you were a child, did you dream of being who you are now?  How did your dreams and expectations shape the person you are today?

  • When I was a child I was skittish; abrupt noises, adults, energy fields…often caused me to experience anxiety, moods, and sometimes fatigue.  My dreams were relentless, aggressive toward me, and saturated with color.  I’m passionate about continually learning and doing new things; this has kept me shape-shifting as life unfolds.

What are your favorite styles in photography?

  • Still Life, Social Landscape, Street Photography, Milieux of Cities and People, Reflections, Fashion and Nudes.

What tools do you have “on-the-go” for inspiration?

  • Color always, and a jillion beads, trinkets, buttons, drawers full of saved paper, dried bones and flowers, one dead bird, photographs, magazines, books everywhere, my Maternal Grandmother’s Love Letters, rivers of sentimental clutter and a narrow path to navigate through.  Sometimes I feel “crazy overwhelmed” with it all, yet I know I would be depressed and despondent without it. These papered boxes, tablescapes, and shelves are reminisces of people, places, times, and everything in my life.  Even the insides of the cabinets look like collage.  As a full-time artist, I cannot relate to all my clutter as a conglomeration, when I can “legally” call it an “assemblage”.

When you write, do you prefer writing in a quiet place or do you write anywhere?

  • I write anywhere, everywhere; sometimes even as I walk. I always tuck a few index cards into my pocket or purse when I go out so I can make notes and record observations.

I love your poem about the pair of jeans.  What inspired you to write about that?

  • ‘A Pair of Jeans’, came through while I was sitting in a group at Emily Carr.  We had been meditating and doing warm-up exercises when this flowed through the tip of my pen.  Poetry comes through me at odd times.  I don’t sit down to write poems. Someone said the poem reminded her of Rita Wong’s voice in ‘monkeypuzzle’.

Wong’s poetry often addresses her relationship with her environment. Her poems show a close connection with nature and a support for local product, while expressing distaste for genetically modified foods. In forage, her poem ‘the girl who ate rice almost every day’ encourages the reader to look up Monsanto in the US patent database, and see how many patents there are for genetically modified foods, including the type of foods affected. There is also a poem, ‘canola queasy’ dedicated to Percy Schmeiser, the Saskatchewan farmer sued by Monsanto because genetically engineered canola blew into his fields. Her work challenges the reader to think about how they effect their environment. (Wikipedia). I see now from the excerpt above that Wong and I share the same sentiments regarding seeds as life and death.  Over the weekend I will post an image with text I’ve created Re:  Monsanto.

What advice do you have for young artists and designers?

  • Be 100% yourself!  Be authentic, explore, read, be curious.  Delve into photo and art history for inspiration, then put your own twist on it.

Having written this up as a blog, I noticed these questions could be used to draft an Artist Statement.  Go for it!!

Copyright © 2010 Nicole Rigets

In High Fashion – Wallis Simpson Shops eBay for Oranges

Last  Christmas one of my dearest friends and I met downtown and brought gifts for each other.  We arranged ourselves at a table in a large and fairly quiet cafeteria on the top floor of Vancouver’s heritage Bay building.  This is where we always begin our visit before we hit Holt Renfrew, Sephora, and Robson Street; finally squeezing into Artigiano across from the Vancouver Art Gallery.

When I removed the wrapping paper from my gift, I saw the cover of a ‘coffee table’ book titled, ‘In High Fashion’, Photography by Edward Steichen. What a thoughtful gift Jessie chose.  I adore it!  I handed her an Hermes bag (the color belongs to her) and added that a modest gift was inside…but I wanted her to own an Hermes bag (No! Not a handbag – are you daft!?) a customer shopping bag to specially place in her apartment.  Every woman should possess an Hermes bag or box, even if it’s empty, or merely contains a strip of embroidered ribbon.  This bag held a Clairfontaine journal from France with tangerine and magenta flowers on the cover.  She loved it!

Then I had her open the canonical kraft brown shopping bag with the leopard and black patent handbag she had been putting off buying and we both let out a whoop because she knew, and I knew, how much she wanted it.  When she opened it up to look inside she found I had tucked a few small gifts into the zippered compartments, just for fun, so they wouldn’t be empty when she peeked into them.

