Issue 02

Ladies of the Canyon

A look at the women bringing a new dawn of creativity to one of Los Angeles’s most storied areas 

There’s something special happening in Los Angeles’s Topanga Canyon and the surrounding Santa Monica mountains. It’s more than the hazy sunshine that filters through the enclave’s massive oak trees, or the saltwater breeze that comes across the hills from the Pacific, or the smell of wild sage and lavender wafting from the twisting roadsides. There’s a new community rising. And it’s made up of incredibly talented women who are bringing their consciousness to the Canyon and letting its spirit inspire their varied endeavors. From a jewelry designer whose work evokes ancient symbolism to a scent-maker who incorporates wildcrafted herbs into her apothecary items, the women of Topanga are forging a new path of creativity. It’s a path focused on connectedness—to one another and their surroundings—and authenticity, woven together with just a little bit of magic. Heather Culp, a photographer who moved to Topanga via Brooklyn and Taos, New Mexico, just over a year ago, has found not only her kindred spirits in the Canyon but also her muses (her book, Ladies of the Canyon, is due out this spring). Here, she gives us a glimpse into their lifestyles, workspaces, and the landscapes that are as much a part of this community as the women themselves. 

Writer, Tidal columnist, and seer Jane Anne Thomas gives animal totem readings under the name House of the Standing Moon.  

Painter Serena Mitnik-Miller is the owner of General Store in San Francisco and L.A., where you can find hanging ceramic planters, indigo-dyed blankets, and delicate gold jewelry.  

Sybil Buck is a model who also teaches yoga in the Canyon.

Carly Jo Morgan , along with Heather Culp, runs the biannual Topanga Canyon market, Mercado Sagrado. She is also an artist and writer who designs furniture (Only Love Is Real) and jewelry (All for the Mountain). 

Paula Ferraro uses wild and organic essential oils to create balms, fragrances, and healing serums for her apothecary, Scents of Awe.