what is a hundred ways north
A company curious about the practice of presence.
A way to explore our questions around what it means to align, partner, and create in this complex fabulous world we live in that is changing every single day.
A place that creates stories, offers workshops, and asks questions.
We create everything to order, with as little waste as possible. We love natural spaces. So, we make a concerted effort to work with national & international vendors who use sustainable & earth-friendly materials & processes in all of the products we offer. It matters.
the story behind the name
The year was 2015.
He was up to his thing (as the internationally celebrated writer & artist behind StoryPeople. Author and illustrator of 13 books...)
She was up to her thing (balancing life as a professional actress and professor of voice & acting, a recipient of national & institutional teaching awards...)
They met at a dinner in Indiana. On April Fool's Day. And that was it. He left California. She left Indiana.
Within 6 months of being together, we published our manifesto, Creative Anarchy; took a 6949 mile road trip through 14 states in 72 days in the middle of winter; and began the collaboration that became A Hundred Ways North.
We decided to call it A Hundred Ways North because life is not a direct route... Walking away from perfectly fine lives wasn't easy. It was disruptive, and a catalyst for change not only for us, but also for those whose lives we touched. But here's the thing. You cannot un-know something once you know it. If you try, there's a violence to the spirit that is eventually more corrosive than the fear of change that tempts you to forget in the first place.
the artists of hundred ways north
A lot of people know me as the writer & artist behind StoryPeople. Which has been quite a ride. With thousands of stories & prints created over the years (or maybe because of all that) it made it pretty easy to write the 13 books I published at StoryPeople Press. Two of them were even nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry which was kind of a fun side benefit.
There’ve also been other books along the way, like my collaboration with photographer Lorne Resnick, “Cuba: This moment, Exactly So”. (This one turned out to be the winner of three independent book awards. See what happens when you just keep writing & making art?)
& now, there’s this whole new adventure of A Hundred Ways North. To those of you who know me, it’s actually not much of a leap to see how I’m moving into the creativity & life workshops that I’m doing with Fia. Or to see how my writing is changing. All of it has a simplicity & clarity that’s informed by loving the world (which is something that seems to come with the territory of how I see things).
Born in Iowa, raised in Chicago, I went to Luther College for my BA in Theater and English. Later on, after I figured out what I really wanted to do (HA!) I got my MFA in Fiber and Mixed Media from John F. Kennedy University in the Bay Area of California. Fibre? you say. I thought you told stories. Well, if you must know, I’d answer, my degree is in Stories As The Fibre of Human Community. (Notice how that’s all in caps because Stories are a Very Important Thing in my world.
That said, my real education came from being in the world: short order cooking at Denny’s, apprenticing with a French chef in Chicago, running operations at a high-fashion mannequin factory in L.A., doing contract archaeology in the summer heat, dabbling as a tennis pro after college, writing plays for a small theatre company in Minnesota. I speak six languages, with my favorites being the Romance languages (not surprisingly) & that gave me an excuse to travel all over the world, so I could…umm…practice. Yeah. That’s it.
I’ve lived for longer chunks of time in Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota & California. Even though we’re in Iowa at the moment, somehow I keep being pulled West. (Just so you know, Fia has that same pull, so don’t be at all surprised when you find out we’re somewhere entirely new in the very near future…)
In 2016, to align with all the other big life choices I made, I legally changed my name to Fia Jack Skye. It's not a mid-life crisis. It's clarity. A stepping in... (Having been through all the paperwork of a name change twice already, I can tell you this was not a light decision).
As 'Wendy,' I balanced a life in theatre & academia for almost 20 years. My MFA is in acting from the University of Washington's Professional Actor Training Program. I was a barista & baker at the Honeybear Bakery in Seattle & then a chef at a small catering company in NYC. I've been on faculty at Marymount Manhattan, UConn, Wesleyan University & Ball State (where I was tenured); published articles on cross-culture storytelling, beginner's mind, and balancing analytical with with kinesthetic learning principles; traveled three times to teach & direct in the Gauteng Province in South Africa; worked in regional theatres across the country; been married & then amicably divorced.
Everything I was teaching young artists: to find their light, how to partner, how to take & give space, how to speak with clarity & conviction, how to believably compel an audience of strangers, and how to align so deeply with another's set of life circumstances that you willingly widen your own opinions & feeling sin service of making space for someone else's story... is wildly useful in every day living...
I've come to believe that with each decision you make, you choose your life & what you consume matters. Ripple effects. So... I empowered myself to take a hard look at each aspect of my life, took full responsibility for my own joy, and remembered I only go around once in this body and form so if not now... when? So here I am... choosing a new path in life where nothing is at half.