I am trying to understand why making is so transformative. I am sitting in my studio, cutting and laying tiles, placing them, moving them a millimetre this way and that until my eye is satisfied. I am making colour choices and pondering the reflective qualities of material. Materials given to me by the Earth and shaped into squares by human cleverness and by machines so that I may have the privelage to be a mosaic artist.
I step back from my work, look from a distance, admire the image that is emerging, that is taking on its own life, sometimes (often) feeling disatissfied and trying again with a new colour or flow of tiles. I complete a piece. I stroke it, like stroking a child, in awe that it exists when once it didn’t – that I have bought this ‘something’ into being. Something that is a work of my hands but also of my heart.
I ponder all these thoughts while I work alone in my studio. As I work, I listen to some podcasts by John O’Donohue and am struck by his words “When we are making, we are on holy ground”. Yes, this place where I make is sacred. I remember the title of a book by Elizabeth O’Connor “Eighth Day of Creation” and consider that I am a partner with the Creator, continuing the work of creating, of filling the world with beauty, wonder, whimsy, depth and reflections of the vast inner and outer worlds we experience.
But still I grapple, trying to understand the power of making, of creating anything – be it using words, sounds, tiles, paper, colour, food, plants, yarn, fabric, your body or voice…
Then, like an email sent by One who sees my thoughts, these two quotes arrive in my inbox this week.
He who works with his hands is a laborer. He who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman. He who works with his hands and his head and his heart is an artist. St Francis of Assisi
Our work is more than work. It is enchantment. A divine act of creation and re-creation, which is also recreation. It is compassion on the loose.
I am still pondering….