I believe I bought this bundle of fabulous-but-non-functional pencils in a Mendocino bookstore twenty years ago. They’ve followed us from studio to studio, standing up straight, waiting and wondering when they would be put to real work.

These pencils are a wonderful metaphor for me. Tied to each other, some are sharp, some have lost their lead, they’re wrapped in black and white words, and prepared to offer some colorful shading once let loose.

My daughter, Kate Barbaria, took the masthead photo at the beach on the Sunshine Coast, British Columbia. It represents what I love about creativity—the imperfect bundle of words and color, and the potential and possibilities for real work and real art to happen.

Let the conversation begin.

Photo by Kate Barbaria 2009


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