I am helplessly seduced by
Sutra is a Sanskrit word that can mean thread, (sew, stitches) or spiritual teachings. Since I was on retreat at the remote Krishnamurti Uttarkashi Retreat at the time, both meanings are relevant to this piece.
Walking in the high Himalayan forest I was enchanted by the pieces of bark that would fall from the trunks of huge trees and lie scattered on the forest floor like small sculptures in their own right.
I had no art materials or equipment with me. Everything used in this piece was either scavenged from the roadside, under the trees, beside the River Ganges, or bought in the village market.
340 x 900
stitching, gilding, assemblage
khadi paper, hessian sackcloth, threads, river stone, old cotton dhoti, recycled cardboard, tree bark*
miriam louisa simons
*Bark from the Chilgoza Pine – Pinus Gerardiana – which is native to the northwestern Himalayas. The fragments in this piece were gathered in forests near Uttarkashi, northwest India. Chilgoza Pine is a cousin of the Lacebark Pine (a native of northeastern and central China) and is also found in Pakistan and eastern Afghanistan.
Why do I love Patricia Sullivan’s blog Art Does Matter? I love the mix and variety of art and craft she features – jewelry, sculpture, painting and the oft-neglected fiber arts. I enjoy reading her perceptive reviews of exhibitions in her neighborhood (Philadelphia) and other important shows in the US. I find the way she writes about her own practice and creative process both enlivening and inspiring. And I love the way she has been a loyal supporter of this little blog over the years. If art matters to you, Art Does Matter is a blog worthy of a place on your blogroll.
Patricia Sullivan: “Widget Locket #3: Homage to Art Nouveau”
chased/repoussé sterling silver, patina, plexiglas, archival paper
hand-fabricated chain/clasp, 21″ x 1.75″ x .25″, 2013. Photo: P. Sullivan
I design and typeset the two-dimensional interior news’ widget piece in Illustrator and draw out the decorative motifs that I chase and repoussé in silver. The 2-D graphic piece is printed in color on archival paper and set inside behind clear plexiglas that I hand-saw and polish to snap-fit into the octagonal-shaped oxidized silver locket body. Because I use materials like metal, paper, acrylic and sometimes fabric in my work, each jewelry piece becomes more of a mixed media composition that’s actually a wearable container for our recollection of soon-to-be-outdated technology.
Patricia Sullivan: “Widget Locket #4: Homage to Mexico”
(front and reverse detail) Photo: P. Sullivan
… this locket’s chased patterning is derived from the history of the decorative arts of Mexico, such as the elaborate patterns found in ceramic or copper/tin tiles. I use chasing and repoussé on metal (a technique common in the history of Mexico’s metalworking genre) to create a beautiful exterior on the locket. Once the locket is opened, it reveals text that is printed on archival paper designed and typeset in Adobe Illustrator. The paper is cut and pressure-fit tightly into the locket’s rear octagonal piece and set behind polished Plexiglas hand-sawed to fit the exact shape of the locket. The entire locket body, hand-fabricated sterling silver oval chain and hollow-constructed silver clasp are oxidized to give this piece a darker, more “age-old” overall look.
[Notes sourced from Patricia's blog. Click on the screenshot to read more. Enjoy!]
Yesterday I moved home and studio, and while my computer desk was one of the first things to be sited and assembled – along with the fridge and my bed – my mind has had little space to consider which blog or website to share here this Friday. So I’ve decided to share a video link instead – a rare short interview with painter Agnes Martin.
Agnes Martin – Gratitude – 2011
I don’t have any ideas of my own
and I don’t believe anybody else’s
so that leaves me a clear mind …
~ Agnes Martin
As a postscript to last week’s friday favorite, in the hands of alchemy, I’d like to share this video.
“the discipline of innocence”
“keeping wonder alive in your heart”
“reverent attention to possibility”
“claiming your own happiness”
You must learn one thing.
You must learn one thing.
The world was made
to be free in.
Give up all the other worlds
except the one to which
Give up all the other worlds
except the one to which
Sometimes it takes darkness
and the sweet confinement
of your aloneness
to learn that anything or anyone
that does not bring you alive
is too small for you.
[Transcribed directly from the video - apologies for errors in line arrangement.]
Sometimes finding the truth of one’s work – and one’s life – costs everything. How much of our belief structure, our convictions and habitual behavior are we prepared to relinquish in order to allow space for the utterly authentic to express through our voices and hands?
In 1979, at age 29, Jerry Wennstrom destroyed all the art he had created, gave everything he owned away, and set out to discover the rock-bottom truth of his life. He sensed an inner and outer world in perfect order and became a willing participant in that order – he leaped into the void, the ultimate creative act. He began a life of unconditional trust, allowing life to provide all that was needed. He lived this way for 15 years.
Wennstrom’s wish was to open to the energy of life itself. In releasing the structure of daily habits and routines, he learned to trust and appreciate the significance of each moment. This entailed relying on intuition, listening keenly to the deeper nature of feelings, and wisely observing the ways in which our inner world reflects the outer, and vice versa.
In 1998 he moved to Washington State, where he eventually married Marilyn Strong and produced a large new body of art. Marilyn and Jerry’s charming Whidbey Island home is now filled with his unique interactive sculptures and paintings. Jerry also built a 40-foot meditation tower on his property, which is featured along with his story in a book by Laura Chester called Holy Personal.
Interactive sculpture – 8ft in height
During a trip to Italy I was moved by a few ancient, worm-eaten Confessionals I saw in several of the older cathedrals in Assisi. The oldest ones were small and simple and appeared not to be in use any longer. They were often placed off to the sides of the smaller chapels or in out of the way places. These old confessionals were so well-used over the years that the places where knees touched wood were worn in shape of two half moons. There were places on the hand rest where finger nails dug deep into the wood. The inspiration for this art piece was the power and energy of guilt, angst and forgiveness that these confessionals embodied.
I call the piece Confessional and it is made out of an 8′ X 26″ hollow, cedar log that I drug up from the ravine below our house. The outer, female figure is a double door that opens down the middle and around the face to reveal the life-size, fully carved saint inside. Turning the Danger High Voltage switch that is situated under the lower mask turns the saint into a devil — his halo disappears, little red horns appear out of the figure’s head, a forked tongue comes out of his mouth, a tail wags from behind and his hands offer an apple.
Confessional interior showing ‘saint’.
See more details of this work on the blog (link below)
Jerry’s story is told in his book, The Inspired Heart: An Artist’s Journey of Transformation (foreword by Thomas Moore) published by Sentient Publications and in the Parabola Magazine documentary film called In the Hands of Alchemy: The Art and Life of Jerry Wennstrom. There is also a Sentient Publications DVD with the same name ,which includes a short new film called Studio Dialogue. Studio Dialogue is a presentation Jerry did before a live audience with music by Susan McKeown, sung by Marilyn Strong. Jerry travels internationally lecturing, teaching and presenting his film and work and he writes a monthly piece on the spirit of the times for a New York City consulting firm.
Most of the above information is sourced from – Jerry’s website. The images and his comments about Confessional are sourced from his blog.
Click on the screen shot to visit Jerry and Marilyn’s blog.
14.08.12 + a question about creativity
Making things, making art, is a dance of discovery. A mark is made on the empty canvas. A movement arises, freely improvised. The body moves. Tools are picked up. Gestures in color, form and texture unfold. Mind is poised, empty, innocent, and endlessly wondering.
Welcome to wonderingmind studio!