6.23.2009

Traces


Sometimes people ask me if the word "hint" has significance, and I wish that my verbal somersaults did more then diminish its meaning.

Hints, traces, remembrances, things left behind...all these concepts intrigue me and are a core theme throughout all my artwork. One of my favorite contemporary artists, Ana Mendieta, seemed to understand this idea on a profound level when she left imprints of her body in mud as a way of examining our emotional and spiritual connection to land.

My thought is that she was playing with the idea of matter and the tension between knowing we are transitory but yearning for a tangible mark to prove our existence. Marking is one of the most primal instincts. From a pet scratching your couch to carving your initials in a bench, all creatures have the urge to leave traces of themselves on the world.

Moreover, the marks we have on our body are some of the most intimate and decorative parts of ourselves. The body's art is something we take for granted and rarely spend time exploring its emotional connection. Like the tiny wrinkles around your eyes a mark may speak of all the amazing things you've seen.



Or like tattoos drawn on your skin, a mark may communicate the power of naming your place in this world.



When I moved from doing sculpture that was untouchable and out there, to creating art that was next to my skin, distance disappeared. Jewelry is unmistakably intimate, and adornment may be the only compassionate touch someone receives throughout the day.

My wedding ring is jewelry that stays with me. I love being claimed by my commitment and honored by that ring. I appreciate the mark it leaves behind on my finger, so that even without its presence I still have a remembrance.



Sometimes we chose intentional decoration or adornment, and other times markings occur by an emotional choice. Labor. My favorite new body art are these two small bruises that are slowly turning into hardened calluses from constant kneeling on my yoga mat. A callus contains a long, intimate story and is the body's marking of pure devotion.

Wanting to connect with the fullest expression of ourselves is universal. Wanting to be close to something deeply meaningful in every moment is natural. Jewelry only hints at what we chose to ignore on the surface of ourselves. It calls for our focused attention to love our bodies, care for our spirits, respect our stories, and honor our traces.

May you enjoy the story of your body and its magnificent unfolding!

4 comments:

  1. Beautiful words and beautiful sentiment. As my body ages, I am trying hard to embrace and treasure the signs of age as a gift. Peace.

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  2. I enjoyed your thoughts about ornament, they made sense in a way I had never about.

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  3. I think I like the scares on my body now ... I see them in a different light .A hint to the past and the marks show that I have used my body well and that it has been good to me by coming through for me even if I use it hard sometimes, Hard enough to leave a mark.

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  4. So glad you loved the concept, Linda and you are seeing the beauty in your own body :)

    Shirley, thanks for letting me know I contributed to a new way of thinking for you. This really energizes me to write more from the heart!

    Julie, I am so intrigued by scars and connect with that concept "used my body well." Thanks for shining light on this idea in a new way for me!

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I'd love for you to share your ideas and stories on my blog! Please know that I may not always be able to e-mail you a direct response, so be sure to check back to my blog and continue the dialogue. Many blessings for connecting with me through word and image :)