Grandmother’s Coat

Grandmother-s coat heller kleinI have always been fascinated by Clarissa Pinkola Estes idea of making a full length scapecoat to detail in painting, writing, with all manner of things pinned and stitched inside. But I really love what Alice Wellinger has done here. This beautiful piece truly resonates and fuels the desire to do something using a grey coat that I have had hanging, unworn for many years.

In order to come to know them better it could also be good to explore what the inside of a character’s coat looks like

Purveyor of Creative Stimuli

I used to pride myself in being a purveyor of creative stimuli! Feedback from those who trawled through Soul Food supported my claim that I was quite good at triggering creative responses by providing a smorgasbord of tempting fragments.

Here is one I used to love to use with students. I would insist that there was complete silence and then I would take them through this guided imagery. After we completed the imagery exercise, the students would write what they saw in their imagination and then share their writing with other students. The experience was always exhilarating and there were times when the class spontaneously broke into applause.  I was always impressed by how insightful my students were.

You are walking down a road…. As you are walking, you see a house. Look at it. Notice its details…. Walk towards it. What do you notice about it?…. You start to walk around the house, looking at it as you walk…. Now you are halfway around. Notice the details of the house as you continue to walk around it…. Now you come back to where you were when you started…. As you walked around the house, you noticed a way to get in. Now go into the house…. What do you see?…. Explore the house, what’s inside?…. As you were exploring, you noticed a secret door leading to a secret room. Go inside that room. What do you see?…. Now leave the secret room and go back into the main part of the house…. Now leave the house. As you are walking away from it, you look back at it one more time…. You are back on the road once again, walking.

It was sessions like this that led to a collection of prompts being housed at Soul Food.

Creative Compulsive Disorder

Zina

Zina Nicole Lahr

As a subscriber to Colossal I came upon the work of Zina Nicole Lahr. Tragically she recently died during a hiking trip. When you read her blog and her feelings about the loss of her sister this is all the more poignant.

Zina describes herself, in an inspirational video made by her friend, as having Creative Compulsive Disorder. There is no doubt that she was full of the most amazing creative energy and this makes her death harder to come to terms with. In this video, alone, she talks about so many creative projects. It is totally life affirming.

Zina was a Creative Forager and I am in awe of what she achieved in her short life.

Random at Colossal

I have decided to use the Random function at Colossal to see what pops up to offers some inspiration.

“Using thousands and thousands of standard sewing pins artist (and MacArthur Foundation genius) Tara Donovan creates geometric shapes on immense canvases that appear almost blurred and atmospheric. The patience and care it must take to create these works is mind boggling. Her hand touched each pin, one by one until the canvases were filled with gentle sweeping gradients of tiny metal circles. See the work for yourself at Pace Gallery in New York through March 19th.”

I am thinking that there are a number of things I could do as a result of seeing this artist’s work.

One thing I could do is contact Tara and talk to her about how she came to use sewing pins in this way. Another is challenging myself to find other uses for all sorts of obscure things – like paper clips, paper doilies or some more uses for blue tack.

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!

Temari Balls

Temari BallsTemari balls are a form of folk art that originated in China and were introduced to Japan in the 7th century. The carefully hand-embroidered balls often made from the thread of old kimonos were created by parents or grandparents and given to children on New Year’s day as special gift. According to Wikipedia the balls would sometimes contain secret handwritten wish for the child, or else contained some kind of noise-making object like a bell.

Source: Colossal

The idea of making balls which are made using material from the clothes of loved ones and which contain secret handwritten wishes, bells, memories and other surprises appeals. I am cursing that I have not kept more pieces of clothing from those loved ones who have died.

No matter!

My descansos ball has none of the amazing precision seen here. At one time that would have bothered me. But today I feel no need to replicate this form of art. What I am most interested in, as I forage for ideas, is the use of color, the notion of using diverse scraps and the concept of making many balls.

This is timely for, having placed the open lock in my descansos ball, I sense the time has come to complete it and then see what material speaks to me and asks to be shaped into balls.  After all, Baba clearly has not done with me. My tasks are by no means completed.

Flickr user NanaAkua photographed an amazing collection of  geometric spheres created by her 88-year-old grandmother who began to master the art in her 60s. She has since created hundreds of them, nearly 500 of which you can see right here.

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