Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Visions



This mixed media piece, wool, wood, barbed wire and pyrography, there a number of these in the series so far, and I thought I'd really keep rolling with it, but something about the process just kind of sent me into hiatus. 

It felt like a punctuation mark on my felting journey.  Not a complete stop, but the end of a paragraph.  There was so much passion, intensity, obsessive detail work in this when I finished it this earlier this year I just didn't even want to look at wool for awhile. 

It's interesting to note that in the interim, exploring water color painting, I've been able to adapt the same methods, processes and visual approach that are in this piece, but am able to do it in a matter of minutes, as opposed to the month it took to make this felted "vision" piece. 

I've NEVER been able to draw or paint, and have tried to acquire the skill many times in my life, but I think maybe all the years of staring at the three dimensional images I've worked with in needle felting have had an effect on my ability to "see" and translate that.  This piece pictured here is a conscious invocation of "inner vision" as hinted at by the rusted barbed wire in the eyes, but the lack of obstructions at the third eye.

I'll post a few watercolor paintings later that share the meandering "flows" and random patterns I like to create in my felting, but for now, a couple more pictures of this as yet "untitled" piece:
 




























Tuesday, November 29, 2016

The Saddest Tear

Wow, I haven't updated this blog since January!  It's actually been a pretty productive year, creatively, an expanding roster of yoga and meditation classes and several larger felting projects completed or in process. 

It's interesting that before I discovered the magic of wool and soft sculpture I didn't believe I had any talent as a visual artist at all.  However, part of my process with the wool pieces has occasionally included rudimentary sketches of ideas, and lately, as I've continued working more with wet felting and mixed media sculptures, I've started using watercolors to create drafts of things I plan to felt, and in so doing, have actually fallen in love with watercolors, the process of working with them, the way the colors flow across the paper.  AND, for any of you who work with needle felting, you will understand when I say I LOVE that I can complete something beautiful in just a few minutes with watercolor, whereas even something cute and simple, like the Teardrop featured in this post, can take me several hours.  And the more elaborate pieces can take up to a month or more worth of free time.

In thinking about which new piece to share here first, I went with the teardrop because it speaks to something I've been experiencing this year.  While here and there in my life, as all people do, I've had brief periods where I felt down, these down-moods only ever lasted a few days, and certainly weren't something I considered "depression." 

And since this blog is a place where I overshare my personal emotional processes along with my work, I have to say, that what I'm experiencing doesn't feel like depression either.  Even though I'm not catholic, I recognize the emotional darkness I find myself in is essentially what St. John of the Cross describes as "The Dark Night of the Soul."  It is a place of despair, and a sense of everything in life being drained of meaning.  And it has gone on for months so far.

I am not going to lie.  Art doesn't really help that much, and feels as meaningless as everything else right now, but it has still provided a place to explore the experience, to be present with the emotion and learn what it has to teach..  It's my understanding that this "Dark Night" is part of a spiritual growth process, and I attempt to feel gratitude for "Pain as Teacher" but there are times, just like the characters in The Matrix, where I think "Why, oh why didn't I take the Blue Pill?"  I.E., why did I embark on this pursuit of authenticity rather than remain in my comfortable, slightly numb, superficial but relatively pleasant life?  I only hope that when or if I come through the other side of this it will be worth it.  Apparently, Mother Teresa, in all of her years in spiritual service to the world, remained in the "dark night" for over 50 years.  Ouch!

If by chance you are interested in the idea that what you feel as depression might actually be a process of deeper personal transformation and growth, I found the following article really helpful: 
"A Dark Night of the Soul and the Discovery of Meaning."

Friday, January 8, 2016

Sushumna

Most recent mixed media tapestry, initiated December 25, 2015. . .and finally got the snake vertebrae sewed on yesterday.   Merino wool, glass bead, snake vertebrae.











Saturday, September 12, 2015

'bOrt


'bOrt the unloved.  'bOrt the unwanted.  'bOrt the embryonic clown.  Would have been the son of Scooch.  'bOrt preserved for the sake of science, in a jar.  Dead tissue speaks in a scaly whisper, a mandala of meat under the microscope: does evil begin in the womb?  "Out damn'd spot." cries Lady Macbeth.  And Macduff, "I from my mother's womb wast untimely ripped!"  The modern mantras of affluent power. 

