Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Collaborating With Nature

by Susan Weinberg

Enter Exhibit
Our show is up in its virtual form! You can access it here for now. Today we gathered to hear a few more artists share about their work and to explore how to keep this effort alive.

Diane, a self-proclaimed frugalarian, shared her often whimsical poetry (p42) with us on a variety of themes all dealing with waste. They ranged from La Cucaracha to her "time-capsule home" with its stories to tell. She also includes a one day waste footprint where she documents every non-frugal gesture she takes. It made me cringe as I contemplated my own.

Robyn, our fearless leader, has moved into new territory with her collaborative work with nature, using maple copters and the sun to create Awakened by Dragonflies (p10). She shared a compelling story of dragonflies swarming around her home on the very night fires lit the city with the anger of our people.  Did nature sense something was amiss?

While accustomed to incorporating text in her work, this time she used the language of nature captured in the flutter of those dragonfly wings. Using pre-coated fabric she laid maple copters out, moving them periodically in the strong sun to get the sense of layering.  I had just taken a photo of a dragonfly in my garden the day before. When I set it side by side with Robyn's artwork, I could see how well one form of nature echoed another.

Artwork by Robyn Awend
Photo by Susan Weinberg 2020

As our days can feel rather timeless in our current state of retreat to our homes, Meryll Page gave us a framework to consider  how Jewish text looks at time. In the morning prayers there is this line:
 "In Your goodness, day after day You renew Creation."  Each day is a new day, a day of renewal. Similarly the word for month in Hebrew is Chodesh which also means renewal. If there is any constant it is that we create our world anew each day. She reminded us that after each creation, God said that it was good. Creativity in itself is neutral and it is our responsibility to create for good.

Robyn closed our session with a brief, but powerful video, entitled Humility, The Power of the Earth which addresses having humility in order to partner with the earth and with others.

Our lab participants frequently share their reading on relevant topics. Here are a few of their suggestions:

Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer -explores how the awakening of ecological consciousness requires the acknowledgment and celebration of our reciprocal relationship with the rest of the living world.

Our Wild Calling by Richard Louv -redefines the future of human-animal coexistence