There are deeper stories in all my drawings…. So far I have only shared one on one. But since there are so many people wearing my clothing from all over the world, I thought it may be time to clue you in on my process. I do not make art merely as fashion or because I think a particular totem or symbol is cool. I only start a piece of art when I feel it as a deeper assignment. I don’t even plan for it to go on a garment… It only later ends up working out that way.
Here is the creation story of the Feathered Quill
Some years ago my husband drove past a devastating accident. My arms flew up towards the sky, knowing that we just witnessed the passing of a human…. We were not needed on-site and drove on in shock. Upon returning home a few days later I was still churning with the energies of this experience. While standing outside my cabin one of my land mates pointed out something under my steps right outside my front door. When I went to look I saw a whole configuration of owl feathers. Wow. Special delivery from our cat? Dang. Not just one… but about 13 of them. I felt equally blessed and scared. I picked them up off the ground, standing at the threshold of my home I wondered ‘ Do I bring them into my home? Do I accept this medicine into my life?’ I had always felt that owl was one of my allies… Yet it wasn’t something to take lightly as I have experienced some intense things surrounding owl medicine. While owl medicine speaks of wisdom, clairvoyance, and magic, among other things…. it also speaks of death and being the guardian of the afterlife. I feared what it would bring into my life.
Yet since these feathers had made it all the way to my doorstep via my beloved cat, I decided to trust and gathered them up. I walked them through the threshold of my door-way and placed them on my altar. Still concerned and disturbed I grabbed paper and pen and began to draw this tribal looking feather. I soon started to feel a deep alchemical shift. I surprisingly started to feel at ease. My internal landscape morphed from fear to honor. I could feel the honor of midwifing death. To be alive we have to accept death. Owl medicine was teaching me to give it its place without unconsciously calling it forth. This honoring is a responsibility that required me to step up.
I never intended for it to go on a shirt. But I guess…. that’s how things work out in my world. I was flipping through my drawing pad a few years later, realizing it would look beautiful printed on the upper arm. I call this drawing the ‘Feathered Quill’. I would like to see it as a tool to write our stories in such ways that allow us to become empowered in places of shadow and pain. To imbue beauty to these places. To wear the power of transformation on our sleeve. As a reminder to ourselves and all of our loved ones around us.
May we all find our way!
My journey with owl continued….. The Feathered Quill was only the beginning of my owl related quest.
After I drew the Feathered Quill I went into medicine ceremony within a few days. In this ceremony, I was taken under the wing by a legion of owls and they took me along the coastline of the Big Sur Coast from where I took a deep dive into depths of despair. I wept into the earth with the deepest apology for all the ways we are failing as humans to live in alignment with the earth. My grief was bottomless. I did not know how I would ever resurrect myself from this place. Layers got peeled from my eyes and everywhere I went in the days and weeks and months to follow I could only see our failing. At the same time, I could feel this legion of owls following me around as my guardians. And they permitted me to draw owl medicine. But it took me a long time until it happened. It was a year and a half after that ceremony and the feathers appearing under my doorstep that my husband and I were traveling up to Orcas Island, where he had a music gig with Ayla Nereo. As we made our way up north there were too many reminders of our imperfect world. Trump signs (this was pre-election), so much logging and we visited one of the largest sitka spruce trees alive in the world. Yet all I wanted to do is cry into the base of its roots for the sadness I felt that we should have so many more elder trees in the world to call our allies. It wasn't that I was sad and depressed the entire time, but I carried a deep burden in my heart. We had my trailer in tow to also bring Leom Designs to the Imagine Festival. We arrived a few days before the festival kicked in and one of the days I sat myself down on the sunny cliff overlooking the beautiful waters of the Salish Sea. I sat with my drawing pad and as I overlooked this beautiful view I was able to behold perfection. And within this reflection of nature in its true beauty, my nervous system was able to regulate and drink from its intactness. And within an hour and a half, the owl drawing landed on my page effortlessly. There even was an owl hooting in the distance. It felt like such profound medicine to my heart. I call her ‘heart-wings’. She came to remind us of our intactness through turbulent times. A spirit souvenir of the most high.
The story of the Lotus Serpent
I drew the Lotus serpent after I was bitten by a snake in Bali. I was walking in the dark on a narrow path after a big rain and suddenly felt a sharp pain in my ankle. I had no idea what it could have been (my first thought was a hand-sized tarantula) but when I used my light I saw a snake coiling away in the dark. I hobbled into the house to see where it had sunken its fangs into my flesh…. blood dripping from each hole. And after a wild midnight motorbike ride (with my tank on almost empty and no gas stations open) I embarked on a journey for anti-venom. A friend who did not ride the motorbike sat in the back of my bike, making sure I wasn’t too dizzy to drive. We eventually found a clinic that had the remedy and we made it back home on fumes several hours later. It was also auspicious to me, as we had just discussed my Mayan astrology that morning…. and being a red crystal serpent made things feel interesting when a serpent crossed my path later that night. That day had also been a day of celebration, as my first ever Leom Designs website had gone live. Which was bound to change and transform my life as an artist.