Hermes empty shopping bags and boxes are for sale on eBay.  They run about $15.  More about why we want these orange icons is revealed on the site below.

That Orange Box

The 'Orange Icon'

We’re surviving January wearing the old and the new year styles are swooping into the media all clamoring for us to notice them.  Last Friday I was browsing in the newsstand at Park Royal and while flipping through January’s British Vogue I saw a lot of whimsical, lacy and fancy fragments.  Think:  Wallis Simpson suffers nervous breakdown overseeing reconstruction of remnants in fashionable lingerie design studio.

Later that day I received a link from Scarlet Black introducing me to:  The penniless fashionistas.  They are Canadian designers creating with a focus on dynamic use of color, prints, and fabrics, while integrating intricate details that highlight the designs.  These can’t live withouts are online:  http://www.pennilessfashionista.com

Next, a stop at The Coveted will make you just want to book the week off and drool all over the electronic pages offering up delicious and outrageous fashion manifestos.


Not quite ready to quit:  not until we’ve stopped in at Gala Darling and looked into 2010 Style Direction:  and “Psychedelic” Ladies Who Lunch:  the Icing on the Fashion Cake!


I dreamed I awoke in Paris in my Hermes scarf woven from the silk of 250 mulberry moth cocoons.

Dreams Always Come True

Wikipedia:  The per-pound cost of a scarf today is approximately $1,965.00 USD (compared to a pound of steel at $0.19)

Copyright © 2010 Nicole Rigets

Christmas Listless

I have completed my shopping list, as short as it was.  Definitely less than one-third of a block long.  The reason it’s so compact is that everyone is going out-of-town to other destinations for Christmas.

2009 has been loaded with zigs and zags, hidden triggers, loops and twists, culminating in a rocky ride to a year end leaving me in a current state of listlessness. Never at a loss for new avenues to drive my interests I came upon ‘14,000 things to be happy about’ on the top shelf of my bookcase.  Published in 1990, The Happy Book by Barbara Ann Kipfer, represented in her words, “20 years of recording all the little things that make me happy”. I have always treasured this book for its author’s word-pictures – “…purchasing a yard of lavender ribbon to tie up poems…red plaid lunch boxes…renting a winter house…dart boards…color film…getting lost on purpose when you were little…”

Written as one continuous list, I tend to lose myself in the act and art of memory recall. Kipfer can make me giggle and sniffle with nostalgia, and more.  To quote the author, “Words, and the images they create, can be a great source of pleasure and inspiration”.  It is with this in mind I remember to be grateful for all that I’ve had and have. Kipfer asks that we take our time to wish, reminisce, and dream, as we read through the pages.  I’ve followed her advice and never made any attempt to rush my way through to the end. In the soon-to-be 20 years that I have held a special place in my heart for this unforgettable book I confess I still have the final page to look forward to! Reviewed as “quirky, compulsive, and irresistible,” it includes 125 little illustrations.

Copyright © 2009 Nicole Rigets

Baking with Snow

While at work writing this afternoon I’m surrounded by the beautiful voice of Sarah Brightman and the first song on her recording of A Winter Symphony called, Arrival’.

Christmas card snow is drifting across our windows.  There is  a collection of it on the metal railing outside that looks just like flaked coconut.  I think of baking with snow. In the outside corner of the diningroom window snow has clung to a spider’s web turning it into a ghosty negative snowflake.

There are surprisingly few dogs out today except for the two big black ones next door that let out an occasional bark against the flurry of icy flakes.  Cars slow down, people bundle up and the holiday season has arrived wearing white.

Not being a big fan of malls, and not a frequent shopper, I have stayed indoors today and kept my Buffalo china mug filled with dark organic ‘Rainforest’ coffee as I browsed about online.

Always an admirer of Karl L. and Chanel (when I read her biography I encountered many surprises and discovered her life story a true inspiration.)

Karl Lagerfeld’s Chanel Christmas Windows for Printemps, Paris

Stills from Lagerfeld’s Chanel Silent Film

Oscar de la Renta for next week.  The black shift dress on the left fast-forwards sixties sophistication seamlessly.  Is that a Judith Leiber handbag the model is holding?

