Ecological Storytelling at Lopez Library

Submitted by the Lopez Library.

Persephone Rising, A Night of Ecological Storytelling will be held on Saturday, Nov. 19, 6-8 p.m., Fireside at the Lopez Library. This will be an evening of storytelling by Lopez Library Community Alchemist, Nikyta Palmisani, and revered Lopez Island Storyteller, Ed Sheridan. There will be a special guest appearance by longtime Lopez Library favorite, Rosie Sumner.

Ed Sheridan has been gracing audiences of all ages with captivating storytelling for many years. As Ed grew up, he had a mother who loved to read folktales, and later as a parent, he continued the tradition and read and made up stories to share with his children. Ed began telling stories in elementary schools 25 years ago. The students were very responsive as they became curious about the flow of the story, and they were emotionally involved as well. Before he knew it, Ed was telling stories at schools on Bainbridge Island, Suquamish and Kingston. It was a revelation when Ed started telling stories to adults here on Lopez Island. They were equally responsive, and in many cases, the stories were the same as the ones he told at the elementary schools. Ed realized there is a deep and ancient connection between people and stories, no matter how old they are. Stories teach us about life.

Nikyta’s storytelling is part of a larger body of work within the Boundary Project out of Oxford University, an arts-based consortium of artists and scientists working at the intersections of art, biodiversity and climate change. Nikyta has been exploring the placehood of Lopez Island and its echos of island living to the larger comparison of the British Isles. She is working with images of reweaving myceliolocigal webs of health and resilience both physically within regenerative agricultural practices on Lopez Island and metaphorically within the interconnected relationships of healthy communities. Nikyta has revisioned the ancient Persephone myth adding a modern and mycological perspective. She uses the metaphor of mycelium (the complex root systems of fungi) to speak to the need for the repair and strengthening of our relationships to seasonality and local foodsheds.

For the Boundary Project, Nikyta is joined by Lopez Artist, Juniper Blomberg. Juniper has been drawing on her ancestral reservoirs, specifically from Eastern Europe and

times past, to tell stories through textiles and embroidery. She is creating storied garments by hand with embroidered and appliquéd odes to nourishment that has fed her and her ancestors, as well as the current foods that feed her within the sea bounded place of Lopez Island where she and her family live close to the land. Juniper provided the inspiration and instruction to Nikyta in a multigenerational artistic collaboration. With Juniper and many Lopezian’s help, Nikyta has hand-carded and felted local islands wool, and needle-felted story and image onto wearable art in parallel with how we also literally wear the food we eat on our physical bodies. She will be wearing these “storied garments” for her storytelling.

Nikyta and Juniper will be exhibiting their works during the Lopez event, and Nikyta will be performing this same storytelling at Oxford University for the Boundary Project Exhibition a week following this special Lopez evening.

To RSVP for this event, please email