Identifying the Essence

spiritball-16-multiyellow09_smallI am not sure where I have been. I searched online to find out if there was such a thing as a Spirit Ball and discovered there are thousands to choose from.

Apparently, Spirit or, as they’re sometimes called, Witch’s balls have been popular since the 18th Century – first in England and then in New England. For well over three centuries hollow glass spheres have been hung in windows to ward off witch’s spells, evil spirits and ill fortune. Hanging these decorative glass balls in the window or on the porch is thought to tantalize the mischievous spirits which may be threatening a home’s tranquility.

The wayward spirit is mesmerized by the ball’s reflective beauty. When the spirit touches the sphere it is absorbed and trapped in the web-like strands of glass thus protecting your home and family!

My notion of making a spirit ball was quite different to this. I thought of a spirit ball as being something which holds, at its core,  some ‘essence’, some attribute that make an entity what it fundamentally is, and which, by necessity, adds character and without which identity is lost.

So! A ball, made with an unlocked lock inside it, given to a healer, represents that which, at essence, is what they do. Their identity is somehow lost when they do not help unlock that which is held within. While they hold the ball they know what it is that they must do!

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The Scar Clan

Video from KarmaTube

I am, artistically have been, a ‘grab a fragment’ type of girl. I didn’t need to examine Judith Scott’s work closely in order to have an artistic response triggered.  For years I have snatched snippets, appropriated seeds, repackaged them and send them out as stimuli in other forms.

So glimpsing one of her pieces in the Textile Course last month was enough. It sent me scurrying to the internet to see more.

However, now, upon seeing this video, I really see that Scott and I are somehow linked! It would seem to me that we have both been members of what Clarissa Pinkola Estes refers to as the Scar Clan.

Her work is totally inspirational! It speaks to me!

Anastasia, the new look Creative Foraging and my ‘Descansos Project’ all emerged when it hit me that I did not have to have an end in mind. I saw that all I had to do was make rope and trust my intuition.

I pulled out ‘Women Who Run With Wolves’, revisited Baba Yaga and planned to re-read Estes chapter on Battle Scars and membership of the Scar Clan.

I have been making rope, appropriating things and embedding them deep within a ball shape, healing some deep wounds as I go.

I have thought about finding an old tennis racket and using it as a base to work from. I have seen my completed balls hanging from my tree, along with the metal pigs who hang out there. I can see rope objects appearing everywhere!

I have seen myself as having returned to the womb for awhile. I have seen myself lying there in the centre of my ball, then retracing my steps back to 63 year old me, noting the scars, the signposts that led me to the present moment.

I have been weaving cryptic talismans into my ball, talismans that, examined under an xray, would tell a story to anyone who was interested enough to examine them.

Now I see this video and ask myself, was this what Judith Scott was doing when she made her object filled balls?

She is a beacon on my path! She lights the way for me

But, for now I cannot over think this!

I will just go on making rope!

Footnote: Thanks to Stephanie Hansen for sending me a link to this video

An Affinity With Outsider Art

insider

Insider Art by Bruce Gray

A precise definition of Outsider Art has yet to find universal acceptance.  In essence it is art produced in response to some inner creative urge by those isolated from, or on the fringes of,  society, ignorant of the art world and its passing fads, unversed in conventional techniques, oblivious as to how others respond to their creativity, and wholly divorced from any concern with financial gain.

To art critics and collectors, the appeal of Outsider Art lies in its essential purity.  They would argue that this art is a reflection of innate, untainted creativity that provides a window into the innermost recesses of the human soul.   Outsider Art wells up like a volcano from deep within the artist, wholly uninfluenced by how others might view the work and with no regard to possible monetary reward.  Thus Outsider Art is manifestly free of many of the criticisms leveled at the contemporary art world.Because Outsider Art  lacks a universally acceptable definition,  it is sometimes used to include other, more peripheral, art forms.   Thus some would burden Outsider Art by expanding it to encompass all manner of ‘rustic’, ‘ethnic’, ‘primitive’, ‘folk’ and other untrained, childish expressions of creativity that may be broadly  identified as ‘naif art’.   Outsider Art more rigorously envisioned, while sometimes naif, possesses a depth far beyond the merely unsophisticated.

Joyce & Judith Scott

Le Enchanteur, drawn in 2005 is, by definition, a piece of Outsider Art. She is the work of the untrained and does not pretend to be a sophisticated drawing.

To write is my first language. To draw and make tactile forms of art is my second language.

During the period of my husband’s decline I spent evenings by his side drawing. Le Enchanteur was know to the Soul Food Cafe community as the energetic spirit who led kindred spirits into the misty world of Lemuria. This very early portrait of her, along with hundreds of subsequent drawings were each completed within a three hour time span. These drawings are, undoubtedly, a form of naive self portraiture.

Finding my place as an Outsider Artist is like finding the holy grail.