Art and an Indigenous Religion

The Freer Gallery of Art on the national mall  in D.C. houses one of the most outstanding collections of Asian art in the U.S.  It was a highlight of my trip to that area this fall.

Seeing art from the Shinto era was really special. The prevailing religious practice, or more like world view, prior to the arrival of Buddhism in the 6th century, was Shinto. It lacked intellectually complex doctrines, formality, and organization. But, there were many groups of people devoted to the spirits (Kami) of nature that were found everywhere, in plants, animals, mountains, seas, and all natural phenomena. The realms of earth and the supernatural world were so closely integrated that they were seen as part of the same.

Shinto sees divinity in everything, and practicing it is designed to bring us into communion with the Divine.

The image posted above is a Shinto shrine gate, or Torii, marking the shrine entrance. These gates mark the division between the spiritual world and the physical world. The shrines / gates were always located outside.

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Posted by Brigid in Inspiration, International Influences

Magnolia and Grape Vine Tendrils

Wherever we go in life, we bring with us stories running through our minds and hearts. We might have brief moments of pure experience in the moment,  but those are rare.

When I’m looking at plant material, there’s always something I love about it or have some idea about. I never go to the presses and say “let me find something that looks like…” It’s also really ineffective to try and change the shape of something. Looking at these grapevine tendrils I’m aware of how delicate and lovely they are. I don’t do anything to make them that way. How you see them is exactly how they occured in nature.

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Posted by Brigid in Native Plants

Papaya

Papaya. It’s native to the Americas Papaya Leaf as Green Artand is one of the healthiest foods you can eat.

When I visited Negril (Jamaica) a few years ago, I noticed the gorgeous leaves everywhere. I brought a plant press with me and did preserve some, but there are heavy restrictions about transporting plant material internationally.

The stunning image of the leaf stayed with me.

While visiting a friend one day I was taken aback when I saw a Papaya tree growing inside his house! He let me collect a few gorgeous leaves. This is one. Totally legal.

 

Posted by Brigid in International Influences, Native Plants

Visiting the Studio

Visiting the studio will give  you a feel for how things are created, and you’ll be able to see pieces that won’t ever be at a gallery.

Along with a bunch of finished pieces, you’ll see presses drying plant material, work in process, and my own collection of preserved plants – also known as an herbarium.

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Posted by Brigid in Green Art
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