This time last year I began reading a book that’s had a pretty profound effect on me: Jan Chozen Bays’ How to Train a Wild Elephant and other adventures in Mindfulness. Essentially, the book is a series of weekly practices designed to help cultivate mindfulness in our everyday lives. For example, one week you try to be aware of the colour blue, another week you try to notice the soles of your feet during the day. The practices of the last few weeks have been particularly well timed: paying attention to my centre; and practising loving kindness to my body. Good in busy times. Many of the practices have become activities I try to continue beyond the week-like gratitude at the end of the day, eating mindfully, and listening like a sponge.
Soon after beginning to read the book I decided to make a small polymer tile to remind me about each practice. The theory was that it would remind me to do the practice. In real life, the tile was not always made before the week was out but the act of creating the tile was one of mindfulness in itself. Reflecting on an image to trigger the practice for me, and actually making it with my hands was very significant for me.
I now have my 52 tiles and it is interesting to notice certain themes. Clouds appear on several tiles, as do hands. I restricted myself to a palette of faux techniques-ivory, turquoise, amber, coral, lapis and a dash of malachite. This discipline was fun and means that, to me anyway, there is a cohesiveness to the tiles. Now I am collaborating with my mum (pictured below) to use the tiles to make a wall piece for an exhibition of my work at Broken Hill Regional Art Gallery in August this year (that I may have got myself into during my Week of Saying Yes more often!)
The activities for the tiles shown here include Practise secret acts of virtue, When eating, just eat; Gratitude at the end of the day; Appreciate your hands; Notice sounds; Just three breaths and Awareness when entering new spaces. Among others. Maybe you can pick these? Some are a bit obscure but meaningful to me!
Today, I am in a state of mindfulness combined with beside myself with excitedness. This morning I woke up to see one of my necklaces on the Holy Grail of polymer blogs…Cynthia Tinapple’s PCD. Strap me down. It was a MOMENT!! SO so exciting. You can read it here if you want. Artists are doing some really interesting things and we are lucky to have Cynthia keeping tabs on global polymer action. Her book on just this is due out in August and I am thrilled to have a project in it. August will be a good month for my mindful practices!!