There are times in our lives when the usual forms of expression feel lost to us. The past 5 weeks have been one of those times. At the end of March I stepped away from the sewing machine, and struggled through April trying to write poetry every day. On May 1, I put down the pen as well.
I am not going to go into the reasons, but there are reasons–the most important of which, with regards especially to sewing, is that I believe that what we feel while making art becomes embodied within the work we create. I’ve always considered making a quilt akin to weaving a spell. Each stitch draws the energy down through the fabric as you sew. Healing, love, hope, connection–these are all good things that help wrap the recipient of the quilt as though in our very own arms. But what happens when the artist is battling grief, loss, deep sadness? What about anxiety? A quilt made from places like those are not something I want anyone to have to sleep under. And poetry created from those places? Every once in a great while, you get something raw and exposed and deep, but usually not. At least not in my case.
But when creating art is how you process, what’s a creative girl to do? Try something new. Or in today’s case, something I used to do a long time ago: paint.
It started when a friend suggested that if I didn’t want to create objects that would forever hold the less than empowered things I’ve been feeling, perhaps I should create objects to be destroyed. Doing so would get the bad stuff out of my head, plus give me a way to release it forever. So today, I decided to give it a try.
And because, up until a couple of hours ago, today was not a good day, I started by painting a black hole. I mean, what would be better to release and let go than a gravity suck so powerful that even light can’t escape?
Except that as I painted I noticed something–in addition to the swirls of color and the scattering of stars at the outer rings, at the very center of the blackest part, there was a glimmer of light. And no matter how much I wanted it to reflect the absolute absence of light, I just couldn’t fill it in. Which just goes to show, no matter how dark things seem, art gives us the power to transform it. It reminds us that there are things in this world that we cannot control, maybe cannot even know. The act of creating can help us find our way through the dark–and out the other side of the wormhole.
And since I already had the paints out, I painted something more cheerful as well.
Clearly I have some room to improve.