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Love the journal pages. I think they are a huge success. Silence that inner critic. What a wonderful inscription. Must tell you that I am so enjoying Mary Oliver. Hope you're feeling better!


Your work is beautiful and you are so poetic. I absolutely love "keeping in touch" via your blog. 'til I visit again. Bye Bye.


i liked seeing the little copper nests there. it reminded me of one i 'accidentally' made. maybe not my cat! he got into my beadwork once, and i had some rolls of copper wire there. when he was done with the finest gauge wire, it was a tangled mess. i clumped it together to throw away, and it looked like a nest, so i put some egg-shaped beads into it. i still have it on my dressing table!


Nina - thank you for sharing your inner most thoughts with us. I felt like we were sitting down over a cup of tea and talking of our dreams, fears, insecurities and joys. It took me what seemed like a long time to find a style that I could call my own and I try to guard it with my life -- but I know that someday I'll see something that looks exactly like what I do and it will take something out of me. Having said that though, I think each of us has to go our own way and stay true to ourselves. That's about all we can do. Meanwhile, no matter how many pieces that you see that seem 'the same' yours will always have that special gift of yourself that you give them.


I imagine that teaching the skills and the techniques that you also use in your own work as an artist must sometimes carry a lot of weight - in a number of different ways. The pressure to come up with something new and fresh for each workshop and also the joy of sharing your processes and your inspiration and your talent with others, combined with the inevitable chain of events that happens when you teach people things you are doing to create your own artwork, and then they concurrently go out and make artwork using the basis of your ideas, and in turn teach or show others the same techniques.

In one sense it creates a beautiful orb - an egg if you will - of creative reciprocity and creative energy, and in another sense, I would imagine that you - the start of the process in this case - do not always get back the full benefit of the energy and the inspiration and all of those things that you put out in the first place.

Personally, I think that you must be a brave and wonderful person/artist to be maintaining the delicate balance of being out there teaching all the time and also back in your studio making art. I so admire your skill and your ideas and your energy for the work of life we call art.

I seem to be very long winded this day... hope any of my words made sense... just wanted to say I hear your words, and though it is not part of my experience (the teaching) I still hear you...

Jane Wynn

No one
Can ever take
Away from

Your work will always- remain unique.

That is what I try remember. It is hard at times.
I know we have talked about this before.

I will happily confess- I can never look at an egg or a heart without thinking of you! HOW brilliant is THAT! (swoons...)

Warm thoughts...

Ann K.

Your work has depth and light and soul that I cannot find in any of the imitations. Others may be able to use your techniques, but they do not have your voice.


I love pale and stale! So much more to find in those things! I like going into a funky old shop where your eyes are caught by some strangely odd piece. For me it's usually some rusted old thang or some ragged wooded piece. Discolored porceline and discolored photos. I got into color and I am trying to get back to my "roots"! It's a toasty kind of feeling!!!


nina....your have shared the heart of your artistic soul, you have inspired so many, your gifts to all of us are treasures....and you will continue to lead the way...sometimes you just feel tired, and the task is duanting to know you have to lead the new year....remember faith, it will bring you the spring with new eggs,and of course the hatching of baby birds....your nest wont be emtpy minnie


Nina, you are the queen at what you do, you are loved and admired by so many people. I spoke to you in Cortona about how do you find the time to come up with new ideas, your timetable seemed exhausting. I used to tell my daughter whose friend copied everything she did from clothes to decorating, to take it as the biggest compliment, not everyone can come up with such wonderful ideas. We love you Nina, you will soon get over these blues.


Nina, for me your work evokes colour and in doing so, memories and warmth. your chosen palette and your very "earthy" style resonates deeply for me because when I first saw your work my mother had passed away the week before. your work, for me is a way to "feel" mum - she also loved "your" colour, she gathered and kept all, which i have inherited, eggs, thimbles, books, photos, glass and the list goes on. the style you use to construct your art, especially your books, cannot be improved on and it is for this reason that if I need to "feel" my mum, I use your work as my guide, if you like, my muse! BUT.... there is absolutely, positively NO way I would pretend to call your style my own. Nina, we love your work, it all screams "Nina Bagley made me" and as someone has already said this post, it has your voice like no other can replicate. xoxo thank you for the inspiration to create my own voice.

