Accordion Loon Book. With stars because as the darkness deepens, the starlight and call of the loon return us to the liminal spaces where creative change can enter our lives. Welcome, Darkness.
Bees have been revered in many cultures, in their role as pollinators, and keepers of the hive. Here is a paper sculpture tribute to the Greek image of the bee as the great Mother, Melissa. She is holding the plant Melissa officinalis, known as lemon balm.
Thank you to the Paper Artist Collective for featuring my piece!
The Process Behind the Piece: Karen Brooks
July 5, 2016
This week we feature the very talented Karen Brooks, read all about her layered mermaid sculpture.
Karen is a paper sculptor living in Maine in the Northeast US. Creating striking and vibrant paper sculptures, Karen regularly exhibits her work and teaches artists of all ages. Her inspirations come from nature, the creative spirit, up-cycling found materials, the poetry of everyday life, and mythology.
Karen explains the process behind her work:
I enjoy tales of mermaids as creatures of both sea and land. I feel as artists we also live between the world of the imagination and everyday life.
I like to work without a plan, it is a way of dreaming with my hands, I get to follow the path! I enjoy improvising with paper as a medium, it is so easy to make new shapes, and to be inventive.
Each piece of paper is cut into, then layered and cut further.
Using a knife,tweezers and glue I construct everything from paper, even the sparkle in an eye! I use the grain of the paper to help build depth, curling the pieces as I go.
The final step of gluing everything in place is so exciting, I see the final image for the first time.
It takes about 40 hours to create a piece. People imagine that I have incredible patience. I simply feel so happy and fortunate when I am in my studio building a world out of paper.
To read the piece at the Paper Artist Collective blog, you can use this link:
"And now you are free to go in and out of infinity." Thomas Merton
Here is a dragon who grew into an accordion book as I made the folds. The title came when I asked if it wanted words, having taken the form of the a book. Yes. The Fire of Creation Feeds the Soul of the World.
Yes. We matter. What we create here matters and is part of the great stream of our ancestors' journey through the world. Our relationship to this world continues the songs that rose in their hearts. Each of us is part of a gift that started its exchange long before we can remember. It is fine to be a small part of a far greater whole, offering our expressions of delight to the wonder of it all. This is how we feed each other. The Fire of Creation Feeds the Soul of the World.
Yes, it was a ridiculous task to recapitulate a dragon toy on sticks, but I wanted to, as a gift for a seven year old fellow artist. Unfortunately I botched the job and had to cannibalize the original toy to create the new dragon. Once the bell was in it's mouth all was forgiven! For a while we lived in a neighborhood adjacent to Chinatown, in Philadelphia. The drums and smoke from the firecrackers would waft into our windows, when the dragons made their way through the street. I felt honored to be able to view these events, and all the red color! I suppose a sophisticated artist would not have a favorite color, but mine has most often been red, in every variant.
There is very little originality in my paper dragon, save the surface patterning. But working on this object of delight sent shivers of possibilities my way, and I am already at work on the next realm.
So excited about new projects brewing! But for now, here is what is on my table this morning.
The husk is shattering and new life emerges. This is the only way. We are not intended to remain comfortable here. We are here for transformation.
Somewhere there is a tree of life with flowing rivers. The roots of peace grow from justice, the lion lies beside the lamb in peace and Love Wins.
This one is for all those who work in the community, on its streets and in its gardens, with others, and never completely alone, yet sometimes in silence, to turn the world around.
We planted our lovely tomato seeds yesterday, dreaming of transplanting seedlings in 8 weeks, or so. Here is a paper sculpture card that I made last December for a commission. Hoping to build more beds when the ground is less damp. Meanwhile creating more artwork of birds and gardens and the subterranean dream of Spring.
Port na bPúcaí (Music of the Fairies) is a haunting song that I heard played by the fiddler Rebecca Grube. I was very moved by her rendition of this piece from the Blasket Islands. One story is that the tune was a response to the singing of the fairies, which may have been the songs of the humpback whales. I love that the source was a mystery that called forth such a beautiful response. I feel this reflects the creative process, when we sense a calling, not knowing where it came from or where it might lead, and yet we follow.
World of Wonder, new paper sculpture...a tiny attempt at recapitulating the structure of an ecstatic world. The music of spinning through time, our lives unfolding, in space, through grace.
Experimenting with paper sculpture in a "tunnel book" setting for the story of Icarus. If the ability to create resembles a portal to the divine, the fear is of hubris. Will the wings we fashion bring us so near that they melt and send us crashing to the waves? Like the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, will we lose access to Paradise if we reach too high? There is a resonance to the cautionary tales, designed both to stir and quell, curiosity.
Remembering my first glimpse of the milky way, in Bar Harbor, Maine. In the darkest of nights, my father told me that we were inside the river of stars that fell like dust upon us. In that moment I understood that the deepest dreams are the ones being dreamed through us.
"Where are we going, when will we get there?"
"I don't know...we will know when we get there..."
When I finish one piece, I launch into the next, as soon as possible. Until I do, I feel I am in limbo. I may have a sketch, more likely I just set my hands to moving. I have worked this way since childhood. Making things is my way of being at home in the world. Still, I often feel it is all being dreamt into being, off the map. My task is to bring the dreams into form and discover their relationship to one another.
We are swimming in a great river of light that pours in our windows and into the work of our hands. It is glorious to catch just a little of it for the moments we’re here, to shape it and send it back out on the great spiral, to be caught by other hands and spun onward.