Deep Woods Words Land Art Project

It all started at a used book sale when I saw a pile of Reader’s Digest Condensed Books sitting in a pile. Some of them had a bit of mould. I asked the organizers if I could just make a wee donation and take the whole lot off their hands.

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I have been inspired to do odd stuff with old books by @book_ronnie on Instagram.  She leaves books in piles or assemblages in the woods and waits to see what will happen to them.

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I am privileged to have a piece of land which has nature paths. I chose these two trees.

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To see what happens to my library in the deep words, oops, woods, stay tuned.

UPDATE June 2018

Thanks to another great yard sale I’m able to add to this project.

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1 Year of Stitches – DONE

1 Year of Stitches FINISHED

1 Year of Stitches

One year ago my friend Lou Anne Sybenga and I started a project called #1yearofstitches or #onestitchaday. This challenge was begun by Hannah Claire Somerville. When I saw this project on Instagram it took my fancy. I had just finished a year long one-a-day project which required me to go outside everyday and make ephemeral art. So stitching was a nice change.

I decided to take Hannah’s idea and share it with my artistic muse and neighbour, Lou Anne. We decided to both start hoops and trade back and forth every couple of weeks. She chose a light pink ground and I choose black. To say she is not computer savvy is a bit of an understatement. And I am the opposite, so I documented everything on Instagram.

1 Year of Stitches BEFORE

Hannah describes #1yearofstitches thusly:

“I am interested in the impact, or mark, that an individual makes on a daily basis. Big or small, our daily activities are often times unquantifiable and intangible. I am approaching this project as a personal map making; the fabric ground represents each day of the year, with the needle and thread representing my actions throughout the day. I will embroider— maybe one stitch, maybe more, (hopefully) every day and photograph the result. The embroidery I create will become a tangible, visual account of the decisions, movements, conversations and sometimes lack there of, that I make each day. I hope to use this project as a means of creating mindfulness and deeper reflection upon the choices we make as a society. ”

Our Rules and Stipulations (adapted from Hannah) were:

  1. Our fabric ground consists of a swatch of poly-cotton in a 10’’ x 10’’ hoop. The thread we use may change daily and we may adhere additional types of media to our ground with thread.
  2. We will embroider something each day and I will try to post a photograph of the result each day on @wavesongart.
  3. It is not required that we make a stitch— some days you definitely do not contribute anything to society.
  4. We are allowed to remove stitches, because mistakes can sometimes be undone.
  5. We will exchange hoops on a regular basis.
  6. More rules and stipulations may be added as the project evolves and lessons are learned.

Lou Anne’s hoop

Ev’s hoop

WHAT WE LEARNED:

  • We both had to give ourselves permission to be more flexible and less anal. Some days we just forced ourselves to stitch. Some days, fuck it! Who’s gonna police this but us?
  • The hoops became fluid. Meaning we had to drop the notion that the pink one was ‘hers’ and the black one was ‘mine’ because at first we were both afraid of screwing up each other’s hoops. The funny thing is, when the year ended, we decided to keep the one we each began with.
  • The pink hoop called out to be filled in totally. The black hoop called out for more negative space or background showing through.
  • Lou Anne’s default was to complete a little area with a scene or object. I tried to create little objects and I didn’t enjoy it. Chain stitch, running stitch and back stitch were my go-to’s.
  • A year is a long time and SHIT happens. Sometimes you just don’t feel like carrying an embroidery hoop into a hospital waiting room.
  • Everyone who saw the hoops was very inspired. But it was less inspiring in some ways for us. I was glad to get back into hand stitching actually though and I realize I abandoned it for my machine a number of years ago. So I am looking forward to more hand-stitching.
  • Where does inspiration come from? Ah, the eternal artist’s question and still waiting to be answered!
  • We always enjoyed what the other person was doing more than our own work.
  • We were very glad to FINISH, to see the year through to the end! If we hadn’t had each other to be accountable to we may not have finished.
  • We make our mark on each other. Our friendship is very important.
  • I don’t need to do another year long one-a-day project for a l-o-n-g time.

Chloe’s three little bugs

Purple Rain, Cabin in the Woods and Vancouver Island forest

Lou Anne’s paisley and Ev’s Aurora

texture

beading

Lou Anne’s jumping fish and Ev’s Ombre

 

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Autumn Contemplation on the Bruce Trail

I spent the weekend with these harmonious souls walking a wee part of the Bruce Trail on an Autumn Retreat with the theme, Letting Go. The trail was quite difficult in parts and because of the drizzle, it was also slippery. This meant that I needed to pay attention to where my feet landed.

