Archives for April 2017

Return to Center

There is no true path without center
With center, the mind, body, and spirit –

Passion and commitment unleash
A force that cannot be contained.
Thomas Crum

A visit to the island of Maui a few weeks ago reminded me of the importance of ‘recharge’ breaks in life for staying centered and nurturing my artistic spirit. Maui had been an annual stopping point for my husband and I for many years. A little condo complex perched on the western shore offered an easy resting spot for us where we could quickly slip into a laid back routine. However, life has a way of intervening and it had been three years since our last visit.

It did not take long after our arrival for me to remember just why we had spent so many years trekking out to the spot annually. It felt as though the crashing waves outside our lanai were washing away tensions in my body. As I sat watching whales frolicking in the ocean, I realized the inspiration for many of my art quilts had emerged in similar moments sitting on a Maui lanai. The setting was a vehicle for me to nurture my own centered state akin to recharging a battery.

Back home on the mainland, I continued to play with the concept of recharging center. I began to identify and more fully appreciate the places in my travels where that feeling of ‘recharging’ was strongest and that I intuitively longed to return. I found each conveyed a deep feeling of peace that nurtured my creativity even though the locations varied significantly in landmark characteristics. High on my list were two sites in busy Paris – the sculpture gallery of the Louvre and the restored home of Rodin that displays many of his works.

Louvre Museum

Rodin Museum

Other ‘recharging stations’ for me were in more remote destinations: a beach on the west coast of Ireland, the ice in Antarctica, a mountain top perch in western Colorado.

County Mayo, Ireland

County Mayo, Ireland

Rocky Mountains

Fortunately, these places are not the only way for me to recharge. Daily meditation is my ‘at home’ go to for starting off a day in a balanced and inspired state, and sites such as the Seattle Art Museum, much more accessible than Antarctica, are guaranteed to recharge and inspire me. However, my Maui trip has reminded me of the importance of scheduling visits to some of those more distant magical places as often as possible. In fact, next year is already booked!

 

 

Ground Zero Reborn

I spent much of my studio time in the early months of 2017 working on a new art quilt that I have titled Ground Zero Reborn. The idea for the piece came directly from a visit that I made to the Ground Zero site in Manhattan in early November 2016.

The financial district of Manhattan has always been important in my life as my parents met while working on Wall St. and my father worked for an investment firm for his entire career. After 9/11, I visited the Ground Zero site whenever I was near New York City. I remember peering through plywood walls in the early weeks, years later standing in line for hours to gain admittance to the reflecting ponds and finally on this last visit walking down into the Memorial museum.

In the weeks after my November visit, I realized that something had definitely shifted for me. I had gained some perspective and perhaps some reassurance that whatever was thrown at us as a country, healing was possible with time. I have no doubt that my feelings of hopefulness were due in part to the choice of white marble for the interior of the massive Occulus transportation hub which lies on part of the Ground Zero site as well as it’s amazing roof design that reminded me of a bird taking flight into the future.

Photo of the Occulus building taken in November 2016 from the memorial ponds.

My new art quilt, Ground Zero Reborn, reflects my perspective now, in 2017, on the Ground Zero site and the journey of the site since that fateful day. It does this through three separate but joined art quilts.

The lowest quilt in the grouping, Remember, speaks to the horrible carnage and destruction of that fateful day when the towers came down. It is essential in my world view that we never forget horrific world events caused by mankind and that we learn from them so hopefully they will never be repeated.

The middle quilt in the sequence, Respect, honors the nearly 3000 victims of the terrorist attacks on 9/11/2001 and 2/26/1993 as well as all those who risked their lives to help save others. It underscores the important place of respectfulness in modern society. It is my fervent hope that in paying homage to those who lost their lives, we will be inspired to commit to living our own lives at a higher level as we have the privilege of life.

The top quilt in the group, Rebirth, acknowledges the steps forward that Manhattan has taken to rebuild and revitalize its damaged community and population. I see in the image the spirits of those lost on the site soaring to the heavens. The piece truly embodies my hope that we will learn from the past and work towards a future without violence.

The three art quilts that are Ground Zero Reborn were created using multiple fiber techniques as appropriate to each quilt. Much of the stitching was done by hand with care and loving thoughts for those that lost their lives on the site.