Story, Art & Transformation
We cross thresholds all the time. sometimes it is the simplicity of walking through a door from one room to another. Sometimes it is moving between significant and symbolic changes in our lives, the end of something known into what comes next and is unknown. These can be times of discomfort and times of infinite possibility and joy. Sometimes we have to mark these occasions as they “happen to us” and other times I would suggest we invite them in. Even the smallest shift can bring us to attention ~ lighting a candle, beginning a piece of work, writing in a journal, cooking a meal ~ bringing our awareness to what is before us and trusting that everything else is being cared for now. Begin. Move forward.
We look with uncertainty
by Anne Hillman
We look with uncertainty
beyond the old choices for
to a softer, more permeable aliveness
which is every moment
at the brink of death;
for something new is being born in us
if we but let it.
We stand at a doorway,
awaiting that which comes…
daring to be human creatures,
vulnerable to the beauty of existence.
Learning to love.
Two Story, Art & Transformation workshops were held in November. Three women met in each workshop and these are a few examples of the thoughtful and slow work that was begun ~
Peak Road, Stone Ridge, NY #4
23rd Street, NYC #2
23rd Street, NYC #3
23rd Street, NYC #4
…sometimes looking back helps us to look forward, sometimes it only holds us to old stories, myths that no longer instruct, patterns that once provided the net that we thought held us safe ~ but instead enclosing us from swimming freely beyond…
1988 ~ 2017
Peak Road, Stone Ridge, New York #1
Peak Road, Stone Ridge, New York #2
Peak Road, Stone Ridge, New York #3
South Oxford Street, Brooklyn, New York #1
South Oxford Street, Brooklyn, New York #2
by Mark Nepo
I’ve been watching stars
rely on the darkness they
resist. And fish struggle with
and against the current. And
hawks glide faster when their
wings don’t move.
Still I keep retelling what
happens till it comes out
the way I want.
We try so hard to be the
main character when it is
our point of view that
keeps us from the truth.
The sun has its story
that no curtain can stop.
It’s true. The only way beyond
the self is through it. The only
way to listen to what can never
be said is to quiet our need
to steer the plot.
When jarred by life, we might
unravel the story we tell ourselves
and discover the story we are in,
the one that keeps telling us.
June 30, 2017
“flight”, 2017, 3′ x 6′, mixed media with japanese paper and ink on canvas
moving slowly southward
aerial view of ocean bodies
tributaries of the nooksack, lummi, skagit and baker
as the crow flies 75 miles ~ 35 minutes of slow motion flight
my eyes mostly closed, headphones, muffling outside but all to aware of inside
moving between fear and a mantra of “you are not meant to go like this”
not asking why but that she must hold on, she must fight for her life.
Soft voice from behind asks, how much longer?
13 more minutes ~
she turns away from the microphone and I hear her say Fuck!
I can barely breathe.
moving so slowly above the vast darkness of puget sound ~
an image comes to me ~ a recent painting unfinished in my studio,
three adolescent girls ~ a repeating figure cradling the lower half of the canvas ~
no this is not an image of death but of rebirth.
Eight stages of the human heart
stretching from left to right ~
the blue sea moving in from all sides ~ rivulets and ocean bodies.
Creating Communities ~ Weaving Indra’s Net in Whatcom County
This past January I received a grant from the Whatcom Community Foundation. Shortly after this past 2016 presidential election, the Foundation put out a call for entries in Whatcom county for project proposals in all disciplines, the grant called Project Neighborly was intended to build bridges between diverse communities. “It’s easy to find comradery with others who believe what we believe, look like us and have similar backgrounds. And yet we know that the best ideas and decisions come from groups of people with differing perspectives working together . Building bridges (and community) is challenging, often messy work. When it happens, it is exciting and infectious.” The WCF awarded a total of 30 grants which amounted to over $300,000. I feel enormous gratitude to be part of a community with this commitment to bridging these social, economic and often political divides.
My grant proposal, Creating Communities, Weaving Indra’s Net in Whatcom County is being sponsored by the Whatcom County Library System Foundation. This will be the third generation of Indra’s Net which began in 2011. As in past projects, Indra’s Net is a multicolored, collaborative net made of vast amounts of recycled natural fabrics that have been stripped into 1/4 to 1/2 inch pieces of fabric of various lengths. The fabric pieces which come from personal donations and local upcycle fabric shop, Ragfinery, are then tied together into long “threads” which are knotted into a large net. Participants can choose to write prayers or statement on the strips before they are knotted into the net. The net is begun on a suspended 20′ piece of hemp rope . Individuals working on the net are able to sit on chairs or on the floor and tie these strips together after some simple instruction.