The next day I felt raw and vulnerable. The primordial merging of teeth and flesh and snake and human struck a potent chord in me. Nevertheless, she inspired me to make art. And in my art lotuses bloomed from her poisonous tongue, making medicine for all who dared to rise through intensity into creation. Lotuses that bloom over the heart and eventually give more seeds back to the earth to feed the spiral of creation.
It was a beautiful art assignment aligning with the Balinese Nyepi day. A day when the entire Island shuts down all activities and businesses to honor a day of silence. It is amazing how well received this piece has become. I was blessed by the serpent and I have been pleasantly surprised how many people wear this piece for ceremonial purposes.
In the men's Serpent Button Up shirt I used the same snake drawing, but changed the snakes head and opted not to use the lotuses as it would have required a tunic to make it fit.
I believe that whatever we create after having a transformational/metaphysical experience in form of song, art, poetry, etc…. that art becomes encoded with the healing we experienced as the healing is still alive in us and will transcribe itself into a symbol. And then that blessing can be shared and decode itself according to the individual who resonating with that art.
At first, I wanted to write about my experience, but then I decided that a drawing will articulate my experience better. I felt drawn to draw koi and I was drawn to draw dragon. And when I went to study the shape of coy I stumbled into a Japanese legend about a koi who swam up-stream, listening to its dreams and aspirations end eventually reached ‘Dragon Gate’ where it transforms into its higher self. A dragon.
How perfect, I thought. THAT was exactly what I needed to draw. A metamorsafish. Because…. Not only do caterpillars morph into butterflies, but so do koi turn into dragons and so do we become our higher selves if we listen to our dreams and aspirations against all odds.
This drawing is 100% freehand and nothing about it has been modified on a computer. It is my mediation to sit with a steady hand in deep listening and meditation, in service to the energies that wish to make themselves known.
Here we engraved my art onto a manzanita tea tray that my husband Jesse made from a manzanita burl he dug up from the land we live on.
This drawing has a potent transmission and is very dear to my heart. Please bear with me as I tell this tale…. And be forewarned that it is a potent one. May it bring healing.
My pen went down on the page to draw this totem synchronistically at the exact same moment that a dear and beloved friend slid out on a motorbike and left this plane.
I was at home and decided to make art as my husband Jesse and our friend Josiah Akoya were out and about on their motorbikes on a beautiful autumn day. I generally always wait until I have a particular assignment to make art, but this time I began the process without feeling that particular permission to start… Which felt a bit like cheating. Yet I prayed with the paper before my pen went down. Soon after I received a text message form my husband telling me there had been an accident. Scared and not knowing the extent of it all I waited for my husband to return. And when he pulled off his helmet I broke down hyperventilating… as the expression on his face did not bring good news. While we received the final verdict from the hospital through his mom I broke down onto the floor in disbelief and shock.
But soon after something told me to get up. My friend, my dear beloved friend was doing the thing that we are ALL going to do one day….and I had to rise up to honor and yes…. to even celebrate it. Okay buddy, let’s do this!!!!!! I gotchu. I will be there with you.
I opened my arms up to the sky and took a deep breath in. That is when I realized that I had started drawing that scarab right there and then, aligned with his departure. In Egypt the scarab is a symbol of ETERNITY.
And for the next 5 days, by candlelight and playing a single medicine mantra on repeat, I drew this piece in honor of his eternal being. To my complete surprise… although my tears ran deep… I was somehow able to step between the worlds and expand, rather than contract and I felt as clear as a bell. I also learned that the scarab represents a chariot to a higher dimension and was a symbol of rebirth.
With each line and dot I felt as if I was tracing him through the portals. I felt the majesty of his being. I felt him smiling his beautiful smile for being there with him in this way. And as much as I felt my love flowing through the tip of my pen, I could feel him translating his message, his love letter to the world through me. A high five from the other side.
Definitely the most potent assignment of my life. And somehow I saw poetry in the tragic….The moment I could accept the present…. he poured gifts into my heart. Holy wow.
Josiah loved my clothing. He wore something Leom every day. He understood where I come from and always reminded me of my magic, even if I forgot who I was. Now… here is this piece of art that was birthed under such a potent circumstance. How is it even possible to put it on a piece of clothing? Is that ok? I asked the question many times.
And every time the answer was “Oh hell yes you are going to do that Margot! Remember…. this is what you do…. You make sacred art and this is our collaborative piece”.
Ok. Yes. I will. Deep breath.
But I knew that I had to do more work to birth the autonomy of the symbol. I had to meditate and listen for its deeper gift so a person who did not even know him could receive a gift outside of his personal departure story.
But please know that Josiah is a magician, a healer and an artist. He crafted symbols his entire life and I believe he did so, so he could transmit love through them from a higher plane.
The Akoya Scarab is a symbol of Eternity
A prayer for those who stand at a threshold
This symbol stands as an invitation to be brave so we may rearrange our cellular being in the face of pain
To open up, even through our grief
So we may rise in the beauty way
Becoming ordained by love
(I wrote this quickly, so I could get it up online…. and may come back to edit and add crucial bits that I may have missed. Blessed be)
I am working on getting more stories up! Stay tuned.