This show is inspired by a benediction delivered at the end of Sunday services by the Reverend Jon Luopa, formerly of the Unitarian Society of Hartford, my faith community.
If you see God, may God be with you.
If you embrace life, may life return your affection.
If you seek a path, may a way be found, and the courage to take it, step by step.
This benediction won my heart because of its affirmation that, at times when the best a person can do is look for a way out of a challenging situation, much less set a goal, then, may that person find a path. If God has stepped behind a cloud, clarity is lacking, and all a person can do is grope for a way, even then, may the way be found...and especially, the courage to take it.
This became my mantra, conscious and unconscious, in all the years I heard it spoken in my faith community, and beyond. And it made me think how our eye loves to travel visual pathways:
Why do our eyes like to follow visual paths like this? You can tell me what you think, but I think it’s because those paths give our eyes, and thus our minds and spirits, the illusion of getting away, of going on. And that seems to offer a sense of relief, if not of hope.
I maintain that there’s even something appealing in the natural kind of pathway created by the effect of tide on sand:
Besides offering an appealing visual image, there’s another benefit, for me, to thinking about pathways. The act of using fiber, paint and imagination to create an art quilt is itself a pathway out of a less-than-ideal situation: the long Connecticut winter. When I’m using a photo of a beloved pathway, especially one created by the low tide on Cape Cod Bay, I transcend winter. Snow may be deep, but here, inside inside me, the sun is warm and the sand ripples are soft under my feet. I’m seeking a path, and this is one that works.
Come see my work, and hear other thoughts on pathways, at an artist’s talk on Thursday, November 12, 2015, at 7 pm at the Clare Gallery, Franciscan Center for Urban Ministry, 295 Church St., Hartford, CT 06105. Admission is free, there is free parking right across the street, and refreshments will be offered.
Bonus: On Saturday, November 14, from 10 am to 11:30 am, the Clare Gallery will be hosting a path-making workshop, facilitated by my good friend Robin McCahill, in which participants will use soft wool, soft fleece, and special barbed needles to create a 12 x 12 finger labyrinth: an effective meditation tool, not only in the using, but in the making, as your finger follows the soft path you’ve created. No experience necessary! There will be a modest materials fee.