Sunday, February 13, 2011

Year of the Rabbit

This is the year of the rabbit. I love rabbits. I don't know why, really. Perhaps it is because they are so quiet and gentle. Above are 2 handmade scrolls.

I have stone and metal rabbits throughout my home.

I have stone and metal rabbits in my Zen gardens.

This is the Chinese Year - of - the - Rabbit horoscope. If you were born in 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987 you would be a 'rabbit'. When Buddha lay dying, he summoned the animals to bid them farewell. The cow was the first to hasten to the scene but the rat, riding on the cow's back, jumped off and arrived first. Thus the rat became the first animal in the Asian zodiac, a cycle of twelve years that assigns a different animal to each year. A person is thought to take on characteristics of the animal representing the year in which she or he was born. Since nature is the source of all art and design in Japan, you can find animals depicted in many of their art forms.

Wood carving.
Those that are born in the year of the rabbit are considered articulate, talented and ambitious. They are often lucky.

Macau postage stamp 1999

Netsuke are miniature sculptures invented in 17th century Japan. They were first used as 'toggles' to help close bags that Japanese men wore to carry around their belongings.
Eventually, netsuke became a highly honored art form.

A ceramic cup

Rabbit's frozen pose--
breaking loose he springs away,
melting through the fence.

You can find more of Kris Hargis' drawings at this gallery in Portland, OR here.

Geoffrey Gorman creates his animal sculptures from all sorts of materials.
Find more of his wonderful sculptures at his website here.

"I don't see much sense in that," said Rabbit. "No," said Pooh humbly, "there isn't. But there was going to be when I began it. It's just that something happened to it along the way." --- Winnie the Pooh

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

A New Day

This is a collage I made last year. I titled it NEW DAY.

I have been working on a new series and struggling a bit. I work in my studio during the day and often end the day frustrated and even feeling lost. The next day, in the early morning, I lie in bed thinking about the new day and what promise or hope I have for the new day in my studio.
Every morning is like a haiku filled with new artists' impressions. I get up and get ready to tackle another day in my studio.

Jo-Ann Van Reeuwyk is a fiber artist. Her work is about vessel making and containment. She explores relationships, embodiment and containment which are important aspects of the personal. You can find much more of her wonderful fiber creations here.

The following is a poem by David Whyte titled What to Remember When Waking. It is about what an artist (or poet in his case) thinks about when first awakening in the morning.

In that first hardly noticed moment in which you wake,
coming back to this life from the other
more secret, moveable and frighteningly honest world
where everything began,
there is a small opening into the new day
which closes the moment you begin your plans.

Carole Kunstadt is a collage artist who combines objects like stones, shells and twigs with hand made papers. Layers of memory and a sense of intimacy pervade her work. You can find more of her wonderful work at her website here.

What you can plan is too small for you to live.
What you can live wholeheartedly will make plans enough
for the vitality hidden in your sleep.

To be human is to become visible
while carrying what is hidden as a gift to others.
To remember the other world in this world
is to live in your true inheritance.

A detail from the above piece

You are not a troubled guest on this earth,
you are not an accident amidst other accidents
you were invited from another and greater night
than the one from which you have just emerged.

Tracy Spadafora is an encaustic artist who investigates the connection between our man-made and natural environments, illustrating the endurance of nature. These two are her works on paper and you can find more of her wonderful work at her website here.

Now look through the slanting light of the morning window
toward the mountain presence of everything that can be
what urgency calls you to your one love?
What shape waits in the seed of you
to grow and spread its branches
against a future sky?

Is it waiting in the fertile sea?
In the trees beyond the house?
In the life you can imagine for yourself?
In the open and lovely white pages on the writing desk?
---David Whyte

When I saw this collage by artist Leslie Avon Miller (you can find her wonderful blog here), I thought of early dawn when the sky is still dark but hints of color - orange, red, or yellow begin to burst through at the edge of the darkness - hinting at the new day.. a new day in the studio.

awakening light
promises of a new day
streaks across the sky
---Russ Baleson