Dark Path

Today I found some notes I’d jotted down several years ago from Thomas Merton’s Dark Path.

Entering a cloud of darkness.  In the darkness we are made free.

The darkness becomes an atmosphere of breathless clarity in which we find peace and the deep night becomes the brightness of the noonday sun in which we find the One our heart desires.

Walk in emptiness with blind trust.

. . . the experience of a darkness where the Divine is met more fully and deeply . . .

A growing conviction that peace and joy and fulfillment are only to be found somewhere in this night of aridity and faith.  The darkness doesn’t cease to be darkness, but by the strangest of all paradoxes. it has become brighter than the brightest day.

These words really seem to fit my current mood as I’m feeling contemplative about the world out there and the world inside of me.  A lot of artists I know are making right now and asking me what I’m working on.  But I’m not working on anything.  Just using this time to tidy up and re-organize my studio.  Today I’m culling some paperwork in my studio.   Making the space for some new work to emerge and following my impulses.

Image was found here

Bric-a-brac

bric-a-brac (n.)
Deprecative term for objects having a certain interest from being old, pretty, or curious, but no claim to art, 1840, from obsolete French à bric et à brac (16c.) “at random, any old way,” a nonsense phrase.

 

 

Craftfulness in Quarantine

This morning I did a ‘first’.  I co-facilitated an online group called Craftfulness in Quarantine.

Over the past year, my Significant Seams colleagues and I have been delivering community art projects using textiles and craft to build community and support people in vulnerable life moments.  Since October, we have been offering courses through Devon Recovery Learning Community.  We were poised to teach Textiles & Nature and Intro to Quilting just as lockdown happened.

The four of us got together via Zoom to brainstorm how we could take this or a quilting course online.  As we talked it through, we pretty quickly realized that none of us were up to the challenge to deliver a skills-based course online, which would involve making videos and ‘how-to’ handouts, not to mention the practical problem of how to get materials out to people.

As we talked to each other, and more important listened, we realized that we are all finding it very difficult to focus on anything new and are all finding it a challenge to cope with the myriad emotions we are all experiencing on a daily or even hourly basis.

Enter ‘craftfulness’ which is the idea that making things with your hands makes you feel better, and can offer the same benefits as mindfulness and meditation, yoga, running, playing an instrument or singing.  Making things is a vital means of self-expression, self-realization, and self-help that sparks the mind, touches the soul and rejuvenates the spirit.  Process, not product, is the soul of a craft practice.

Together we developed an hour-long, once a week course that brings a maximum of six people together.  We check in, share our circumstances and feelings, and share what we have been working on, or would like to.  We all agree that staying in or just on the edge of our comfort zones is where we need to be right now.

It was such a great session!  We realized that we’re not alone in our responses to the pandemic.  Many of us enjoy the quieter time and, surprisingly, feel more connected to others.  Those who live alone really, really appreciate seeing new faces via Zoom.  Many of us are returning to simpler activities, such as gardening, hand stitching, mending clothes and baking,  I shared my funny story of forgetting to add yeast to my hot cross buns!  We finished the session by asking everyone to think of a fun or nurturing thing they will do today.  We all look forward to meeting next week and sharing progress, or not, of our chosen projects.

To find out more about craftfulness, check out the book.

Feel free to share what you have been working on or what lovely thing you will do today in the comments!

Stay safe and well!