Friday, September 3, 2010

The Cosmic Egg Hatched: Altar Assemblage

Over a month ago I promised photos of the completed piece, with the working title: The Cosmic Egg.  A fanciful depiction of Saint Hildegard of Bingen, for a special patron and artist, Melanie Weidner, the piece was completed at the end of July, in time for Melanie's landmark birthday.  The santo is now on it's way to Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Melanie has a very good camera, and a skilled artist's eye, so I am posting her photos, which are better than I usually have.  Here you go!

detail: The Cosmic Egg
In this piece I have incorporated several aspects of the spirituality and art of Hildegard and the art and spirituality of Melanie Weidner. See her work

Hildegard's face, the moon and the egg are sculpted with Das Clay, combined with fabric, a wooden bowl, and found objects.

My desire was to incorporate natural objects reflecting Hildergard's work with plants, especially as medicine.  I remembered my stash of dried rose hips, collected on a late autumn.  Likewise, the feathers from goldfinch, raven, bluejay and sparrow.  The shape of the altar, though a octagon, not a hexagon, still evoked the chambers of a bee-hive, a place of mystery, and relating to Melanie's name, derived from the Greek for honey bee.  

The industry of bees reminds me of the industry of an artist, especially Melanie.  She has been pondering her diverse interests as a spiritual director, teacher, artist and contemplative and how to further synchronize them.  The work of the bees, gathering from so many different flowers to make honey, reminded me of all that we draw together in creating our life work.

I have placed a tiny replica of the Labyrinth of Chartres within the golden, sunlike egg. Opposing matrices combine in the creative process, requiring intuition, patience, even hard-scrabble struggle. Within the Cosmic Egg is a labyrinth that can seem endless. In the bee hive of the brain impressions are transformed in the folds and crannies unseen, so much like the twists and turns of a labyrinth.  The brain is somewhat like an egg (intelligent people are teased for being egg-heads), hiding the gestation of ideas.

The moon and the loving old crone, who is part bird, with the feathers of combined birds, is a reminder of the magic that occurs outside the brain in the heart.  It is the mother-love with which we nurture ideas that transform them into art.  Little by little the mother bird feathers her nest, and little by little our creations unfold.

All through the process of making this altar I kept this quote in mind that Melanie shared with me: "The order of the universe is toward compassion." -Dr. Pete Terpenning  Every aspect is designed to curve and meld into the other, just as I imagine the spinning galaxies and the universe unfolding.

This piece can be turned several ways.

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