Tag Archives: Upper Mustang

Art as Therapy: Remembering

Thanks to my beloved Maria* I have discovered some writing by philosopher Alain de Boton and art historian John Armstrong on Art as Therapy. I won’t repeat what she says here but for the next seven days I will illustrate each of their core psychological functions of art with photographs of my own work.

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The first function is remembering. They write that art is a way of preserving experiences, of which there are many transient and beautiful examples, and that we need help containing. Much of my art has an element of remembering. This triptych (detail shown) was created using the images I saw on a weekly bus journey when i lived in Nepal.

 

IMG_4098And this necklace (R) was created to remind me of the elation I felt at finally arriving in Lo Manthang, Upper Mustang; a destination I had dreamed of reaching for nearly 30 years.  The crushed tobacco tin was, to me, a precious relic.

*So much noise on the internet isn’t there? I hope I don’t contribute. Maria helps me to turn up the signal, wipe out the noise.  

May the nourishment of the earth be yours

 

imageIf you are in Australia, I am a bit late. Elsewhere, not so late so I won’t beat myself up about it….
Every thing seemed a bit delayed. Even getting a daunting and complicated task I wanted to finish before the old year was out was delayed…
And it is just a date observed the wise and patient one who put up with the whingeing.
And he was right.
Lots of thinkin’ going down. More of that later…if you are lucky?

But for you dear, lovely After the Monsoon readers, here is a blessing that I received today via the thoughtful and wise Marianne Elliot.
And photos from a dream that came true this year in Upper Mustangimage

A Blessing for the New Year by John O’Donohue

On the day when
the weight deadens
on your shoulders
and you stumble,
may the clay dance
to balance you.

And when your eyes
freeze behind
the grey window
and the ghost of loss
gets in to you,
may a flock of colours,
indigo, red, green,
and azure blue
come to awaken in you
a meadow of delight.

When the canvas fraysimage
in the currach* of thought
and a stain of ocean
blackens beneath you,
may there come across the waters
a path of yellow moonlight
to bring you safely home.

May the nourishment of the earth be yours,
may the clarity of light be yours,
may the fluency of the ocean be yours,
may the protection of the ancestors be yours.
And so may a slow
wind work these words
of love around you,
an invisible cloak
to mind your life.

To 2014.

(and, in case you were wondering, a currach is a coracle. I love that word.)

Re-entry- back in the Hill!

Sitting down to write this post prompts the feelings I have when I think about the next few months. There is so much to do/ DSCN3888say that I wonder where to start.  I know that I could easily feel very overwhelmed.

In the distant past, I was a woman who liked to feel like I was on top of things…thoroughly prepared…in control.  This was obviously an illusion as life, particularly life in Nepal, revealed. The truth of the matter is that over the years I have sort of got used to this living on the cusp of being overwhelmed feeling.  It is not so frightening any more.  And, would you believe, I have a polymer clay metaphor about this phase:

It is like sometimes when you sit at your work table and you have a zillion ideas in your head and your table’s a mess and the blogs haven’t been written and there clay orders to make and send and emails to write and Skype calls to organise and maybe one oDSCN4109f your gorgeous girls is moving to (very!) far off lands in under nine weeks so you want to savour her presence while she is in the country and you have an exhibition to prepare* and you are trying to sell a house and organise a retreat and another Colourful Journey…(it is SO like that you would not believe!)  Anyway, it is like that and then you just quieten your buzzing brain, take a deep breath to still your busyness, pick up some clay and start to make a Skinner Blend.

And it all just flows from there. Sort of.  When it all is on the verge of being too much, I have learnt to Stop. Breathe. And do life’s equivalent of Make a Skinner Blend. Do something simple, pleasant, achievable and, with a bit of luck, something that will be part of getting another thing done. Just starting makes all the difference.

So, here is the blog equivalent of a Skinner Blend! Write about four of the many things that make me happy right now!

DSCN4072I am just back from two wonderful months in Nepal. Happy to reconnect with my patient and resilient family and friends.  The time there was fabulous, frantic, at times frustrating, physically challenging and one aspect was the fulfilment of a dream I have had for over 30 years: Two and a half weeks trekking in the remote region of Upper Mustang. Words and photos ( especially mine!) will never adequately convey the grandeur, beauty and scope of this area. I am sure I will have a go in subsequent posts. Suffice it to say, it was great.

The time with the Samunnat ladies was, as usual, inspirational and humbling.  I am thrilled to hear about our building progress in Birtamod. Read about it here. So far the monsoon is not slowing things down too much!photo

I love, love, love my new earring tree. They are all over Kathmandu as props – not generally for sale – but a chat in faltering Nepali with a friendly bloke called Indra K.C. meant I could buy one. A chat with lovely trekking buddy Marg meant I could actually get it home. ( Predicting what will actually fit in my bag has never been a strong point for me!)

 Book CoverAnd finally for today, I am nervously excited about the fact that Polymer Clay Global Perspectives will be arriving in bookstores on July 30. Nervous because there’s a chapter and project there by me. Excited because there are chapters and projects by some fabulous artists from all over the world, a gallery of work by over one hundred others including the States’ Genevieve Williamson and Rebecca Watkins, Canada’s Claire Maunsell, Spain’s Natalia Garcia de Leaniz and Fabiola Perez Ajates (who shares more than a passion for polymer with me); and Australia’s own Sabine Spiesser  (to name just a few) and because the whole thing was put together by the amazing, insightful, energetic, encouraging, empowering Cynthia Tinapple. Have a look at the website  and you can buy it here. NO PRESSURE!

*New name for the exhibition- Wendy Moore: Unfinished Works