Vicki in Michigan

Nina, nobody else's work could look like yours. That is -- it could look like an imitation, but it could never come from your heart and soul, and no one who loves your work could mistake another's work for yours.

Your heart and soul shine through.

Through every piece, through every photograph of leaf-in-late-afternoon-golden-glow, through every set of thoughts you share with use here.

Your heart and soul glow, just like that leaf in the sunlight.

Stay true to your inner voice. We can hear you, humming, and we can distinguish your voice, your glow, from those of the imitators.......

oxo, V


In the words of Zora Neale Hurston

"there are years that ask qustions - and here are years that answer them."

Stay warm; something is brewing!


The other day I was looking at a blank page and your photograph of the leaf in the woods compelled me to draw (something I do VERY badly) because I just had to try to capture a bit of your beautiful moment. So you see, you move others creatively even when you are not aware of your influence.

Long ago I made a bird's nest hat (result of a serendipitous discovery in the discards of my sewing room wastebasket). It was one of my best and how I wish I still had it to send to you. Alas, I never even photographed it before it sold.

You will find your muse again. You amaze me!

Tracie Lyn Huskamp

dearest nina....

i am most pleased to know that your crown is cherished and worn. it is a small sparkle, much like a mirror, which merely reflects the beautiful and grace of its owner

my friend do to not let your heart be heavy. you have a most profound gift that you give to the world, beyond the art that pours forth from your soul. You offer hope!

You bring out the best in those around you.

And students long to capture the essence of your strength, wisdom, and sense of wonder.

those qualities...sweet nina... are the things that you give so freely which cause us to shine in your radiant sunlight.



Nina, I can't begin to understand how you feel. I have only started following altered art of mixed media for a couple of short years.

I can say how much I admire what you do with all your art. I guess since altered art has no playbook,or patterns it is most likely copied at times. One must remember even though we are all individuals we can have the same artistic thoughts and may also end up expressing them in the same manner.

Having said this I would love for you to be able to teach closer to me,Wyoming is quite a distance from the great Northwest and also from Virginia. I made a trip to Colorado to take a class in altered art in September and had a blast. It didn't hurt that my husband totally supported and accompanied me there. We had a magnificent couple of days.

I wish you nothing but clarity in these things you are pondering,and I know you will find it.


When I see work that is made in YOUR style, I never even have to pause....I just think....this person just tried to copy Nina's work. Then I look closer and begin to wonder....what is missing....why it's Nina's heart....
They may copy your work.....but they can't copy you.....

Love and Hugs


I agree with so much of what's been said here already about this post, but I do have one suggestion, and that is to talk to your doctor about Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), because a lot of us suffer it during the shorter days of winter, especially when it's too cold or snowy or rainy to get outside much. What you are experiencing sounds very much like that, and there are effective treatments for it.

I also feel like you've kind of talked your problem out in this entry, sort of the way those of us who do 'morning pages' (from The Artist's Way book) often do. This is a good thing -- continue to do it, because, as you can see from all these comments, we will support each other.

Ursula Clamer

Wow, that was really a powerful entry. I was truly moved. Thank you for sharing these thoughts and feelings. I think all of us in some way in some time go through those feelings. I know when I am unsure and am listening too long to that inner critic I just want to turn away and hide and I think it's amazing that you shared these with us.....Thank you again. I will be attending one of your classes at the Art Retreat in Perth in March and am really looking forward to learning from you, someone who's work I have admired for sometime now. It's a shame when people take your ideas and pass them off as their own but I do believe in Karma and the fact that those that matter know the truth. I know your Creative juices will start to flow again and I'm hoping it is soon for you, I look forawrd to see the amazing things that you create. Best Wishes, Ursula


Nina, this is the heart of the issue for the artist. I have seen copies of your work in so many places.

And when I see it - i know it is COPIES of your work. It lacks the organic integrity, depth, and sparkle of your unique vision.

I am about to teach some classes and I am scared to death. I don't think I have anything to share. I know I do. I just don't know how to articulate it. You make it look so easy!


