I am fascinated by the rituals of our daily lives – tasks of loving maintenance that we repeatedly perform, knowing there is no end to them because they will have to be done again and again. And so in the performance of them they become a meditation, a devotion, an affirmation of thankfulness. They might seem mundane and at times we might tire of the “doing” but the larger tapestry they weave is one of productivity and dedication. Baking the bread, preparing the food, stringing beads, sweeping the porch, rocking the baby, doing the dishes – those repetitive chores common to all people. I would also broaden the definition of Rituals to include the telling of memorable family stories to our children and the keeping of deep friendships, year after year. Carrying the family torch, so to speak, passing Life Wisdom from generation to generation; a mantra for humanity. It is all ritual to me, lovingly offered up to those we care about most, century after century.
My Ritual paper assemblages begin with handmade scrolls of various exotic papers placed in a design and then heavily embellished with meaningful items that indicate ethnicities, tribes and families – after all, we all belong to a tribe of one kind or another. Even you and me. In these art pieces you will often find small colorful beads constructed by the women of Uganda using recycled paper, carefully cut into elongated triangles, then rolled, glued, lacquered and dried in the sun. (Go to www.BeadforLife.org for more information.) The distinctive chunky black beads with white dots & designs are made by the women of Kenya from sections of found Water Buffalo bone and horn, an animal that is not endangered in Africa. Feathers, shells, ribbons, tassels, leather and dried pine needles and other found objects are often used.
The final product is not intended to be religous but rather a spiritual creation that speaks to people everywhere of our collective calling to perform life’s Rituals.