17 September 2017

.chicago + the great lakes.


Chicago is a huge city filled with a beautiful a mixture of people and cultures. I always love Chicago and it's working class friendliness! I first went to Chicago three years ago to visit my sister and ended up taking some jewelry classes at the Evanston Art Center. This trip I was able to spend some time with my jewelry mentor, Nancy Sickbert-Wheeler, going to one of her classes at Evanston Art Center, and getting some help on a jewelry project. I also have a childhood friend in Chicago who recently bought a bungalow and is in the middle of redecorating and renovating the entire place by herself. Watching her progress this past year via instagram I was excited to see her work in person! It was beautiful, you can check out her instagram at @mychicagobungalow. It was a creative time for me and a reminder of all the connections that I hold dear.


My next stop was Ohio and Lake Erie, which was such a surprise! I found Ohio to be an amazingly friendly place - probably the friendliest place I've been to on this trip. Everyone waved to say hello, the grocery store clerk was giving me local trails advice and insisted on helping me load my two small bags of groceries in my car! ha! Then while on an evening walk I met a couple and ended up talking to them for 45 minutes about life and shared some camping adventure stories! Lake Erie was also gorgeous despite having some strange lake bugs, it was a beautiful large soft moving body of water. I wish I'd had another night!

Off to Upstate New York!
XX

AEO

12 September 2017

.badlands + the heartland.


Driving into the badlands felt like I was transcending into a different world. I feel this often when I'm lost in nature - a total reset. A wake up to the reality life is so much bigger and more vibrant and more strange and more vast that I make it to be. 

The strange formations that sometimes looked like it could be giants looking down over the vast lands of the South Dakota desert and the layers of subtle colors that changed vibrancy with the light of the day. I arrived late in the afternoon and drove thru the park and then drove back thru again in the morning with the sunrise. It's truly an awe-inspiring place.



The next stop was the heartland - Nebraska + Iowa. Nebraska was forever flat lands of corn fields and soybean crops and tractor traffic on highway 20. I drove thru straight to Omaha. I was surprised to find great free + public art in Omaha. Some my favorite places were the Josyln Art Museum, Kineko and Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts. Iowa seemed to be more lush with soft rolling fields of corn and soybeans. I spent a day in Des Moines to find more great art, my favorite was the Des Moines Art Center. I then headed north to Dubuque where the land continued to slowly roll and interesting rock cliffs lined the highway. I slept on the banks of the Mississippi River. 




09 September 2017

.wyoming.


Wyoming - I've fallen in love with you!! The wild + untamed ways have captivated my heart. I never knew the vibrancy of Wyoming! From the colors of the thermal basins at Yellowstone to the cream, peach and terra cotta layered hillsides of a little town called Tenspeed and the electric red hills further east in Devils Tower. I wanted to stop my car 50 times yesterday to take a picture of the colors of earth and the way the colors of the earth layered with the green and yellow grasses - but the picture only shows so much! This land feels old and still undiscovered, like you might see cowboys perched on top of a Dolomites looking over his bison. 

During my 3 (way too short) days in Wyoming I went to Yellowstone National Park, travelled Buffalo Bill Memorial Highway, slept in a tipi and visited the sacred Devil's Tower. 

Of you haven't experienced Wyoming I can't recommend it enough! The colors + untamed ways + stories are like no other place!!

.idaho.


Idaho I'm so grateful for you! It's been a complicated relationship between us for the past several months. You weren't anything like I thought you'd be - you were way more beautiful, more isolating and such an amazing teacher to me. You also gave me the gift of reconnecting to the mountains + sagebrush hills + myself and without that I wouldn't be right here! 

My last few days in Idaho were so refueling! I first stopped at Craters of the Moon National Monument, a magical land of lava rocks amidst sagebrush lands! There I met another solo female traveler, we talked for 45 minutes and realized that  we both had lived in Chicago and Ecuador, we both had worked as Educators for Planned Parenthood and we both were on independent road trips. It felt like I sign I was right where I needed to be!

I spent the rest of the weekend in Victor with a dear friend. We floated down the Teton Creek, I tried to fly fish for the first time (no luck), found a beach with fossil rocks and soaked in hot springs every night under the bright (almost full) moon.