People can work across from one another and side by side, several people at a time or simply one person at a time. The events will take place over several weeks at our ten local branch library locations in Whatcom county. My hope is that this will provide an opportunity for people who hold a diverse range of personal positions to come together and share in a simple task ~ embodied in the working hands and hearts that represent “connection” and “interdependence”. I believe we all share many of the same hopes and dreams inspite of some of our beliefs and differences.
At the completion of our tenth event I hope to take our community made net and find a permanent location to install it as a symbolic representation of working together towards sustainable connections and building bridges within our community.
Lynden Library ~ March 25
Ferndale Library ~ April 22
Point Roberts Library ~ May 10
South Whatcom Library ~ May 13
Deming Library ~ May 20
Everson Library ~ June 10
Sumas Library ~ June 24
North Fork Library ~ July 1
Blaine Library ~ July 15
Lummi Island ~ July 22
Story, Art & Transformation
Open Studio Night
6pm – 10 pm or whatever you can sustain!
this week ~ February 9th, 2017
“WE ARE THE MIRROR AS WELL
AS THE FACE IN IT.
WE ARE TASTING THE TASTE THIS MINUTE
OF ETERNITY. WE ARE PAIN
AND WHAT CURES PAIN, BOTH.
WE ARE THE SWEET COLD WATER
AND THE JAR THAT POURS.”
~ RUMI ~
In this wintery wonderland ~ if the roads permit and your time is open ~ come over and continue to work in your altered books!
If you’ve completed your book and want to begin another you can do that as well…
This turning into a new year, one of enormous tumult and change is a perfect time to begin a new project.
Reminders ~ bring images or materials you want to work with that I may not have on hand. I’ll have everything here in the studio including the color xerox machine, all is available to you for $10.00 an hour. We’ll begin at 6pm or whenever you can get here and work as long as you want until 10. Don’t overwhelm yourself, just a page or a spread is enough to re-connect to your visual voice.
Hope to see you here, blessings !
january 3, 2017
16″x20″, paper and mixed media on canvas
At the Threshold of Womanhood
by John O’Donohue
It is like awakening into a morning
Where everything is touched with change.
Now your body has a mind of its own
As it curves and fills into womanhood.
The lightness of being a girl is leaving,
And your thoughts too are taking you
To places you have never known before.
Becoming a woman, you feel the moon
Tug at your blood, and you begin to sense
The mysteries of your new body.
May you enter beautifully into the feminine,
Learning to trust the world of feeling you inherit,
Finding ease and elegance in all you are.
May your respect for your beauty
Become visible in your dignity
And how you hold yourself in the world.
May the expectation in other eyes
Never decide how you are to be;
Learn to trust the advise of your heart.
May you feel life as an irresistible invitation
To discover and develop your talents,
Each day bringing something new to birth.
May you be wise in choosing love;
When you trust, give all your heart
And allow love to pervade you like breath.
May you have friends who can see you.
May your senses be windows of wonder
And your mind a prism of spirit.
december 31 . 2016 ~ sending & receiving ~
begun with a simple drawing of a bird in flight ~
bird meets bird, the receptive meeting the active ~ and i am reminded of the Tibetan Buddhist practice of Tonglen ~
sending & receiving, giving and receiving
this practice is intended to develop our compassion and our ability to be present for our own suffering and the suffering of others ~
I resist and am humbled by the simple practice of breathing in suffering and letting go the relief of that suffering
awakening the heart
beginning with ourselves
“The harvest I expected was washed away, but no matter, Joseph fell like the moon into the well of my soul. So listen, I don’t want learning or dignity or respectability. I want this music that I hear, and the dawn and the warmth of your beloved cheek against mine. Yes, I can hear the grief armies coming and assembling again, but I’m not going with them this time.” – Rumi
~ on the eve of 2017 ~
At The End Of The Year
by John O’Donohue
The particular mind of the ocean
Filling the coastline’s longing
With such brief harvest
Of elegant, vanishing waves
Is like the mind of time
Opening us shapes of days.
