On Ritual and Randomness
Ritual has always been an important part of my life from as far back as I can remember. As an adult, I have learned that when I raise awareness around intentional actions and behaviors the quality of my life improves. I see magic and mystery where before I had seen ordinary or even mundane. With intention, the simple act of washing the dishes can be transformed to a daily ritual of closure – be it to the meal or the day.
Living alone after a lifetime of cohabitation, I found myself challenged to keep ritual alive as I muddled through life’s pressures, struggles, and responsibilities on my own. Feathers somehow brought me back from that funk. Finding one or more feathers each day during a very stressful and wearing 18 months reminded me to hold the ordinary as sacred. To not take a moment for granted. To stay present in the face of adversity.
The symbolism behind the feather has a long history in almost every society. However, for me, the feather became a personal symbol when I was quite young. Throughout my life they have made their way to me, bringing me clear premonitions, or leaving me with unanswered questions while yet feeling not-quite-so-alone. Upon finding a feather I can get an immediate sense of ‘knowing’. It took me a long time to trust this inner sense. I remember a June day a dozen years ago visiting my mother-in-law in Page Springs, Arizona. As I readied to leave, I opened the door of my black mustang to find a feather on the seat. Upon picking it up I knew my friend Jane Wendell had passed. Returning to work I learned I had missed the call from her son.
I have come to learn that feathers are a way for Nature to create her own rituals for us.
This body of work, The Ritual of the Daily Feather, has given me a way to work not only
with the feathers, but with the ritual of art. The act of making art is a ritual in itself. Found feathers are sewn onto teabags sewn onto paper. It begins by preparing and drinking the tea, emptying the bag, cleaning and drying the paper. Writing, planning and designing, and finally assembling and sewing all the parts to create each piece.
The Ritual of the Daily Feather
pastel, repurposed tea bags, Irish linen thread, paper
14 x 16 image size 24 x 26 framed