While re-reading Lewis Hyde’s The Gift, I especially enjoyed his use of folktales to demonstrate old ways of understanding the nature of gift. I thought about Raven Steals the Sun (3/19/2021) and Raven Steals the Water (10/15/2021). These stories focus not on the giving of gifts, but on the irreverence and immorality of hoarding. The gift is only dispersed – as it should be – when a single individual (Raven) finds it too large to be selfishly contained.
For several months, I’ve had trouble focusing on my mask projects. I cleaned my studio & cleared off my work surfaces, but that didn’t solve the problem. The walls are crowded with finished pieces and I can’t help feeling two things: Although I am still learning from looking at them, I feel the masks are getting tired of looking at me. And new masks seem reluctant to come until there is space for them to exist…. Then, recently, I re-read Charles de Lint’s fantasy novel Memory & Dream. In this story, the subjects of oil portraits beg their painter to release them into the wider world. This fits perfectly both with my intuition & with comments in The Gift. Hyde reminds us:
“An essential portion of an artist’s labor is not creation so much as invocation. …[We must create] within ourselves that ‘begging bowl’ to which the gift is drawn.”
“Bestowal creates that empty space into which new energy may follow.”
“Passing the gift along is the act of gratitude that completes the labor.”
I’ve long known the necessity of letting one’s work fly free. My poetry, for example, flows freely when I am part of a mutually-sharing writers group where it is read and heard by others. On the other hand, when I just shut away my writings in a drawer or a file, that creative spark soon flickers and fades away.
But I haven’t known what to do about the accumulating masks. They seem too specific, somehow intrusive to give as Christmas or birthday gifts — as I’ve done with scarves, shawls, handmade books, etc. It has been suggested that I sell them. However, having sold — & then stopped selling — one-of-a-kind shawls whose making had always felt to me more like bestowing hugs than manufacturing articles of clothing — I have no idea how I would comfortably go about organizing that. Anyway, the masks feel more like prayers than commodities & I do have the luxury/privilege of being able to just let them go.
So, I’ve put pictures of several of my older pieces here. I’m hoping that some of you may find that one of them calls to you. If so, please contact me with your address at firstname.lastname@example.org . They are so eager to meet new people & places!
I am hearing a song of the forest so I have sent you an email Margery in the hopes of being able to give a home to your Forest Sings Herself into Being. A most generous offer and a spirit filled way to move into 2022. Thank you.
Thank you, Marti. She is singing for joy & so am I!
margery….the first. is to me, the Forest Keeper…Goat Soul
Thank you, Grace. Your hill with its oaks & goats is a perfect home for this one!
i have so much i want/need to say about this….
there has been NO internet all day after i saw and responded this morning…i couldn’t
even come back to look more….hopefully later tonight or tomorrow there will
be some connection…..
this is really completely unbelievable that this has happened….more as soon
as Inet lets me
Such Love to you and Trickster
so, am trying yet again….
had been thinking, Thinking about the quote of Elizabeth Gilbert in that conversation she was having with Pico Iyer
“I feel very strongly that there’s an intelligence in the universe that wants to communicate with us and I think that it tries to find us in however we are most…that we can most find it”
that last part…a little awkward…it was a live conversation…but it was the part that struck home so strongly. I too believe this and loved how she put the awkward thought…. that we can most find it…
for each of us it would be different
and i’d been thinking so much about this when you posted this incredibly BeautyFULL
post….and when i saw Old Oak….my heart raced…..a Direct Communication…through
you, through this amazingly perfect Being who already IS this forest, this Goat Spirit, as if you had made it exactly FOR this Hill…..THIS HILL…..
so much to come when Old Oak arrives…
you cannot know how much gratitude for this….
Your gift to others is just so wonderful .. I have no doubt they will be treasured in their new forever homes. Kindness matters!!!
After reaching out I couldn’t believe that Ember Dreaming Flame was still available. Thank you Grace and Marti for sharing here about the possibility of giving a new home to one of Margery’s amazing pieces. Pinch me .. I still can’t believe it. Thank you Margery!