New sage for the New age


oh em gee…*guilty* as charged!

Enjoy!

I’m sooo getting a download ūüôā

Shawndel

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Make Peace Paper from Combat Paper


My Thinking, Feeling Friends,

This holiday week in Dallas has been amazing. I’ve driven around to see the holiday lights in lovely neighborhoods, I’ve had insightful conversations with new friends, and I graduated an academic level. Two nights ago, I met a brilliant, and exceptional Doctor who works with veterans and is known for his amazing bedside manner and meaningful interactions with his clients, his patients. We had a great conversation, and one visit to his Facebook page opened my mind to new instruments, music and inspirations.

I learned of this musician Loreena McKennitt, the Celtic goddess, from the good doctor. Her song “The Mystics Dream” called to me, and the images along with her sound, her tone prompted the question: “What do the mystics dream?”. Well, I dream of teaching others to craft beautiful handmade objects like paper, books, soap and yarn, so that we may use the quiet centered part of our creative self ¬†to recreate our sense of Self. These objects are simultaneously necessary items and luxury items. The quality of¬†the product reflects the attention to detail, and care for the process and end result; it is symbolic of how deep we go. Only the arts and artisanal activities allow this possibility. Creativity is the key to our internal alchemy lab, the place where we create our Self.

I dream of working with people who are aware of the arc of their healing journey, and who are ready to dig deeper into the meanings of major life experience. To excavate one’s experience is to find one’s personal treasure. My dream is to help others learn to map their way to the treasures within, treasures born of intense experience,¬†what others call “trauma”.

As I listened to this song and thought about the person who led me to it, I started to think about the ways in which I could facilitate the healing journey with Veterans. I would like to practice the alchemy of papermaking and storytelling with veterans. I envision doing this work in the VA Hospital, because it is the liminal space between the walk of the¬†warrior and the civilian reality. The veterans are profoundly changed from walking the warrior’s way because they must now swim heart-deep through the healing process. They perceive the world through a filter that most people will never know. I would like to offer them the creative space to¬†examine and recycle that filter to create new intent and an integrated self. The way to recycle that old filter is to recycle symbolic recycled materials to create new objects with renewed purpose and function. The way to integration will come from guided reflection on the lessons learned during their time in the service, at war, and returned to civilian life.

If I were so blessed to work with veterans, we would create paper from the pulp of their active duty paperwork (and other significant personal papers). We would then use the new paper to make bind custom books. We would fill the books with what we uncover in our alchemical laboratories. What does the Service mean to your whole self? What have you learned from your travels? We would recycle the remnants of active duty (as represented by the papers) into a blank medium (new paper / peace paper) on which they may verbally or visually explore their vision for an affirming, generative, integrated life of their own making (by hand-binding books from their paper).

The next video features veterans who make paper from their combat uniforms. This project launches from the participants¬†stance on the war, while acknowledging the transformation of the¬†uniform and the “negative” mememories, into paper that is a vehicle for expressing those concerns. In our project, there would be room for those types of expression alongside guided thought exercises to transform the understanding of the combat experience into a pool of wisdom they can draw from.¬†

Monkeys, Mixtures and Magnamanities…


Movements for animal rights are not irrational denials of human uniqueness; they are a clear sighted recognition of connection across the discredited breach of nature and culture.

~Donna Haraway, from the Cyborg Manifesto, in Simians, Cyborgs and Women (1991)

Jacques Derrida on “Animals”

A mash-up of thinkers whose writing style, content and intellectual dexterity that inspires me and influences my work.

And so it is ūüôā

Donna Haraway reads the National Geographies of Gorillas: Margie & KoKo

From spectacle to suburbs: “Race, Culture and Class are recoded at the boundary of nature and culture

This special tv feature disturbed me in¬†multiple ways; the first is that the zoo and scientists co-signed on the forceful abduction of Michael from his home, family and social relations only to be airlifted to the science-fictionesque California lab setting. His life trajectory was altered so that he would serve as a consort, and in the retelling, it seems that there was no qualm about the “ethics” of doing so. Another disturbing fact is the hypothesis that¬†¬†“we” (humans) could / would come to “understand” the “mentality” of another “species” through the use of sign-language as two-way “communication”; As a thinking, feeling being, this tells me that they had no sense of the ways that ¬†human “language” is socio-temporally situated and is¬†therefore¬†not generalize-able to any and all experiences. Even if the words used may refer to some reasonably understandable thing, meaning, intent and underlying assumptions are never exact from one communicator to the receiver. Language is a tool that shapes understanding, thought, perception and notions of self and other. The underlying assumption is that scientists gave the gorillas a tool to express internal events. In fact, scientists acted upon the gorillas with the language-tool to show them to use that same uninvited tool to further, irrevocably change themselves, their perception and experiences.

