A winding river borders the land where I live. I’ve always loved being near wild streams and rivers out in nature – the woods or the desert, ever since I was a little kid. I love to journey along the banks, following the twists and turns, finding secret spots along the way, searching the beaches for treasures. I feel a very deep connection to wild rivers.
For me, the river is a metaphor for life. Go with the flow, flow with the go. So many river images speak to me: confluence, bridges over, source, log jams, frozen rivers, dams (and un-damming), crossing, shooting the rapids . . .
The Irish theologian John O’Donohue says,
“The river preserves the fluency of continual change and yet holds the one form.”
My Native American ancestors, the Muscogee had lived along the waterways in what are now the states of Georgia and Alabama for thousands of years. The white European settlers took their name away and called them ‘Creeks’, then took their land away and forced them to relocate and settle in Indian Territory, now Oklahoma. They lost their name and their place, but carried the river in their veins . . . . . and it flows through mine, in my blood. I was given the name of Melinda, after my full-blooded Muscogee great grandmother Melindy Philips.
When I dream deeply and listen with my heart, I can hear the stories the river tells. I tell its stories with my art work. The rivers story, my story, my ancestors story, all of our story.
I’ve started a series called riverjourney which will be works in fibre/textiles, found objects, words and images. It’s exciting because I first had this idea about three years ago, just an inkling, and now it’s the time for it to become manifest . . . . . . and I don’t know where it will take me.
So come with me on the riverjourney.