Friday, June 21, 2013

Reflections on Sedona

Life has been so fast track lately, all good, but I had yet to have a moment to reflect back on my amazing excursion to Sedona, with one of my favorite travel buddies Jenni. As with every trip, I feel closer and deeper growing love and connectedness to her. Just when I think it can't get any richer, it does! We shared many hikes, and explored new places in the amazingly colored landscape of Sedona. I was pushed to new heights (literally) and my comfort zone and vision was expanded, as only Jenni can bring out in me. It was beyond amazing, and I will cherish it always. When the concierge gave us our maps with vortex points labelled and with some suggested hikes, we agreed we would "create our own legend"! (not unlike the book I was reading at the time, The Alchemist). 

We hiked, explored, built cairns, ate, laughed, shared stories, traversed creeks, Nurse Jenni fashioned a bandage for my toe from a Lara bar wrapper and hair tie!, sipped Margaritas, posed with sculptures in the night, swam, soaked, smuggled beer into the pool, showered outdoors, feasted some more by the creek, hiked and climbed higher, and just when I thought I was lost, I realized that every journey I share with Jenni I find a bit more of myself and that is immeasurable!

Looking Back on My PlusOne!

There is not much I can say but it was a dream come true to collaborate on this quilt "Heirloom" and the entire project with Jenni. It was so much deeper and richer than I could have ever expected it to be and I am so grateful for having had the opportunity to create this piece with my beloved daughter!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

The evolution of a sculpture

What begun as an abstract tree like form, that began its evolution several months ago, it "became" yesterday. When I first started building the earthenware form, I was uncertain, as I always am upon the beginning of a new piece, what it would "become". I felt drawn to the earthy red clay, groggy enough to hold itself, yet smooth enough under the strokes of my fingers. I had to put "her" on hold as I embarked on my wonderful Sedona vacation with Jenni. The clay was echoed by the the colors of the SW, yet I had no time to revisit her when we returned from our trip. Instead, I became deeply involved in the collaborative quilt, "Heirloom", that Jenni and I were working on for Gallery 114's PlusOne June exhibit. That piece took all my physical and emotional energy at the time, and all else had to be put on hold. I was so engaged and captivated by working on the quilt, that everything else had to wait. I knew she would be waiting for me, staying moist in the bag, until I could give her my undivided attention.

Then came the wonderful annual dance retreat to Breitenbush, with my amazing dance family. We danced in the woods, and brought the woods into the dance studio, and became the woods and all that reside in the woods. It was profound. 

When I returned home, I was ready to meet my partially begun sculpture with new thoughts about what she would now "become". I was feeling more drawn to the rooted, treelike aspect of her, and knew that there would be branches, roots, reaching and who knows what else. I began reacquainting myself with her the other day. She was feeling very solid, but still maleable enough to move into her next stage of becoming. As I became totally engrossed in her formation, she began reaching for the sky with her hands in prayer. After spending an entire day with her, I stopped and looked at her. A fear came over me, as I realized that she had grown too tall for my kiln, and there was not a spot on her that would lend itself to being fired in two parts. I couldn't separate her, it would lose it's integrity for me. So I began the arduous process of trying to trim and reform her to make her a bit shorter. Just as I thought she was ready to conform, she split in two! I was devastated and not ready to give up on her. I began the tedious but loving mending process, hoping that I could make her whole once again. She began to change her shape and her reaching. She began to transform. I will pause now to interject the story that happened the morning of this re-creation.

As I had my breakfast, I heard a crash into the window, and saw a small bird flailing in the fabric gas grill cover that lay mounded up on the deck, from the weekends celebratory family father's barbecuing. As he struggled, I felt helpless. As he quieted from exhaustion, I lifted him with reverence, in my cupped hands, and placed him gently on the mulch near the deck. I watched and waited for what seemed like hours, and he remained motionless. I ducked into the house for a few moments, and when I returned to check on him, he was gone. I searched everywhere, but apparently after a bit of a rest, he was ready to move on. I felt so relieved. I had been given a bit of bird first aid advice by my dear friend Michelle, but happily, did not have to use it. He was able to recompose himself and fly away. I thought of him many times that day.

Back to my sculpture. As I finished her that night, I realized that she was reaching outward in a releasing motion and I began to think about my bird. I could actually see my hands, in prayer, releasing him into the air. I began to fabricate a bird that I would then attach to her fingertips, but it felt too forced, too contrived. I turned and looked into my box of treasures that I collect from nature. There lay a piece of found wood that looked just like the bird! I was hit with that moment of magic, when the creator, the creation, and the experience become one and feel complete. Now to transport her and and fire her, and hope she too will survive and then to attach the piece of bird like wood to her out-swept hands in prayer. Release.

And if things could not get more synchronistic, my friend posted this quote on facebook with a picture of a lovely small bird on it:

"Be as a bird perched on a frail branch that she feels bending beneath her, still she sings away all the same, knowing she has wings."

Victor Hugo

I love how fate lays it's gentle hand on my shoulder and through that, on my sculpture. How magical when all things fall into place as they are meant to be.