Let’s Take a Walk

I am blessed with a trail on the land next to my house. The man we bought our home from still owns the property next to us, and he allowed me to create a path around it. It takes about 10 minutes to walk, but it’s easy to wander out well after that.

Walk. This word is for me a spell, the action a rite.

I am a Walker, not for exercise: for thought, connection, and growth.

When I suffer, I walk as if I am kissing the earth with my steps, as we were taught by Thich Nhat Hanh. My bare feet touching the ground heal me. When I cannot feel joy, I can find it through the soles of my feet, from the earth, the sky, the wind, all of life around me. When I feel lost, when my loved ones are not enough to hold my heart, I have my feet and the earth. They are always enough.

Grounding, is part of the process, but the forward movement is essential as well. And the sunlight, the wind. Dr. Andrew Huberman agrees with me. It isn’t just abbyscience. He prescribes a walk or jog, outside in sunlight upon rising for the best brain function.

I thought when I moved close to the ocean I would want to walk on the beach every day, but I still prefer the woods, I like shade and birdsong. I like to see animals going about their business. There are of course birds and animals on the beach, but it feels different to me, I guess it’s the Midwesterner in me that still prefers green to blue.

My pampered pups Pirate, Tigger and Chica

-harvesting congo chilies on my walk this morning

I logged hundreds of hours on Chicago streets, finding treasure in garbage, my creative flow stemmed directly from my feet on the pavement.

I memorized 52 poems in 2016 while walking the Cero Frio in Mexico. I mourned my father walking that mountain, and I lost my beloved Bear there. But, I had hundreds of deep work walks there with her too. Walking is not a cure for hardship, it’s a balm, and can be therapy when applied regularly.

I wrote three books while walking, putting them to paper was the outcome of the actual work that occurred while walking. I have received real magic from the earth as I place my feet, one in front of the other upon her.

-my spirit animal, red dragonfly, resting in my hand

I know the earth is alive and sentient. I have felt it, heard it, talked to it, received care, support, and inspiration from it.  If you haven’t visited her lately, she misses you.

Are you a walker, a surfer, a gardener? How do you touch the earth? I’d love to hear your stories of earth magic.


Accessory a brooch by Abby Smith

Accessory a brooch by Abby Smith

In my early years as an artist I felt the need to justify…to defend the materials, explain the concepts, vindicate a loaded image. I mean who thinks of jewelry as art right? Especially jewelry made of garbage.
It disturbed me if I didn’t fully understand what I was presenting, and that sometimes I created an object with controversial intent. It’s comical in retrospect. I was a very mannerly artist indeed.
Likewise, I tried to write comprehensible poetry. If I wrote a line I didn’t understand, a word that arrived as a sound, something of questionable ilk, I removed it. How sad, I literally erased the moments of breakthrough out of fear I couldn’t explain myself. Where I got the notion that art should or could be graspable, defendable, I don’t know. I believed in what kills art; but I let that go, long ago. When I stopped explaining, I was more inspired, and more open to synchronicity in my art and life. Accessory is a good example.
I was thrilled when I found the little broken gun on a filthy Cuernavaca curb. I could not help but wonder what goes through the mind of a person who walks up to a sales clerk and hands them money for a toy machine gun. From the size of the gun it appears to be made for a five or six year old hand. I know boys (mostly) love guns, some claim this is genetic. And I’m seldom disturbed by other sorts of toy weaponry, cowboy revolvers for instance. But something about a replica of an AK47, the world’s most popular assault rifle, as Nicolas Cage puts it in God of War, placed in the hand of a six year old as a gift, perhaps even a reward, shocked me, and I’m not easily shocked.
It was obvious the gun would become a brooch, my favorite form. I envisioned it crustily sparkling with beads in Day of the Dead colors before I my walk ended. Then the title came to mind: Accessory…I was delighted by the double entandre: adornment and complicity.
Next, the search for the beads. A few months later, I was in the market in Tepoztlan and there was a vendor with sheets spread out, covered in piles of beads. It was the first time I’d seen beads for sale in a Mexican Market. One sheet was piled high with small bag of seed beads, exactly what I needed, at 3 pesos a bag, just my price range. I chose four bags, one with mixed beads I hoped would have sufficient variety to accent the base colors I’d chosen.
In the mixed bag I found six gold bugle beads: bullets– and one red, one white and one blue bugle bead to make a solid allusion down the barrel of my piece. In the whole bag there were only these nine bugle beads. That is the everyday magic of art.
Fearlessly, unapologetically, open your heart to its intentions and it will provide.

Sale, Coupon, Blatant Self Promotion!

Because I Love Love! I’m having a sweet sale. Use this code  VSVEVG0214  to receive 20 % off your entire purchase from Eloquent Remains.



Give your valentine something completely unique.

Om namo shiva ya

Om namo shiva ya

Patron your favorite starving artist! 



Treat yourself, you deserve it!



Just a few of the ONE-Of- A – KIND pieces at Eloquent Remains.

Your visits, shares and likes are greatly appreciated.

Beyond the Pale

Live...Beyond the Pale

Live…Beyond the Pale

My grandmother Betty Jo McDowell was well known for her sayings like: ‘colder than a well digger’s clavicle’, ‘show’em where the hog ate the cabbage’ and ‘to each his own said the old lady when she kissed the cow’. But my favorite, was one she often used to describe me, exclaiming “Abby, that is just beyond the pale!”

If you’re not familiar with this idiom it means; outside the acceptable norm. It’s and old English saying, referring to the boundary of the community known as the pale.

Though I knew Grandma didn’t exactly mean it as a compliment, there was both a cautionary and a conspiratorial tone in her voice. I understood that to live outside the normal parameters of society was risky, but desirable. And in part because of my Grandmother’s encouragement, I have spent much of my life there, beyond the pale.

This body of work is entitled ‘Beyond the Pale’ in memory of my Grandmother who loved beautiful and unique things. She applied her taste, and curiosity to become a successful antique dealer. I learned much about design, my appreciate of the unusual, and a fearless personal style from her example and tutelage. The pieces, Baubles and Blatant, repurpose vintage belt buckles from her estate.

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The slide show is a sample of the pieces available at my new Etsy store: Eloquent Remains.

I hope you’ll find something there that inspires you to venture outside the pale.

Visit my Facebook page for updates on my work, artists I admire and conversation about found objects and art. I’d enjoy to hearing about your great finds and creative repurposing.