Friday, January 4, 2013


 Friday. Chilly start. Sunny. Going up to 52º perhaps.
Dearest Readers,
White Burrow_bee's wax, lace, wire, thread, glass beads, 2013- 7" x 2-1/4" x 2"
This is my first artwork of the New Year–another tiny burrow. She’s thin, anorexic, and dressed in the remnants of a wedding gown. I get the feeling of constricted youth. This is a secret nesting place with only one opening to the surface and a very tight tip to try to curl up in. 
Tan Tunnel_charcoal, pastel, oil stick on paper, 11" x 17", 2011
 It is inspired by this drawing of a hole and tunnel created in 2011 in preparation for my hole dig last summer, and this interest of mine in digging down below the surface of things.

I thank Kathie de Nobriga and Alice Teeter in Pine Lake GA for hosting “Mending Day” on New Year’s Eve, to sew up our missing buttons, ripped pockets, and raveled sleeves of care before the new year. The baby tunnel was born at their house from lacy fabric, a wire collar, and some glass beads that I brought along.  On New Year’s Day I returned with the baby tunnel to Pine Lake to Gayle Austin and Jean Bordeaux’s place near the water. Gayle has a complete well-ventilated studio setup for encaustic (wax) art work. She stoked up the heating tray, hot burnisher, hot air blower and melting pots (literally),  and showed me how to apply beeswax to my little tunnel. I dabbed it on with a brush because I wanted to expose some of the transparent lace, and not drown all the beads in wax. Thanks Gayle!
Juniper, rosemary and Nandina
 My first Ikebana of the year is a simple “straight style” Moribana arrangement. At this time of year I’ve been dependent on evergreens along the street, and bushes that still have colorful leaves on them. It was peaceful creating this one. I snipped away quite a bit of the redundant spikes on the two tall rosemary sprigs, carefully hand-bent and curled the juniper branches, and anchored the two green elements with a tuft of bright red nandina bush.
All is in harmony in the new world of 2013.

That said, I was shocked into a realization yesterday that down deep I do not believe there is a God. This rocked my little head, but after the initial cracking open to this possibility, I feel some relief and simultaneous confusion. First, I was sent a pdf a couple weeks ago of a chapter in the anthology Michel Foucault: Key Concepts entitled “Freedom and Spirituality” by Karen Vintges, that explored this aspect of the French philosopher Michel Foucault’s writings.  What stood out was not anything about atheism, but his emphasis on “courageous truth telling” despite possible adverse consequences. This challenge made me think.
Then, I asked for and received for Christmas a lovely, serene statue of the Buddha that now sits on my dresser in my bedroom. He is beautiful, but he is creeping me out. I realize I’ve replaced Jesus imagery from my Catholic childhood with the Buddha. I love meditation, but I’m really not a Buddhist. My blog and my art are my methods for exploring my self as part of something bigger. Now I’m not so sure where to go.

Finally, yesterday I finished the audiobook  Why Are You Atheists So Angry, by Greta Christina. She’s an atheist writer, speaker and blogger who answered the title’s question with chapters on various arguments for her non-theistic beliefs. My ears perked up when she said that more people need to come out of the closet and declare themselves as atheists. Wow, I thought. That simple! This is courageous, but socially unacceptable truth telling.

That’s as far as I’ll go with this idea for now. I’m getting whiplash, or at least a crick in my neck first from trying to return to the Catholic Church two years ago, then running from that dogma over to the Tibetan Buddhism of the Shambhala Meditation Center here. I used to claim to be an agnostic on a spiritual path, hoping for a god and an afterlife. I don’t really believe that anymore. I think this digging down, creative burrowing and occasional artistic wing spreading is a way to proceed within this new certainty of uncertainty.  I think.

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