"I think of radiance as the way that the light comes from the inside out." - Lisa Kagan

Check out this recent article about my new book, Coming Home to Myself, Poetry and Art by Lisa Kagan

Lisa Kagan at work in her studio

Thanks to all of you for your overwhelming support of my book, Coming Home to Myself, which I released at the start of this summer. I have really appreciated your book orders and thoughtful reflections upon receiving your copies over the last few months. If you haven’t had a chance to check out the book yet, copies can be purchased through my online store.

I was honored to have this article “Woodstock Resident Publishes Book of Poetry and Art” written by Elizabeth Ussher Groff published in the THE BEE newspaper in Portland this October. I have included an excerpt from the article below.

The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has caused some people to seek creative ways to deal with isolation, and the sense of dislocation from society and self. One Woodstock resident used her artistic abilities for solace – and as a way to come back to herself during hard times.

Lisa Kagan found that writing poetry and creating art became a salve for the soul, and that led to a book which she published this past summer entitled “Coming Home to Myself.”

For almost two decades Kagan has hosted workshops throughout the Portland area through her business, “Family Heirloom Arts”— a business dedicated to helping individuals and families celebrate their own life stories and significant life milestones, through the creation of illustrated heirloom books: “As a college student at Wesleyan University in Connecticut, I wrote and illustrated my first family heirloom book, which would eventually become the genesis for the creation of my business.”

Even before she could talk, as a very young child, Kagan began painting life-size papier-maché birds with her father, Neil Kagan, who is also an artist. When she was three years old, she and her father collaborated on the creation of her first illustrated book. “I did the illustrations and narrated the story,” she says, “And he wrote the story down and then assembled the finished book.”

So, as the COVID-19 pandemic continued, she kept writing and creating art that she describes as “serving as an intimate companion for navigating life’s passages. This collection is an ode to the kindness and generosity that the world desperately needs, and the power of turning that caring toward ourselves.”

Coming Home to Myself, A Book of Art and Writing by Lisa Kagan

A simple 7½” by 7½” book of 112 pages, it contains nine chapters that she describes as “exploring the essential elements of the human experience: Courage, passion, patience, grace, faith, resilience, wonder, gratitude, and renewal.” Each chapter includes four to seven short poems, accompanied by lusciously-colorful paintings infused with the influence of nature.

“I have always been drawn to nature, and its infinite wisdom of design. In the spirit of the quote by John Burroughs — ‘I go to nature to be soothed, healed, and to have my senses put in order’— throughout my life, I’ve felt that I am tapped into my best self when I am immersed in the beauty of nature.”

Indeed, nature has been a panacea for many during the pandemic. To read Kagan’s book, some say, is to experience the beauty of language and nature through poems and art, and to be uplifted and inspired to continue on in hard times.

Life Stories Provide an Anchor During This Uncertain Season

As we continue to navigate this uncertain season, I am amazed at how the life story telling process continues to be an anchor during this tumultuous time. My family heirloom book clients have found a way to hone in on what matters most to them; their families and creating a legacy to treasure for generations. I have witnessed how this strong sense of drive and purpose in relation to their projects has been tremendously supportive and rewarding during this time, helping to illuminate a path forward from here. As the days are growing shorter again, are you feeling the call to delve into a life story project?

Family Heirloom Arts is continuing to help individuals and families celebrate life stories and significant life milestones through the creation of illustrated heirloom books. Please be in touch if you would like to set-up a free consultation to discuss ideas for your life story project.

Update on In-Person Programming

Wonder, Pen & Ink by Lisa KaganI had hoped to resume offering in-person art and writing programs including Touchstone Retreats, workshops, and classes this fall. Yet due to the continued uncertainty of the pandemic, I have decided to wait until 2022 to start offering in-person programs again. Many of you have reached out inquiring about our programs, and I will keep you posted once registration opens for 2022 programs. I really miss gathering in creative community with so many of you, and I am very much looking forward to being reunited in-person, hopefully in the near future.

Oral History Interviews
Writing & Editing
Book Layout & Design