This part of the trail is in wine country. So one is constantly hearing the boom of canon’s being set off in order to keep the birds from eating the maturing grapes. It’s an interesting juxtaposition of nature sounds and booms.

One of our retreat facilitators led the walk and the other came behind to make sure no one was left behind or in trouble. This was very comforting.

We sat on the moss, without words.

This is what I wrote:

Long before….
long before.
Long before your were conceived of I Am.

I Am the falling water.
I Am the smooth rock.
I Am the soft green moss, carpet for your weary rambling.

Long before…
I Am the smell of the decomposition.
I Am the fragrance of my tears on fallen leaf.
I Am the sound of rain dripping from the canopy.
I Am the swirling eddies.
I Am the calm pool.
I Am the water against stone.

Long before…
I Am the ancient gnarly roots.
I Am the hidden nest in the branches.
I Am the cool breeze.
I Am the cleft in the rock.
I Am the canon boom protecting the harvest.

Long before…
I Am the rich hummus.
I Am the skirt of yellow.
I Am the blanket of red.
I Am the evergreen.

Long before….
I Am the joy of birdsong.
I Am the slippery foothold.
I Am the steep climb.
I Am the glacier’s path.

I Am your deepest longing.

Long before.

Because I did not take my camera I have used this photo from Richard Olley’s blog.

 

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Eye of the Storm – Land Art Project

Another offering in the woods. I found some nice green grapevine. Green vine is easy to weave, leaves and all. When I find a pile of grapevine I interpret it as a free art supply, just waiting for a challenge.

I featured an old clock, minus the mechanical parts, in this weaving. It has metal sails.

“Eye of the Storm”

Lately there have been lots of hurricanes in the Caribbean. So the phrase ‘eye of the storm’ has been particularly poignant.

It started to rain half way through the process, which is actually fine. Because it’s easier to weave the vine when it is supple. But sucks on the hands.

I chose a place in our woods which has two paths converging, sort of at a fork in the road.

Grapevine walls are notoriously difficult to photograph. But here is an attempt from a distance as you approach it from my path.

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Prayer of Reconciliation and Peace

by Rev. Dr. Barbara Billey

I invite you to close your eyes and to feel into your breath, the gentle rise and fall of inhale and exhale. With each wave upon wave of breath, enter the refuge of welcoming silence. Feel yourself embraced by the luminous quiet of Mystery, of Holy Presence. What you need is here.

Ask yourself: Is there someone with whom I need to reconcile? A person with whom I am angry or who has hurt me deeply? Someone who incites my judgment, avoidance, or exclusion?

If comfortable, allow the image of this person to surface in your imagination. Notice thoughts and memories that arise, how these live as feelings or sensations in your body.

Gaze into this persons’ eyes. She/he is sometimes afraid, hurting, angry, joyful, and loving, a person with hopes and dreams, sorrows and joys. She/he, like you and all of creation, is filled at the core with Holy Presence.

Bring your awareness to the space of your heart. Breathe deeply into this space the always abiding and already healing love of our Holy One. Breathe out peace and healing into the heart of the other.

Repeat this circle of breathing until you feel a softening in your heart, a release from separation and alienation from this person. (If this is not possible, surrender any and all judgment of yourself. You can return to this prayer at another time.)

Allow the image of your person to fade.

Take a few more moments of silence to rest into the freedom of healing and peace. What you need is here.

You might end this prayer by dancing the dance of releasement, writing a poem and/or listening to lovely music.

Often we are unwilling to surrender our “righteousness” perspective or we refuse to accept “what is” true in the reality of our life situation, leading to all kinds of suffering within ourselves and between persons. There are also persons who have caused us immense pain through abuse. We can forgive them, too, without engaging in further relationship, thus releasing ourselves into peace and healing, while wishing them healing and all good things. This is often a longer process.

A helpful resource is found in a chapter from “The Grace in Aging” by Kathleen Dowling Singh entitled Forgiveness as Liberation from Aversions: Freedom from Anger and Judgment.

Another resource is: “Forgiveness in the Service of Justice” by Sr. Margaret Farley

Barbara J. Billey, M.Ed., M.A., D.Min.

Registered Psychotherapist
Registered Canadian Art Therapist
Wedding Officiant
Priest, ARCWP, Windsor, ON, Canada