The Matter(s) Collective brings artists from Flagstaff, Winslow, and the Hopilands as they champion Mama Terra! The collective features book art, botanical illustration, photography, paintings, fiber art, and sculpted metal works that highlight the beauty, inspiration, and solace that we find in the natural world. As graduates of the Flagstaff Art’s Council 2016 ArtBox Institute, the Matter(s) Collective explores community, creativity, and how art contributes to the sustainability of ourselves, our communities, and our planet.

Matter(s) Collective Members

  • Brittany Burgard
  • Ronni Ann Hall
  • Ed Kabotie
  • Julia Jai Miller
  • Angie B. Moline
  • Catherine Ryan
  • Holly Troy
  • Jeanne Trupiano
  • Gary Wood


Brittany Burgard
When I find myself focusing inward to the exclusion of all else, plants pull me outward, engaging me in the moment. My work aims to express that connection to the mesmerizing rhythm, color, structure and pattern found in botanical subjects, exploring relationships between plants, ourselves and the rest of existence. My focus is on cycles of germination, growth, reproduction and dying—celebrating and ruminating on my personal role in these processes. I’m fortunate to study plants under scientific scrutiny through commissioned illustration (and I get to contribute to botany without editing papers)! My illustrations are meticulously researched, technically descriptive and imaginatively composed; they embody the personality of a species while highlighting significant characteristics simply and clearly. In all my work, I prefer employing live plants in the field, or freshly harvested from the garden. I supplement when necessary with specimens pressed and dried or preserved in alcohol, and I may also use macro- to micro-level photography. Tools of the trade include botanical publications, herbaria, plant presses, cameras, microscopes and hand lenses, extensive notes, forceps, and rulers, rulers, rulers—all of which aid in the paramount focus of my work: observation. Plants call for our attention and engagement; I add my voice by depicting them.

Ronni Ann Hall, Designing Fairy
I’ve been designing stuff that helps and teaches others most of my adult life from creating custom pet portrait cards for grieving pet owners to being one of the pioneers in the field in creating an online school in healing and psychic communication. When I look back to when I became a visual storyteller with a message, it was my mom’s influence reading Aesop’s Fables to me at bedtime. With the gift of a happy face bag filled with drawing supplies I became an artist, and a whimsical one at that. I later fell in love with Count Morbida from Dynamite magazine, who taught with fun games while pulling you into his gothic spooky world. The genius of Ed Emberley taught how to draw with whimsy. I wanted to teach with fun like them. I work in whatever medium will deliver wisdom, whether in the form of a fairy deck, an animated movie, a gallery exhibit of cloth dolls, or a book series. Heavily influenced by many experiences with the Spiritual realm, I hope to bring an element of magic into everything I create: the fairy magic of Designing Fairy.

Julia Jai Miller
I can spend weeks ruminating on the materials and structures for my work. I look for the perfect shape, size, and materials to convey my message. The project evolves in my head and on paper before I attempt to construct it. Many times, I begin construction and realize it isn’t what I want and I have to begin again. This can be frustrating, but often this leads to inspiration for a future project. After I make the piece, many times the concept stays with me for multiple versions before I reach a sense of finality. Some ideas have stayed with me for years.

Angie B. Moline
Aldo Leopold said,  “One of the penalties of an ecological education is that one lives alone in a world of wounds” because many people don’t recognize the invasive species, habitat loss, and negative human impacts on wild places.  My work as an ecologist has exposed me to immeasurable beauty and heartbreaking loss. I create art that takes a whimsical look at nature to lighten my view of the relationship that humans have with the environment.  I search to find wooden windows that have been discarded from historic homes and stashed in barns, backyards, and basements. Then I take these treasures back to my studio where I use acrylic stained glass paint to create privacy screens and decorative panels that catch light and reflect color.  My paintings suggest that the possibility of an unexpected delight is around every corner. I invite you to set down your burdens – dance with color and play with the sun.

Catherine Ryan
Camping and recreating in nature wasn’t much available to me growing up in the suburbs back in New England. When I was a small child, I connected to nature, instead, tip-toeing through the thick pachysandra patch behind my grandparent’s garage. I’d also seek the corners of city parks, where the walking paths didn’t go. In these places, the city sounds would fade away and my young imagination would transport me into my own enchanted forest. At a young age, I became addicted to the feeling of losing myself in the wild, and developed the talent of falling no longer noticed, being quiet and observant. What a gift to have as a photographer. Oftentimes, my subject doesn’t realize my presence, not even sure the trees know I’m photographing. And in the end, I am able to reveal to you what really goes on out there, when we sink into our enchanted forest and find ourselves lost, or is it, find our way home?

Holly Troy
My work is a physical response to my relationship with Nature and how I move through it. I’m not satisfied with skittering along the surface, with looking at the world from a distance—I have to dive in, get dirty.  Whether I’m mountain biking, meditating or painting, I explore the edges, the places of shift and change, where the thin quiver of constant movement along boundaries is almost unseen. Pushing the edge requires being in the moment; it can be prickly, sharp, and jagged—it can also be fun, expansive, and sublime. My paintings often begin as a meditation in agitation. Pressing the surface of discomfort, moving with the medium, creates a shift. The result is playful and raw. I know a piece is done when I step back from the canvas and find myself dancing.

Jeanne Trupiano
Coming from a family of makers–wood and sewing–I sought ways to express my own desire to create. Sewing was interesting but I had to figure out how fabric was actually constructed and do it by hand. Finding the craft of handweaving and spinning yarn opened up the multi-cultural world of fiber arts to me. Initially, I worked to replicate the amazing woolens and cottons from 19th century patterns using heavy wooden looms and spinning wheels. Today, I employ the techniques of weaving using natural materials and metallics to create fiber assemblages. I find satisfaction in making these non-functional, fabric objects, as a way to explore how cloth is used in our daily lives to soften life’s sometimes hard edges.

Gary Wood
While I have been creating art in some form my entire life, I cringe when I say the words “I am an artist.” I have no set plans for my art; it just comes to me as I go through my creative process.  I have been doing custom fabrication for the past sixteen years on various types of vehicles.  I use materials ranging from metal to fabric as well a variety of techniques to achieve a desired look.  While working as a custom fabricator, I mastered a technique called embossing.  Using this technique, I started creating designs stemming from my native background, which is seen throughout my work.  My process starts with an idea and is then transformed into the art you see before you.

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