Nina - You are very generous with what you share as a teacher not just of art but of life. Only you can give your work it soul.
I am so looking forward to meeting you in Perth downunder this year. May it recharge the creative battery for you.
Megan Pickwell

Joei in Rhode Island

Oh, Nina I look forward to your each and every post. I live in a wooded area and follow the life of nature with you. Deep winter is always introspective and questioning. If there were only blue skies and happy days your thought provoking words and art would not have the depth it does. Keep searching it's what gives you your very soul. Does the daffodil worry about how many other yellow flowers are blooming? Spring will come again.


I so enjoyed this look at at all your *nests and the blue eggs* they are always close to my heart as I even named my daughter ...well you know what. I too love colecting eggs
and nests.
Your art work is beautiful. :)NG


I am so glad you re-published this post Nina. You put into poetry (words) what so many of us struggle with daily... I often tell myself "imitation is the highest form of flattery", but sometimes in vain, as it does mean I have to come up with something even better to compete. No one who does work 'similar' to yours - even compares. and you should be proud of that... You have a special touch, look, feel, that cannot be copied - thank goodness. Yes, many try, but Nina is still Nina! You have an enviable style - walks in the woods dreaming. Have no fear, Mother nature always cares for her children, and you too will find your special path again. I am remined of Hansel and Gretel, leaving breadcrumbs on their path - and the birds greedily eating every morsal... a bit like you and your students perhaps? Change the recipe, add new spices, trust in yourself...

Sarah e. Smith

I love the bright colorful journal image you posted at the top of this post...the colors grabbed me and pulled me in. Your collections are so lovely, i love your stones and the container that you have them displayed in. I too have an affinity for hands. I recently completed the first phase of a photo project dedicated to black and white photos of hands. Feel free to check it out on my website if you have the time. Your work and blog here are always so lovely and inspiring. Have a wonderful week!

Misty Mawn know how just how I feel, about this post, about you, about everything. There is only one nina, there will ever only be one nina, and all that you touch, there will be awe! missing you so much! xo

Misty Mawn

...and what would words from me be, if not misspelled or misplaced! xo besides...I really just wanted a reason to comment again. ;-)

Misty Mawn

...and what would words from me be, if not misspelled or misplaced! xo besides...I really just wanted a reason to comment again. ;-)


AhhhHHHHH! Nature!!!!!! Need I say more? xo, Cinda


Hi Nina,
I know how you feel...
There isn't much you can do about someone reteaching your class..but I hope that one small thought will help you through it-it may be "your class but retaught by someone else" but it is *not* a Nina class. It is not from the heart and soul of Nina-it is not like taking a class from *you*...and people will know that in the end.
One thing that helps me with "keeping fresh" and coming up with ideas... I have my "play" journal. I just say to heck with it and put everything and anything in there that makes me happy-it is MY play book...not someone else's.
Some times it helps to try something new-take a class or pick up a new medium and just play with it...maybe it will give you new ideas for the artwork that is just "SO ORIGINALLY NINA!!!!" You never know...
Big big hugs and thank you for being NINA.


This post resonates with me. My dear husband is building me studio under the trees in our garden....I am so looking forward to taking myself in there and creating with out interuption.
N. I would like to print this post of yours and hang it on what will be my inspiration board.....may I do that? Would you mind? Your words will support me.......


I find you,your work and your blog very inspirational and I thankyou for sharing your inner most thoughts......Ive recenlty been going through a moment of uncertainty and someone reminded me to remember why I do the things I do,to remember why I began the journey Im on.....sometimes the path gets blocked and you have to just push past it and stay true to yourself IYKWIM.


Nina, your art is a unique, which whispers the words of an nature. I see a love and respect towards nature when i see your magical art pieces.
It will always stays your own, who ever try to copy it. We know that these are your creations, know one other.

Who ever use sticks and stones and other natural materials, there probably are some people who do not even like to wander in a nature, but sees that using natural items is somehow fashionable.
It is sad that some people have been published through your ideas :/ I think that is un-respectful.
Maybe so many wants to create art just like you, but then the soulness might lack from those works.
Your doesn't!

