I often feel an electric connection in the undersides of my forearms, down into my hands. These hands are a gift and what they produce is not mine. Like children raised and then nudged off into the world, artwork is meant to be spread and shared. It is meant to have an impact and to make one think, pause, take a step out of their current mindset. Art and craft are meant to educate, to heal, to make one curious.
[That is not to say everything we create is to be shown. Drawers and portfolios of watercolors, sketches, magazine clippings, photos and writings collect in storage spaces in the studio. They are exercises and processes that help me get to where I’m going.]
These exercises help keep my brain-hand connection nimble. When creation happens, it is a body thing. Whether we are using fingers and toes or we are using the entire body to express a narrative, it is the physical form that acts as a vessel, avenue, channel and conduit. It has to come out of the body or it stews and swells as creative constipation. We all know that’s no good.
Ideas are not mine alone, they come from somewhere bigger. I learned years ago from my mentor, a retired Jesuit priest turned mail carrier, that being in touch with the Self allows the Ego to be subdued in order for those bigger ideas to flow through and be impressed upon the materials. To create because one has to, not for validation.
For me, the “somewhere bigger” is what we refer to as God. And that word describes everything from the power surging through the veins after climbing a mountain … to the echo of a sway after standing in the ocean tide. It arrives through animals, wind, music. It is blind hope.
In working to surround myself with people and things that encourage growth and stimulate that electric current in my hands, I become more aware that making, writing, seeking are what I’m meant to do. Vulnerability can make a stronger human and I’m grateful for the chance let my walls down daily. It is humbling. And I have a lot to learn.