First off: yes, that’s my real last name. That’s usually the first question people ask me, especially here in the islands where lots of people adopt a chosen “island name” for themselves. Now if I WERE to choose an “island name” I’d change my first name to ‘Joy’ or ‘Infinite’, ha!
I spent my seminal childhood years on a plum and walnut farm in northern California, while my adult life as a designer and artist took place in the big cities of New York, San Francisco and Portland OR. In 2012 I sold most everything I owned and bought a van, embarking on a year-long self-imposed west coast sabbatical to reconnect with the slower natural pace and living things I knew and adored as a child. That sabbatical year has stretched into a new life chapter – I’ve been living, working, traveling and exploring amongst the Salish Sea islands of Canada and Washington State ever since. jillbliss.com
Kristian works in art and in science - generally about the ways interactions shape species, often about the interactions between humans and other-than-humans. Kristian studied art, evolutionary biology, and ecology at Hampshire College in Massachusetts, weaving science and sculpture together to understand how species shape each other. They currently study insect evolution and ecology at the University of Vermont, and writes on the relationships of humans to others in the community of life.
Engaging with the pressing ecological crises we face can feel daunting. Kristian’s work endeavors to draw people in to contemplate these issues, without being overwhelmed by grimness and despair. They work to find ways that art can help to foster a sense of deep connectedness with the nonhuman kin with whom we share the world. Inspired by open, public, inviting events, Kristian works to facilitate the co-creation of large, participatory art installations, rooted in the places and ecologies they represent.
Rose is an ecofeminist ink and watercolor artist always intrigued with creating new world goddesses woven into the fabric of the ecological landscapes that she inhabits and visits. Creation is her form of meditation and personal healing. She is humbled to have taken this path to create work that is in resonance with the state of the Earth as She is now.
Rose was born in Swinomish and Skagit territory and currently lives in Nooksack territory outside of Bellingham, WA.
You can find Rose at festivals up and down the West Coast. When she's not on the road, she's most likely elbow deep in soil, snuggling her pups, or baking extravagant cakes.
Heather Gordon is a biologist who owns and operates her business, Immrama Ecology. Her recent projects have focused on marine ecology, salmon recovery, and Tribal treaty resources. When she’s not wading through streams or squinting into a microscope, she spends her time backpacking, learning to sail, and tuning her banjo. She is currently working for the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe’s Habitat and Monitoring Program. You can reach her at email@example.com.
Tom Jay has been an active member of the Northwest Art Community since 1966, when he arrived from a two year apprenticeship at an art foundry in Ontario, CA.
He built the first bronze casting facility for Seattle University. He went on to supervise and construct casting facilities at the University of Washington. Upon graduation, with an MFA from the University of Washington in 1969, he established Riverdog Fine Arts Foundry (now The Lateral Line) which cast, in addition to his own work, sculpture for many notable N.W. sculptors.
Sara Mall Johani
Sara Mall Johani has been a working artist since 1974. She is a sculptor, designer, photographer, graphic artist, jeweler and community inter-connector. She was the originator and co-founder of Wild Olympic Salmon (1987), a non-profit community, environmental and cultural organization with the theme of salmon as teacher. She and her husband, also a sculptor, live in Chimacum where they sculpt, cast bronze and teach bronze casting amongst the hush of the tall forest in The Lateral Line Bronze Casting Studio. thelateralline.com
Growing up in Wyoming, I was a creative child, making holiday ornaments from pheasant feathers, perfected paint-by-number kits by blending the colors with a toothpick, and was active in 4-H, sewing my own clothing and outerwear.
As an adult, I migrated west, towards the water (I’m a Pisces) and honed my craft and fiber skills while pursuing a career in business, technology and education. Quilting became my creative outlet. Aware of the waste created by our household, I began saving objects that would otherwise become trash and, in 2009, returned to my original path.
Now, I make art from cast-off materials including the beach-found garments, fishing gear, and expired pharmaceuticals featured in “Saved From The Sea.” My 3D assemblages, mosaic-like artworks, faux and real quilts elevate cast-off materials. Narrative accompanies my work, as I invite viewers to consider deeper themes, including how we treat the planet.
