Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Conferences and Exhibitions

Last week began with the NC Women's Conference at the Charlotte Convention Center. Mothering Across Continents decided to have a booth at the conference to share information about the mission and vision of our group. It was a great decision as lots of people stopped by and took information about the group. I'm the short one in the photo with Cindy.

I really want to get back to South Africa to take more photographs to share so that more people can fully understand the challenges facing the children orphaned by Aids.

I also got to attend one of the presentations given by Diane Dunn. Diane is a healer in the Andean spiritual tradition. In the 1990s Diane worked in South Africa just after the liberation of Nelson Mandela developing a church-based community outreach program for homeless and unemployed people in downtown Johannesburg. In 2000 she moved to Peru where she runs Paz y Luz (Peace and Light) Healing Center and B&B. Diane is a warm person and I felt a connection to her immediately. I plan to visit her in Peru in the near future.

Then on Friday and Saturday the Artists of Matthews, a group of artists that I belong to - had an exhibition at the Matthews Community Center. It was a great event - I sold a couple of photographs - and had fun (what more can one ask for!) My artist friend, Randy, drew portraits of both my mother and my daughter which are wonderful.

So this week I am catching up with myself and working on the Water book for the yahoo Photo Art Journals group. I've been receiving amazing images in the mail so have been trying to come up with a cover that does them justice.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

My back yard labyrinth

I've started building my labyrinth.
For a long time it felt like a project that was too big for me, but as I kept it in mind and started visualizing it in my back yard, the process of creating it became clearer. I decided to use the Chartres Cathedral pattern. I visited Chartres a couple of years ago, drawn to see the labyrinth, although at that time I knew very little about labyrinths. I came back and ordered a couple of books on labyrinths and found out more about them, but never imagined I would build one for myself in my back yard. However, after I built the studio it seemed that the space outside towards the woods was asking me to create a labyrinth.

I started my process with the help of my son, Timothy. He was brave enough to run the circles for me using a tin of ground spray paint, so what you see in the photo is step 1 - all the circles on the ground. I then bought yards of rope and I have been sitting with the design next to me working out where the entrances and paths lead and laying them out with rope and nails. This has been a meditation in itself. However, the last few days we have had rain - wonderful, wet, soothing, much needed rain - so I haven't been able to work on it. I hope I get to mark all the paths before the paint disappears!

Once I have marked the paths with rope I will be able to walk my labyrinth. And then I plan to dig small trenches where the ropes are and fill them with white pebbles. This will take some time, but I am slowly learning that I can take life more slowly, that I can enjoy the process. The important thing is to start - and then to enjoy every step of the journey.

Doing a demonstration in class the other day I ended up with this piece which made me laugh at myself - yes, the intention of walking a labyrinth is to find yourself!

"Walking the labyrinth clears the mind and gives insight into the spiritual journey. It urges action. It calms people in the throes of life transitions. It helps them see their lives in the context of a path, a pilgrimage. They realize that they are not human beings on a spiritual path, but spiritual beings on a human path."
From "Walking a Sacred Path" by Lauren Artress

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Timing is Everything

Most mornings my neighbor Amy and I go for a walk. It's a perfect way to start the day and Amy often has words of wisdom to share. A couple of weeks ago I heard Amy say: "Timing is everything." It wasn't something I had thought about before, but I realized that timing really can affect our lives in substantial ways - unexpectedly meeting someone who tells you something that affects the way you see something else, having an opportunity that you can't follow up because you are not well at that time, missing a plane, a train, a bus .... Perhaps it is all exactly as it is meant to be, but I can't help but realize just how seconds can affect the whole course of your life.

Recently I was introduced to the term evanescence at a photography workshop led by Brad Berglund. Brad told us that evanescence is impermance or the ever-changing quality of reality, such as the morning mist which fades as the morning rises. When I thought more about this idea I realized that it tied into the concept of "Timing is everything". There are some things that we can only experience once and if we miss them they are gone forever.

My butterfly was an evanescent moment for me. I had seen it fluttering around, but of course it didn't want to pose for me. Then I turned around and there it was. I only had a split second to take the photograph before the butterfly moved on and was out of sight again.

Perhaps if I focus more on being present in the moment I will recognize more of those evanescent moments when they appear in front of me.

"A photographer must be prepared to catch and hold on to those elements which give distinction to the subject or lend it atmosphere. They are often momentary, chance-sent things: a gleam of light on water, a trail of smoke from a passing train, a cat crossing a threshold, the shadows cast by a setting sun. Sometimes they are a matter of luck; the photographer could not expect or hope for them. Sometimes they are a matter of patience, waiting for an effect to be repeated that he has seen and lost or for one that he anticipates. Leaving out of question the deliberately posed or arranged photograph, it is usually some incidental detail that heightens the effect of a picture – stressing a pattern, deepening the sense of atmosphere. But the photographer must be able to recognize instantly such effects." Bill Brandt, "Camera in London", The Focal Press, London 1948, p. 16

Saturday, September 8, 2007

My Dream Studio

In June I moved my art supplies and books into my new 690 square foot studio. It is my place to create, to play and to teach. A week after I moved in I held my first SoulCollage class. The studio overlooks the back yard and I have a view of the trees and birds while I sit at my computer or create at my desk. I have a vision of creating a labyrinth outside the studio. I love spending time in this space and sharing it with others. I am able to offer not just SoulCollage but photography workshops now that I have the space to do so.

I have a large section of space dedicated to my library of books.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

"Mothering Across Continents"

I was born in South Africa and have lived in the USA for ten years. I have been connected with an Aids community care program called Woza Moya Project for some time and in July 2005 went out into the rural community of Ixopo with the Community Care workers. While there I was able to take photographs of some of the children I met. Many of these children are Aids Orphans or have to care for sick parents and younger siblings.

Late last year I connected with a group of like minded women and we formed a group called "Mothering Across Continents".

The vision of this group is to inspire women in the US to help the thousands of young children affected by the Aids epidemic in South Africa.
The photographs show two of the 12 foot collages I made for a fundraising event in Charlotte in May. Photographs by Photo Lyrical.

"If everyone helps hold up the sky, then one person does not become tired".

Starting my blog

The idea to start this blog was given to me by my friend Minnie while at Artfest. And the courage to get it going was given to me by my friend Gwen, who I also met at Artfest. Just shows how Artfest can change your life! Thank you for the ideas and inspiration. I think the hardest part about starting a blog was wondering whether I had anything worthwhile to say. But I decided that perhaps if it was a record for me of events and special moments during the year that would be enough, and if somewhere along the line it inspired someone - well, that would be a gift.