Love of extraordinary things and lure of the unfamiliar beckoned from an early age. Born mid-twentieth century in Wichita, Kansas, winds swirled me to far-away places. My first venture away from home was UC Berkeley in 1968-69. Think revolution.
My serpentine journey includes 26 years as successful restaurateur in Colorado and Kansas with accolades for Business in the Arts Award and “Diners Set the Course for American Cuisine” in USA Today.
Throughout the years, I’ve journeyed to five continents, witness and participant to many ceremonies. A sky burial in Tibet, Buddhist fire ceremonies in Bhutan, healing sessions in Bali with a yogi whose God was the leach, Black Madonna sites in France, carnival in Venice, the Holy Week Procession in Sicily, the labyrinth at Chartres.
Along the way I shopped for the sacred, collecting objects of beauty, artifacts, and ceremonial textiles to re-color my life.
We yearn for an experience of the sacred in our day-to-day lives. And, yet it’s all around. The environment, the colors and art on our walls, the array of objects displayed. A pair of cloisonné lovebirds brought back from Singapore by my father for my mother in 1980. My grandmother’s quilt across the bed.
By following the threads of our favorite objects and listening to their stories, deeper meanings and connections are revealed.
Let me invite you into one of my stories.
My eye was immediately drawn to a small golden statue perched high atop a shelf at a rest stop while on pilgrimage in an area traversed by the Buddha in Northern India. The pose sensuous, one hand on the ground, the other draped across the knee. Graceful. Golden jewels hung round the neck, a lotus blossom on the shoulder, a crown of gold. Dazzled by his presence, his allure larger than his height of four inches, I knew I must buy him—even though I had no clue as to his importance or even his name. Later that day, I humbly and proudly showed him to Robert Thurman, our trip leader and acclaimed professor of Indo-Tibetan Buddhist studies. He told me this was Indra, King of the Gods in the Hindu pantheon and explained, “Everything is interwoven—the Jewel Net of Indra they call it—the interpenetration of all things.”
My gilded statue of Indra resides on a Balinese wedding chest, nestled between many Buddhas, large and small. As synchronicity would have it, many years later I discovered Indra’s importance to my dissertation topic: Healing Presence in Balinese Textiles. Indra is thought to be the divine designer of geringsing, one of the most important and spectacular textiles in Bali and the first Balinese textile I purchased. Indra’s myth is one of healing.
Long ago, Indra sat on a medicinal shrub with heart-shaped flowers. He gazed heavenward, enchanted by twinkling stars. These sparks of light turned into patterns and images fated to become the sacred clothing of the first Balinese. The King of the Gods then taught the girls and women of Tengenan, Bali the complicated art of weaving geringsing.
By immersing ourselves in the mythic threads of textiles and sacred objects from around the world, we come to the realization that as archetypal psychologist James Hillman says, “All things are full of Gods.”
Curriculum Vitae Highlights
2012 Ph.D. Mythological Studies with an Emphasis in Depth Psychology, Pacifica Graduate Institute, Carpinteria, California
2007 M.A. Mythological Studies with an Emphasis in Depth Psychology, Pacifica Graduate Institute, Carpinteria, California
1972 B.F.A. Textile Design, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas
Exhibitions | Publications
2014 MYTHIC THREADS: ART, HEALING & MAGIC IN BALI. Pacifica Graduate Institute, Ladera Campus.
2012 PED-I-CURE – A collection of memoirs by eight women. “She Walked in Beauty” – Pamela Bjork
2012 Dissertation – “Hospitality of Color: Healing Presence in Balinese Textiles”
2007 BETWEEN: Angels, Messengers and Intermediaries. “The Angel of Mourning: Holy Week in Sicily” – Photography and Memoir by Pam Bjork – Pacifica Graduate Institute literary review .
