Grief is a powerful catalyst for creativity. I sometimes wonder if that's why we have the ability to make beautiful things: without art as an outlet for things like grief, where would we be? I used to write poetry, for example, during the tumultuous years of high school. Boy, was I good at it. I filled pages and pages, notebook after notebook. And then I fell in love, had kids, and found other outlets for the creativity that couldn't be stopped.
Recently, a friend of mine passed away. I could tell you much more, but I'll leave it at that for now because most words won't do. Not yet. So when I found myself alone one afternoon, I walked down to the creek near my house with a notebook and pen. I sat and listened to the water—and I wrote a poem. While I'm not finished grieving, that time was therapeutic. I stayed until two wild turkeys briefly joined me from about 30 feet away. Once they returned from whence they came, I stood and went back home.
Bridgette Guerzon Mills created the encaustic artwork below, perhaps because, like many of us, when we feel sorrow for others we need to let it out in some manner. "I created this book while listening to interviews and stories on the radio when the tsunami hit Japan," she says. "Each page became a prayer for the lives that were lost and for the general health of our planet. Whether a tree, bee, or human, we are all connected." (Share this on Twitter.)
|Meditations (prayer flag artist book, twigs, inkjet prints, pressed fern, lokta paper)
by Bridgette Guerzon Mills
Mills's work is featured in Encaustic Revelation: Cutting-Edge Techniques from the Masters of EncaustiCamp® by Patricia Baldwin Seggebruch, in which she shares a demonstration on how to use plaster and encaustic to make books.
|Bridgette Guerzon Mills|
"Book art for me is just such an intriguing way to work," says Mills. "I'm able to think about structure along with concept. I can create a piece that people can physically interact with. It becomes something intimate, rather than distancing, as some art can be. As someone who binds her own journals and makes books in addition to painting, I was always intrigued by how I could bring encaustic into my journal and bookmaking practices. When I learned about plaster gauze, alarm bells went off in my head, and I realized that this was the material that could bridge my two worlds—encaustic painting and bookmaking.
"Plaster creates such a wonderful base for encaustic. And when it comes to making books, it provides a nice mix of rigidity for the encaustic to hold onto along with some flexibility, which works well for pages of a book. The plaster is also very absorbent and holds the wax well. And then, of course, there's the texture. Oh, the texture! The wax fills the crevices created by the plaster and in so doing provides a way to create beautiful, organic pieces."
I agree with Mills that we're all connected, and I thank you for letting me connect with you here. I hope that you've found inspiration, whatever your art is.
Until next time,
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