Functional Art & Essential Creativity
Two things I dreamed of as a child. One was to be an artist while the other was to be a nun devoted to prayer and spirit. Looking back, I continue to be on the path of both. I live my life devoted to spirit, prayer and honoring nature through my daily spiritual practice and dreaming of what to create next.
An artist? A creative, expressive being? My creative urge is intertwined with my being a woman, a daughter, a mother and now a grandmother. My creativity, I feel, is part of a weaving greater than myself. I reflect on women through time, creating out of necessity. Unbeknownst to them in consciousness, they are each a thread in the warp or weft of this larger weaving that is inspired and can be seen everywhere in nature, the night sky and in the vast spaces of meditation. We are all creative beings because it is our true nature to be so.
My medium is fiber, in any form. I create what I call functional art and essential creativity. I learned my love of fiber from my own mother. Though no one would have called my mother an artist in her lifetime, an artist she was. As I look back at her projects and use of color, she was an artist of function and life. Her craft room where my sister’s and I spent hours after my mothers’ passing was full of boxes and drawers of projects, materials and tools! This room was my mother’s studio, her sanctuary. Tucked in between skeins of yarn and scraps of fabric were her hand written notes of patterns and lists of ideas, some of which were finished, some in process and others, planned for another day. I smile now as I realize I have my own studio filled with similar tools of my own self-expression.
As a teacher, my mother was a perfectionist who taught respect for fiber and a strict foundation for making anything from raw material. I learned to follow patterns, to knit in a variety of stitches and to sew fabric together for a finished product.
Always with a love of fiber, I’ve had other teachers through the years and picked up additional skills along the way. I am reminded of the woman in Pennsylvania who taught me to spin. I learned to love the wool through stories she would tell while spinning in her barn, her studio, where the walls were lined with raw wool as well as skeins already spun and waiting. Her stories made the art of spinning a richer experience. She told me of the history of spinning and the time consuming tasks before getting to wear a sweater or cozy up under a blanket. Through story, I learned the importance of a broader relationship both with the finished product and women throughout time.
During my years as a preschool teacher I witnessed and remembered the importance of abandoned play, joy and laughter as essential elements of creativity. Children are not serious when they create. Play is their nature and what they bring to every activity. Putting both together has enriched my process of creativity and is now what expression of my Self is all about.
Adding abandoned play allows each creation to become my own personal impression and work of art. I, personally, like the practice of indigenous artists, in particular weavers, where a personal imprint or signature is added by leaving a “mistake” somewhere in the weaving. I see it as an honoring of Spirit by acknowledging the perfection within imperfection.
If it weren’t for my own mothering I am not certain my creative voice would have awakened in the same way. When I was pregnant, my love of fiber and my urge to make things was re-awakened with a new urgency. I remember working late into many nights on quilts, socks or sweaters. While pregnant, I was passing time and meditating on this growing being inside of me. That urge continued to blossom as she grew.
Only in retrospect do I realize that I was imagining, creating and expressing myself within the larger web of all women through time. Each piece, now, is a mindful meditation into this deeper connection. As I knit stitch by stitch I am lost into the rhythm and find myself wandering and wondering of women in the past using fiber in its raw and purest form whether animal or plant. Weren’t they following a similar urge? Weren’t they artists of self-expression, like my own mother, expressing themselves in functional art and essential creativity so their children were not only protected by the elements but had skills and stories to take forward? Am I not one of them? Expressing myself because I must in order to continue the warp and weft of a larger weaving with my own stories and skills to take forward?
For this I never know what to say! I’m an acupuncturist, life coach, massage therapist living a creatively spiritual life in a cottage in the woods with my dog & cat. I have all the degrees, licenses & certificates that give me permission to do what I do for work, which I love! When not at my work, I’m home creating, walking in the woods. reading, writing and doing yoga & meditation. I believe that this life is to be enjoyed fully and if I’m not enjoying it, I’ll simply stop doing it!
(not a traditional bio, but the truth!)