Nicole Herself – a music project


Music has long been a part of my identity, though I hesitate to call myself a musician. Having had the privilege to study music formally in college and work alongside extremely talented individuals who have gone on to contribute meaningfully to the field, knowing how much I don’t know, and the skills that I don’t have – these are all definitely reasons that give me pause. That said, I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t continue to push the boundaries of my learning. Most recently, this has brought me into a space of exploring the creation of ambient soundscapes. This is the work that I am now sharing via Nicole Herself.

Instead of practicing a single instrument, I use a digital audio workstation to piece together sounds and phrases. I alter and layer until I have something that resembles a feeling or idea inside me.

The first piece, “Lift”, is available to stream now. Utilizing singing bowls in a non-traditional form, “Lift” represents the element of metal. Typically, singing bowls would be resonated over quite long phrases, moving from one tone to the next with only slight layering. Instead, I’ve chosen to have several tones layer over each other, focusing more on the bell-like qualities of the bowls.

I’ll be exploring the other elements in upcoming pieces, and who knows where this journey will take us.

Please follow along by supporting the project on BandCamp, SoundCloud, or on the InsightTimer app.

A Media Mash-up for Education


I am currently participating in a large 32 hour professional development MOOC via Adobe for a Youth Educator Credential. As part of this work, participants are actually practicing the projects that can be used as part of the Adobe Youth Voices curriculum. Although I have been able to finish any of my own pieces of art for awhile (I promise, there are ideas in the works!), I thought I would post some of them on here for you all to see what kind of creative endeavors I am up to over the next few weeks. I hope you enjoy!

The piece I am sharing with you this week is part of a media mash-up assignment. We were tasked with finding an advertisement and then creating a new story.

The original advertisement from Sharpie and my mash-up:

sharpieBEFORE sharpieAFTER

The manipulations that I used are pretty simple in this piece, but I thought the topic was powerful. I’ll share a little of what I posted in reflection with my peers below.

My intention in this mash-up was to provoke reflection on our current punitive systems. I previously taught in a juvenile incarceration facility and have spent a lot of time around youth that have been pushed out of school. I wanted to address the issue of school push-out in my image.

My before image is actually what came before the idea for the mash-up. It evoked thoughts about the above sentiments when I saw it – the idea of your fingerprints being taken and permanently recorded to follow you was very powerful to me.

Unfortunately, “troublemakers” tend to get permanently labeled early and left out of education. I wanted to leverage the great imagery of the original in order to shift viewers to thinking about this school push-out. Best described by Mariame Kaba and Erica Meiners in Arresting the Carceral State, “While the US public education system has historically diverted non-white communities toward under-education, non-living wage work, participation in a permanent war economy, and/or incarceration, the development of the world’s largest prison nation over the last three decades has strengthened policy, practice, and ideological linkages between schools and prisons. Non-white, non-heterosexual, and/or non-gender conforming students are targeted for surveillance, suspended and expelled at higher rates, and are much more likely to be charged, convicted, and removed from their homes, or otherwise to receive longer sentences” (paragraph 4).


Selected for the 2012 Ellen Hansen Memorial Prize


Ellen Hansen was a student of UC Davis when she was killed in 1981 while hiking in the Santa Cruz mountains. Her father, Robert J. Hansen, a UCD professor of Vet Medicine, established this annual award in 1986 as a tribute. Each year, the Prize is awarded to a UCD woman student whose creative project demonstrates the bravery and independence of women.

I was honored to be selected as one of two first prizes in the 2012 competition among a cadre of beautiful creative projects. My piece is called Healing Shawl and is a full-sized dance shawl printed by dye-sublimation and featuring hand-tied fringe. The shawl was danced at the 40th Annual UC Davis powwow on April 7, 2012 for the benefit of the Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Center.

My thanks go out to the Hansens, everyone who contributed to making the exhibit happen, and to all those involved in my project.


More images and the artist statement can be viewed in the Healing Shawl portfolio entry, located here.