Borrowing from the mystery traditions and folk medicine, this new collection of symbolic stencil cuts is for a series of stoneware wall tiles and corked jars that I’ll have for the Powderhorn Art Fair. Related esoteric imagery will be hand drawn onto enameled copper talismans beset with good intentions. Each wall tile and talisman is intended to act as a reminder to open the heart and mind to possibilities to flow around obstacles or attract abundance into our lives. House wardings specifically are to protect the energy of a home, keeping static out and good vibes in. We take subliminal cues from our environments all the time, here’s an attempt at deliberately seeding those spaces with intentional symbolism.
Header image: the Ouroboros is the definitive symbol for cycles of rebirth. Above: my take on a well-trod vintage palmistry diagram.
As children, we absorb millions of messages about how the world works through the repetition of story in cartoons, fairy tales and as retold by others. The outer symbolism contained in visual storytelling lends itself to wide variances in interpretation. Social consensus about derived meaning depends on the constellation of media consumed and moral truths shared in each community. Reading hidden codes in imagery is one of the first ways kids learn to interpret context. Imagine all the different ways that a fantastic animal like the unicorn or a dragon is represented in children’s books, and wonder at the way they are still able to unite all the variables in their minds eye, and read the image correctly. Now imagine all the different readings of implied storytelling that that fantastic animal holds for each kid – there is personal mythmaking going on in creative play, imprinting narratives about self-advocacy and place in the world.
The all-seeing eye, featured on the back of American paper money.
Now, imagine how much this process is still going on in the adult mind. You and I have an unfathomably complex neural webbing surrounding symbols and what they mean. We no sooner view an advertisement or glance at a person, color or shape, and we are already hard at work assigning it context within the blink of an eye. This is a useful skill, right? But it’s also heavily laden with the baggage of past experiences that aren’t necessarily applicable to the present. Especially when times change as quickly as they do in the present epoch, might it be worth an occasional cleansing of the palette to see and feel the world with fresh senses?
Before you cleanse something, you recognize that it’s dirty and in need of a refresh. If our lens is clouded with dust and debris, wiping away those particles of stale energy should afford us new ways of seeing and understanding. On the other side of that action, we may need ways to remind ourselves to look with fresh eyes all the time, which is an ongoing kind of ontological maintenance. I can choose to empower just about any symbol that feels personally significant, to act as a trigger for that process of renewal. These pieces are intended to be an aid to visualization, meditation and other higher purposes, but you can make your own as well, I’ll show you if you’re interested.