2006 “TATTOO” – Santa Fe Workshop Photography Exhibition, Santa Fe, New Mexico
2004 “THIRTEEN X THIRTEEN” – A collaborative Painting Exhibition by thirteen women, Boulder, Colorado
2002 “PEOPLE & PLACE – SAN MIGUEL DE ALLENDE” – National Geographic Expeditions photography exhibition, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
2001 “DESTINATIONS: SACRED BHUTAN” – Photography by Pam Bjork, Wichita Register Magazine, Wichita, KS
1999 Wichita Register Magazine – “NATURAL STYLE, INTERIOR HARMONY” – eco-decor and sacred objects in the home of Pam Bjork, Wichita, KS.
2013 “Mythic Threads: Healing and Magic in Balinese Textiles” – 2 hour lecture and Q&A, Joseph Campbell Foundation’s Mythological Roundtable for Opus Archives at Pacifica Graduate Institute, Carpinteria, California
1996 “Women Entrepreneurs” – 2 hour lecture for students, Wichita State University Center for Entrepreneurship, Wichita, Kansas
2014 Australia :: Earth Treasure Vase Pilgrimage to Aboriginal Lands
2013 Galapagos :: Evolution with David Whyte
2010 Bali :: Trance Healers + Performance
2008 Ireland :: Myth and Memoir with Maureen Murdock; Bali :: Ceremonies
2007 Bhutan :: Monasteries + Masked Dances of Bhutan
2006 Ethiopia :: Historic North + Tribal South; New Zealand :: Oceanic Dreaming with Jungian Analyst Barry Williams; Morocco :: Sufi Mysticism
2005 Cuba :: Santeria Initiation in Havana; Nepal + Tibet :: Monasteries + Monks
2004 Sicily + Malta :: Holy Week with Peggy Rubin; Greece + Crete :: Mythology with Christine Downing, Dream Tending with Steve Aizenstat; Burma/Myanmar :: Buddhist Ceremony, Voice Dialogue with Hal + Sidra Stone
2003 India + Nepal :: Footsteps of the Buddha with Robert Thurman, Lynne Twist;
Mexico :: San Miguel de Allende
2002 Tibet + China :: Sky Burial, Buddhist teachings with Chris Bache; Yucatan, Mexico
2001 Spain + Portugal :: NY Jung Center Camino de Santiago; Cambodia, Burma, Thailand, Java, Bali :: SE Asia Sacred Sites
2000 England, Scotland, Wales :: Grail Journey with Jean Houston; Thailand + Vietnam
1999 Bhutan :: Buddhist Teachings with Robert Thurman; Italy :: Rome, Florence, Tuscany
1998 Venice, Italy :: Carnival
1997 France + Spain :: Black Madonna Shamanic Journey + Cathar Sites; Germany, Scotland
1995 Bali :: Healers + Masked Performance
1993 Greece, Istanbul, Israel; Tahiti
Board Affiliations | Professional Memberships
2011 – current Board of Directors – Viridis Graduate Institute, Carpinteria, CA
2009 – current Board of Directors – Institute for Cultural Change, Carpinteria, CA
2007 – 2009 Board of Directors – Foundation for Mythological Studies, Carpinteria, CA
1995 – 2001 Community Council Advisory Board – Wichita State University Center for Women’s Studies, Wichita, KS
Awards | Press
2000 The City of Wichita ~ “Entrepreneurship in Old Town Award” – Pam Bjork
1996 Wichita/Sedgwick County Arts and Humanities Council ~ “Business in the Arts Award” – Larkspur Restaurant
1996 Wichita Business Journal & WSU Center for Entrepreneurship ~ “Metro Award: One of the Fastest Growing Privately Held Companies in Wichita” – Larkspur Restaurant
1995 Restaurants & Institutions ~ “Off the Wall” – Larkspur Restaurant
1995 Food Arts ~ “Hits and Flops” – Larkspur Restaurant
1995 USA Today ~ “Diners Set the Course for American Cuisine” – Larkspur Restaurant