More updates + adventures to come!!

31 August 2017

.one more evening walk.


I felt like I could walk forever last night - or like I HAD to walk forever. To walk until I released something or figured something out. I hiked up the sunset trail by my house, it has become my favorite place, a beautiful hillside of pinkish/mauve dirt covered with golden grasses mixed with pale sage and flashes of bright yellow flowers. The sun was setting giving a warm golden glow to the valley and as I hiked up the sky slowly burst into an electric fire illuminating the sky with lavender/pinks contrasting into deepening fuchsia and vibrant yellow/oranges as the sun sank deep into the Sawtooth mountains - one last hurray before a day was over! 

These moment - the impermeance/the intensity/the magic remind me what a gift this ride is and I have to be awake to see the real wonder + beauty because it's tiny succession of moments pieced together.

As I walked the dirt path winding around the hillside I felt sad, like this place wasn't what I had planned. It was something beautiful and important and challenging and uncomfortable but nothing that I'd planned or expected, it was however just what I needed.

I was listening to Caroline Myss the other day and she said if you're feeling lost - it's a good sign - the best sign because it means you don't know what's going on which means you are shifting into a new pattern - a new paradigm (understanding). I thought that was so beautiful! I started walking down the hillside as dusk was setting in feeling excited to explore more of the open lands of the west as I head to the dense east but feeling lost at the same time. I'm grateful for the newness that will be open to me because of it!

Tomorrow is the day! Heading east with the first stop in the Tetons!!

27 August 2017

.west to east - a nomadic residency.


September 1st I'm embarking on a nomadic residency starting in Ketchum, Idaho and will travel east to Somerville, Massachusetts.

Living in the wild untamed lands of the west has been such an inspiring time for me and my jewelry design process. The slow life and the access to open lands has taught me to be more present and absorb my environment, it's something I want to continue to practice. This realization led to the idea of a nomadic residency! At the beginning of the year I  created a collection of jewelry, East to West inspired by my move from Somerville to Ketchum. I have travelled East to West and West to East many times but never the space in between. This residency will travel over 10 states (Idaho, Wyoming, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York and Massachusetts) and span 20 days. The intention is to absorb the places + landscapes in between the West and East. After this journey I will create a new collection of jewelry, West to East inspired by the experience + landscape I encounter.

I'll be sending out residency updates from the road and images on instagram @aeodesigns.

Join me on this adventure!!


24 August 2017

.colors of the west.


I'll be leaving this place in 10 days. 

I can't believe that my time is over here. 

I'm excited to move forward into the unknown - to explore new landscapes of the west as I travel east + initiate new patterns YET with every single move no matter how much time I spend in a space there is always a resistance to letting go - maybe it's part fear and the other part is wanting to hold on tight to something I've loved. 

I made a list of all the things I wanted before I came here: nature, trails, mountains, slowness, small town, long drives, alpine lakes, freedom, space, wild, sagebrush, dark nights and quiet. I found all of them here! It reminded me that life is indeed magical and our perception is reality YET I only made a list of the things I was missing from Boston and overlooked the beauty of a community, support, art and spaces that I could bring my FULL self into without limiting or hiding. 

This place has been an amazing mirror that has taught me so much in a very uncomfortable way. I've been given the blessing of sitting in discomfort - to really LOOK at myself - my patterns - the way I jump into intimacy - the way I haven't always known how to trust and use my voice - the way I have fled myself because I was so afraid to be wrong - the way I have forgotten my warrior ways. I will forever be grateful to this space for all the tough lessons and space it has given me - for the chance to walk the land everyday and feel the power +  peace that ONLY comes from connecting to land and for the knowledge of knowing that it's time to go and that closure only comes from myself because my journey is mine and mine alone. 

But in my last few days I will walk this magical land of the high desert as much as possible to absorb and collect these colors! These are the colors of my childhood and the colors of my heart!! 

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I'll be road tripping from Idaho to Massachusetts in September on a nomadic metalsmith residency! I'll share more details soon!! 

xx

Alicia