Sunday, May 31, 2009

Helen Keller- Supria Karmakar's On Paper Wings

Several weeks ago, I received Supria's gorgeous Altered Art book on Helen Keller- filled with her beautiful artistry which you can see here and those of Roxanne, and Rita. Now, it was my time to interpret and orchestrate my pages. As our InnerWorks Collaborative project progresses, each book is a totally new experience. As the first artist in our own book and then the first "guest" artist to work in another artist's book, we receive a "blank canvas" to create in. As the book has been worked in by several artists, it's both a gift and a challenge.

The gift is that you really get a feel for the different and unique artistic styles and expressive interpretations that help set the tone for the book. It's a challenge because so many wonderful and creative ideas have been revealed by our other collaborators. The process then forces you to go that much deeper into yourself and the theme for the direction you will begin to explore.

Helen became proficient in Braille, a new language based on the order and feel of raised dots. Here's a rendering of our English symbols of "XOX" for a "kiss, hug and a kiss" in Braille.

Working on Supria's book, On Paper Wings, has been such a joy. It was so amazing to learn about Helen Keller, a child who at just 19 months old, went from a "normal" toddler to someone trapped inside a human cocoon. It was void of light and sound. into an abyss Helen fell - condemned to what seemed like an end to any semblance of a life.

Helen had hope, optimism, perseverance and a teacher named Anne Sullivan who would support, guide and help her achieve what seemed like the impossible. What emerged was a beautiful butterfly

amidst a life of rainbows - color within darkness , and sound within silence. Helen was a shining star for the world - with a grace, radiance, brilliance and an unrelenting awe for all of life's gifts!

Like Helen Keller, we should all try to find the rainbows in what often seems like an endless storm, a new path when we think the road in front of us is closed, and make time for both those we love and ourselves when we think that there's not a moment to spare in our lives. Life is short - yet within Helen's, despite being both blind and deaf, she graduated from college, was fluent in many languages, read more books than most of have read in a lifetime, and was an inspiration and role model to so many. Before most people ever heard of the word Suffragette, Helen was one. We should all try to reach out to someone who could use compassion even when we think we may not have anything to offer. We all have so much to share and give.

Everyone has a special inner spirit which can enable them to soar on paper wings, if they only believe.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Distressed Elements - Seth Apter's book, My Round Robin Pages - #3

It is not hard to be inspired by Seth's work...his work has a distinct flavour, one which invites the artistic mind to a deeper place of inspiration.  I found working on his book really opened up my mind to the energies of the past..Past stories, people's history..Their stories of their lives..Wondering what it would be like for the woman in the photo, holding a book.  What is her story?   Who is she remembering, while looking at the book?  Or what are the inspiring words in the book she is holding, are they providing her with the strength and inspiration to move forward....?  From what, to what????

The book medium, the written word, has itself been a great source of magic and strength for me...I find that through the written word, through books, life finds deeper meaning and comfort, whether it is for an escape or if it is a way to look at life another way, through the wisdom of the author.....The gifts from writers and visual artists who give of themselves freely, help feed the soul, give others a chance to contemplate another point of view, whether similar or different.  Check out the other post I wrote on this work, here!

All of this was what came from my time immersed in Seth's book, Distressed Elements...and  I am grateful for the opportunity.  Thanks Seth for joining the collaborative, your work is an inspiration to many, including myself.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Anne Morrow Lindbergh

I've been working on Rita's "Gift from the Sea" which appealed to me for so many reasons but mainly because I love Anne Morrow Lindbergh's essays on reflection; on how she felt that she was the only woman who felt a desire to create in a space that was all her own, her need to get things in order, to simplify, and to focus on the specific things that mattered to her and to let go of the rest. Her time away from her family was not selfish but rather selfless, as she was able to contribute as a mother and member of a community once she had filled her own well. I once read:

"If you are wise, you will show yourself rather as a reservoir than as a canal.
A canal spreads abroad water as it receives it,
but a reservoir waits until it is filled before overflowing,
and thus without loss to itself it shares its superabundant water."
Bernard of Clairvaux, Celtic Monk

I wanted to use Anne's words, to use the colour blue which is my personal favorite and grants me a sense of tranquility, and to capture the sense of serenity that nature provides.