Artists have different ways of approaching their work. Some focus on the basic elements of art, line, shape and form, space, color and texture. Others choose to concentrate on creating works they think will have the best chance to sell. Still others are guided by inspiration, to create a thing of beauty or to express emotion, tell a story, speak their truth or support a cause. I tend to fall in that last group.
So it is only natural for me to turn to art in times of stress and distress. Over the course of the past year I have watched helplessly as the very fabric of our country and lives has started to unravel. Just before the election the idea of an unraveled art quilt came to me. There may be a series here because three different concepts came to me. I pray as I work on all my art quilts, but this one was especially infused with prayer.
There is still an element of hope in this work because not all has started to unravel yet. Some pieces are still tightly stitches together, some are being held together with embroidery stitches. The spider web is my way of showing respect to the beautiful crazy quilts created by women of the Victorian Era, which always included a spider web. Traditional quilts are finished with a fabric binding around the edges. This art piece will not have a binding at all. I think it is finished the way it is.
I like playing with the word “crazy” in art quilts. An earlier work that is also coming apart is called The World’s Gone Crazy, but I’m Okay. In this work the world is going crazy, but I am safe and sound in the center, surrounded by the White Light of God and the Prayer for Protection.
I believe that just as all of life is created from and infused with Spirit, so is art. In my art I draw no lines between “spiritual” and “non spiritual” works. Some pieces may have more obvious religious or spiritual themes or symbolism than others, but all are created with the Creator of the Universe.
That said I do love to play with sacred geometry, especially circles. I have worked with the form of the Rose Window for Rose of Sharon.
I have also explored the labyrinth (the Walker Series),
But until recently I have not attempted a mandala. Finally one day last summer I cleared my schedule for an “art day” and devoted my time and energy to making one.
I began the day with meditation on the courtesy dock which actually extends over the water. What a wonderful way to begin, sitting silently listening to the birds and feeling the gentle breeze on my face. Then I went inside and did a bit more study on the history and process of the mandala. I wanted to work outside so I loaded up a couple of tote bags, walked back down to the lake and set up on a picnic table by the water.
I thought I had an idea of what I would do, but Spirit had something else in mind. Instead of the extremely intricate flowing lines of many drawn mandalas, I ended us with very basic circles full of personal meaning and symbolism. It may not seem like much to others, but to me it is a gentle, encouraging message from the Creator and exactly what I needed on that day. I am not posting a photo here because this is a very personal piece. It is hanging in my studio and is not for sale.
When we begin recognizing our connection to nature, Spirit, symbols and other people life starts to open up to us in all it’s glory. The mandala is one tool we can use to help facilitate this. More than just an art form, Spirit will speak through it if we just listen.