Friday, April 27, 2012

Wind, Texture & Dream Bowls



As I write, the wind is shaking the house and creating harmonics as it whistles 
through the forest. It feels much more like mid-February than a few days from
May. Snow flurries and below freezing temperatures are predicted for tonight. 
Already this evening, Pasha has captured two young mice. One was put outside 
to no doubt make her way back in, the other was dinner. (Pasha's dinner, in case
you wondered) Pondering what I wanted to share with you this evening, 
I came across the tree photo above and was reminded of the painting below. Its from
a series of forest paintings that live in my Etsy shop - or have been living there - 
someday I hope they'll go live somewhere else! I'm so eager to revisit this series 
when I carve out some painting time in the future. At present I am continung to work 
on the new web site, promotional materials, and dream on what classes and retreats 
to offer this summer. Its getting down to the wire, but I'm almost there, phew!

"Green Light", V.Claff, watercolor, 2011

With so much of my time focussed on the screen these days, I find I'm craving 
texture. I'm bursting to create with something other than the computer, though 
I've learned a bit more of InDesign, which is very helpful. I can now do what I
need to create the brochures for the new studio program, and yesterday I made 
an advertisement for a local paper. As much as all this is exciting and I love the 
results, I NEED a different sort of sensual experience when creating. I need the
fibers of paper, the liquid glide of paint or ink on a surface, the pull of a pen 
scratching paper. So it seems this craving has led me to to photograph things 
that share a strong textural quality. 










A while back, I was inspired to photograph my collection of leaves 
while still inside a jar - almost watery at times. 



Even further back in time - years ago - I made a Dream Bowl from a gourd
using a wood burning tool, beads and feathers. I was offering a retreat and ritual 
to make Dream Bowls and use them in ritual to speak ones dreams and later to work 
with as focusing tools for intention work. I hadn't made a gourd bowl before, so 
I thought I'd better if I was going to be teaching how to! My bowl is very simple, 
with a drawing of a bear and a winged being. The ritual process was quite 
powerful for people, so I filed it away to bring out again in the future, and I 
continued to use my own bowl now and again to hold dreams, intentions and 
affirmations. 




Last weekend I offered the Dream Bowl ritual again, this time to the group of 
young women I've been working with. Once again it was a very powerful 
process - harder than you might think to invite women to claim their dreams 
and set intentions to manifest them.

       

It was a warm, beautiful day, and we sat outside to sand and cut the gourds to 
ready them for decorating. All three of these gourds were sent to me last year 
from Grace over at Windthread who can grow nice, strong gourds in the warmer 
climate - thanks again, Grace! I wish I had gotten more photos of the finished 
bowls, they were really nice. One had a top with a dreamcatcher woven into it. 
You'll just have to imagine.....




58 comments:

  1. oh yes, being on the computer a lot is a hard thing to do.

    the texture, colors and details in your photographs are lovely to see.

    and your time with these ladies has to be a treasure they will care on within themselves, always.

    stay warm!

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    1. Thanks, Tammie - thank goodness for the wood stove!!

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  2. V~ ... my whole self feels like a dream bowl
    reading this. it is an unbelievably perfect
    ending to a completely perfect day.
    THANK YOU so much for What you Are....
    and thank these young women for being what
    they dream to be...
    love.....

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    1. Oh, well, a whole self as a dream bowl, how cool is that!

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  3. I'm glad you're almost done with your computer work so you can return to working with the things you love most. Sending wishes to you that Spring will come settle in soon for you to enjoy your lush forest and walks with Pasha.
    I wish I would have found some one like you all those years ago as a young woman trying to figure out life... maybe one of these days I'll figure it out yet :)

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    1. I know what you mean about finding someone when we were young... I wish I had found someone, too! Maybe that's why I am doing what I do.

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  4. I do so hope you get your balance back soon, computers are amazing aids but have a nasty habit of thieving time.

    I believe human beings have an innate need to use their hands and feel what they are creating. We seem to be losing this through the auspices of modern education. I have seen my class of 10-11 year olds visibly relax, quieten and become centred on the occasions I can find to sit them around a table with some clay, some paint or paper and glue. Taking them to the allottment and letting them weed the plots has the same effect.

