Faythe Levine’s main objective is to promote creativity and the empowerment in which that can behold. She is foremost interested in connecting people; in people’s ability to create, and the healing and political powers that art and making hold. In constant motion in adulthood, Faythe grew up in the Pacific Northwest in the 90’s where Riot Grrrl and Punk were the culture, and finding zine-making at an early age opened her practice up to practically anything. Marlee prompts Faythe to tell the winding story of how she came to make the documentary film and accompanying book, Handmade Nation: The Rise of D.I.Y. Art, Craft and Design (this book launched Marlee into the headspace that birthed Have Company). Faythe tells the story of how being a vendor at the early Chicago Renegade changed her trajectory- inspiring her to start theArt Vs. Craft fair in Milwaukee, quickly becoming immersed in a community of bad-ass powerful makers, who were mostly women. She saw the D.I.Y. craft community as more than making cute objects, the practice had culminated deep rooted bonds between the people in these inter-connected communities. She wanted to document and capture the essence of that community before it shifted into something else.
With photography, video, curation, writing, and publishing, Faythe is paying homage to her community and her creative output continues to connect people who need to know each other. Her most recent project, Bar Dykes, is a collaboration based in cultural preservation. In getting to know her amazing friend Merril Mushroom during her recent time in a rural mid-tennesse queer community, Faythe learned that Merril had written an unpublished play called Bar Dykes in the 80's. They both knew Caroline Paquita of Pegacorn Press, and drew her in to publish it, along with Faythe's interview with Merril about her life.
Faythe discusses self care and maintaining friendships, the importance of being held by her community, and the difficulty of asking for help. At the time of this recording, Faythe was preparing to be a resident artist at Haystack Mountain School of Crafts; a space for her to work out her visual art practice, as well as meet with students and talk about what it means to be a permission-giver, and to be your most authentic self.
Words of wisdom:
“I wanna have an event in the city where I live where people can sell things, and engage with the public, and generate this sense of community. I’m really interested in creating programming and filling in these gaps where that programming doesn’t exist, which is why I’ve always ended up living in mid-sized cities.”
“I really had to learn how to hold my own space in rooms full of academics and people who had a lot of feelings about a lot of things. But what I learned out of that … is: If you are speaking about something that is your own personal experience, not based in an academia or the history of something, and you’re just speaking truly about your own personal experience and the things in your life- people can't actually argue with that experience.”
“It's a radical action to give permission. And it's really empowering to empower people. That makes me feel like a better person if I can make you feel more confident in what you already have within you. And that for me transcends into things like, the way we feed ourselves; the way we express our sexuality and gender; the way that we engage on tiny little actions throughout the day.”
Things to be excited about:
Making the effort to make new friends, hang out with people she doesn’t know.
Queerness and the way that people perform their lives. Faythe is deeply inspired by the people around her, and her greater community- the critical thinking and the continuing room for growth and compassion. A mindful and productive self-awareness.
Being in California with all of the flowers blooming.
And really taking the time to check our assumptions about people when we meet them.
Piney Wood Atlas is a traveling project, a website, and a series of books that collect and connect small artist residencies across the country. It is a collaboration between Alicia Toldi and Carolina Porras, who met at the Elsewhere Studios residency in Paonia Colorado. For both of them this was their first residency after art school, and it proved to be a seminal experience that launched their collaborative duo.
In conversation with Marlee, they explain their process of fundraising for and embarking on their epic road-trip journey from one unconventional residency to another. The two talk about the differences between residencies in regards to cost, teaching and outreach opportunities, interaction with other artists, lodging and landscapes, expectations and commitments to the community. Alicia and Carolina are more interested in the emerging and eclectic residencies over the more established residency programs. They share special little parts of the various residency experiences- from curated mix tapes to a composting toilet, to a flock of pigeons. Rather than just providing a list of available residencies, the intention of Piney Wood Atlas is to make a database that best explains the vibes of various residencies, giving us a closer look into the personalities of the spaces. They close the conversation with a list of important things to consider when seeking a residency- to best fit your needs and expectations.
Words of wisdom:
“You have that freedom, you’re like: Oh wait, I don’t need to be this organization, and I don’t need to have these crazy grounds and this studio space- oh I can just make something from what I have. And that’s what’s really interesting to us, is finding those kind of spaces.”
“Sometimes if you live in a space- maybe it’s an urban space, or just a space with a lot of people who are similar to you- you don’t feel as driven to accomplish what you want to. And, how if you’re in a space with less of that, it becomes more like- well if anyone’s going to do it, then you have to do it.”