As this year draws to its end,
We give thanks for the gifts it brought
And how they became inlaid within
Where neither time nor tide can touch them.
The days when the veil lifted
And the soul could see delight;
When a quiver caressed the heart
In the sheer exuberance of being here.
Surprises that came awake
In forgotten corners of old fields
Where expectation seemed to have quenched.
The slow, brooding times
When all was awkward
And the wave in the mind
Pierced every sore with salt.
The darkened days that stopped
The confidence of the dawn.
Days when beloved faces shone brighter
With light from beyond themselves;
And from the granite of some secret sorrow
A stream of buried tears loosened.
We bless this year for all we learned,
For all we loved and lost
And for the quiet way it brought us
Nearer to our invisible destination.
“The artist appeals to that part of our being…which is a gift and not an acquisition ~ and, therefore, more permanently enduring.” Joseph Conrad
Weaving the Invisible ~ limited edition prints for sale!
and Lewis Hyde’s “The Gift”
detail from “weaving the invisible” 2012-2016
The ideas in this seminal book by Lewis Hyde, “The Gift”, http://www.lewishyde.com/publications/the-gift, have returned to me again and again. If one believes that the result of an artists’ efforts can be called “a gift” and that that “gift” comes from their inner world, Hyde suggests that “only by the gifts of the inner world being accepted as gifts in the outer world are they able to retain their vitality.” In today’s age of commerce and the exchange of commodities, many artists must nourish themselves both spirtually and materially through the exchange of their art as another commodity. For me this is often an unsatifying result of my efforts. Although I see the work of the artist as a vocation and one that entails hardwork, intention and self discipline ~ I also experience the process of making art as a daily practice. A practice of both heart and soul.
from “The Gift”, “I have hoped to write an economy of the creative spirit: to speak of the inner gift that we accept as the object of our labor, and the outer gift that has become a vehicle of culture. I am not concerned with gifts given in spite or fear, nor those gifts we accept out of servility or obligation; my concern is the gift we long for, the gift that, when it comes, speaks commandingly to the soul and irresistably moves us.”
In thinking about these ideas over many years I wanted to find a way for more people to enjoy the work that I do ~ beyond purchasing the single original. In this recent body of work, “Weaving the Invisible” I was moved to have a limited edition of prints made of these six original images. As each piece began as a photographic image on paper, it lent itself to these beautiful digital reproductions done on high quality rag paper. If you are interested in purchasing one of these prints please see my website for more details. http://www.debragoldmanstudio.com/prints-for-sale/
(the original works are 20″x24″ silver gelatin photographs collaged with silk, sepia ink and silver/gold leaf)
“weaving the invisible” 2012-2016
“dream mapping” 2012-2016
“revolutions of the heavenly sphere” 2016
“the waters of life” 2016
“world mother” 2016
“when the heart first opens” 2012-2016
from the song, “The Gift” by Bruce Cockburn
In this cold commodity culture
Where you lay your money down
It’s hard to even notice
That all this earth is hallowed ground …
The gift keeps moving
Never know where it’s going to land
You must stand back and let it
Keep on changing hands.
“a spring without voices”
This is a mural print I made several years ago. In it’s first rendition I stained the silver gelatin print with river water and walnut ink. I had been working on a series of mural prints and had chosen to hand write across the entire surface of the prints from texts that I had found inspiring to me. This text was taken from the prophetic voice and work of Rachel Carson and her book Silent Spring. This is often considered the classic book that launched the environmental movement. It was written and first published in 1962.
“Silent Spring suggested a needed change in how democracies and liberal societies operated so that individuals and groups could question what their governments allowed others to put into the environment. Far from calling for sweeping changes in government policy, Carson believed the federal government was part of the problem. She admonished her readers and audiences to ask “Who Speaks, And Why” and therein to set the seeds of social revolution. She identified human hubris and financial self-interest as the crux of the problem and asked if we could master ourselves and our appetites to live as though we humans are an equal part of the earth’s systems and not the master of them.”
Recently I have been asked to exhibit a body of work titled “weaving the invisible”, this work, “a spring without voices” seemed to compliment the others so I took it out of storage and began to see it with fresh eyes. The addition of symbolic markings, the gesture of migratory paths and the patterns of silver leaf suggest how we might make the invisible visible as we continue to expose our human relationship to our planet. http://www.environmentandsociety.org/exhibitions/silent-spring/overview