All matter has consciousness, all matter vibrates. Preserved for eternity, 'bOrt is the  knower and keeper of secrets.  Look at his eyes.  No mere dead clump of hair to be blithely flushed down the toilet, he is animated with the mirthful knowledge of everything you want to hide from the world. 



They generally always deviate from the sketch.

Excerpt from the 'bOrt video w/Merzbow soundtrack.

Freshly squeezed 'bOrt.

Profile

Fashion forward spine-revealing back-straps on jacket.


Soaked and sealed, arms open for the hug that will never come. 

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Scooch

Scooch:  If you don't shit your pants, he'll shit them for you.
In an ongoing theme, I can only say this year hasn't been about procrastinating the felting projects, it's just been a year filled with travel, and teaching and studying yoga.  It's taken nearly all my time.  And it's been SO VERY GOOD.

In the meantime, before I resume where I left off with the Rust, Wood, and Wool projects, I first have to get a couple crazy clowns out of my system. 

Meet Scooch.  People that know Scooch best say he's so scary . . . that,  "If you don't shit your pants, he'll shit them for you."

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Chakra Yantras: Collaborating With My Amazing Wife

Muladhara, Root Chakra

 I've just gotten back from an epic month studying yoga, culture, and history in Nepal, so the felting project has again been on hiatus.  In the meantime, I'd like to share a project my wife and I collaborated on prior to the Nepal trip.



Svadhisthana, Sacral Chakra

My wife, Annou Davi, over the last few years, has been painting some beautiful pieces of flowing, energetic patterns inspired by nebulas and other astronomical phenomenon, combined with sacred geometry.  And over the last few years, I have worked a lot with the tantric Chakra system as at first a student and then more recently as a yoga teacher and yoga therapist.  And so, it occurred to me to ask Annou to collaborate on a series of paintings for each of the chakra yantras.  (Each chakra has a specific geometric symbol associated with it.)


Manipura, Solar Plexus Chakra
The idea was to spend a week practicing specific types of asana, pranayama, mantra, meditation, visualization, etc, as well as studying the correspondences and psychological implications of each chakra, and then using that as the inspiration for the energetic flows in each piece.

To provide an example of chakra correspondences--without going exhaustively into all seven chakras--Muladhara, the root chakra, is associated with:  The color red, early childhood development, the element earth, the base of the spine, saturn, pentacles in tarot, the elephant, survival and grounding, cedar, and rubies. . .and that's just for starters.  It is also associated with a number of specific health ailments.



Anahata, Heart Chakra
These paintings were designed to be used as object-meditation pieces specifically for focusing the mind and balancing the chakras, and in the time I've spent meditating with each of these paintings, I've found them to be very effective.  And simply an aesthetic pleasure as well. 

Vishuddha, Throat Chakra





My input was teaching and guiding our yoga practices through the process, providing some conceptual framework and editing advice, but the paintings, vision, and hard work are ALL Annou.  I love these pieces, and it was really fun and romantic to work on a spiritual and artistic endeavor together.

Anja, the Third Eye


 These paintings are done on 12"x12" canvas with acrylic, and the yantras (symbols) are gold oil paint for that medium's dynamic, reflective quality. 


Sahasrara, the Crown Chakra


Girlfriend with Drill, very sexy!


Monday, March 16, 2015

Solve et Coagula

Merino wool, rusty barbed wire, pyrography, wood.  17"x24"


Solve et Coagula is the Latin alchemical phrase associated with turning base metals into gold.  "Solve" means solution, or something broken down to its component parts.  "Coagula" or coagulation, is the assembly of those components into a greater whole.  In this piece that idea is being explored through wool, with the individual locks representing Solve, and the felted piece on the right, having undergone transmutation through heat and friction, representing Coagula.


"Coagula"
While the idea of turning lead into gold holds no literal merit, the concept is generally considered a metaphor for the great work of elevating human consciousness from a base to illuminated state. 

From a fiber art/aesthetic perspective, I enjoy the simplicity of the wool itself, and this was a fun way to display a before/after view of the locks as they were, and what they become when felted.







Close up, raw merino locks.  "Solve."