Lately I have been fascinated by the work of Deloss Webber. Weaving basketry around stone or rocks this man has created an art form that moves me emotionally and stirs my own imaginative juices. I suppose it is the discord I register between the common 'emptiness' of a basket, which makes it useful and the weight/heaviness of the permanent/unmovable object around which it is woven that strikes me. The beauty of his weaving, often chaotic, also captivates me. I came across his work while researching a popular art form of tying Japanese style basketry knots around stones. The beauty of these pieces inspired me to create a few myself and then my breath was taken away as I came to find Webber's work. A long time admirer of Andy Goldsworthy's ephemeral art, Webber's also touched a part of me that admires the use of nature as primary medium. Before long my studio was filled with stones and weaving material and hours melted into days and days into weeks as I played in the energies these men had creatively brought forth. But, according to my own definition of creativity (last post) was I being creative or merely mimicking?
Well that's easy...I was mimicking.....at first. Eventually I dropped the traditional Japanese basketry knots and started designing my own around various shaped stones using a variety of bindings and reeds. I began incorporating felted wool, driftwood and twigs. I surrounded myself with all kinds of options and watched as my once held desire to create natural settings for some of my most intricate miniature paintings began to evolve. Now I was moving into creative energy. No sooner had this happened when another inspiration hit. How perfectly this media lent itself to creating collaborative works of art with my husband.
Mike is an incredible sculptor who works in wood. And while a lot of his work is whimsical, he has a few abstract and stylized pieces that have always spoken to me. I approached him about the idea of a collaborative series and he agreed to explore the idea. I am excited to see where it will take us. This is what creative energy does...it moves us in new directions! Literally! This is the difference between 'making stuff' and creating! I often enjoy making stuff. But when creativity joins the play I am engulfed in a whole new level of enjoyment. And sometimes profound insight joins the mix. Such was the case with the portrait I wrote about in my last post (pictured above).
Resting on my easel it caught the attention of my brother who had come to visit. Looking at the painting he said, "That's the closest thing I have ever seen to depict what happened the night Dad died." It evoked in him, a memory and a story about a mystical shamanic experience he had shared with our dad as he passed from this world into the next. As I listened to him recount the powerful experience I was gifted with the most wonderful and deeply moving story of this passage. I could see the peace in my brother as well, as he gave words to his experience and the intimate nature of a journey he had taken with our dad.... just so far, until my father suddenly turned and stopped him before going on to cross a river with a tribe of people resembling the woman I had painted. Now when I see this painting I am filled with this story and thankful for the door it opened for both my brother and I to sit in the intimacy of our dads transition in such a unique way.
This is not the first time I have shared how a painting has emerged to create a healing space. It is what happens when I step into creative energy. Something new is born, something that moves me from one state to another, from one experience to another. Creative energy is just that...creative. It does not mimic, it's not replicating and never there just to 'make stuff'. It's there to move us, to reveal something, to stir something up or awaken us. At least this is my experience of creative energy. This is why I differentiate between my own creativity and my attraction to simply making stuff. I play in both energies. I enjoy both energies. But only one awakens me and moves my journey forward.