'Pre-Cocktail Party and Party'

Glamourous and exciting handbags!

Judith Leiber

Fancy Champagne – “…burnished gold reflections…with a powerful finish”!!

Louis Roederer Cristal Brut 2000 2000 750ML

Winter-White Tree.

'Tree Dressed for a Winter Symphony'

The afternoon has turned past dusk and I obviously have been day-dreaming over the Internet.  Time for a glass of champagne.

Copyright © 2009 Nicole Rigets

$ Dollars – The Aphrodisiac $

“Brand new car – not a drop of gas.”  Lyric taken from an old Blues recording.

Makes me think of how we spend and how we long for certain possessions. What lengths we’ll go to to get them.  How these steps will lead to our relationships with others in our lives.  And how our thinking is affected by things; things we buy or have or ‘need’.

There was a time in the late sixties and early seventies when an area of West Vancouver B.C. called the British Properties was being built.  New homes in a lovely treed and rocky splendor.  Many lots had long distance views to the Pacific ocean.  Views were spectacular and the owners had spent to the max on the newly built house, then ran out of money to furnish it.  The British Properties seemed, by onlookers, to be a very rich and affluent development.  Those of us who attended parties at these homes found walls embellished with flocked wallpapers and empty rooms.

This week a friend passed along a tissuey 16-page booklet to me; Maison & Objet Paris thumbnails a universe where over 3,000 international brands will unveil their new collections and concepts.  www.maison-objet.com

'Paris Capitale de la Creation'
'Griffes Maison' for the Home

Why don’t you visit the website and tune into the photographs and short videos for an unusual and sensual encounter.

Two nights ago I had a dream that I was riding in a french navy blue Porsche Carrera. I was sitting on a flat platform in place of the conventional car seat.  Small opulent gold satin cushions punctuated with tiny dark emblems surrounded me.  I moved forward to let ‘movie star guy’ thoughtfully arrange these cushions for my comfort as he sped through the dark navy night.

For me, the best part of dreaming is, being able to view it while the action is taking place. The other best is:  anything’s possible in the world of dreams.

May your dreams come true!

"Dollars - The Aphrodisiac"

Copyright © 2009 Nicole Rigets

“Dream Designs”

Twelve hours sleep in 96 while obsessing over building a website for myself in between blogging and bitching.  I thought a push of a few buttons would do it but I ended up having mine pushed instead.  I’m IV’d into tech support and swimming through a gruel of geek-speak.  By the finish line I will feel as if I’ve run and won a marathon.  Off to sleep now – dreams await my viewing.  More work tomorrow getting them into my journal.

Over time I have collected  new ways of looking at dreams by reading books (Jill Mellick) and articles, and listening to others. Re-design and re-assign your dreams using these techniques:

Record dreams in black leaving large spaces between the lines.  Later add new possibilities using pink or turquoise or ?

Use construction paper to cut out shapes and write about your dreams on them.

Write your dreams in a spiral, a circle, a square, a triangle.

Write out sections of dreams on different pieces of paper and move them around on a blank sheet changing their order (this appeals to me because of the collaging aspect).

Rewrite a dream using ‘always’ and again using ‘never’ wherever you can to try it in its opposite form.

Most people don’t look into their dreams or intuition, but these inner gifts are part of what makes each person unique.  Dream exercises are a fine way to practice creative writing and play with words.

You are wished new discoveries…zzzZZZZZZZ

“Box Camera”

We all crave a little color in our lives whether it comes in the form of hues, encounters, explorations, or dreams.

From a previous dream:

…Now I took the man around the corner to point out the window with cobalt to ask him if he’d give me permission to photograph the stunning beauty of negative pattern to positive pieces captured in this window.

He gave me a box camera with a long strap with chain link clinking next to the body.  His brother didn’t agree with his generosity but he insisted I take it.

Picture your dreams.

Discarded dreams become poetry.

Night writing will lead you to the light in your soul.

Copyright © 2002 Nicole Rigets Journal