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 |
Then I couldn't stop this flurry of nest-making–which seemed like good luck. I made one after another. For instance, a little angel out of birch bark, and her wild/domestic home.
|Four Altars; mixed media Jude Spacks 2016|
|Birch Angel Shrine; mixed media, Jude Spacks 2016 (available)|
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.
|Birch Angel Shrine rear–stands alone or hangs on wall|
|Bloom Where Planted #1 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.
|Purple Seuss-Bird; mixed media, Jude Spacks 2016|
Waiting for spring is a watched pot. Waiting for spring–or for creative insight about a difficulty, or for any kind of fresh start–can 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!"
|Bloom Where Planted #2 mixed media sculpture, Jude Spacks 2016|
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.
|March Plow; fabrics and digital Jude Spacks 2015|
|Before Spring with Nest for Green Rock; mixed media shrine Jude Spacks 2016|
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.
|detail, Before Spring |
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.
|Bloom Where Planted #3 mixed media sculpture Jude Spacks 2016|
|Solo Flower w/ Librarian Ashley |
They can pose in different positions.
|Solo Flower; mixed media Jude Spacks 2016|
|Yellow Flowers; mixed media Jude Spacks 2016|
|Yellow Flowers 2|
Some have little round mirrors. Many can hang on the wall as well as sitting flat.
|Yellow Flowers Embrace|
|Bloom Where Planted #6 mixed media shrine Jude Spacks 2016|
They can keep you company on a desk. They'll bop around on their wire stems in the wind of comings and goings.
|Bloom #6 from above J Spacks 2016 (available)|
|Flower and Bud; mixed media sculpture Jude Spacks 2016 (available)|
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.
|detail, Flower and Bud J Spacks 2016|
|Blue Bug Steps Out J Spacks|
|Blue Bug at Home mixed media Jude Spacks 2016|
Now, summer is already whizzing by. (News flash: seasons, external and internal, always change–ready, 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:
|First Bug with Mirror Moon mixed media J Spacks 2016|
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.