Wednesday, June 22, 2016


Bloom Where Planted #11 mixed media sculpture Jude Spacks 2016
In mid-winter, around the anniversary of my father's death and my birthday a few days later, I took a break from trying to do whatever I assumed needed doing. Instead, I found myself absorbed in making little homes for the tiny statues my father used to keep on his desk. They'd been falling over and and getting lost on the table near my favorite chair

Little Goddess Shrine (detail) mixed media, Jude Spacks 2016

Barry's Tara(?) mixed media shrine Jude Spacks 2016

Four Altars; mixed media Jude Spacks 2016

Then I couldn't stop this flurry of nest-makingwhich seemed like good luck. I made one after another. For instance, a little angel out of birch bark, and her wild/domestic home.

Birch Angel Shrine; mixed media, Jude Spacks 2016 (available)
Birch Angel Shrine rear–stands alone or hangs on wall
Winter dragged on. The odd lots store got in some hairy sparkly yarn for $1 a roll, and I binged on almost every color. Something had to be done with it. Unexpected furry flowers appeared, and a tiny purple bird in a hairy nest 
Bloom Where Planted #1 mixed media Jude Spacks 2016
Purple Seuss-Bird; mixed media, Jude Spacks 2016

Something possessed me to bring these tousled flowers to the Library, as a token of hope for spring-to-come. It was the week of Dr Seuss' birthday, and the flowers had a Seussian twang to them, so this made a kind of sense. I brought along extra chocolate eggs, like the ones in the bird's nest, for the librarians. The flowers were welcomed to the Library's counter, the chocolate offering stashed in a drawer.

Bloom Where Planted #2 mixed media sculpture, Jude Spacks 2016
Waiting for spring is a watched pot. Waiting for springor for creative insight about a difficulty, or for any kind of fresh startcan be confusing. It feels so urgent, but it can't be rushed. The I Ching says, in Difficulty at the Beginning, "Restless action interferes with the creative process unfolding. If we can persevere in non-action and disengagement, the Creative will resolve everything correctly."A Guide to the I Ching, (Hexagram 3, Difficulty at the Beginning) by Carol Anthony

The restless action that interferes with creative unfolding happens first in the head. The loyal Worried Mind persists in singing its worried song, even though it doesn't help. I was afflicted with Crack-the-Whip thoughts. "We have to hurry up and do something about Important Topics X,Y, Z and especially $!" they insisted. "We don't have time for making more of these silly flowers!"  

March Plow; fabrics and digital Jude Spacks 2015

Last year, there was still a lot of snow in March. This year, the ground was bare, the colors grim and dull, the wind seasonably harsh. My inner weather felt odd. I was being swept along by a fortunate creative thaw, but I couldn't fully surrender to it. Still, even when Worried Mind staged a panic about some seemingly scary circumstances, attention kept pouring into these slow, small pieces.

Before Spring with Nest for Green Rock; mixed media shrine Jude Spacks 2016
detail, Before Spring
An unexpected gust of grateful tears blew in when this Before Spring shrine was finished, late one night. I realized: even while I'd been seeing the current landscape as dismal, something deeper must have been witnessing a living harmony, a crackling spaciousness. Otherwise, how could that beauty have come through into this piece I gazed at with the besotted eyes of a tired new parent? 

I found this reassuring. However Worried Mind might fuss, Open Mind has always been here too, alive with innocent wonder and connection. How could I really know what was important, or useful, what was big or small? It seemed possible to relax more, to get by with a whole lot less of assuming I knew better how things should be. 

Bloom Where Planted #3 mixed media sculpture Jude Spacks 2016
The unassuming hairy flowers kept coming, and I kept bringing them to the Library. The librarians reported that patrons were enjoying them. One person told me she had burst out laughing when she saw the most recent in the series

Solo Flower w/ Librarian Ashley
Solo Flower; mixed media Jude Spacks 2016

They can pose in different positions.

Yellow Flowers; mixed media Jude Spacks 2016
Yellow Flowers 2

Yellow Flowers Embrace

Some have little round mirrors. Many can hang on the wall as well as sitting flat.
Bloom Where Planted #6 mixed media shrine Jude Spacks 2016
Bloom #6 from above J Spacks 2016 (available)

They can keep you company on a desk. They'll bop around on their wire stems in the wind of comings and goings.

Flower and Bud; mixed media sculpture Jude Spacks 2016 (available)

detail, Flower and Bud J Spacks 2016
When it finally warmed up, along came bugs. Some of the bugs have bits of magnet on their feet, and may stick to a can lid (wrapped with silk) in their shrine-house.

Blue Bug Steps Out J Spacks
Blue Bug at Home mixed media Jude Spacks 2016
First Bug with Mirror Moon mixed media J Spacks 2016

Now, summer is already whizzing by. (News flash: seasons, external and internal, always changeready, or over-ready, or not).

In Jen Louden's wonderful free e-book How to Follow Through on Your Creative Project I saw a suggestion to write a letter to whoever a project was for, saying why you made it:
Here's why I've been creating these flowers and shrines for you....I'm guessing you might suffer sometimes, as do so many of us, from wanting to do something significant, something that matters, that really helps, that touches people and fully expresses what you have to express. But so far nothing seems quite big or effective or true enough and sometimes your disappointed expectations feel sore–even though you know better than to think you should be more enlightened or braver or whatever than you are.  

Maybe a surprise meeting with one of these quirky little pieces could remind you of the tender, comic preciousness of simply being a life-form here, being a unique, hairy, time-limited creature made of ordinary magic-stuff, sweet and small, and just as-is. How sacred this one irreplaceable human life is, in this very instant of no-big-deal relatedness with everything!

More than anything else, here's what I want you to know: you are already so loved, this brief blooming of you, with these exact wavelengths radiating from you, here as this, now. This loves you. That's all. 

Summer Bug Before Tail J Spacks 2016
Summer Bug Gets a Tail J Spacks 2016

Camouflage: Summer Bug at Home; mixed media J Spacks 2016


I'm working on an art website (perhaps Project X which Worried Mind wishes were further along) which will eventually offer these and other works for adoption into your world. I'd also love to make a special shrine for some small item of significance to you. Contact me at judespacks[at]gmail[dot]com to start a conversation about such things?

Want more? Read about the creative power of not-assuming and expecting–give yourself a quick I Ching reading on Innocence.