Friday, December 19, 2008

Personal Symbolism


Isn't it gorgeous? It just arrived in the post from Jo at MYSTORY. I'm a big fan of squares, something so powerful and reassuring in a square so this is really up my alley, my colors too! She's made this brooch with little bits of fibers, thread, and her monoprints. You can see a larger piece here comprised of many of these squares and the effect is stunning. She also explained more about what's behind the project here and a monoprint tutorial you may enjoy here.

Even the wrapping had a great tactile feel to it, and tied up with what I think is gold silk...



Cute! Signed on the back in embroidery. Thank you, Thank you, Jo!
Earlier Bridgette from Contemplating the Moon was talking about exploring her inner symbols. I'd have to say that the square is one of my symbols, as is the number three, triangular compositions (not just the triangle- it's too obvious), and trees and the horizon.
I found the words that ring true to that symbol. I've been holed up, nice and snug, devouring books lately and was so lucky to find what I think was my new favorite book, Love and Houses, followed immediately by what I feel was one of the greatest books ever written, Their Eyes Were Watching God. This story is told without pretensions. It is a story about a woman finding herself, which the critics at the time thought was a trivial subject.
I don't know if this will have the same power out of context, but this part hit me with such force and I can't read it without weeping. It is a quote about horizons.
"She had been getting ready for her great journey to the horizons in search of people; it was important to all the world that she should find them and they find her. But she had been whipped like a cur dog, and run off down a back road after things. It was all according to the way you see things. Some people could look at a mud-puddle and see an ocean with ships. But Nanny belonged to that other kind that loved to deal in scraps. Here Nanny had taken the biggest thing God ever made, the horizon-for no matter how far a person can go the horizon is still way beyond you- and pinched it in to such a little bit of a thing that she could tie it about her granddaughter's neck tight enough to choke her."
Wow. Part of the annoyance of being a visual artist is the difficulty that sometimes comes from trying to put our work into words. So finding a writer who was able to write so powerfully about the same metaphor was very moving. It helps me to organize my words just a little better so that eventually, I may be able to explain what it all means succinctly and with coherence.
Do you have a set of personal symbols? Have you been able to explain them?

14 comments:

Jeane said...

Shayla - first of all, what a beautiful piece of art from Jo - I always feel that things go to the right people at the right time and this exquisite little piece of art was meant for you - it speaks to you in a very personal way? yes? - the passage from the book was really compelling - I must find a copy of this - enjoy your brooch - on a hat or handbag it would look yummy!

seth said...

What a wonderful gift!

bridgette said...

i'm the same way with words/passages. sometimes I just have to put a book down and grab a pen and scribble down a thought, a phrase, that captured something that I have always felt but eluded me.
One of the reasons why i started journaling about my art was to be able to better articulate my thoughts. The act of writing it down removes me a little bit from my work. finding the thoughts behind things that just happen on the canvas, finding the words. something i'm always working on.

Jo Horswill said...

Shayla...glad the brooch travelled safely to you...way past my horizon line :)
So glad you like it.
What a beautifully written piece...very thought provoking...

Robyn said...

It is indeed gorgeous!
A powerful piece of writing too.

Sandra Evertson said...

It is Beautiful, and delicate! Season's Greetings!
Sandra Evertson

Regina said...

The brooch is fascinating & I see horizons there.
It's wonderful to find literature that pops off the page because it has just uncorked words trapped in our own heart. I had this experience a few years ago & then I had the opportunity to meet the author at a book signing. Can you imagine my chagrin when I burst into tears as this dear woman took my hand. She was very wonderful, letting me explain my outburst - hugging me & comforting me. And all this came from reading an entertaining bit of fiction written by a sensitive & insightful author.

picciolo said...

what a post shayla! Firstly I love your little work of art you recieved, and that passage was amazing. I think one of my symbols would have to be a circle, I need to think about how to explain why...

Shayla said...

Jeane, thanks. Your belief is so touching, I think I'll adopt it. Yes, it does really speak to me. It's moving from spot to spot right now, from hat to coat to coat depending on what I'm wearing. Glad you enjoyed the passage.

Thanks, Seth. I'm loving it.

Bridgette, I'm starting to think that the art journal is the only way. I underestimated the power it has on my work even. You've expressed it perfectly, "something that I have always felt but eluded me." It's worked for you. When you explain your art it resonates.

Not a scratch on it, Jo. Hmmm... Yes, stretching our horizons. Very cool.

Robyn and Sandra, thanks.

You're right, Regina. I hadn't thought of that, but there even seems to be a sun. I can see how that would happen. After being touched so deeply tears would be a normal reaction. How wonderful that you got to meet her.

I would agree, Jane. That's one of the reasons I've always loved your work. The way you use circles! Awesome symbol.

Mary said...

Shayla, a lovely passage and very interesting post. I am one that has a terrible time expressing feelings, descriptions and symbols verbally and I keep saying I will work on it but I get involved in my art and neglect the expression part of it, which is also so important.

M.Kate said...

Hi Shayla
Nice gift and want to wish you and all your love ones a Merry, joyful and blessed Christmas.

Big hugs and much love, M

MiKa Art said...

Hi Shayla,
Merry Christmas! xoxox

Shayla said...

Mary, your work appears so spontaneous. I wonder if that would make explaining even harder?

Mary Kate and Mika, Thanks for the warm wishes. I hope you enjoyed your holiday :)

mansuetude said...

that novel has been one of my favorite books, ever!