Wednesday, December 3, 2008


A recent two week trip to Japan, organized by Santa Fe artist Gail Rieke and led by Michael Hart was my birthday pleasure...a long time dream finally realized. This small tour concentrated on mostly rural Japan and art and craft-both ancient and contemporary. Visits to an indigo dye master and traditional pottery villages were juxtaposed with stops at contemporary museums and galleries. I have memories of incredible landscapes and gardens, temples and shrines, the polite and considerate people, and the beautiful Japanese aesthetic in all things. A more extensive photo essay is posted on which is listed on the right.

ME at Benesse Museum Restaurant-Birthday lunch

Calligrapher, Shitennoji Buddhist Temple, Osaka

Ritsurin Koen 18th c. stroll garden

Tokoname shop


More photographs of my Japan journey can be accessed on the website

Persimmons drying

Temple gravestones, Takayama

Rice harvest, Shirakawago

Takayama shrine

Sunday, October 26, 2008

MINIATURE BOOK EXHIBIT - traveling schedule

The miniature book exhibit of the San Diego Book Arts (see September 26th post here) is traveling to the San Diego Public Library in Kensington till November 28th, and then goes to the International Printing Museum in Carson, CA. from November 29th to January 10th. The show has been at University of San Diego's Copley Library for the past month. Two of my books are included.


On the beach in Anguilla

Dale Copeland of Okato, New Zealand has organized this exhibit on showing art work and photos of international artists. There is also a calendar of artists that have been selected by a voting process of which I am "February"! This calendar sells for $12. plus $4. postage and can be ordered at

Saturday, October 25, 2008


Detritus: La Jolla

The West Coast Premiere of "Seeing the Forest for the Trees", held on October 11 at UCSD Geisel Library was a full house, with many cousins and friends attending. The Special Collections purchased three new artists' books that were displayed with 6 works already in the collection. It was especially cool to gather native plant cuttings from around the Library to refresh the "stuffing" between the pages of the commissioned Detritus book. Seeing the SD Book Arts exhibit at the Library was also a real treat.

Asian (collage)

Part of the California trip included time in L.A. where I visited the Lora Schlesinger Gallery which handles my collage art. I left 10 new pieces. The gallery is located in Bergamot Station in Santa Monica. It is always interesting to view art in the many galleries in Bergamot.

I also visited Judith Hoffberg who is ill. Judith is a curator and artists' book champion. My gratitude for her support over many years.

Mitchell Long on guitar

Staying with old Durango friends, Ethel and Ray Parker in Santa Monica was lovely. We heard our son Mitchell play at the Beverly Hills Promenade before visiting my cousin Donna Guske, her 8 month old triplets, and grandma Betty Pinney.

Saturday, September 27, 2008


Nature's Calligraphy April

Nature's Calligraphy June

Nature's Calligraphy September

Here's the seasonal changes at my outdoor environmental sod piece at the Denver Botanical Gardens at Chatfield (refer to previous posts of April 19 and May 24, 2008.)

Friday, September 26, 2008


From Shanghi

Winter Pressing 07-08 (within box)

Winter Pressing 07-08

Gradations of Gray

September was a very lively month for my art. And October is busy too.

I had two books in the Miniature Book Exhibit of SDBA at the Miniature Book Conclave in San Diego. "Yellow" and "From Shanghi".

My book "Peace" is been shown in a San Diego Book Arts show at the Mission Valley Public Library in San Diego, California. The show runs through October 18.

Coming up in October, check out the online exhibit "65Plus" on Dale Copeland's site, There will be an image of me doing something quite cool and an image of one of my outdoor site installations.

October also finds me in Tucson, Arizona for the opening reception of "Book Forms" at the Conrad Wilde Gallery - staying at the home of Marilu Norden, a Del Mar/Santa Fe artist friend. I have two bookworks in this show, "Language Bound" and Gradations of Gray"

We then journey to Del Mar, our old hometown for a few weeks. Friday, October 10 my husband Wendell and I will attend the musical memorial at UCSD for friend Tom Nee, longtime conductor of the La Jolla Symphony.

On Saturday October 11 from 3:30-5 the DCAT film "Seeing the Forest through the Trees: The Art of Mary Ellen Long" will be premiered at UC San Diego, La Jolla, the Seuss Room in the Geisel Library. There will also be an exhibit of my artists' books in the Library collection. Carol Ozaki, one of the producers of the film, will be on hand to discuss the process of creating the film.

And at the same time, Special Collections in the Geisel Library is the site of the San Diego Book Arts 2nd National Juried Show in which my recent "Winter Pressing: 2007-08" and "Language Found" are included. This exhibit was juried by Erica Torri, Director of the Athenaeum in La Jolla, CA.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

LAURA WAIT: Image & Structure workshop

I attended this August workshop at the Durango Arts Center and hosted the presenter Laura Wait. Having appreciated the artistry in her artists' books over the years, it was inspiring to learn her process and technique which included ideas with paste paper /mixed media techniques and learning a new binding.

