Tools & Talismans #28 — Sage Cohen

How we work. How we organize our lives to support our work. The tools and the practices that we incorporate into our days so we can create our work. Basically, how we get our head into “the game” in a way that will keep our work true and real and genuine. Sage Cohen’s piece in most all ways illustrates all of these qualities, so very beautifully.

And painting or re-creating glass? Almost as difficult as cat hair (see Tools & Talismans #12).

Letterpress thank you note: Thank you notes are foundational to my gratitude practice. Most days, I send someone a note in the mail letting them know what I appreciate about them using this stationery that I made for this purpose. The poem at the top is mine: Gratitude / the breath the bud / takes before / opening

Heart stone: I keep a single stack of client-work-related papers (mostly time sheets and a project list) on my desk weighted with this heart stone. It reminds me that in my life, the heart leads, even in work.

“There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in” picture frame: This quote from Leonard Cohen sums up what I believe about life: that we are illuminated and blessed by what breaks us open. And that healing and wisdom come when we intentionally arrange the shards of what was once whole.

Buddha: This little Buddha is holding a pot of gold over his head. It was given to me by a colleague at my very first job, as an invitation to prosperity. Over the years, the little pot of gold broke, which I found poetic, as per the Leonard Cohen quote above. I’ve kept it by my desk all the years to remind me that prosperity comes from appreciating what I already have.

“Write like a motherfucker” mug — and pen: I do what Cheryl Strayed tells me to do. (And this is my favorite pen for doing it…) Enough said.

Completion bundle: This small bundle has in it rose petals, spices, soil, feathers, coins, and herbs to honor the completion of an epic journey in transformation that I undertook this year.

Salt tray and spoon: My son made me this salt tray (of melted glass) and spoon (woven with decorative beads). I keep them in my office to remind me that I have everything I need to perceive and receive the feast of my life.

HENRY Scrabble pieces: Henry was my soulmate dog. When he died three years ago, a friend gave me these Scrabble pieces that spell his name. They remind me that we compose our stories, our memories, our loves, out of what we are given. And also out of what is taken from us.

Crystal “talking stick": This crystal was given to me as a “talking stick” in a workshop many years ago, where we used it to take turns sharing deeply until we were finished talking. It reminds me that we get to assign meaning to our lives and our objects, and we get to decide how we compose our relationships and our conversations.

Flowered tile: I bought this flowered tile while working my first, $8/hour job at age 21. It’s been with me for the 25 years since, protecting my desk from the thousands of cups of tea that have steeped beside me as I work. I love the continuity of this single object that has been beside me as I have grown into the woman I am today.

Sage Cohen. Poet. Author. Seeker. Friend.


Do you have an illustration project that you think my style might be a good fit for? Looking for illustrations for your website, book project or have something else in mind? Please let me know, I'd love to talk about your project with you!

Tools & Talismans is a personal painting project where I’m documenting {in watercolor} the tools and talismans of 100 different women — creators and healers, thinkers and makers, wordsmiths and visionaries. Join me for a year of Tools & Talismans — I'll be sharing a new painting with you every Wednesday.