Borrowing from the mystery traditions and folk medicine, this new collection of stencil cuts is for a series of stoneware wall tiles and covered jars that I’ll have for the Powderhorn Art Fair, Aug 5-6th. A smattering of these images will be featured on enameled copper jewelry as well, but decisions are yet to be made as to which designs make the cut (pun intended). The wall tiles and pendants are intended to act as a reminder to keep a wider perspective in mind, to flow around obstacles or attract abundance, to name just a few. We take subliminal cues from our environments all the time, here’s an attempt at deliberately seeding those spaces with intentional symbolism.

Within the public domain, we already have a built-in sense of mythology around these.

As children, we absorb millions of messages about how the world works, through the repetition of stories in cartoons, fairy tales and retold by parents. The outer symbolism contained in the story book lends itself to wide variances in interpretation, depending on the constellation of media consumed and moral truths presumed to be true. Reading codes in imagery is one of the first ways kids learn to interpret context. Imagine all the thousands of different ways that any given farm animal is presented to a toddler, and wonder at the way they are still able to unite all the variables a cow could possibly have and still read it correctly.

 

Eye2

The all-seeing eye, featured on the back of American paper money & closer than you think.

Now, imagine how much this process is still going on in the adult mind. You and I have unfathomably complex neural webbing surrounding symbols and what they mean. We no sooner view an advertisement, glance 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 are 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 wash something off, you recognize that it’s dirty. If our lens is clouded with dust, wiping away those particles of stale energy should afford us new ways of seeing. 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 maintenance. I can choose to empower just about any symbol that feels personally significant, to act as a trigger for the process of renewal. These pieces are an aid to visualization, meditation and their higher purposes, but you can make your own as well, don’t take my word for it.

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