    Your group look as though the same effect has taken over them. I do wish I could fly over the Atlantic and join you.

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    1. Time thieves, yes :(

      Making and digging in the dirt do the same things for me... guess that's why I'm an artist and an obsessed gardener! And it'd be lovely to have you here, too bad its such a long and expensive journey!

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  5. Oh the website is looking beautiful - hadn't visited it before. Thank you for your posts - always feed. Dream bowls, now there's a notion.

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    1. Thanks for the feedback on the web site - I'm not SEEING it anymore cause I've been looking at it so much, I do hope its translating my vision effectively!

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  6. Beautiful pictures and such a lovely way with words, the rock behind the stacked stones looks just like my dogs head if it were shaggy!

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    1. I see the dog head! Its just from that angle, from another, it actually looks like a cat crouched down!

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  7. I like the idea of dream bowls and making them outside amongst the trees .... infusing them with forest magic. Great to see your website nearly completed. It's looking good!

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    1. Definitely make yourself a dream bowl... very magical things when infused with forest magic and dreaming wishes.

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  8. i relate to sitting at the screen and wishing to touch things - periods like that are necessary, but difficult... the images of the tree bark, the mosses, the bowl of leaves - so beautiful... photoediting can be fun (and addicting!)...
    what i love so much about your dream bowl class is how intently everyone is working - powerful indeed...

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    1. Oh yes, they were QUITE intent... I had to stop them before they were done making the bowls so we had time to do the ritual piece. They were great!!

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  9. I love your trees and leaves photographs. I want to go outside now and feel bark, and moss and lichens (accept it is 9.15pm, dark, cold and raining... so I will have to wait!)
    Your gourd bowl is amazing. What a beautiful item to carve... Dream Bowl Ritual.... I like the sound of that very much.
    Much love to you.

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    1. Hi Trish, I hope the rains stopped long enough for you to got out and feel some moss and bark! The Dream Bowl Ritual is a great thing, not for the faint of heart, but very worth it.. intense stuff comes up when all of a sudden we are invited to claim what we want while being witnessed, its really something.

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  10. VA - I just love the intent look on the faces of the young women - each putting her spirit into her bowl that will become a sacred place for special bits and dreams over the years to come. You are opening your place in such a powerful way. Go well. B

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    1. Thanks Barry - It seems to be flowing along in the studio, now I need to stir my Dream Bowl to fill my classes for summer, I'm a bit behind!

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  11. valerianna - i feel as if i've been on a long walk after reading your words which dance inside and outside of you and then also the photographs which are beautiful and sensitive and each has it's own story. the dream bowls . . . mmmmmmmmm! steven

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    1. Hi Steven - thanks. Love your reaction to the dream bowls!

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  12. Low light angles change things so much. I love Pasha sitting there. I've done some family tree hunting in graveyards, and oblique light makes the stones legible.


    I like the idea of Dream Bowls. Do they have to be made from a gourd?

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    1. You could make them out of anything, ceramic ones would be wonderful! I've always used gourds, but any vessel will work. The powerful thing is making ones own as its part of the dreaming - and making it with intention. Sometimes folks have borught a bowl or a basket for a ritual as well, decorating it to make it more their own.

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  13. What a wonderful place for like minded souls to gather:)

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  14. Photos, paintings, bowl dreaming....all so glorious...such a joy to spend a little bit of time with you.

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  15. stunning photos Valerianna...
    actually loved your leaves in glass... the light and view made them more precious in a way...i uses singled them out to view them in their curled and dramatic singular form!

    There's a sense of movement... things happening and anticipation of some wonderful times ahead!

    Batty old nature still springs on a cold fling in the midst of earth heating up... the image of wind howling harmonics was wonderful!

    PLeased to have started Monday morning with a visit to your woods...
    go well and I'll be back!
    S

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    1. Thinking about the fact that you are in your Monday now, and I am sitting in Sunday just after dinner.... cold coming tonight again. I, too, have played with those leaf photos - cropping and playing with different views - I took a lot and am still having fun looking at them. So many possibilities in life and with images!

      Maybe I am just more and more sound sensitive, but I hear those harmonics more and more when the wind is strong - its really something!!

