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.