Alicia and Carolina are working on the next issue of the guidebook that documents A.I.R. programs in the Southwest, and promoting the first issue that covers the Northwest. Buy it here!
When they are not touring residencies, Alicia and Carolina live across the country from each other, but with an awesome grant from the Sierra Nevada College, they will be doing a residency together very soon!
Things to be excited about:
Alicia and Carolina are both excited about storytelling. While on their road trip, collecting stories of each place, they listened to podcasts of The Moth and 99% Invisible. They are both reading books about narrative and an epic story of our country in The Faraway Nearby, by Rebecca Solnit, and Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith, by Jon Krakauer.
welcome to a tiny episode where it's just me + a lil fifteen minute life update where i share the ending of this project, Have Company, that I started in 2012
Letting go of this project feels a bit surreal. It has been my entire life for the past five years, and I have been able to start and maintain other projects WITHIN the scope of Have Company.
But for me the name of this project became solidified in it's physical space in Grand Rapids, and it's been harder than I thought it would be to continue it as only a podcast. The podcast was really FOR the resident artists in that space and sharing their work within Grand Rapids.
I also have had such a hard time separating MARLEE from HAVE COMPANY and it felt like a clear transition to end this project and let Marlee finish and start some of her own projects that are completely separate.
To list gratitude might take forever but thank you to Pam, who guides me spiritually & as a human and business owner. Thank you. To Dori Midnight who has supported me the past few months, Rachel Dawson Knapp & Asia Wong who move the fluid in my spine around and open up pathways to personal freedom.
To Ariel & Nickey who without them Have Company would have floundered 1000 times. To Sara Bakker for endless patience and shipping. To Michael Rodriguez who built out the entire space, curated the gallery, and told me no when I asked too much. To Eliza, for being the first resident, for hosting ME in her space that BIRTHED this entire project, and for helping me with this podcast.
Thank you to Mary Rothlisberger for helping me redesign and spruce up the residency and suggest I even have a podcast in the first place.
To my parents and my partners and my brother and my chosen family : thank you for every favor and errand run and late night and telling me it would be ok.
To every resident artist : holy shit. No words, you changed me forever.
To anyone who ever came in the space or bought something online : I am glad to have a part of my work in this world with you, and you are with me.
I'm sure I forgot specific people, it's been five years of feeling endless love and support and I am grateful and alive because of you. I love you.
Alejandra León Wolfe Rocha lives and sustains in Oakland, California, and is the creator of the Lioness Oracle Tarot deck. Alejandra tells her story of how she found tarot at age 17, at the suggestion of her father, and really connected with it as a clarifying force in her life. She gave free readings for years and now offers them as a service. She attended art school and always found collage to be a meditative creative practice, cutting and pasting from found magazines. It was after her father died when making collages reached a therapeutic point for her, and the aesthetic of her deck started coming through.
Marlee and Alejandra discuss the psychic power that happens with readings from her own deck, ways to set the mood for a space to work in, and the business side of a spiritual business- working in a matriarchal way instead of a patriarchal way. With deep ties to the creative community and women-owned businesses, Alejandra recently had a show of prints of the Lioness Oracle Tarot collages at Resurrect Oakland, a hand-made and vintage shop where she offers monthly readings.
Words of Wisdom:
“If you just have that desire, and you have the love for it- I think with anything, when you decide to offer it as a service and have exchange for it, what’s important is that you love what you’re doing, and you’re putting love into it. I think problems occur when someone’s doing it for the wrong reasons. If you love Tarot and you believe in it’s healing properties and you love doing it, then you just love what you do, and you offer it to heal someone.”
“I have the right to have my survival needs met. I have the right to be healthy, and thrive. And so loving myself that way helps me enjoy the support and abundance that I do receive.
“Thats where materialism comes from- because it doesn't matter how many possessions you have or how much money you have- if you’re empty, you’re never gonna be full. So I think being grateful for things is really important.”
Alejandra just finished the artwork for another deck, and is currently working on formatting it for release. She plans to continue with her art practice without capitalist pressure to achieve; stay healthy and balanced and do what comes next.
Alejandra has felt called to study- she has been learning more about astrology and planning to offer birth-chart readings in the near future...
Learning from masters who are women! Alejandra strives to support the creative young women in the Tarot and Astrology community, she loves seeing them self-publish and thrive. At the same time she honors the elders and master writers of the Tarot, like Mary K. Greer and Rachel Pollack.