Guadalupe prayer card found in the Desert
Large Guadalupe Prayer Card found on the Desert, 2007
The People,the Culture,the Land

This blog celebrates the beauty and grace of our southern border, the culturally rich, big sky country we call home.  Blog posts illuminate arts, culture, and faith preserved in the biological connectivity of the borderlands.  Not unlike casting wildflower seeds, the art of the border is on the wind.

Art & Letters

“Guadalupe’s Roses: Bordado at the Border:” non-fiction personal narrative (2005-) Related essays: From The Eyes of Babes: The Art of Asylum , The Migrant Quilt: restitching the fabric of community , Calling All Souls: Spiritual Activism on the Border.   Published in Kosmos International & licensed under Creative Commons, The Global Sisters Report, the Society of Southwestern Authors Storyteller Magazine, She Magazine, and The Hummingbird ReviewPre-millennium Arts Editor & Features, The Mendocino Outlook & The Bay Area Reporter.



After a decade and a half creating collaborative Fiber Arts Memorial sculptures, installations, & altars in the community, personal Devotional Arts reflect the tenor of the times.

Select 2018/2019 Presentations:

5-7/2019: Images from the Border,” Coalition for Immigrant Neighbors (COIN), Indianapolis, Indiana.

3/2019: “Embroidering the Border,” University Religious Center, USC, Los Angeles.

3/2019: Art of Asylum, USC Border Immersion at Casa Alitas Monastery shelter, Tucson, AZ.

1/2019: Sisters of the Holy Cross Bordando por la Paz y Memoria Project, Fuentas Rojas, Mexico City, Mexico

11/2018: The Art of Bordado on the Border, 2018 Border Ministries Summit, Episcopal Diocese of the Rio Grande, El Paso, TX.

11/2018: Un Bordado Destacado en “Voces Fronterizas; Border Voices,” NAU, Flagstaff, AZ.

10/2018: Dios de Los Muertos Bordado Ofrenda, Grace St. Paul Episcopal, Tucson, AZ

7/2018: Skype / Eye Museum, Amsterdam, Netherlands in conjunction with Alejandro C. Iñárritu’s Carne y Arena Exhibit.

Back Matter



In the U.S., collaborative Las Madres Sculptural Migrant memorials can be found at Tucson’s Pima Community College & Southside Presbyterian Church.

The Border Art Installation: Hardship and Hope: Crossing the U.S./MX Border (2010 – ) is housed in permanent collections at The Museum of World Culture in Gothenburg, Sweden.  In 2016, long-time collaborator sculptor Antonia Gallegos and I donated all art & artifacts to the Office of Religious Life at the University of Southern California. Part of the collection is currently on loan to Filmmaker Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s worldwide immersive VR Installation 

Media: The Wall Street Journal, Utne Magazine, Univision, Tucson.com, Italy’s Corriere della Sera, Tucson Weekly, NPR’s Latino USA,  Sculptural Pursuit, Fiber Arts Magazine, and Patheos. Com.


Benedictine Oblate since 2010 of the Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration recently returned to the Motherhouse in Clyde, Missouri after 80+ years at their Monastery in Tucson, Arizona.

*I began this blog a decade ago as www.AZartsandletters.blogspot.com, stopped to make lots of Art but never stopped documenting my days in the Arizona borderlands. As a former art therapist, I want to dedicate this blog to Freddy, a wayfarer from Oaxaca to Arizona who discovered along the way that he was an artist.

© 2017 Valarie Lee James

8 thoughts on “About”

  1. Hi Valarie…I am a member of Voices From The Border and helped organize the Mothers Across Borders event. I just recently saw your blog (and post from the MAB event), wonderful, poignant writing. May I get your mailing address so I can send you something? You can reply to my email at indiann1111@hotmail.com. Thank you! India Aubry


  2. I recently read your American Magazine piece, and I am wondering if you are doing any work to organize the donation of crochet and embroidery materials, as well as other art supplies to the migrants in detention. I am moved to contribute in this way.
    Thank you so much for your work.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Aviva! We are working on that as we speak. If you are interested in donating materials or earmarking a check for supplies to Tucson’s Casa Alitas shelter for migrant women and children please see http://www.ccs-soaz.org to donate online. If you wish to provide supplies for women and children waiting in refugee centers on the other side of the border you could also donate to the KinoBorder Initiative.org in Nogales, AZ. They’ve been feeding and sheltering peiple for many years and would welcome any and all support. For either shelter, be sure and attach a note that your donation be directed to supporting women’s handmade enterprises. Thank you so much for your interest!


  3. Hi Valerie. I am the mother of a adopted daughter from Guatemala. Not a day goes by that I do not consider what her life might have been like if she were in Guate. I would like to come and work with you at the shelter. I can stay for as long as you might need me. I am certainly able to pay for lodgings etc. Thank you Marguerite Mains Connecticut

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Marguerite,

      Thank you so much for your loving response. Your daughter is fortunate to have you. At this time, due to forces beyond out control, the Casa Alitas Shelter is relocating to another facility. We won’t know what our needs actually look like until We are moved in. With your permission, I’d like to revisit your offer in September. Please feel free to email me anytime between then and now. Bless you!


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