Joyce Lyon

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Soki’s Room

Dimensions 20”hx19” framed 
Medium:: Digital photograph on Thai Mulberry paper

My friend Soki was an artist and a spiritual seeker.  Over the course of her life she had worked with children and the homeless.  As she became more and more immersed in the ways of Buddhism, she allowed me to travel with her, as witness, as ally.  Her journey was important to both of us.

In early morning, on my last visit before she died, I photographed the luminous sky framed by the window of her room.  The light seemed to dissolve substance, to become substance.  Beyond this I have no words.  The image must be enough.

Dimensions 24″hx30″ framed
Medium:: Oil stick on Arches Oil paper

I walk in Crosby Farm Park in St. Paul along the Minnesota River. I know I am a visitor. The bdote, the site of the Dakota origin story, is nearby. In recent years, seasonal flooding has been extreme. Trees that in earlier times hosted temporary puddles at their base have trunks under feet of water. Is this is a normal cycle or a prelude to more extreme changes?

Thoughts about knowing a place intimately, about history, nature and climate change are active as I walk and as I work in the studio. People tell me the work is beautiful, not an easy beauty but one that includes the fierceness of destruction, the cycle of decay and hopefully, replenishment. People also tell me that they use my work to ignite their memories, to revisit their own experiences along these or similar waters. In order to engage in protecting our wild places and the multiplicity of ways in which we know them, we need awe and pleasure alive within us.

Dimensions 7.75″hx 6.125″ closed; 7.75″hx24-36″ extended
Medium:: Artist’s accordion book

An artist’s book with two voices, consisting of post-it notes my friend Cynthia and I left for each other when she came to help care for my aging cat, messages in which Cynthia reminded me with her attention and wisdom how time’s passage and growing old are part of life’s structure. Later, as Cynthia made her journey with cancer, it became my turn to keep her company and try to reflect back to her the value of her life. It was a challenge, a privilege and a blessing to do this.


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