Bead Journal Project

Sunday, July 10, 2011


I don't routinely look for or incorporate symbolism into my work.  It is more often about exploration of color and/or texture.  Since I believe that each piece of art has a spirit and knows what it wants to be, sometimes symbolism makes itself know as the piece develops.

The doll that I have included in this blog was symbolic from its inception.  This is my fifth beaded doll.  I completed it last fall.  I had originally made a similar doll with a very bulky body.  While I was working on another doll for a friend I realized how much I liked the more slender profile that she had chosen for her doll.  At the time I was working on losing weight and it seemed appropriate to make a more slender doll.  As I worked on this doll in various settings and with various friends and students I was hesitant to discuss the symbolism with others.  I find symbolism a difficult topic to discuss.  It can sound hokey and sometimes pretentious to others.  It is not in the eye of the beholder but in the heart.

Yellow is the color of  joy for me.  The doll has her arms raised and her body slightly tilted so it looks like she is dancing for joy.  The spiral is an ancient symbol which has many meanings.  The ones that are most relevant to me are the cycle of life and the expanding of the consciousness.  I placed the spirals over the heart chakra and the sacral chakra.  There are all kinds of books and sites which identify the symbolism of the chakras.  Generally the heart chakra is symbolic of emotions, compassion, tenderness, unconditional love, equilibrium, rejection and well-being.  I was thinking of equilibrium and well-being as I worked on this spiral.   The sacral chakra can  be symbolic of relationships, basic emotional needs, and pleasure.  It can also govern creativity,  joy, and enthusiasm.  Since this was a doll about Joy, this seemed very appropriate.  These are all things which I wanted for myself as I was facing the future.

Joy, Heart Chakra
 I wonder if art also has hidden or unintentional symbolism that reveals itself later.  Somebody who saw the doll said they would like one for her sister because she had a mastectomy on her right side.  The spiral over the heart chakra looked like a breast to her.  This spiral is definitely on the left instead of in the middle of the body.  No matter how many times I took it out and started over again, this is where the spiral ended up.  Shortly after I finished the doll I was diagnosed with cancer in my right breast and ended up with a mastectomy. 

Joy, Sacral Chakra
Can art be prophetic?  Has this ever happened to you that your art revealed more than you intended?

No comments:

Post a Comment