<3 Delila


Just got back online and saw this heart-mirroring post. I hear what you're saying about all of this. I was a professional photographer for the first decade of my working life (straight out of high-school). It was my sole identity. Portrait illustrations were my forte. I'm still shooting, but its much more internal, from the heart and soul. I had hit a wall with my work, and as it happens, with my life. I remember feeling so naked, so vulnerable- splayed in front of my own humility. i felt blank and empty. What was the ME in this work?
Remember, dear Nina, that those you choose to teach are so touched and inspired by what they've learned that they want to spread it to the world. They're excited! If your work weren't so damned awesome, they wouldn't be so damned excited. YOU'RE PAVING THE WAY FOR THE REST OF US. I know, there's a difference between learning and creating one's own symbolic system to work from and downright plagiarism and false-unique-ness. Thats on THEM... But I also know that you know that all one needs is to step out into the misty forest and let your soul calibrate itself back to its core inspiration. Let the insecurity and blankness wash over you like a cleansing wave... Your muse never left, and you'll find her where you least expect it.

Funny, I posted something so similar (the identity thing) on the 12th- see may be of interest.

and, I know that this has become an extremely long "comment"- but when I'm feeling my muse is on vacation I listen to this awesome song ("Hymn to the Muse") on this awesome album ("invoking the muse- layne redmond):
Love, Peace and heartfelt blessings~


You are a remarkably talented person Nina with a beautiful soul that is only unique to you. That can never be copied...You inspire me to be me and I thank you for that!


I agree with those that wrote about how your work feels compared to the "others" magical and full. I think I spend so much time searching for a style, any style, to call my own that is stops me from creating at all...don't change yours - it is perfect!


your book/journal made me smile in a memory way of my youth, then a determined face took the smile and I vow to re-youth my outputs in life.
I think I can smile and be determined!

Mrs. Staggs

I think it's interesting that artists seem to require a sense of being unique, when to me art is something that makes you feel what the artist is trying to express...a truth that belongs to all of us. Does it matter if the techniques aren't original if the message is understood?
There is craft, which thank goodness people have shared with one another since the beginning of time, and there is art. I think that we are all inspired by something or someone at times. How wonderful to be a person that inspires others! Art is created with craft techniques. You make art Nina and make me feel things with your work. I relate to your hearts message and that beauty shines through in all that you's not technique or color, but truth.


oh nina, dear nina. we love you, we love your soul, we love the way you see and think and then speak to us about it through your creations, your art. fear not, we know your voice, pure and clear, and we know what is not you but inspired by you. you are a deep, spiritual artist that will always succeed when you listen to your heart. and we thank you for sharing your truth with us, the struggles as well as victories. xoxo

Mrs. Staggs

I'm sorry, I meant to say that art isn't created with craft techniques, they are simply the tool.


"Don't worry about your originality. You couldn't get rid of it even if you wanted to. It will stick with you and show up for better or worse in spite of all you or anyone else can do." --Robert Henri

Nina, isn't the first commandment for artists 'thou shalt not compare thyself to others?' (ha, I know, so much easier said than done!) You may not see it, but your work has such a quality about it that is truly unique to only you. It has that Nina touch that no one could ever imitate or emulate! xo

Kristen R


Your words stir so much in me each time I read them. You are such an original, such a lovely spirit who touches many; your artwork, your words your just being emits so much....your gifts and talents are beyond measure and so truly amazing. Because of you I have regained my artistic identity.



Oh sweet Nina.....
I just read this post and I can assure you that there is only one Nina, and the others are obviously copies. No one can put your spirit into a piece that they's your alone!

Kat Langford

Nina, I love your idea of a book - perhaps having an entry and then leaving a bit for the reader to add their own ideas into the book might make it both a revelatory adventure and a keepsake both personal and shared personal. Much like jewelry, we wear it and it becomes us. Reading is like jewelry - it is meant to be worn internally and then displayed as part of ourselves. I always loved the little cards in the backs of library books. I loved the fact that others had taken the book on adventures. I wondered where they had read the book, where did they leave the book when they weren't reading and I wished there was a place to write what they thought of the book. Perhaps there could be little jot cards? I love the new pictures of you, by the way, birthdays fit you well and you are beaming now. I like your incandescence.

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