My studio is so much more to me than just a space to work in, it is a sacred space where magic happens. It is also a place of great solace and peace. It is a place where i dance, drum, sing and create. In this temple studio there is an altar to the goddess of cycles - birth, growth, death and regeneration. I made her, with my own hands at the begining of this manifestation of my creative journey, from local clay collected in a field near my home. She is unfired and therefore, with time, will disintegrate - as it is with all things. When she is no longer recognisable i will make a new one most likley from the same clay.
I call my studio the Incubation Station because i feel it is, like a cauldron, a bowl containing many elements that weave themselves together to become artifacts that support the journeys of people in my community. On the door is a beautiful hand drawn image of a womans swollen pregnant body, this space is like the womb of a pregnant woman creating new life.
Each time i begin work i sit before my altar and light candles one sits at the feet of the goddess to welcome her spirit in.
The second is in a white porcelain rose, representing my yoni space where my creative kundalini snake is conjured from. The third and final candle sits in the circle of people you see picutred here, it represents you, the community to whom my creations go out to.
After lighting candles i sometimes simply sit in silence, or I might play my flute, drum, sing or move my body.
This time before the altar before i begin has many purposes. One is that it invites the goddess in, drumming, dancing and singing ignite the space, and stillness offers a space for what ever wishes to be there to come. Also it helps me to focus, i am a mother and a partner, we all have daily functional things we must do, but when i enter this space to create, i choose to move in to a different mind space, something more intutitive that is not hampered by anything. This is key beause so much of my work is intuitive, it is about listening - to the objects i work with, to you who request pieces and to my creative self.
Being a maker of things once held a concern for me that i was simply adding to the mountains of things that become unwanted and discarded, contributing to the deep holes in the earth filled with mankinds unwanted objects.For this reason a few years ago i made a shift. I decided that firstly i wanted to make things that would be treasured, handed on from one person to another and never discarded. Secondly that in the making of them i would not contribute to the scouring of the earths resources. My acquiring of resources is always guided by the maxim Reduce Reuse Recycle and Buy Local, therefore many of the beads and other treasures i use are preowned. For this reason often they come into the studio and sit there quietly in a kind of sleep, at a threshold moving from their old life in to their new. Some objects will rest here for a good long time before letting me know what they would like to be made into.
If you were to come to the temple studio you would see baskets of bones and bowls of beads amongst the tools and other materials. These are like mini caudlrons containing elements sitting and chattering to one another, whispering their hearts desires, feeling out if they align wiht one another enough to create something both aesthetic and meaningful.
The materials I work with are mostly preowned beads and elements, bones and other natural treasures.
Working with Bones and other animal parts i feel is a senstive and especially sacred task. I have a way of welcoming animal remains in to the cauldron that developed intuitively over time. Firstly they are placed in a beautiful bowl or basket, then put on the altar. They sit there, in a quiet sleep like death, at the foot of the goddess of cycles for as long as is needed, and when i drum, sing or dance i often do it for any new bones that have come into the space. They may sit there for a short time or a long time depending what i feel they need. Some things require more of this some less, but each is given it's own time to settle in.
Some pieces require more attention before they are ready to embark on their new life. I have here a large and magnicicent snake skin that called to be gently tended with prayers of apology whispered as i conditioned the leather. It sat in it's regenerating death sleep for a good long while then, before it asked me to dance with it, an undulating dance echoing the way it moved when it was alive so that the spirit of snake could return to it.
Bones are the memory of life.
I have come to remember something i knew as a child - that things have lives, that they have been on journeys, and if we listen well enough they have voices to tell us about them.
When i am thinking about working with an object that has obviously had a complex and interesting life i feel moved to know what it has been and what it would like to become.
I feel that when something has come to me it has chosen to come, to put it's self into my hands so that i can help it on to the next part of it's journey.
My understanding of objects, and the language in which they often speak to me in, is mythic, influenced by fairytale and dream. Their langauge is both philosophical and intuitive, yet
the seed sounds they use are colour, texture, form and weight.
If you would like to read about some of these conversations please visit my blog...
Many of the bones i have were brought to me as gifts, some have been able to use, some i have not. I was once brought a chaffinch, looking as if it was only asleep, it was hard to tell how it had died. However, it did not want to be part of my work and asked to be buried instead, so i gave it it's wish.
I create from bones in a variety of ways....
The piece on the front of this medicine pouch was made by pressng it onto a mould taken of the fissures of a deer skull found in the woods. The bead to the left was pressed directly on to a cave bear bone. The picture below shows it's contents, hedgehog spines, sage leaves, dried sap from a blackthorn tree and a mole bone.
A piece of cave bear bone made in to a necklace with a rough wrapped chain featuring amber and bone beads.
A piece of cave bear bone with a pyrite fossil bound to it with hand spun thread.
This pendant is made from a mould of the beaver skull beneath it.
This Fox sacrum, was a commission for a shamanic earth healer. It is honoured as a seat for the spirit after death, the place from which regeneration occurs.
This bear totem sits in a bowl of cave bear bones on the altar. It is being seeded with the bones magic.
This piece was what you could call a 'blind' commssion, the fellow creatrix who asked me to make her something gave no brief accept that the piece serve as a support to her through a transisition into early cronedom.
It features the bones of a bird, yet can you see the dragons head?
It also features natrually shed snake skin, shells, bone beads, brass tibetan skull beads, a hag stone and hand spun thread.
This is Precious Metal Clay in it's different states.
The top left image shows it in it's clay from drying.
The top right image shows it just after firing.
The bottom left shows it after beigg hand brushed and the final image shows it after being patinaed and then hand sanded
All the elements i make are hand made or scultpted, then fired with a blow torch, brushed by hand, patinaed and hand sanded.