Based in Port Townsend, I create artworks, collage, wearables and quilts. My studio is open for private visits. In my life and in my practice, more is more. While I sometimes think of myself as a tidy hoarder, my process celebrates the ordinary and my aesthetic is about living lightly on the planet.
Kendall Mann (b. 1988) grew up in the Pacific Northwest on Bainbridge Island, WA. She holds a BFA in Printmaking from Massachusetts College of Art and Design, and an MA in Psychology with a specialization in Art Therapy and Marriage and Family Therapy from Antioch University Seattle.
Kendall’s work is a prayerful, intuitive exploration of the creative
soul. Filled with color and pattern, her paintings harmoniously weave
together natural and otherworldly elements. Kendall’s work expresses a celebration of beauty, mystery, and a deep reverence for life and nature.
Kendall’s experiences as an art and play therapist with children has
also deepened her investigation into the spiritual, and healing
potential of the creative process.
Kendall creates art out of her home in Port Townsend where she
frequently collaborates with her husband who is also an artist.
Nick Mann, born 1988, is a visual artist, muralist and musician based
in Port Townsend, WA where he lives with his wife, Kendall, who is an
artist and his main collaborator.
"My work is a colorful synergy of experiences and stories from my
interaction with communities around the world. In a world riddled with
pain, destruction, and divisiveness, I strive to communicate a
connection between people, nature, prayer, and the spiritual threads
that weave them together in harmony. The resilient triumph of the
human spirit, heart, and soul is a focal point of my work. I strive to
create a visual language that can give one the opportunity to remember
the potent beauty of life, truth, and love. It is my intention to use
this practice as a way of uplifting and encouraging the youth and
future generations. In this manner, I intend to use art-making as a
healing force that produces soulful story-telling in each community
that I work in."
Maria Melito is a painter/ sculptor who divides her time between Iceland, Alaska and the Olympic Peninsula. Passionate about all things aquatic, Maria's vivid paintings reveal stories from years mirthfully spent fishing and living at Sea.
Jessica Randall. I have been an artist since I was a young girl, and over the years my artistic expression has taken many forms. I remember making 3D maps for extra credit out of flour, salt and water of geographical areas we were studying. Japan, Africa and Antarctica are three that I recall making in 2nd and 3rd grade. This piece, Water Flows Down, is constructed in that way. As a teen, my art was like poetry, expressing my emotions and the world around me. And in college, I studied Pre-Med and Art, with a sculpture emphasis. In 1986, I earned a bachelor’s degree in Art from the University of California, Santa Cruz.
I spent most of 1988 living in Honduras and working with a group of artists lead by the late Guillermo Anderson, called Colectivartes, producing politically charged theater. This was risky business in those days, and we had several close calls with the militaristic, US-supported Honduran government. That experience strengthened me and taught me the value of risking danger and adversity for the greater good. Since then, I’ve produced public art installations, a mural, and various other community focused works. In the last few years, I’ve also created several parade exhibits for the Fremont Solstice Parade in Seattle and sculptures for the Kinetic Skulpture Race here in Port Townsend and in Eureka, CA. Some of the installations have been official, including permits, public and private funding, and so on. And other installations were more spontaneous, or guerrilla, with challenging political and social messages.
I believe art is a powerful means of communication. The topic we should all be talking about now is how we will preserve our vulnerable environment. Thank you for allowing me to represent my ideas in this much needed conversation about the Salish Sea.
The Salish Sea supports my well-being. As I ritually walk the coastline, my spirit is nourished. I meditate on the vast and vulnerable ocean life. I collect litter. These found materials become my treasures. I repurpose to restore the sea. I create photography and assemblage pieces to honor the depths that surround me.
An activist spirit guides my work. I create site-specific and community art works. A passion for working with people and the land is closely tied to honoring my multicultural family. This is where I learned my resourcefulness and agrarian background.
I am drawn to field-based studies and immersing myself in landscapes with beings of all kinds. Living being and biological processes inspire my work in many ways. I translate my observations through experimental learning, which leads me to greater understanding and empathy for the world that surrounds me. Art is life. I celebrate those life cycles through my work.