Saturday, November 21, 2009

"Weavers" at Wesley Theological, 2009

What might we see, how might we act, if we saw with a webbed vision?"

Catherine Keller, "From a Broken Web"

"What is the new mythology to be, the mythology
of this unified earth as of one harmonious being?"

Joseph Campbell

"Weaver's" is installed in the staircase entryway at Wesley. As I worked, the "story" of this progression of hands became clearer to me. It is dedicated to the ongoing collaboration of the community of the Luce Center - for me, it is also a new “telling” of the Spider Woman, the weaver deity found throughout Native American mythology.

"It’s said that all stories
originate in the mind
of Spider Woman."

The "Hand and Eye" is the hand of the Divine, from which all inspirations come. Because it's also about the evolution of the arts center at Wesley, the first pair of hands belong to Cathy Kapikian, who retired this year after founding the program more than 25 years ago.

"The Seed Planter" seemed a fitting progression because all inceptions need visionary collaborators, people who find the means to "ground it into the soil."  Tiles are based on stories told me by those who volunteered their hands. Mr.Tortorici told me that his family came from a village famous for growing olives, and so I made an olive branch. Ms. Oden, who is the Dean, told me she missed the wild storms of her Great Plains homeland, and so I inscribed a storm on her panel.

Dr. Hopkins is an archaeologist who has spent years in the holy lands, so his panel has pottery shards. Mr. Soulen is a banjo player and a bee keeper, which is why I put a flower on the neck of his instrument. The harmonies of music, and honey, sweeten the mix.

Doug Purnell is a painter, providing the hands of the artist. Olaf, who is from Iceland (thus, the "Cod Shield") makes her art from fabric. And Amy Gray brought the Gardener's graceful hands, offering the "flowering" of an idea.

Finally, I included the hands of Colleen Nelson, who has been a community activist all of her life.

Next to last, those of Deborah Sokolove, the new Director of the Luce Center. Deborah says of her Iconic artwork that they are "prayers made visible", and so I titled her panel (she made her own tiles) the "Iconographer".

I grew up with a Native American painting, that belonged to my father, of horses running across a desert. One of the horses was turquoise blue. When I assembled my panels, I found I had an "extra hand" from the cast of a child. I remembered that painting, and how the artist used the blue horse to show the presence of Spirit. So the last panel is for those who are not yet born.
"The new myth coming into being through the triple influence of quantum physics, depth psychology and the ecological movement suggests that we are participants in a great cosmic web of life, each one of us indissolubly connected with all others through that invisible field. It is the most insidious of illusions to think that we can achieve a position of dominance in relation to nature, life or each other. In our essence, we are one."

Anne BaringTo view my:   BIO

Thursday, May 14, 2009

New Work 2009

These works are dedicated to my brother, Glenn.

I needed to do these pieces as "prayers". They speak better to me than words. I had these wonderful casts of hands, and also tiles imprinted with words and letters..........words, syllables, sentences are what we create the stories of our lives with. Before the words, the feelings, the belonging, the response, the one who experiences. Perhaps dying is shattering those "vessels" of words and ideas and constructs that have created the personae we have come to inhabit. Terra cotta pottery shards imprinted with words seemed like a perfect medium. Perhaps, leaving the words and vessels behind, at last, we fly.

Returning 2009

"Form is empty, emptiness is form.
Likewise, sensation, discrimination,
conditioning, and awareness are empty.
In this way, Shariputra, all things are emptiness;
they are without defining characteristics;
they are not born, they do not cease"
The Heart Sutra

Somewhere within the "hoop" of who we are, within the space between the child and the old man the beginning place and the ending the center is the heart. I think above all that is where our "soul making" has gone on.

Holy Mother Take My Hand (2009)


This Reliquary has two potent symbols of transformation - a feather left behind from the flight of a Phoenix, and the skin of a snake.

Dream Weaver 2009
.Of life's Spring
may we drink deep
and awake to dream
and die to sleep

and dreaming
weave another form
a shining thread
of life reborn

"The Weaver Song" from the Spiral Dance

Spider Woman's Hands 2007 - 2009

In 2007 it was my privilege to have a fellowship at the Alden Dow Creativity Center at Northwood University in Michigan, to develop "Hands of the Spider Woman" - a community arts project exploring the Native American creation story of the Spider Woman. I offer my gratitude as well to my collaborator Kathy Space, and the many people in the community of Midland who participated.

When the Icons each participant created were exhibited, all were united with a "thread" that wove between them, and beyond the exhibit; Spider Woman's thread, and our hands, weaving together.

Community Wall, Midland Arts Center  
"Tse Che Nako, Thought-Woman Spinning the World into Being" (2007)
I also want to thank the Puffin Foundation for further support and the Midland Center for the Arts for our exhibit.

In 2008 the project continued at the Creative Spirit Center, also in Michigan. In 2009, I continued exploring the theme as a resident artist at the Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C. 

The Artist's Oracular Cookbook

~Recipes for the Muse ~

"Art is food for the Soul. Bon Appetit."

In the summer of 2005 I was blessed with a residency at the Artist's Enclave at IPark.

At the time, I was playing with the idea of
Divination cards. It's an IPark tradition for each resident to contribute a special "cocktail recipe" when they leave. And so, in the course of that magical summer, The Artist's Oracular Cook Book became my contribution.

To learn more about the book,