Tag Archives: Robyn Gordon

Art as Therapy: Self-Understanding

DSCN3223We mystify ourselves. Well, I often mystify myself!

This is why I related to de Boton and Armstrong’s notion that the art we surround ourselves with, and the art we make, gives us a language to communicate something about ourselves to others when words fail.  Lately for me, poetry (others’!)  more clearly expresses my own inarticulate thoughts.  Our art too can often say things about us, or for us, when the wordsDSCN5169 are not enough.

They describe the situation where we encounter works of art that seem to latch on to something we have felt but never recognized clearly before.  I sense this recognition looking at the timber sculptures of Robyn Gordon, or the polymer art by Tory Hughes and Genevieve Williamson.

Many of my pieces were journeys in self knowledge but three stand out: a filigree box which incorporated symbols that are significant to me; a necklace I made in Broken Hill at a a time of great upheaval and a necklace that speaks of the DSCN1763relationship between me and my mother-my desire to know what it is that helps her to live well.  At least jewellery is more wearable than inchoate attempts at self expression!

As long as it is art propelled…

photoRobyn Gordon’s blog is like sitting down in a quiet and beautiful place, taking three deep mindful breaths, releasing tension with the out breath and really looking at what surrounds you. It is manna for my soul. It nourishes, inspires, heals.

Robyn is an artist from KwaZulu Natal, South Africa. Her work is just beautiful.  She carves wooden totems, poles, doors, and other wondrous pieces which incorporate wire, beads and found objects.  It is obvious that, as she says, her art is meditative work which brings her a great sense of peace.  She describes her blog as a place where I gather things that inspire me. It’s a bit like a glorified notebook where I store information so that i don’t forget it. Favourite artists and artwork, books, quotations, internet links, ideas, themes…you name it, as long as it is art propelled.

As a chronic journaller and keeper of quotes, I love posts like this.  I love thephoto beautiful photographs she posts of her beloved home.  And on this pinterest page she quotes John O’Donahue whose writing seems to be calling out for my repeated attention! She reminds artists of ten things to be thankful for!  It was in one of her posts that I first read about Stillness for Jugglers. Look at the beautiful images she collated to go with it!

She brings so many wonderful artists to my awareness! Like Anna Gillespie who created the figure photoTasting the Rain. Or Sophie Munns whose seed  inspired art is magic.

Robyn’s pinterest site is unbelievable. I have to be very careful when I go there…..

Dancing around Deadlines

Gosh I love Art Propelled.  Robyn Gordon’s blog is unfailingly inspiring and thought provoking.  I don’t subscribe (mainly as I haven’t Apron and coloursworked out how!) but I have her in my favourites bar and visit regularly.  Today, with two weeks left before Installation Day*, I am feeling a bit vulnerable and exposed.  The comparing critic voices are upping their inner chatter and I am wondering if I have been a bit silly to take this on. Robyn quoted Chogyam Trungpa in a post called Your Own Way of Looking at Things and it really resonated for me:

In order to accomplish an experience, you have to have a chance to dance with it. You have to have a chance to play, to explore. Then each style of exploration that takes place is a different manifestation, we could say. Nevertheless, it is all part of one big game.

I  haven’t been making things easy for myself.  After returning from Nepal, I decided that I would only include polymer necklaces (not those made with beads I had purchased) inBlock the Year of Necklaces installation; and that I would separate necklaces that were a collaboration with Samunnat and display them in their own area.  This meant making several necklaces to replace those that were culled (along with those polymer ones that were made during the Year challenge but not deemed art!   By the way, for some interesting thoughts on art necklaces and examples of her own beautiful work see Erin Prais-Hintz’ blog here.  Erin creates wonderful, almost narrative necklaces, often inspired by themes, or literature, and encourages others to as well. Two of her necklaces are featured in a new book Showcase Art Necklaces which sounds tempting…

Table blogI didn’t want to fall into the trap of making a necklace for the exhibition!  Usually, the creations I like best come from play and exploration, from dancing with ideas, from following through the I wonders and I didn’t want deadlines (read Indigo Kate’s gorgeous quoted deadline quote here) to send me scurrying back into a mindset I work hard to avoid.  I wanted to yield to the I wonders.  The I wonder what would happen if I did this, or pulled that, or scrunched up this.  I wonder how doing this makes a piece work; how will it sit if I do that?  Alice Stroppel is a master at the I wonders. For inspiration read her I wonder if I can combine brass buttons, rubber cord and polymer to make something interesting post and her I wonder if I can makeFloor blog something bigger and more complicated than I usually do post (Titles mine!)

I wanted to use a silk apron (called a pangden) I got in Tsarang in Upper Mustang as a source of inspiration. As soon as I saw it, I knew I wanted to incorporate the fabulously coloured stripes and the technique of lining up the three panels of  fabric in different directions.  I wondered if I could do that in a piece of jewellery.  And again I am not making things easy for myself…16 different colour,s would you believe, and NOT a straightforward repetition, my wordy me no!  Here are photos of the first stages of the I wonders.  More to come!  Still, I’m having fun wondering and hearing that deadline swooshing up!

*Installation Day for my exhibition of Collected Works.  They used my Mutwintji Necklace in the publicity on the website!