black and white photograph of Miriam Sagan and Isabel Winson-Sagan, standing in a park
Photograph by Julia Goldberg

Maternal Mitochondria is a mother-daughter collaborative duo composed of writer Miriam Sagan and multimedia artist Isabel Winson-Sagan. Since 2014 they have been working together in venues ranging from the Herekeke studio on Lama Mountain north of Taos, New Mexico to SIM house in Reykjavik, Iceland. In 2015 they were in residence at Wildacres in North Carolina. They recently completed a month’s residency and installation in a grain silo in Kura Studios, Japan. Their works include a chapbook Spilled Ink (poetry, suminagashi, photography, 2016), and an e-book of photography and poetry, Swimming in Reykjavik (The Moon Press, 2014). Publications in various on-line magazines include “Truck” and “Rogue Agent.” Their two previous geocaches are a metal haiku road sign series on Santa Fe’s westside and an art and poetry geocache installed summer 2017 at Santa Fe Skies RV Park off of Route 14. They share a studio in Santa Fe.

Miriam Sagan:

Isabel Winson-Sagan:

Maternal Mitochondria often uses a technique called “suminagashi,” so here is a little description of what suminagashi entails:

Suminagashi, or “spilled ink,” is the art of traditional Japanese marbling. The effect is beautiful, but it is also a meditative practice to quiet and focus the mind. It is composed by allowing a basin of water to still, and then adding ink to the water. The ink can be traditional black calligraphy ink, or more modern colored ones, including acrylic. The pattern is composed by adding drops of ink within each other. As they expand, they create the traditional fractal look of mountains and rivers, or coastlines. The pattern can then by manipulated by blowing on it, using a brush, or even a hair to gently move it. It is said that a master of suminagashi has only a small amount of control over the outcome.