No great inter-species understanding was accomplished here. That which the two gorillas expressed was unique to the experiences of two captive gorillas living in the bizarre human contexts of laboratory and suburb.

So I ask, just was inter-species understanding was truly achieved by this work? That “gorillas” feel emotions and have the desire and ability to communicate, and form deep, intense and persistent social bonds? these are things we learned by simple observation.

Projects like these to me have the appeal of fetish. The object of interest is not real for its true role, rather for its assumed entertainment value in an imbalanced power relationship.

I hadn’t expected to go this route when I posted the videos, however viewing them all in succession prompted these thoughts that I share with you today.

What is your takeaway from these videos?

Be a Hummingbird like Wangari Maathai


How do you work as an artist?


***2014 update: the artist changed her website location so the images and links are no longer active, however some of the text remains. I’ve left this post live for archival purposes.***

Are you free to explore? Do you have enough space to let our imagination roam? Do you allow yourself to make creative “mistakes”? Are you running on all creative cylinders?

I don’t know about you, but I am sometimes challenged to let my hands to the walking and just see what develops. With jewelry design and crochet, I’ve found that flow, but writing and bookbinding is still a lesson in progress.

I liked this blog entry because: the images were compelling, the author went to Penland, a renowned fantastic arts and crafts institution that I am saving up to attend (woo sah), and I learned that there is an art form called “rust dyeing”. I’m all over it.

This post made me think about the creative space I allow myself, so I figured I’d begin carving out new creative space with an amazing new blogging technique and voice: amplify. I share it with you, record my impressions and let the internet do the rest, without going hyperlink mad.

Amplify’d from hkpowerstudio.wordpress.com

Some of the works created by the class in these short exercises are below.

I’m finally getting around to sharing the ART part of my experience at Penland.  It was such an inspiring time.  I loved the energy of working in the studio every day with a variety of other artists.  I don’t really have a studio space at home so I often feel guilty if I leave my art supplies out for a long period of time but for me I need to be able to walk away and come back to my work.  I learned a lot about how I like to work while I was there.

Another fun aspect of the class was that our instructor, Jason Pollen (check out his amazing work if you don’t know him!) used Astrology as an inspiration for us to focus our creative energy on.  Each day we discussed a different planet, the corresponding sign and the energy surrounding it.  In this way we were encouraged to channel certain emotions or energy to put into our work.

See more at hkpowerstudio.wordpress.com

Lovingkindness


May you feel safe
May you feel content
May you feel strong
May you live with ease

Naturally Plastic Food


Union Carbide Ad 1946 Plastics for food preservation

What science didn't know then was that plastic coatings in food containers enter the bloodstream, and has been linked to cancer.

Think: In 1948, manufacturing companies had no idea about the possible long-term effects of their plastics on human health or waterways and ecosystems.¬†In 2011, manufacturing companies DO know the long-term health, social and environmental impacts of their products, yet they still produce them, to great profit. ¬†What do you think about this ad that calls food encased in plastic and soaked in nitrogen “natural”?

Feel: Advertising plays on our emotions, putting us in the right frame of mind to accept their messages, even when we disbelieve. How do you feel about the fact that known harmful substances are still manufactured, traded, sold and bought, sometimes with government subsidies and tax breaks?

Grow: Knowing what we know scientifically and anecdotally about the harmful effects of plastics and synthetic chemicals in our food, what new opportunities for food packaging and processing can we make for ourselves. What are our avenues for growth that would stimulate profound change?

Did you know? Consumer choices matter, but the quantity of what’s¬†produced far out-paces what we can possibly purchase and consume. The primary¬†responsibility¬†is with the manufacturer. Don’t be fooled, even when you buy the recyclable products, not every state / county / city can process every single type of recyclable item you dispose of. Just because it is¬†recyclable does NOT mean that it WILL be recycled. The treadmill of production just continues to create things to sell to us. It’s up to us to demand that the mill stop producing so much STUFF!

Want to learn more? Read Ken Gould’s¬†book The Treadmill of Production.

Book: Treadmill o0f Production by Kenneth A. Gould, David N. Pellow and Allan Schnaiberg

A quick, informative, well-researched read by Ken Gould and friends. I've studied with Ken and can vouch for the caliber of information int he book.