Spiritual sustenance, naturally.

Archive for the ‘Art’ Category

Snow, the Studio, Resolutions

Yesterday I visited my studio, which is in a remodeled carriage barn behind our home. There was fresh snow on the ground. It was lovely.

Snowy slope behind the studio

Snowy slope behind the studio

I was dashing out there to get some supplies I needed for a small project I am working on in the house, but I stopped to take the above photo with my phone. In the past few years I have spent little time working in the studio, though I very much want to. Over time, supplies have accumulated there: piles everywhere, half-finished projects are on tables, in baskets, tucked away on shelves. I have been “away” for years, with only occasional visits. The place is in terrible disarray.

During 2016, as I was healing from major surgery, I would sometimes visit the studio for short visits to sort and organize. I even made a few simple gifts for people. I am again able to use my sewing machine without discomfort, and now that I’m on fewer meds, my hands shake less when I work. I have hope for more time in the studio in 2017, but first I would need to make the space workable again. That will take sustained effort.

So, a fine New Year’s resolution would be to do just that. Then why have I been hesitant to make a resolution to finally get the studio in working order? Some days I feel that reclaiming the studio is what I really want to focus on in the new year; I know doing it would feed my soul and make it possible for me to concentrate on my creativity once again. And yet on other days I think there are probably better ways to spend my time. When will I return to ministry work? Should I spend time catching up with my family and friends, after being focused on regaining my health for so long? Or how about our country’s political situation; should my focus be on the environment? I am tugged in many directions.

Somehow being out there yesterday with the fresh snow all around made it seem like a new beginning is in order. Thinking about it now, I realize that beginning again in the studio has the potential to encompass some of the other strands of my life. I used to use the space not just as a studio, but as a place to offer spiritual direction, and also to have workshops for small groups. I used to do projects with my grandchildren there. The space provided sanctuary not just for artwork, but for ministry, friends and family. In it I worked on nature- and environment-themed projects. It really is all of a piece. Through the process of writing about this, I have returned to the New Year’s resolution to put my studio in order, and begin again.

Below is a 2011 photo from part of the studio, neat and spacious. Something to which I can aspire!

Sewing box

 

My daughter’s birthday was a couple of months ago. Because the nut doesn’t fall far from the tree, she is a “maker,” like her Mom, so I decided to decorate a box in which she can keep all those little things. I am unable to use my sewing machine now, so I’ve been finding projects I can do while resting.

The plain box below was for sale for $14.95.

Plain Sewing Box

 

I used paint and objects I found around the house.

Sewing box, right top drawer

Above:  Open right drawer of box. Includes a rose packet of vintage needles.

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Sewing box, right side open

 

Above:  The other level, open, on the right side of the box. I used a vintage pattern, and gave her some bling.

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Sewing box, front drawer open

 

Above: An image of the girl herself  is in the front top center drawer.

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Sewing box, back

Above: a portion of the back of the box.

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Sewing box left side

Above: the left side of the box.

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Sewing Box Front

Above: Sewing box front.

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This project was fun!

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The Three Norns, Dec. 8 in Chatham

norns sign 11:13

Tomorrow, this sign will hang in a store window at 12 Main Street in Chatham, NY. My two daughters and I will be selling our handmade goods, from 11 am to 4 pm. I have been able to work slowly on some small items for the sale.

Below are some more tiny worlds, small living terrariums, which will be for sale. I also will show some woolen goods, ornaments, and some jewelry. Stop by if you are in Chatham!

Terr.Heart

Terr. Heart

Woman in heart terrarium.

Woman in heart terrarium.

Reindeer in terrarium.

Reindeer in terrarium.

Eagle in terrarium.

Eagle in terrarium.

Close-up of eagle.

Close-up of eagle.

Sharing the Glory

“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature— the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.” ~Rachel Carson

This morning I discovered the above quote on WordPress friend Robin’s lovely blog, which expresses exactly how I feel this morning, as I regain strength. Robin’s fabulous Green Man post  is currently featured on Freshly Pressed. Please visit it to see her photography.

And last but not least, a blessing from a friend:  this morning Sharon sent me this photo she took in the Berkshire countryside yesterday.

Photo by Sharon Lips

Mythic Journeys



For those interested in myth, metaphor, and meaning, above and below are links to the movie Mythic Journeys I mentioned in my last post. The stop motion “Bone Orchard” part of the film was screened at the event I just attended; to see the rest, I purchased the 2 DVD set. The imagery is beautiful, and the words are inspiring. The “tree girl” pictured on these banners was based on the work of Virginia Lee, artist Alan Lee’s daughter. And the “Bone Orchard” segments of the film are based on puppets crafted by Brian and Wendy Froud.


The Enchanted Realm

Today my daughter and I returned from another realm, where we spent a weekend immersed in myth, story, music, and art.

Here are photos taken just before the Good Faeries Ball (I recycled my Halloween costume for this):

And just before the Bad Fairies Ball:

We also attended panels of writers and artists, including Brian and Wendy Froud, Jane Yolen, and others.

Of particular interest to me was the session by Whitney and Steven Boe on their film Mythic Journeys, about the importance of myth, enchantment, and spirituality for our lives.

Brian and Wendy Froud, Whitney and Steven Boe

A handmade bench provided a focal point. It is really a headboard but framed a bench for this event.

It was a special weekend.

Telling its story against the vanishing

Today a Religious Naturalism email list sent the poem The Enigma We Answer by Living (reprinted at the bottom of this post) by Alison Hawthorne Deming , which was featured on the Panhala website.

What does nature compel you to do?

My father was compelled to chase butterflies, moths, and other insects. As a child, I saw him in the yard, hunting them down with his white net on a pole. I watched them die in his poison jar, fluttering their wings for the last time. I saw them arranged and labeled, a pin through each tiny body, and peered into their display cases at the university where he taught biological sciences.

I am compelled to create winged clothing,  garments of leaves, crowns of berries and thorns, a temple of the cosmos, stories to tell, plantings of herbs, and gatherings of people. Some people are compelled to write poetry.

The Enigma We Answer by Living

Einstein didn’t speak as a child
waiting till a sentence formed and
emerged full-blown from his head.

I do the thing, he later wrote, which
nature drives me to do. Does a fish
know the water in which he swims?

This came up in conversation
with a man I met by chance,
friend of a friend of a friend,

who passed through town carrying
three specimen boxes of insects
he’d collected in the Grand Canyon –

one for mosquitoes, one for honeybees,
one for butterflies and skippers,
each lined up in a row, pinned and labeled,

tiny morphologic differences
revealing how adaptation
happened over time. The deeper down

he hiked, the older the rock
and the younger
the strategy for living in that place.

And in my dining room the universe
found its way into this man
bent on cataloguing each innovation,

though he knows it will all disappear –
the labels, the skippers, the canyon.
We agreed then, the old friends and the new,

that it’s wrong to think people are a thing apart
from the whole, as if we’d sprung
from an idea out in space, rather than emerging

from the sequenced larval mess of creation
that binds us with the others,
all playing the endgame of a beautiful planet

that’s made us want to name
each thing and try to tell
its story against the vanishing.

~ Alison Hawthorne Deming ~

(from the book Genius Loci)