A mentor once told me that my job description is "to be living proof of the authentic self" and I think she's right. I practice living according to my values — self-awareness, thoughtfulness, presence, kindness, and non-judgment. I use writing, drawing, listening, noticing, sitting, smiling, and various other practices to achieve those values. I consider this quote from Mr. Rogers to be a guiding light in my everyday decision-making, "You rarely have time for everything you want in this life, so you need to make choices. And hopefully your choices can come from a deep sense of who you are."
Cooking is a Favored Practice
Climbing The Chief in Vancouver, BC
Never Without Canvas and Ink
In October of 2014, I left a great job with great people to explore other great jobs with other great people and also a new way of life. The hardest part, besides the occasional moment of terror at not having the security of a day job, is helping people understand what I do and who I do it for. Consultant and freelancer don't quite fit, but somehow the word independent does. I work for all types of organizations in all types of roles, but I have the most experience in informal science learning, digital engagement, risk-taking and and space-making for practitioners in museums, libraries, and other cultural institutions.
When I am teaching, I feel completely alive, with all the emotions life entails. The classroom, be it formal, informal, or entirely unexpected is the place where "my deep gladness meets the world's deep need." My super powers are holding ambiguity for the doubtful and fearful (because I know so well what it is to be doubtful and fearful), and being good on my feet.
In collaboration with the State Library of Illinois, I work with librarians across the state to support them in risk-taking and change-making.
I draw because sometimes words aren't enough. I've never been classically trained, but I study artists and illustrators like Alison Bechdel, Lynda Barry, and Ivan Brunetti. My favorite style of drawing is to draw as a practice of noticing, as instructed by Frederick Franck in his book "The Zen of Seeing." I also enjoy water coloring. I am always curious to learning about the tools, workspaces and processes that various artists use to draw and share their work.
I write to be understood — first to myself, second to others. I write nearly everyday through a practice called Morning Pages, and I also write for the occasional journal, book, or blog, including my own blog Swimming with Sharks. I am a natural communicator and use speaking, drawing, and writing as tools in my pursuits to see and be seen.
Ninety-five 1"-sized scenes of The Big Lebowski sketched on a bowling pin.
A quick lesson in how to draw a shark.
I was formally trained as a graphics designer and after 15 years in design-related professions from graphics design to web design to exhibit design, I am incapable of not being a designer in everything I do. These days I'm most interested in designing experiences — multi-way interactions that require participation in order to be fully realized. Sometimes this happens in digital space, sometimes in physical space. Most of the time, I'm attempting to use design in digital space to affect something in physical space. I'm also into using time as an element of design (bounding an experience in time, for example).
I have never been afraid of technology and have played, broken and invented things with it ever since I got my fingers on my first computer (a Radio Shack system that plugged into the television and played tape cassettes). At the same time, much of my everyday habits are quite analog. I draw on paper, write by hand, and use a real alarm clock. Technology is a means, not an end, and I work to keep it in the service of human connection and creation.
A collaboratively designed deck of activity cards you can use to make space for yourself and others. Developed in partnership with the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History.
An online toolbox for facilitating learning in online environments, created in collaboration with the Museum of Life and Science and Michigan State University.