Sunday, July 20, 2008


Language Bound (artists' book work)

At the end of June, I journeyed to Southern California with friend Carol Ozaki. We visited old haunts, walked the cliff overlooking the Pacific, had a little beach time, and saw the Maya Lin show "Systematic Landscapes" in San Diego. I also connected with a few artist friends. I rented a car and traveled to L.A., where I stayed with old Durango friends, Ray and Ethel Parker in Santa Monica and went to son Mitchell's gigs at Il Moro Lounge and Resturant (his trio) and the Skirball Center (with Katia Moraes). Exciting, wonderful music and time with our Cape Verdean "family", Dilma and sister Loka and their mom visiting from Cape Verde. I also connected with the Lora Schlesinger Gallery, who I have been associated with for over 25 years and spent one afternoon at the Bergamot Center visiting the myriad of galleries there. On the way back to Del Mar I met my cuz Lois for lunch. All and all an inspiring and great time.

July has been a time for workshops held in my home studio (Papermaking and Collage) This summer I am also spending a limited amount of time at my job as artist-in-residence at Edgemont Highlands, primarily maintaining the 37 environmental sites done over the past 3 years.

July and August highlights the Invitational Book Arts show at the Art Library at the Durango Arts Center. Above is the piece I have in that show.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

500 HANDMADE BOOKS (Lark Books)

Cover: Laura Wait



The above 2 images of my book art are included in this wonderful book, "500 Handmade Books: Inspiring Interpretations of a Timeless Form"... Just published and available for purchase in mainstream bookstores.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

CONNECTIONS:EARTH+ARTIST A tribute art show in resistance to Desert Rock

Bleeding Sky by James Joe (Navajo)

List of Seven (Long assemblage)

My assemblage and artists' book "Gradations of Grey" are included in this exhibit (protesting the building of another coal-burning power plant on the Navajo reservation) at the Center for Southwest Studies, Fort Lewis College, Durango, Colorado. "List of Seven" includes sumi ink-dipped tea bags labeled with seven pollutants that are released from coal-burning power plants.

Saturday, June 14, 2008



This artists' book sculpture uses stone from Colorado and Lokta paper with collaged insect imagery taken from an early 20th century encyclopedia. An accompanying box holds pinned insects.

Winter Pressing 2007-08

The other work accepted by the juror is my annual "Winter Pressing". Each year I lay paper on the earth to be buried under winter snow. Nature acts on the paper, embossing, staining and documenting the snowfall amounts. The image shown is one of four in a series. The series won an honorable mention.

Saturday, May 24, 2008


Red Shale Stack (from an environmental art workshop at Colorado Art Ranch Artposium)

Late spring found me traveling to Steamboat Springs and the Colorado Art Ranch's Artposium at the Carpenter Ranch owned by The Nature Conservancy. The drive with friends Carol and Ron Ozaki along the western slope of the state (Ouray, Montrose, Grand Junction, I70east, to Rifle and north) was resplendent with spring green against a background of snow still on the high peaks. The theme of land at the Artposium was fascinating and inspiring with presenters and attendees from the fields of visual arts.literary arts, and land stewardship. Art sharing, good food, a bird watching walk, environmental art and writing workshops, a roaring bonfire, and a cello performance enriched the weekend.

Animal Hole (from the environmental art workshop)

Nature's Calligraphy, Denver Botanic Garden at Chatfield (in process)

On the route home through Denver, catching a ride with Ridgeway, Colorado artist Meredith Nemirov, we stopped to see how my April project was faring. (see April 19th post) The sod had turned a golden brown and the grasses were bright green and growing, threatening to engulf the sod lines. This site-specific landwork continues to transform in its on-going process.


I recently harvested grasses in a wetland area that were braided last fall at the Edgemont Highlands development where I am artist-in-residence. The braids of grass, pressed to the earth by the winter snows, were gathered and wrapped around a nearby cottonwood tree.

Friday, May 2, 2008


I was recently in this exhibit at 23Sandy Gallery in Portland, Oregon. It was juried by Gay Walker, Special Collections Librarian at Reed College Library in Portland. Link to the 23 Sandy Gallery website, click Past Exhibitions, Secrets & Lies to find my name and images of 3 artists' book works.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008


