The Exit Ceremony. Whilst on a retreat, I participated in a ceremony that presented our life’s journey. Birth to death. It began closed-eyed, with our backs facing the wall and our hands cupped in front of us. The music began. I started with baby steps, unsure of my footing. Quickly I turned around, moving with confidence towards the other end of the room. I felt the urge to raise my arm up. Joy spread through me. I danced across the room with joy. When the music stopped, I turned around and was dumbstruck. The other participants were at the other end of the room, frozen and unable to move forward.
A body of work developed from this poignant experience. Celebratory work. And Joy was created. Perfect for the Canadian Mental Health Association proposal. After seeing the mustard-coloured wall, I envisioned two adjoining pieces Joy II and Joy III. Joy reaching up and away, floating out the window.
As I worked on Joy II and Joy III, I brought myself back to that ceremony. Reaching up, grasping joy and yet, with growth and change. The grasses began to sway, as if in the wind. The sun became larger, brighter and shinier. Spreading Joy.
When I think about those that were unable to move forward. I think of the CMHA, who remind people that something different is within their grasp. To show them how to move forward, let go and reach up. My pieces are a message for their life’s journey to joy.
It all started with three little bits of paper.
My process is a mystery, even to me. A thought presents itself. I get a feeling for it, mull it over in my mind. Trying to figure out how I can represent that thought, emotion, or sensation with the language of colour and texture.
I don't normally make art for ME. I birth work and release it out into the world. Eager to discover what it's journey will be. Taking pride in how they make out in the world. But this time, I wanted to create something for me, my family. To express my feelings for them. My message in a bottle.
The three pieces of paper, the starting point for this piece were the original drawings my sons had done when they were around the age of 5. Children around that age create art without attachment to outcome. The best kind of artwork! As we mature, we become too concerned with peer acceptance. What will other's think? And if you work in the art world, the pressure to 'make a living' stifles our true creative essence. I did use the original artwork without making copies. These three pieces of paper possess a precious energy. Not to be duplicated.
Shades of red. And shades of blue. A landscape feel. Piece by piece it started to come together. I was convinced that red was on top, like a fiery sunset over the water. It wasn't until I was near completion that I realized that red belonged on the bottom. Blue sky. Flexibility is a virtue. Trying not to be 'too attached to outcome' is a challenge. Just letting it flow...Let it be, what it wants to be.
Red thread was a great transition of two strong colours. And metal leaf. Joy. The whole experience for me was joyful. The largest piece of encaustic to-date for me and everything went smoothly. And the whole time this little tune was running and dancing through my head.
*This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine.
This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine.
This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine.
Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.
*And that is where the title came from. If I had one wish for my children it would be to SHINE in this world. Be a light in this world. And if they can, shine in the darkest places so that others may see.
I truly enjoy gazing at this piece in my living room. The sweet scent of beeswax wafting through the air. The sheen of the metal leaf catching the light. And do my eyes betray me, or is that a figure holding a child in the bottom right. What a surprise. Such joy.
paper, thread, metal leaf, encaustic wax
How exciting. A new year. A new website. A new piece of work.
I am fascinated with my current body of work. Red Thread. According to ancient Chinese myth, gods tie an invisible red cord around the ankles of those that that are destined to meet one another in a certain situation or help each other in a certain way. This thread may stretch or tangle, but it will never break. Red String of Fate.
Destined Connections. Bound by red thread. When I think about the people in my life, and the circumstances that it takes for us to meet. One thread comes to an end, another begins.
I love this new piece. Honest Work. Hand stitching through white cotton. Moving the needle up and down through the fabric rhythmically. Like the breath. Stitching in circles. The lovely classic contrast of red against white. Showing only the backside of the work. To me, the honest side. Showing the stops and the starts. The ‘messy’ bits. Connections. Disconnections.
Five small crosses on one line of stitching, three on another. Representing me, my husband, my three sons and my three dogs. Destined connections. Yet so many red stitches behind and so many more yet to encounter. Encapsulated in white beeswax. The stitches have stretched, but will never break nor come undone. The finish as smooth as marble. Capable of lasting far beyond my years.
I also love the look of my new website and new business cards. Clean and fresh. Simplified. Highlighting just the important bits. It has taken me some years to figure out that stories don’t have to be told all at once. Singular words can have impact. Love. Joy. Peace.
I turn fifty in a few weeks. I never anticipated that I would walk on this earth for so many years, yet here I am. Still learning and growing. Striving and sharing. It was a surprise to me when this piece was completed, it resembles the cross-section of a tree. How appropriate. To show the rings of years of me and the tree. And yes, the messy bits too.
My life journey has taken some interesting twists and turns in the last couple of years. Although I’ve been a fibre artist for many years, being introduced to encaustic wax changed the direction of my path. I have found new inspirations and challenges in bringing together fibre and wax. Feminine and masculine.
Another twist in my life is that I am now a Reiki Master. Reiki is not easily translated nor easily explained, but in simple terms: Spiritual Energy. I believe that we all have Reiki ability, when someone is unwell or sad we automatically want to ‘lay hands’ on them. To hold a hand. To pat a back. Touch. Healing touch.
There are many principles to the Reiki way of life. One of them is “Just for today, I will do my work honestly”. Open to interpretation, I think of it as doing work that is true to oneself. The authentic self. Honouring your life purpose. I am fortunate to have found that.