Hello and Happy Spring to All!
Springtime in the Rockies reminds you to expect the unexpected…to bask in the sun one day and be grateful for its new warmth…only to marvel at the whirling snow storm and the high winds the next…take nothing for granted, live in the moment, and be grateful for everything, even if it’s the struggle of keeping your spirits in a higher centered place…we cannot know “up” if we do not know “down”. The Collective “down” moment in 2021 will undoubtedly be the attack on the capital building on January 6th.
Shocking, unsettling, abhorrent and grief are some of the words and emotions I have used and felt to describe the horror unfolding before my eyes…I cried with despair…… (Biggest Heartfelt Sigh) …. How do we recover from this fragmentation of our society and our culture? From the Hate, and blatant disregard of human life from one human to another? Spreading Loving kindness and compassion of course……moving again from the lowest moment to the highest.
I have discovered in the course of this Pandemic that “mindset” has so much to do with everything. For example, if I am cranky and irritable It’s really hard to create beautiful works of art. Likewise if I spend a lot of time in fear and worry, I also have a hard time creating anything beautiful. It’s funny, I’ve always known this but it became crystalized in my thinking in the course of this isolation…
I still have really High Hopes for 2021 being a “New Year” with new leaders at our helm thinking new ideas, despite the rough beginning we collectively experienced…… I think this is due, in part, to the fact that I have experienced some of the most profound creative “moments” in the first 3 months of this year than I have in the 5 years since we have been living here. Rather than continue to despair, I went into a very quiet and meditative state and began to create new work from that place…
I decided to treat myself at the end of December to some new jewelry tools, a 24-piece dapping tool set and a 5-piece disc cutter set. A disc cutter will cut circles out of sheet metal and a dapping tool will curve your circles or what ever shapes you might have. Sometimes, new tools can be the “catalyst” for new work….
I had been taking classes in simple silver smithing locally in Hamilton in 2018 and 2019, so I began to purchase tools slowly. I set up a jewelry space in my “bead” studio (now called the “Mixed Media Lab”) so I could heat, hammer and patina my metals. I started to play in the beginning of January texturing my metals with lower case letter and number stamps. I thought of the words OM and OZ and what happens if you just mark up the metal with those words…. “texturing with letters” …. I cut five ½”circles out of a strip of copper 5/8” wide and became interested in the strip with holes in it instead of the copper circles….textured and patinated the metal sort of took on a life of its own…. I started to “wrap” it around my stones and then eventually I wrapped it around some old bone fragments I had….and I woke up one morning with the words “Armouring the bones” coming out of my mouth….I thought it was important to “misspell” the word Armor and by putting a U in the word, it had the feeling of both protection and love.
I realized in a moment of clarity that these were connected to the “PSP” Series. A collection of Personal Spirit Protection Shawls and Wraps that I started in September of 2020 and the Amulet and Talismans series I’ve wanted to start since January 2020.
In Armouring the Bones, I started to think of my work 30 years ago in Paper conservation learning to mend documents with tiny torn pieces of very thin Japanese papers to invisibly mend tears and cover the holes made by insects. I realized this was the process I could use to cover my old bone beads with tiny pieces of botanical papers and old calligraphy papers in the same way……
Then I looked at my bead table and there were numerous “fragments” of bones I had collected, 30 years ago on the beach at the end of our street in Hawaii…… (yes, I am a bone collector.) …. I realized I could “mend the fragments” as well….and it felt like saying “prayers” and a meditation for our fragmented society…. mending ourselves “one bone at a time,” turning them into little works of art and stunning beauty, using only colors derived from plants and earth minerals.
At the end of last year, I started playing with making my own paper pulp from torn mulberry papers. I also discovered that the fir tree in my front yard yielded a most beautiful rust dye….so into the rust dye went the paper pulp and before it got too cold, I added an old bird’s nest plus some cut up wool handspun and silk fiber to the pulp and I “cast” a bowl in my tiny enameled colander pushing the pulp into the holes in the colander and up the sides. What a delightful surprise to discover what happens when it dries and is “pried” loose from the colander. The dye wicks out to all the edges that are the last to dry and darkens all those areas…. thus, my bowl had dark dots around the outside and on the edges. Full of holes and texture, it was quite fragile, so I decided to collage on top of it, once again “mending” to give it strength…. needless to say, I became “enamoured” with the idea of making paper bowls…
And so, my creative nomadic journey continues, with “chaos collaging” on archival canvas boards, paper bowls, stone, bone fragments, and bone beads.
I believe my spirit has finally arrived at the intersection where all my love of texture, pattern, color, silk, wool, paper, bone, and stone are beginning to meet, mingle, and dance together in sublime beauty….
I am Opening my studio up starting June through September of 2021 for “one on one” * workshops in:
Botanical Printing (end of July, August and September)
Namaste and Blessings to all
*please inquire for further information regarding more than one person in a class.