Hi, I’m Rachel. I’m a watercolor artist, a writer and seeker. I’m endlessly curious about the connections between art and the magic behind it. The moment when someone pulls a card, picks up a painting or reads my words and feels a soul-deep connection. Like it has always been theirs, and I was just holding it for a little while, waiting for them to come along…. These are the shooting stars, the glittering bits of magic I try to infuse into my art and writing, jewelry and tarot decks. Thanks for visiting. I hope you find a connection that sparks something for you!
BE A SEEKER OF EVERYDAY MAGIC….
“Above all, watch with glittering eyes the world around you, because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.” — Roald Dahl
I wanted to hold in my hands a connection to water. The ancient and timeless. The deep and mysterious. I wanted to understand the power and softness in this element that flows around me and through me. I wanted to ask it what lessons it had for me. I searched and searched, and when I couldn’t find what I wanted…I made it. Welcome to The Flow Tarot, the only tarot deck based completely in the element of water. The four suits correspond to four states of water on Earth: salt water, fresh water, snow and ice, clouds and rain. Each image is deeply connected to the lessons water has for all of us.
FROM THE FLOW TAROT….
“The Stars card brings a message of guidance from afar. You are finding your way through the dark. The things that once obscured your view have cleared. Now you can take in the fullness and magic around you. Feel the sand sink under your feet, the sunset breeze on your skin. Follow the shore or set your sights higher. Pick a star. Let that be your guiding light…. Your path is being illuminated. Chart your course. The universe is shining its light, just for you.” — Rachel Torda
Painting with watercolor is collaborative process. It is a dance, a back and forth between artist and element. I love that even the term itself breaks down into the most simplest parts: ‘water’ and ‘color.’ It reminds me that my role as artist isn’t to control the paint, but instead to coax it and guide it into a new form. I push water from my brush out onto the paper and create texture; I drop in color to embody light and shadow. Slowly, these two separate pieces merge together to tell a new story. And through this doorway is where the real transformation begins….
Carving out moments of stillness is a big part of my daily creative practice. Sometimes it’s seated on a meditation cushion, sometimes it’s getting into the flow of painting. Sometimes it’s as simple as making tea. I use rituals to help find my focus. Lighting a candle, listening to music, wearing my mala necklaces, making sure to get out and walk in the sunshine at least once a day…. These little rituals are sacred to me. They mark not just beginnings and endings, but are touchstones I return to again and again throughout my day.
For many years I’ve studied and taught about Hildegard of Bingen, an amazing 10th century nun who was a writer, composer and healer, and who, at age 43, was inspired to start her ‘second life’ as a visionary. I’ve taught her concepts to college students and artists. I’ve shared what wisdom a medival mystic and healer might have for modern-day seekers. I’ve played her music and even baked her cookies! And this past summer I took on a new endeavor: building a small vegetable, herb and healing garden in our yard. Here I have slowed down, deepened my connection to the seasons, learned the ways of plants I’ve used my whole life but never grown, and developed an understanding of Hildegard’s concept of Viriditas, her belief that there is a living light in all things.
Behind the scenes, another little venture has slowly been taking shape. My husband Neil and I have a collection of antique letterpresses. The newest one is 70 years old; the oldest is 130. They range weight from just a few pounds to over a half ton. Together, we are slowly learning the art of letterpress printing, repair and maintenance. The plan is to use it alongside my artistic work, combining the textural letterpress with flowing watercolors. And some fun graphic projects as well. It is all a labor of love.