Tuesday, November 29, 2016
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."