Atman Caught in plaster: Yoga Teacher.

Christine Palamidessi, author and writer, works mainly with paper, making sculptures, prints, paintings, and books. She studied cartapesta in Lecce, Italy, with master artisan Claudio Riso, and mask making in Venice.  Both these techniques rely on a very practiced skill of layering paper in a mold and then embedding the paper with hardening agents. Using traditional cartapesta, which in most circles is considered a craft , Palamidessi creates contemporary sculptures.  Many are inspired by classical form and yoga.  Palamidessi had early visual art training, as a child.  If you like, you may read an interview about her early art influences in Les Femme Folles.

She evolved into doing sculpture by writing on three dimensional paper objects that were the same size as a computer screen.  “After the internet took over the writing profession and we were no longer handling paper and ink, I began to yearn for a tactile medium,” she said.


Artist in Residence at Mass MoCA. In the printshop.

Writing was my profession for twenty plus years.  I started out writing ad and radio copy in Baltimore and then moved to Boston where I wrote product copy.  Since my undergrad degree was in writing and film, it was a natural progression to write about film.  I moved to New York and fell full-fling into the film and video world. When I married and moved to Boston, in 1986, I continued writing about film and began to write fiction. In 1995 ,St.Martin’s Press published my first novel, The Virgin Knows.”

Dassa Oppenheimer giving instruction and demonstration (twists).

My father did yoga. I remember him standing on his head in the 1960s. So I got an early start.  In my adult life, all along my career path, I practiced Yoga. Starting with Sivananda in Pittsburgh, where I found my first teacher, and moving on to study with David Life, practicing in his small, colorful Lower Eastside Jivamuka Studio when I moved to Manhattan.  Since the 1990s, Iyengar Yoga has become my preferred discipline. For my 200 and 500 RYT, I trained with Karin Stephan in Cambridge and Val Spies in Tampa.  In addition, I have been a long-time, devoted  student of Dassa Oppenheimer , an Iyengar teacher, who died this year at the age of 103! You can view my videos of her teachings on YouTube and Vimeo.

Yoga took me to India in 2007 where I enjoyed private pranayama lessons with students of Marharishi Mahesh (who taught The Beatles!) and Swami Ramdev.  I studied ecstatic breathing, too, at the Osho Institute in Dehradun.

In India , at a party, with the wonderful children of friends.

A certain point, which I often say was related to my travel in India along with the disappearance of the tactile sense in writing,  I was strongly called back to the visual arts, particularly to sculpture.  For sure, my yoga practice influenced the career change; it  keeps the internal emptiness polished and still and ready to grab inspiration, form, and color as if it were lightening.

Practicing on the back deck. (Flipping the dog)

Both my writing and visual art explores the relationship between the visible and invisible worlds.  Paper is the medium that catches it all for me: words, color, shape, ink, plaster.