365/week sixteen


S I X T E E N.
16-weeks since I graduated.

add 5-years of college, and it is only NOW that I have the faintest idea of what i am made of, what it mean's to be an artist, what i'm working towards...like really know what I'm working towards!

I guess it truly does take a lifetime to live a life...hence the phrase that "life is too short."

I get it now.

in the past 7-days i've been down in Boise, Idaho for their treefort festival where my chair was displayed at their first ever art show! it was seriously amazing to be back at my old stomping grounds, listening to some B O M B music, eating putine and talking art like a crazy lady <3

it was the exclamation point in my soul that screamed

"H E A T H E R guess what? Your an artist, a photographer, a maker, a creative.  And look at what you've done!  You were at the freaking bottom six years ago and now look at you!"

So now I'm looking at me, at my family, at this soon move to Portland, Oregon and I'm like...."Heck yes!  I know what I'm gonna do!"

So I can't quite tell ya'll yet...but it's vintage gloriousness, full of beauty, photos, open roads, and a lot of P-A-R-T-Y!!!

---- so now i'm gonna stop here, drink my coffee, eat my peanut butter sammie for breakfast and head into the studio before i go plant shopping because the sun's out and I am gonna take advantage of every darn moment I get with that beautiful sunshine!

So shine bright my loves and keep moving forward...because there is more life to live!!!

With Grace+Guts,

just a few snapshots from treefort 2017


365/week eleven

365/week eleven

Patched up jean jackets, Portland and an elephant funeral.  Treefort and art art art.  Taking over the house and dancing to lots of Whitney Huston with waaaay too much coffee intake.  But what else is life?

Read More

BFA Exhibition: Matryoshka

Yesterday I went into the Ridenbaugh Gallery connected to the University of Idaho and pulled all of my stuff down.  It was 2-hours of mixed emotions.  Here was the culmination of my 5-years in college as a art + writing student and in a 2-weeks time it was put up, viewed and was now being taken down.  Bitter sweetness is for lack of better words.

I'm now into a month before graduation and though I'm nervous, I've got my plans, my list of "Heather Will Do's" (which I will share with you later in December) and now it's time for me to finish up my thesis and graduate.  

On this note you'll be seeing a couple changes to the website over the next few weeks in my portfolio areas, but don't worry, everything will stay...it just needs to be relocated.

Here's a few photos of the installation and you can view the whole gallery HERE.

With Grace+Guts,


shop the post

who i am : abandon all else

To the fear, the anger, the beast that lives in me.
     A repetitive looping film of his hand up against my neck, pushing against my veins.
           His words of who I am, what I'm worth, what I will never amount too yelling, echoing,
                 whispering.... You Are Worth Nothing To Me Till Your Dead ...

But then...

But then I picked up a paint brush, even while his bruises were still faded from my flesh long after I walked away...I picked up a pen...I began to write, began to create, make...
     and I began to feel free...
                I began to understand that he was only afraid of me....of my


Now he has found the last way to control me...legality with our daughter.
     My sweet little daughter who's first kick, first breath, first laugh, first tooth, nightmare and
     dream he was not present for.
         And the courts started telling me all of a sudden what I could and couldn't do.  What jobs to
         have, what state to live in, what to do, where to go, when to be there...and I couldn't help
         but feel like everything I was working for, every dream that had reinvented itself after my
         awakening, my survival, was once again being torn, pulled, controlled by my abuser.


and people heard, and people saw my work, and people gave their sympathy, and then there was nothing...
       a void.
              what else could they do?

But then my foot laced up into boots hit a trail.  I climbed, I sweated my heart out, and at the top all I saw was...

I am more then nothing.

...if something like this existed in the world, then though I am small, every substance that makes
       up my body, makes up the earths body.

For weeks, months, years I've been furiously making work, writing pieces, screaming, yelling, praying someone would hear me...help me change the current...but up on that mountain I learned:


Photo 1-11.jpg


how can I not be with so much in this world?

So I will never stop screaming, pounding a drum for women, for victims, for children who have been wronged, who have been let down by our judicial system...it is a fire...a fuel that was ignited,
       ignited when he shoved me off the bed, when he never came home, when he told me to
       go back to the kitchen, when he locked our child outside, when he raped me of more then
       just 30-seconds of life.
             IT IS THE FIRE THAT BURNS, but also has found respit against the whipping winds
                                                              with pen stained fingers, with late nights in the studio,
                                                              with every step out in this world I've spent soaking it up.

But I will also celebrate the fact that I am


I have no idea what's next.  What I'll make.  How I'll celebrate first. 
And that's okay.
The robin doesn't know when it's next meal will come but it doesn't fret.
It finds respite in where it lives, where it flies, where it is free.
...this...this is enough for me.


after a thoughtful critique, after a day of contemplating, writing, running in the sun...
in honor of John Muir's birthday,
in every inch of my body flinging off of a cliff...I celebrate this place I call home...

The Pacific Northwest.

I am pacing myself, putting any + all work about my past up on the shelf,
and I am lacing up my hiking boots.


remembering "we are in the mountains...and THEY ARE IN US"


I Survived. I'm a Woman. It's not changing.

