"Be wild; that is how to clear the river. The river does not flow in polluted, we manage that. The river does not dry up, we block it. If we want to allow it its freedom, we have to allow our ideational lives to be let loose, to stream, letting anything come, initially censoring nothing. That is creative life. It is made up of divine paradox. To create one must be willing to be stone stupid, to sit upon a throne on top of a jackass and spill rubies from one’s mouth. Then the river will flow, then we can stand in the stream of it raining down." -Clarissa Pinkola Estés,Women Who Run with the Wolves
I have been blessed this week with time to "clear the river" -- meaning large chunks of time in the studio to open the flow of creativity. Today I started a new journal with this quote above, cleaned my space, and shot fresh images of my hands. I am excited to see where all of this will take me.
Written by one of my favorite authors, this is a book about voice, silence, motherhood, family, loss and creativity. One of the highlights of my year was seeing Terry read from it at Commonweal in May – you could hear it too, thanks to the New School’s podcast.
It is a rare thing in my experience for a photography book to possess the depth of emotional content that this one does. Rebecca Norris Webb made this series of powerful photographs after the untimely death of her brother, and I could feel her grappling with the edge between the living and the dying in these pictures. Her handwritten text runs throughout the book adding personal and poetic meaning.
Chris McCaw has created a fabulous series of photographs that are simple yet profound renderings of the path the sun and moon make across his paper negatives – literally burning the paper at times with the extreme length of exposure. I love how one of the very first images has a burn mark right through the paper page as if it were one of his prints – it’s so tactile and succinctly describes his process.
With two young girls in my house, most of the books I read are for the 2-4 year old. Mo Willems is a master in that category. This is my personal favorite among his many wonderful titles, because he did something so clever in this book that breaks down the distance between the reader and the characters of Piggie and Elephant. I will let you read it to find it out, as it offers a good chuckle for kids and adults alike.
I am always on the look out for a good book about the creative process -- this is my pick for 2012. It is light-hearted in size and style, but the wisdom is spot on. One of my favorite bits of insight was the permission to work analog even in this digital age – to work with the tools that best suit your own rhythm. This book is one I am keeping in the studio to flip through whenever I need a little creative inspiration.
Relishing the meditative practice of handwriting envelopes, adhering postage and return address labels, and embellishing envelopes with rubber stamps...my next Open Studio card is in process today. I love the tactile process of making mail. It helps build my anticipation for my next Open Studio in Muir Beach on December 2 from 11-5. If you would like to receive a mailed invite, just send me your address.
This bottle has sat on my studio shelf for months with just an image of the ocean inside, waiting.... Today I finally picked it up, literally dusted it off, and began to form it into the piece you see here. I layered sheet music and a handwritten text about the music of the ocean. I rolled some of the sheet music into scrolls - one in the front, and three in the back. The big breakthrough for me was placing the scroll in front of the photo inside the bottle...I have never tried that before, and I really like the effect - it pushes the photo away from the glass, giving it a little more space to move. I poured in mineral oil so that the elements can move and shift together like they would if they were in the ocean's water. It still needs to have its lid adhered with silicone, and then I will take a more professional photo, but for now I just wanted to share the progress made today.
I have been thinking a lot lately about how nothing is wasted...there are so many ideas I have for art, so many objects and images I collect in my studio, and all in due time the parts come together to form new art. The trick is patience. This piece reminds me that completion is not a race, but rather a gentle allowing and trusting my own timing.