Mad Honeys in Alaska

Over the next few months, we’ll be introducing you to some kickass women who inspire us daily—Mad Honeys ignited by and acting on purpose to do good in the world. These lovelies are renegades, stargazers, lovers, yogis, artists, scientists, cosmic cowgirls, explorers, educators, athletes, mamas, and more. All share a contagious zest for life and for that, we love them!

As a prelude to those interviews, I’d like to share a little more about my personal story.

I have always been a wanderer, a seeker, an explorer. Despite some lofty accomplishments, I’ve never been one for a “life plan”. Instead, I’ve allowed myself to be guided by inspiration and talent to do what feels right in the moment. Pulled by passion for knowledge, deep love of the outdoors, high tolerance for, and attraction to, risk and adventure, a mad creative streak, a strong social consciousness, various quirks, and a dose of pragmatism, I’ve created a life path that has fed my soul and offered unending opportunities for growth, connection, participation, and giving.

The meanders of this path have provided me a rich tapestry of experiences. In the early 1990s, I began experimenting with a weird practice called “yoga”. Together with a collection of offbeat gal pals, I found myself wearing sweatpants and asana-ing on the oriental rugs of a seaside museum north of Boston in our own private ceremonies—at a time when few seemed to know what yoga was. There was not a pair of yoga leggings or a yoga mat for miles. I immediately fell in love with the physical and spiritual connection I found there.

Before attending graduate school, I felt propelled to quit my first post-college job, cut off my hair, buy a backpack and, with what little money I had saved, purchase a ticket to Southeast Asia. I headed for the door with the thinnest of plans, leaving my parents slightly aghast and my spirit soaring. This was the first in a now-long history of leveraging times of transition in service to adventure.

I returned after my first solo world adventure to attend graduate school and soak up all I could about the environment and our relationship to it: I studied coastal geology, marine biology, oceanography, hydrology, biogeochemistry, and associated policy and law. I spent days in the woods, pumping water samples from deep groundwater wells; boated around beaches and barrier islands with undergraduate students in tow; acid-washed untold quantities of laboratory glassware; studied my brains out. Ultimately, I earned two masters degrees and a Ph.D. from MIT.

Prepared with this training, and fueled by a deeply-felt connection to our natural world, I committed two decades as a Water Warrior. I worked for non-profits; taught field courses in water resources in the Himalaya, Alaska, Patagonia and the Intermountain West; wrote Taking on Water, a book about my personal journey to reduce my water footprint; toured the country to educate others about how they might change their own relationships to water; and worked in various capacities in support of free-flowing rivers. I began creating art that reflected the sense of tranquility, equanimity, and strength that time in and around water provides me. Part creative expression, part spiritual ritual, this practice was at once cathartic and energizing.

Along the way, I’ve been airlifted out from Patagonia’s Northern Ice Sheet after my international team of rebels—investigating the proposed hydrodams on the Baker and Pascua Rivers—was stranded behind a geologic-scale Glacial Lake Outburst Flood. I’ve rafted the length of the Colorado River, shared mate with gauchos at the end of the world, stood on stages and spoken to audiences of several hundred people, and shown my art to strangers. I’ve loved hard, stretched my soul, cried my share of tears, and continue to be awed by the beauty I see all around me. I laugh—a lot—and will ski as hard as a Mad Honey can ski through deep fields of powder anywhere, anytime.

My relationship with art is dynamic. Over time, I’ve become increasingly dedicated to my practice, compelled by the ineffable connection to source it provides. Simultaneously, I’ve found myself less inclined to push for social change in the same ways I had. Instead, I hold a more nuanced view of what doing good means. I find myself more focused on seeking authentic connection, offering compassion, sharing beauty, and pursuing a professional path that honors all of me. Painting provides me that avenue.

Not too long ago, the siren called again and I headed to the Sacred Valley of Peru to certify as a yoga instructor. That magical experience, in the verdant spiritual oasis beneath the soaring peaks of the Andes, further deepened my creative practice, and today, making art, writing, and connecting are integral to the deep ebb and flow of my life.

At Mad Honey Studio, we aim to share that joie de vivre with other high-spirited people as they reach for the stars. My bold, colorful, original artwork will add sunshine to your home, and my “living paintings”—in the form of yoga leggings, trucker hats, enamel pins, and paper goods—are designed to brighten your day.

We’re happy you are here. Thank you for flowing with us!