mending water * mending soil * mending lives

Greetings. Wanted to share an update and debut of two new works.

1. Mending Boxes – part art part function.

2. Mending Soil * Mending Water * Mending Lives – an installation at Witwen Campground during the 2021 Fermentation Fest: Grasslands Edition.

The Mending Boxes – edition of 10 will debut at the 2021 Fermentation Fest: Grasslands Edition. (Please, click on the link. There is so much to be curious about, learn about, and to make informed decisions about land, water, soil, and quality of life.)

A bit of perspective: Fall and winter of 2020, I began to think of and execute an edition of 10 mending boxes to coincide with the Before and After: Mending a life after a pandemic or some other catastrophic event in your life. (see previous post) The contents were finally completed this week, while in Sauk County helping prepare for this year’s Fermentation Festival. A glass tube of Kernza was the last item added to the box, planted last summer by artist Tory Tepp, in the hills of the Driftless Region. It just may be one of the way that soil, water, and the way farmers grow grain, that will mend a part of the food system. Other items in the Mending Box include the following:

Army surplus gray metal box

artist book –  images, notes and ideas collected during a pandemic, stab binding (edition of 30)

porcelain needle w/ gold lustre glaze and oxide

Kernza dedicated glass tube with text

Repair/Reparations – ribboned threads in a skin tone gradation

embroidered Before and After handkerchiefs

fuschia velour weighted pin cushion w/ pins

disco ball w usb – don’t forget to dance

pair of dice – don’t forget to play

misc threads for mending

vintage egg darner

seam ripper

hem and seam guide

tape measurer

variety of sewing needles and threader



mending snips

Some images below:


Please inquire with me if you are interested in purchasing one of the boxes. #1 and #7 have red dots. 8 more are available to the first persons interested. Thank you to Nicole Gotthelf for always being a supporter and cheerleader for all things Art and Culture!

Please note: The artist book and porcelain needles are available separately. Send me a dm. Let’s work something out.


The second work, Mending Soil * Mending Water * Mending Lives will be a temporary art installation at Witwen during the 2021 Fermentation Fest: Grasslands Edition. This work has been in the making for several years via proposal and an my head. I will continue the writ large stitching performed throughout the month of August with Out of Site, and take some of the stitching across Honey Creek on the campus of the historic Witwen. Some test “stitches” were made Wednesday with images below. I am very excited to spend the next several days metaphorically mending soil, mending water, and mending lives, with biodegradable, water and wood pulp based survey tape. A thank you goes out to Wormfarm Institute – Donna Neuwirth and Jay Salinas for supporting this work. They get me and I am so grateful. A thank to Ashley Lusietto for helping me with my first stitches. Lastly to the landowners of both sides of Honey Creek, Ed Smith and Dale Sprecher. You permission is appreciated with deep gratitude.

Some sneak peaks at the first stitches…


The statement about the work is as follows:

A perspective:

“The International Panel on Climate Change has said that by midcentury, the world may reach a threshold of global warming beyond which current agricultural practices will no longer support large human civilizations.”  According to Amanda Little author of The Fate Of Food: What We’ll Eat In A Bigger, Hotter, Smarter World, there is a third way of growing that combines the techno optimist (reinventors) and back to the land (deinventors), which combines the best of both groups.  I think Kernsa is one of those ways.  The biomimicry characteristics (deeply rooted like prairie) combined with the long term study and testing, that only those embedded in science and invention have dedicated, may be one of the answers to feeding in a bigger, hotter, smarter world. 

A description of Mending Lives Mending Soil: 

In late summer, as performance, I have been stitching the ground around a variety of outdoor sites, whereby I have invited people to mend.  The large stitches became a visual cue for the casual passersby to wander in a little closer to engage.  Those in the know, or invited prior to the outdoor performances, arrived ready with a variety of textiles to mend on site.  Supplies were varied and practical.  Real mending occurred from a torn purse, to patches on overalls, to adjustments on a waistline, to mending a coat of deep sentiment, to supplement the cuffs, collar, and elbow.  The writ large stitching on the ground, with biodegradable survey tape, was born out of a proposal from several years ago for a waterway in the Reedsburg area.  That project was not mean to be but morphed into a more visual statement for the Before and After – Mending a life after a pandemic or some other catastrophic event in your life, my current series. The tape, torn in 7-10” pieces, poked into the earth on both ends, serve as a visible stitch.  The three-foot brass needle serves as a visual metaphor, though clearly nonfunctional, for this application.   As we look for new ways to solve current problems, potentially mashing up wisdom of the ages along with current science and technology, as a potential source for ameliorating the follow out from a pandemic, more sustainable methods of feeding people that may be healthier for all and less precious for the privileged, all while being better stewards of our precious soil.  Let’s consider the metaphor of stitching, as I have in this performance, as a way towards healing the wounds of soil, mending our lives and our communities, ridding ourselves of artificial divides, and so much more.   


If you have read this far, thank you for your kind attention. Would love to see you at Witwen this weekend!