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  16. oh my... your leaves in glass are stunning... always a breath of fresh air to come here and visit and yes, mother nature is def confused...

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    1. I wonder, Caterina, is she confused or just DONE with us!

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  17. The work you do... The bowl, your art, the mysterious woods you live in, the spiritual-ness, the room with the woodburning stove...and Pasha the cat. What an amazing journey i just went on!

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    1. Hi prariegirl - thanks! Glad you enjoyed your journey!!

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  18. Replies
    1. Yes, me too, a bit obsessed, really!

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  19. V - I hope it warms, warms up for you and Pasha. Speaking of, your jar collections glow of warmth and wonder - even in the midst of their watery cool! ;)

    And beautiful gourds!!

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    1. I wish I had gotten photos of the finished gourds... I may still!

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  20. what a lovely vision, these young women working away making bowls of intention...and the words aobut needing the fiber of paper-yes!

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    1. Yes, texture - I've been on the computer ALL DAY and am craving FIBERS and TEXTURES!

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  21. Happy Beltane, Valerianna! Thank you for putting words to this unarticulated dissatisfaction within myself ("I NEED a different sort of sensual experience when creating.") Technology is feeling more like a barrier between me and real life, ie, the sensuous world. I don't feel the same connection to photographs I take, for example, as I do to the simplest things I've made with my hands....

    That said, I find your photos and text together evocative and calming. I love the peaceful, measured pace of how they unfold here in silence, as you present your work and life. Always a lot to linger over and respond to, though the quality of the light seems to be what I'm responding to most...besides Pasha, that is. :)

    Carmine

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    1. Hi Carmine - Happy Beltane to you, too! It slipped by uncelebrated except in the back of my mind because of the last two days of school and grading and various other life-things. I will celebrate this weekend! Thanks for the appreciation of my work and blog - and, Pasha, of course... !

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  22. I'm continuously moved by the images of all aspects of your Art/Life.
    Seeing the young women working on their ritual gourds in your sacred environment is a gorgeous addition...
    like Cat I love the lacy leaves in the jar...there's something about that capture that tugs at my heart.

    I thought of you last week as I drove through the spring green of the mountains of West Virginia the highway signs telling me that I would soon reach Ravenwood.

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    1. Oh yes, I've heard of that Ravenwood place! I guess I shouldn't be surprised, but when this place named itself, I hadn't really heard of that name before. Well, of course since then I've been hearing it more often.

      I'm touched that my Art/Livfe moves you.... that warmed my heart this morning!

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  23. your paintings often remind me of looking down into a bowl.

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  24. You are so right about the need we have for texture. The bowl is beautiful but I like its purpose even more.

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    1. Hi Heather - yes, the dream bowl is a wonderful tool!

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  25. Your bowl is quite wonderful and the ritual sounds wonderful and looks like a lot of fun......Also really love all your photos and the artwork of the forest is quite powerful.....

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    1. I love the lines of trunks and branches and the green-glow of the forest. Thanks for the feedback!

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  26. What lovely forest magic you are sharing and fostering there! Kudos for all the progress with the studio / class / retreat plan. Between that and your gorgeous art and photos, I am reminded of the saying "Touch magic and pass it on..."

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    1. Hi Donna- I love, that... "Touch magic and pass it on...." A bit like pay it forward... and also maybe witchy tag!

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  27. Your writing is so musical and your photography captures such exquisite texture and color. What a fascinating walk through nature I've been on while strolling through your blog. Your newest follower, Connie :) If you have a minute, please accept my warm invitation to visit and hopefully to follow me, too. I'm just a wife, mother and grandmother traveling through life one blessed day after another, enjoying each rich moment.

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    1. Hi Connie- just spent some time over at your blog... that fall was amazing, I'll touch back in now and again!

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  28. Beautiful, Valerianna.
    (And the image of "witchy tag" brought a huge grin to my face!)

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    1. HA! Yeah, "withcy tag", gotta remember that one!

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I love reading your comments and sometimes I'm good at responding right away, sometimes not! Glad you had a wander here, I hope you found the mossy path soft on your feet and heard the call of the Raven.