“Abraham’s Children: A Time for Peace”

"Abraham's Children: A Time for Peace" 2002

“Abraham’s Children” was my response to 911. 

It took me a few months to compost that event, for this piece to form itself.  I completed it in February 2002 with the words that came to me inscribed on its back.

 “Abraham’s Chldren” is my plea for peace.  To all the descendants of Abraham: Jewish, Christian, Muslim, we are family.  We have fought as only family can fight.  It is time to work as hard at acceptance and peace.  All the effort, vigilance and commitment we have put into anger and vengeance will create a miraculous and enduring peace for our family.  It is time.

Since then, I have sought the home for “Abraham’s Children.”  Always I have known it needed to belong to people who were doing the work of Tikkun Olam (healing the world) on this level of faith, humanity, and love for this Gaian Earth we share. 

In March 2011, “Abraham’s Children” found its home…with Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi and Eve Ilsen, whose hearts and lives have long been committed to this healing. 

I was honored and blessed to give “Abraham’s Children” to Reb Zalman and Eve when they were in Ashland for a Shabbaton at Havurah Shir Hadash, my own Shul.  I was doubly honored to present this gift on behalf of our entire Havurah Shir Hadash community www.havurahshirhadash.org and in the merit of our own amazing and beloved Rabbi David Zaslow. 

This gifting was a deep blessing to me…a small miracle I cannot define or adequately articulate. I am grateful.

 The Dedication to Reb Zalman and Eve inscribed on the quilt:  

“Abraham’s Children” was presented to Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi & Eve Ilsen, March 2011, in gratitude and honor for your presence among us, your work in the world, within Judaism and Jewish Renewal, for the uplifting of all faith traditions in unity and loving stewardship of this Gaia-Earth, who births, houses and nourishes us all.  Presented by Stephanie K. Nead, on behalf of Havurah Shir Hadash of Ashland, Oregon and in the merit of our beloved Rabbi David Zaslow. 

Thank you for who you are and all you have gifted us.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Wooded Mountain

I love to be in the mountains, in nature where all sound belongs to the Earth and her creatures…from the wind shooshing through the pines high above to the nestlings of the moles and bugs below.  In between are the streams, pouring down the mountain’s flank, the smell of loamy soil and dry lichen rising under the heat of the sun’s kiss, my own breathing.  My soul opens up and drinks nourishment through my body.  It is a blessing. 

Creating these pieces in my studio takes me back to this communion in nature.  So each piece is infused with that loving nourishment and peace.  It’s a joy to create them.  Pay Pal & Checks.

 

"Wooded Mountain" roughly 18" x 7" $60

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

On a Dark and Stormy Night

As it snowed outside, I felt so warm and cozy inside.  I love being in my studio, marinating in creative juices. 

Standing at my window for a moment to watch the snowfall, I noticed blossoms on the tree under the snow.  Then…my reflection and that of the warm room glowed trancelike to my attention.  I captured this image. 

My studio’s warmth on a dark and stormy night…

Creativity inside and out...nature: the ultimate inspiration...

What the creation process looks like…

This is a slide show of “Antelope Canyon‘s” “birth” process.   I hope you enjoy this glimpse of the stages and layers to creating a piece such as this.  Believe me, this is the short form!            Stephanie

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Art & Craft: The Difference

What is the difference between art and craft?  As I am about to create a “Holiday Sales Gallery” that will be almost entirely craft, this seemed a good time to write my thoughts on the subject.

This can be a volatile topic in the art and craft world (or worlds, as the case may be.)  There is much dissension. 

I do think that art and craft are different.  I also think there is crossover.  There are art pieces that contain an equal, or almost equal portion, of craft (see the quilts of Gees Bend.)   There are craft peices, many, that contain an artisitic esthetic and/or originality to them.  Reducing anything to a label seems to me a mistake, especially as there is much beauty in both.

In general, we have an understanding that craft applies to those objects that also serve a useful purpose, generally in the home. 

For me the distinction between art and craft has more to do with the originality brought to the creation, the idea/vision, the techniques and how they are applied, whether the final piece makes you, on some level, gasp.  If it does, it is art, whether it is an earthenware bowl, a quilt, or an oil painting. 

Artists and craftspeople often see the art of craft and craft of art somewhat differently than nonparticipants.  Because we are “in the conversation,” we are generally more aware of what is being produced, and so of what is original, unique…what we consider art.

A bystander might experience art in a piece that is little more than a semi-original copy of another’s style.  To another artist or craftperson, this would not signify as art.  But if it is the first time you have seen it, then to you it might be.  I think both perceptions are valid. 

To take away someone’s awe at what is new to her, is mean, and it certainly doesn’t encourage her to trust her response to beauty as she perceives it.  Such response is essential to art making and art loving.  At the same time, it is possible to share someone’s enthusiasm while sharing knowledge of the broader context for this art.

As easy examples of art and craft from my perspective, below is a slide show of three pieces I have created: art and craft.  Creating something from one’s own vision in a unique and original way, this to me makes art.  “Antelope Canyon” and “Bridges to Nowhere” are art.  “Batik Queen” shares an artisitic sense of color, but is essentially craft.     

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

“Today the Tao is Dancing”

"Today the Tao is Dancing"

Just as so many ancient spiritual traditions are being renewed today as the world’s heart begins to open again, so this piece reflects an ancient tradition dancing in the light of new energy.

The Tao’s way is very ancient, serene, and patient.  The new world moves more quickly, yet when that movement emerges from a still, silent, deep place it is beautiful dance…in whatever form. 

Thus, the Tao dances.

I accept Pay Pal and personal checks. 

As always, I am available for commissioned work.  Please contact me at sknp4710@aol.com or call 541-292-9390.

In Studio: “Today the Tao is Dancing” in progress

My most recent piece, “Lightening Storm” sold quickly.  What a gift!  So, while in the midst of a move, my creative juices are given good reason to take a time out from boxing books and crating cartons to work on a new piece.

All my pieces create themselves in the sense that I start with an idea that beckons me, like chasing the end of a rainbow.  Once I begin, the piece “talks” to me, takes its own turns, sometimes sets off in directions (quite stubbornly I might add) that I had not intended, nor am I prepared for.  It is not altogether uncommon for me to have an idea, start to work, only to set it down…because, while I can feel that the piece knows where it wants to go, I am not able to “download” how to get there. 

“Today the Tao is Dancing” is one such piece.  I am excited to be working on it again.  I pulled it out in the midst of moving, held it up for the umpteenth time…and suddenly knew how to take it where it wants to go.  I love that feeling!!!

So I now return to my studio, perchance to finish it today.  This time I will get a high quality photo to share with you very soon.  Then hang it at the gallery:  Ashland Art Works Gallery, Ashland, OR, 291 Oak Street.

May we all feel the love of creative life flowing through us, relaxing our worries and filling us with soul nourishment…whatever form your creativity takes, may you relish it!

Blessings, Stephanie

And a nature photo to share until my next piece is here.

"Snowstorm" Big fat, fluffy, dry flakes. A cool counterpoint to our Dog Days of August!