Tuesday, July 1, 2008

A Seed Germinates

Although the BJP for 2008-2009 doesn't officially start until September for me the eyes started flowing not too long after we got a good start on the 2007-2008 year. I knew that I wanted to do this again even before it was official that we were going to do it, if the others weren't I was. I learned so much the first time around and learned so much about myself, my art and new techniques that I couldn't not do it.

I have played with many ideas in the last year but I kept coming back to the idea of doing a Sacred Tree. The idea of playing with the idea of trees germinated when I went with Colleen to DC to a lecture by the Artist in Residence at a seminary school there. The Brother did predominately religious themed work but not all of it was. Part of the lecture was about the symbolism used in his work. It was truly fascinating and his mention of the Tree of Life set a little seed in my brain. I have always liked nature and love lots of trees around me.

I find it amazing how prevalent the tree has been in so many cultures as a sacred object. Most early cultures had some sort of belief system about trees. Trees have been seen as Gods, dwelling places of Gods, embodiment of different lesser deities the tree has been for thousands of years an important part of the forming of human beliefs. Why wouldn't trees be important? They make oxygen for us to breathe, provide us with wood to build shelters, fuel our fires, and provide food to sustain us.

The next parts of the idea I ended up with came in part from Robin Atkins, I read her blog entries about her animal totem(s) and since I had always felt very connected to Bears and other animals at different points in my life I decided to have a reading done. The other part of the idea came from Robin's January BJP. She had done a self-portrait with beads. Hers was an abstract portrait with lots of symbolism and her post came at a time when I was already leaning toward a tree with my animals and other things that I love. What a perfect blend of ideas, the piece would become a portrait of who I am including things that I love, have meaning to me or symbolize who I am as a person. In a way many of our BJP projects have been a self-portrait since so many of peoples page show who and what we are, where we are creatively and what has personal meaning to us.

I spent a lot of my initial time playing with ideas in my sketch book. How did I want to accomplish this. The tree as the background for the piece came before I had decided on the piece as a self portrait. At first the tree was part of the environment for the animals, but as the idea progressed it became an integral part of the piece. The photos are some of my early playing to work out scale and ideas. I went from little sketches to much larger attempts to see where I wanted to go. The photo to the Left is done with dry erase markers on dry erase poster board. My proposed blocks are index cards.

I have been putting in lots of time working on my Sacred Tree. Officially it doesn't start until September but since the piece is going to include so much more than the monthly blocks I need a head start. The whole thing is going to be a quilt/mixed media collage with painted and beaded blocks. I will include a lot of information on my creative process, different techniques I am trying, my goals, and all of the symbology of the piece. I already have put enough time into the project that I have enough info for several posts so I will try to write about 2 times a week on it until I catch up at least. I have also started a new album in My Web Gallery for the piece and if you don't want to wait for my blog to catch up you can see my photos of the progress of the piece there, I will update it as I get new photos. If you are interested in getting e-mails when I update my blog you can sign up with Feedblitz on the sidebar of my page near the top.


pam T said...

OOOOH! Angela! What a beautiful idea! No wonder you are starting already! I love it - I too love trees and nature ... This is going to be an incredible work of art when you are done - I know! Was just adding your name to the 2008 participant list and clicked on you to make sure I entered you correctly! WOW!

abeadlady said...

Great start, Angela. I just finished a symbolic beaded doll class online so I love the idea you came up with. Can't wait to watch it progress.


a2susan said...

I can't wait to see what you do with your ideas, Angela. they seem to be flowing from you, which is terrific.

KV said...

Lovely idea, Angela. Looking forward to seeing it progress . . .

Kathy V in NM

Carol said...

Wonderful idea. I am new to the project and looking forward to it so much. My ideas are flowing. Hope my skill match!

Angela said...

The feedback is so great, with out Wayne here to give feedback sometimes I feel like I am in a bit of a vacuum. Having all of you out there really helps, thanks.

The ideas are seriously overflowing at times and the number of ideas I have running through my head is amazing. This my favorite part of creating, when the ideas are flowing and I have to figure out how in the word to accomplish what I want to do. Can you get drunk on creative energy??

If you have questions there are lots of us to ask. You might want to look at some of the other posts on the BJP main blog for 2007-8 since I know that people posted different questions there and got lots of good answers. That is one of the best things about this group, everyone is so generous and supportive. If you see someone's work that looks like what you are interested in trying something like ask them if they will give you any pointers or ask the group if anyone can suggest resources you might find useful.

I am trying a lot of new things for my project this year and some of it is just trial and error. I have found that "Quilting Arts" and "Cloth, Paper, Scissors" are really great magazines if you want to get ideas or information on surface design on papers or fabric. I am trying some of the things I have read about for this piece.


Robin said...

This is good, Angie! Your enthusiasm is so motivating and fun!!!

For about 4 years I studied and practiced Yang style Taiji Quan (tai chi). We also studied several Qi Gong forms, which are not martial... more for spirituality and meditation. The one I loved most was Tree Qi Gong. It's based on the fact that trees have both vertical and radial energy flow. We went into an old growth forest to practice, walking in different directions along a maze of deer and people trails until the energy of a specific tree caught our attention. Then we practiced in front of that tree, feeling both types of its energy all the while. I've never in my life had a more spiritual experience than that. Your tree makes me vividly recall that day. Maybe you could see if anyone in your area teaches tree qi gong. I think doing it would enhance your experience with the 09 BJP.

Big tree hugs, Robin A