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Tools & Talismans: 100 Conversations in Watercolor

Tools & Talismans is the story of how I developed and grew a painting practice. The idea was initially sparked by some photos I’d taken – collections of detritus, treasures, and tools – and a desire to learn how to use a beautiful set of watercolor pencils I’d purchased a few years before and never used.

I expanded the idea by inviting 100 women to share a photo of their tools and talismans, and a few words. I figured it would give me more to paint, and since I didn’t know what kind of subject matter I might receive it would challenge me more than I might challenge myself. And I asked for the words because I was just plain curious about what these collections might mean to each of the women.


Pretty quickly I discovered that at the core of the project we were all sharing stories about what was of value to us through our connection to these collections of things. So Tools & Talismans is also a story about how the things we treasure and use also hold our stories – rich, meaningful stories that share deeper tales about how we spend our time, how we share our gifts, what we love, and where we put our focus.

Tools & Talismans shares the voices of women telling stories about their work, their lives, their memories and milestones – and perhaps as we

listen, we will begin to hear more of our own. The stories of our lives are written in the things we treasure, the tools we use, and the various and sundry detritus we carry along with us through our lives – my wish is that after reading this book you’ll look around and see all the stories they have to tell you.

A small selection of stories and paintings is available below {and if you're interested in seeing all 100 paintings visit the Retrospective Page HERE.}


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