For the most part, when anyone asks me about my daughter's custody case, I put on a smile and I tell them we're trooping through, that my daughter is a firecracker...because we are and she it. But no one knows the heartache, the monster's that still cloud my mind, the fear that I feel.

I'm told to keep my head up and to stay strong for my daughter.  Well I am, I'm giving up my life for my daughter and the courts requests.  I'm only a puppet of the court, and even though I was abused, hurt, broken, I'm supposed to suppress it all so my daughter doesn't fear the man who raped her mother and wanted her to be aborted.  I constantly feel like I'm lying + deceiving my daughter.

For the most part, when anyone asks me about my ambitions in the creative world, I smile and tell them I'm thinking about teaching...because that's stable right?  That's not bread winner, that's a good "mom job".  But in reality I have every ambition to travel the world.  I have every desire to learn so many languages.  To smash paint against a canvas when I'm pissed, and to finally sit down and write my memoir on being a young survivor of domestic abuse + mother.  I have every goal to still open my youth gallery + studio; Trailhead.  Every goal to support my husband in every job he aspires to and to be cheering my daughter at every dance competition and to snuggle the stuffings out of my son while he's little enough to.  I'm so exhausted of having to have to conversation of what it means to be a woman + mother + maker + working.  I never have caged my heart behind a white picket fence, so stop asking me to contemplate it.

I recently listened to Cheryl Strayed Dear Sugar new Podcast and I was in love.  While I sanded wood down for some frames, I listened intently, and it was something I think every single man + woman who works should give a listen to...even if their not in a relationship right now.

The bottom line is; I'm a surviver, I'm a strong mother fucker, one bad ass mother, a maker, photographer, adventure + thrill seeker.  I may be married, but I carry my own.  I love who I am. Even though I hurt every day because of past I didn't chose nor had a choice in.  It's made me the fighter who won't take shit from anyone that I am every single day I wake up.  From the moment I take that first sip of coffee to the moment my head hits the pillow...and even through nightmares...I'm fighting against the abusers and for those affected by them.

I found this post to be necessary with how many comments I've gotten on how great I'm doing considering.  Well the point is, you don't know, and you won't until it happens to you, and I pray it doesn't.

Donuts + Coffee + Mountains + Thinking About Color

Go Get Lost | Moscow Mountain, Moscow, IDAHO | All Rights Reserved Heather Woolery 2016

Go Get Lost | Moscow Mountain, Moscow, IDAHO | All Rights Reserved Heather Woolery 2016

Maybe its a cliche thing to do here in the beautiful PNW?  But there is something mentally revitalizing from filling your body up with delicious glazed carbs, too much cream creamy coffee and some fresh PNW air that does a soul so much damn good.  Not to mention it helps my wander prone soul to take a chill pill and get a mini fix.

There comes a point in the week for me, and I'm not sure if it's exactly at the crack of dawn on Monday or midway through Wednesday...but its the undying urge to go and get outside.  To climb something, trek something, and capture it with every form of film possible + not to mention bring my babes along.

Something I have found recently, is that I am so intimately aware of color when I'm outside. I'm aware of how the lighting is changing the color, and how the image will look if I edit it a certain way.  Color + lighting are constantly on my mind while I'm outdoors (even if there's no camera attached to my hand.)

Focus | Moscow Mountain, Moscow, IDAHO | All Rights Reserved Heather Woolery 2016

Focus | Moscow Mountain, Moscow, IDAHO | All Rights Reserved Heather Woolery 2016

The concept of color when it comes to my photography has been a constant struggle.  I love black and white photography.  End of story.  It's classic + crisp...it makes the viewer look at what is truly in the image.  However, color can be so powerful too!  I really faced this struggle while I've been working on the photos I took while in Guatemala...the culture, place, + people were so colorful...but the black + white photos made you REALLY look at the people which was really important to me.  So it was a 50/50 balance of what photos I kept color and which ones I chose to turn black + white.

But MOST photos I take of outdoors usually stay color.  Its an inner struggle that I'm not sure I want to confront just yet.  When I'm doodling, or playing with water color to just play hands on I am drawn to warmer colors like reds, oranges, and yellows but I also love me some Kelly Green's so my love for color is vast and strong in a lot of what I do.

While I was out on Moscow Mountain this past weekend, I gave my two own kids the same Fuji 35mm disposable cameras I had given my students this past week.  I told them the same guild lines as I had given my students...which was nothing.  Take pictures of what you deem beautiful, important to take pictures of and it became this wonderful morning adventure. There was hard lessons of not to take selfies with these cameras because you'll see blue and yellow dots, but there was also wonderful warm lessons of what my children found beautiful in the outdoor setting I myself was taking photos of.  I learned a lot from their small POV and I'm still channeling this in my note book to help me when I get all the cameras back from my other students I handed out last week.

In the pursuit of learning film + stitching it together I started filming my fam. tribes mini adventures and splicing them together into something tangible while also working on the little rocket ship project I started last week.  I've put them below so check um' out!

If you haven’t already follow all my adventures and creations both big and small on Instagram @heather_woolery + on Facebook: Adventure With Purpose
— https://www.facebook.com/adventurewpurposephoto/