In metaphysics, the silver cord is described as a strong, silver-colored, elastic bond which joins a person’s physical body to their astral body. In studio practice, I like to think of it as a gold or silver thread that connects each piece in order of creation, invisibly linking them with the spirit of the work. It also represents a continuity and momentum, animating forward progress. To let go of it would mean to lose your way, which could take weeks, months or years to find again. Since I’m not married to a particular material, and experiment a lot with new ideas, this subtle webbing seems like the only thing that unites each piece of ephemera with the next.

Themes: A woven nest invites new life, my hair captures energy, the crow is a messenger.

What unites these images? A personal narrative developed over a lifetime, one that has to do with weaving shelter, shedding skins, scrying from natural phenomena. The silver cord is the storytelling I do through the arrangement of imagery, objects and ideas. It is as much about the suggestion of magic at play as it is about the fruits of my labor. Someday, I hope not to have to intervene as much in the making, and to be able to successfully coax natural processes like frost or root structures into domesticated relationships within my art, but the thread will remain the same, connecting now to then.

No matter what I’m working on – drawing, painting, wearable sculpture or writing, the same schema arise over and over. When I look back at old sketchbooks and blogs, I am pleasantly surprised by common themes presenting themselves in new ways. This affirms that I must be on the right path, as I haven’t drifted off the course of my guiding constellation. It’s like a ping-back from inner space, just as when the stars align in our lives to open a way forward where before there was none, improbably aiding us in the pursuit of impossible goals.

20140125_175301Patterns in frost take on different forms depending on weather conditions, so should we all.

To keep hold when I’m thrown, I have illustrated myself with symbols to act as touchstones for these values. I walk on ouroboros serpents, symbolizing something constantly re-creating itself, and the infinite cycle of nature’s endless creation and destruction. A two-headed crow facing inward toward itself is to my back, like Huginn and Muninn, representing the powers of thought and memory. Stripes grace all four limbs, as protection against eroding forces on the world. And ginkgo hangs around my neck amid a tangle of geometric shapes, as medicinal talisman for the mind. Crazy? Maybe, but whatever works, right?

 

“There’s a thread you follow.

It goes among things that change.

But it doesn’t change.

People wonder about what you are pursuing.

You have to explain about the thread.

But it is hard for others to see.

While you hold it you can’t get lost.

Tragedies happen; people get hurt or die; and you suffer and get old.

Nothing you do can stop time’s unfolding.

You don’t ever let go of the thread.”

William Stafford

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