Today I sit down with three of the members of Circle Creative Collective, an organization which hosts events, gathering in Circle to share and remember the things we learned or wish we had from our grandparents, a bridge from past to present and culture to culture, an open circle to all... bringing together the creative and curious across cultural borders in our Hudson Valley communities and beyond... inviting diverse individuals to share and preserve traditional crafts, arts, and skills... empowering people, inspiring connection to Earth and resilience.

Our conversation appropriately weaves through so many beautiful and important topics: the how and why they formed this vital Circle, their big Sankofa event happening this Saturday (2.15.20) at the Clinton Avenue United Methodist Church, 122 Clinton Avenue in Kingston, NY (in collaboration with MyKingstonKids.com), the traditions of Gullah Geechee women, returning to stillness and connecting with others through crafts and circles, who and what we value, collaboration vs. competition, culture of acceptance vs. culture of approval, lessons learned, ritual and self care.

Big THANKS to my guests:

MARY JANE NUSBAUM

Mary Jane is a natural teacher, mentor and inspiration. Grounded and deeply compassionate, gentle and dedicated, Mary Jane brings an artistic eye, a true passion for natural and artisanal processes, and many decades of experience as a teacher, gifted artist and craftsperson. Mj holds space with a rare calm, an open heart, and powerful communication skills. She helps to create an inclusive and curious class environment where her love for traditional knowledge, world cultures, the environment, and social justice are woven quietly into every stitch, and lesson. Mary Jane has lived in the Hudson Valley with her husband and two sons for the past 18 years. She has a Master’s in Printmaking from SUNY New Paltz and teaches art at New Paltz Middle School. Mj runs summer and year-round art programs with Wild Earth, a wilderness immersion program in High Falls. To Mary Jane, some of the most beautiful things about this world are the arts and cultures which have sprung from humanity’s relationship to nature in the particular places we each call “Home”.

MIRABAI TRENT

Raised in the Hudson Valley, Mirabai grew up with a deep connection to the Earth and plants that surrounded her. Majoring in fashion design, she fell in love with the realm of textiles and the unique qualities of each countries’ techniques, skills, and heritage. Mirabai, passionate about the healing power of the arts, did an intensive program at Esalen Institute learning about the patterns we have adopted, and how creative expression might shift those patterns. With a commitment to learning and preserving cultural crafts, she was led to explore Guatemala, where ancient arts and traditions are abundant. Setting off to dive deep into the ancient Maya practices, she cultivated relationships with various community leaders, who have the mission of preserving their ancient culture as well. She volunteered with a weaving association owned and run completely by local Tz’utujil Mayan women and endeavored to learn the complex traditions of weaving, natural dyeing, embroidery, and beadwork. In addition to Chrysalis, a program for teens to help engage her peers in open conversation and expression, she also started the traditional crafts department at HATCH Workshop, a center for emerging makers in Stockton CA.

JENNY WONDERLING

Jenny gathers and shares stories, and helps to enrich other people’s—and since 2005 she has done that through the vehicle of retail. A child of multi-cultural roots and a globally minded family, her wanderlust carried her to many places, deepening her caring for our planet and world community. Jenny feels that within each object is a trail of potent human interactions, and that we each have a responsibility to consider our impact every step of the way-- from sourcing to how an item will impact the earth long after the impulse-buy has occurred. Nectar focused on sourcing and selling handmade, sustainable products, supporting Fair Trade programs, women's cooperatives, and environmental initiatives. A new dream has blossomed though, quietly holding the seeds of her shops within the soil and blooms...  There is a widespread longing to share authentically, something she felt she was only touching on by showcasing and selling goods. What if people could connect through making, creating, growing, and healing together? Jenny is excited to bring her love of design, experience with merchandising, marketing, event planning, and sales to Circle.  Her passion for writing and story will bud through journal writing classes, and the gathering of stories for blogs and video on this site. Lastly, (but not at all least) her experience as a mother of three helps her understand the longing and importance to live and create in a thriving community—for the balance and health of the whole family… and world.

Today’s show was engineered by Maddy Bogner of Radio Kingston, www.radiokingston.org.

We heard music from Nina Simone and Shana Falana, http://www.shanafalana.com/

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