This fundraising event on April 26th at the Durango Arts Center was held to honor me as an artist and contributor to the arts in the Durango community for over 25 years. An exhibition and silent auction of tribute artworks was also part of the evening...the artists having donated an original work of art with proceeds benefiting the Arts Center. It was an amazing exhibition by amazing artists: Judy Brey, Sandra Butler, Nancy Deacon, Ron Fundingsland, Deborah Gorton, Louise Grunewald, Chyako Hashimoto, Barbara Klema, Pat Lorenzen, Jules Masterjohn, Carol Martin, Maureen May, Mary Ellen Morrow, Mariah Mullins, Karen Pittman, Linda Robinson, and Carol Salomon. A lovely comemorative program was produced which included poems by my friends Katherine Leiner and Grace Cavalieri and images of my art over 40 years. The documentary film, "Seeing the Forest for the Trees: The Art of Mary Ellen Long" was also shown. Maureen May, my long time friend in art, gave a very touching tribute talk. Needless to say, I was humbled and very overwhelmed by this outpouring of love. The committee worked very hard to make this a memorable evening included Regina Hogan, Chair, Karen Thompson, Christina Ertezek, Linda Geer, J.M. Jones, Pat Lorenzen, Carol Ozaki, Diane Panelli, and Janice Weeks. I thank them all.

Program page

Program page

Accepting my award

Husband Wendell and I beginning "The Dancing"!


Our little town participated in this international event on April 4th at the Art Library, Durango Art Center, Durango, CO. A great time was had by one and all. To see examples of this art from around the world, google "edible books".

A few examples:

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


I have just learned that Durango Community Access TV (DCAT) website has the film on Flash Media Player (which works on some computers, not mine!). One can check it out by linking to, clicking Web videos, then documentary...a mini version of the big screen.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

ART OF NATURE: Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield

I recently completed three environmental art projects at this nature conservancy. Working with grand vistas of the foothills of the Rocky Mountains southwest of Denver, Colorado on former farmlands, my site-specific installations used indigenous materials and sod grasses.

"Nature's Calligraphy"

Patterns etched by worm larvae inspired the sod lines on this hillside. Enlarged, they speak of intricacies in nature and create a meditative trail to experience and walk.

"Curtains: Bone and Twig

Twigs gathered from the land's predominant tree, the cottonwood, and bones refering to the land's domestic and wild animal life, were gathered and hung to create curtains of floating calligraphy.

"Willow Bundling"

Fabric ties wrap sheaves of willow and refer to practices of bundling cut stalks of grain on these farmlands in past eras.

Thursday, April 3, 2008


"Nature's Calligraphy"

Here's my contribution to the annual fundraiser for the local college radio station in Durango, Colorado. (A gluelam, carved with patterns that worm larvae make in the cores of trees, becoming a plant stand). Always a fun event that challenges the artists of the community. Check out the website to see this years variety of items up for auction, Thursday night, April 3 at the Durango Art Center.

Saturday, March 29, 2008


"Ocean" (part of a collage series)

I have been making collage since 1980. Collage was my primary gallery work for over 25 years. My production of collage is less now, but my fingers get itchy around this time of the year and this exhibit on the net and in New Zealand is a great destination for sharing small image collage. Please link to the website in April to see an amazing array of collage from all over the world and to learn more about how artists are exchanging and selling their work through the vision of artist Dale Copeland in Okato, New Zealand.

Thursday, March 27, 2008



If you are a Durango area resident and would like to buy one, stop by Durango Community Access TV (DCAT) in the Smiley Building downtown Durango. The price is $15.00.

If you are out-of-town these DVD's can be ordered by sending a check for $18.00 (which includes shipping/handling) to DCAT, 1309 E. Third Avenue #27, Durango, CO 81301 and indicate your name and mailing address. Allow 1 week or so for delivery.

See past blog post covering the Durango premiere of the film and the local review. Arrangements are also being made to premiere the film in Southern California in Fall, 2008. Look for information on that later this year.

Monday, March 17, 2008


I am pleased to participate in the traveling exhibit YOUR DOCUMENTS PLEASE opening at The Museum of Arts & Crafts in Itami, Japan April 4. Other venues are in Budapest, Hungary and Bratislava, Slovakia . International artists have created "Documents of Identification for themselves using the unbridled power of their art to create a vital document for purposes (known and unknown) of identification, emigration, immigration and imagination."

Sunday, February 24, 2008


Mary Ellen and husband Wendell at reception

(click on to enlarge)

Review in Durango Telegraph, February 21, 2008 (click on review to enlarge)

A very good turnout considering a major fire in downtown Durango was happening at the same time and it was snowing! The reception was quite classy featured "Long Shots" (Mary Ellen Martinis), Asian style apetizers created by Carol Ozaki, and piano music by friends Julia Klema and Chyako Hashimoto. The film on the big screen was beautiful and well-received. I am very pleased that this film takes my passion for environmental art to a larger audience and I am very grateful for the hard work and talent of Jules Masterjohn, Director and Chris Hall, Cinematographer that made this happen. Also to be thanked are John Pennington for sound, Carol Ozaki, Producer, Durango Community Access TV, and all that supported the film through financial contributions. An excellent Q&A session wrapped up the evening. Ordering information will be available soon for DVD's.