Yogi tea quotes range from the incomprehensible to the obvious to the beautiful and thought-provoking. Here’s an example of the latter:
At first glance, I didn’t get this at all. I mean, how can words be a fragrance? Also, there is the association between the word and the heart. Just as written language is considered an abstraction of spoken language and thereby one step removed from our language ability, so words in general tend to be seen as an abstraction of our emotions, one step removed from how we really feel. I mean – we’ve all experienced it, that feeling of being unable to put into words what is in our hearts just when it counts the most.
What this quote says to me, though, is that words are all we have. Our actions may speak for themselves sometimes, and sometimes we put our whole heart into our visual art, but words are our main tool for communicating with the people we share this world with.
The fragrance of the rose doesn’t tell you everything there is to know about the rose, but it does tell you it’s a beautiful thing, and thus it may be with our words and our heart, if we want it to.
Today’s Creativity Bootcamp lesson asks us to do what I understand as “free drawing”, in order to let go of our inhibitions.
I found this lesson really, really difficult for some reason, and wasn’t really able to achieve any kind of flow in my work. I resorted to geometric figures – horisontal and diagonal lines, circles, squares… and I got to thinking, I’ve been exploring geometric figures a bit in my photography already, and enjoyed it – why not take this fascination for forms and shapes and develop it further?
Seeing as I had been wearing my traditional dress in celebration of Norway’s Constitution Day today, one obvious subject was one of the brooches for my dress:
I converted it to black and white in order to focus even more on the many different circle shapes in the image, and I think it works quite well in its final version.
Isn’t it fascinating how inspiration works, the way a drawing exercise can inspire a photograph?
I have never expected to be any good at anything relating to drawing or painting. I enjoyed it as a kid but never had any formal training, and once I grew up enough that drawing and painting was “childish”, I never really missed it or went back to it, perhaps except for frequent droodling in my notebooks as a student and academic. I guess that is why I have enjoyed getting my old watercolours out for Creative Boot Camp. Since no one, myself included, expects me to be good at it, I don’t have that nasty mental voice telling me that what I do isn’t good enough.
When asked to jump right in and get some art on the page, in order to keep away that other mental voice that says you can’t do this, it is no coincidence that the first thing that occured to me to paint was letters. I have always been a verbal person more than anything. Much more so than a visual person. My parents tell stories of how I was far more interested in the letters than the pictures in my books as soon as I became aware of the letters themselves and their connection with what my parents were reading to me. Learning to read and write, I was fascinated by the shapes of letters and the relationship between them – the similarities between the sounds and shapes of p and b for instance, and the fact that all the letters combine on the page to make up an infinte amount of different utterances. –This focus on forms and shapes – including the circle – is something I want to develop more in my photography in general.
When I began to focus seriously on photography, my interest in letters planted an urge to translate language into something visually interesting to look at. Language itself is in essence an intagible entity; only by using letters to abstract it onto the page are we able to “see” it. My project Shooting Language is where I stumble along the path of discovering what language looks like.
There is a political side to this idea of shooting language, quite apart from the my artistic fascination with letters. Like many smaller countries in the world, Norway cannot do without English any longer. This fact is displayed not only in the fact that quite a few Norwegians achieve fluency in English and use it frequently in their work, but in the linguistic landscapes of the country. There is advertising in English, English film titles displayed on cinema facades, English books on the bookstore shelves, and so on and so forth. Norwegian is not, at this point, at risk of being replaced by English. That being said, it will serve us well if we are aware of it when English starts to become more dominant in certain aspects of Norwegian life. I certainly agree that happiness is a way of life, but I would by far prefer to live a happy life in Norway in Norwegian.
There is a wealth of symbolic meaning attached to the circle. Enclosing and nurturing. Femininity. The world we travel. Eternity. Ouroboros, the serpent biting its own tail, found in a number of different cultures and time periods. In Norse mythology, the World Serpent Jörmundgandr lies in the sea surrounding the world and bites his own tail. The world as we know it ends when he lets go.
Inspired by Mortal Muses and Tracey Clark’s Picture classes, I’ve been looking through my lens for beauty in a room where I enjoy spending a lot of time, namely the kitchen. What I’ve found, more than anything else, are circles. That seems altogether fitting, in the room where I spend time creating sustenance for my family and myself.
Enjoying the result of last Sunday’s baking session – cookies with chocolate and cranberries:
Some of our favourite meals include champignon:
I bake a lot of cupcakes and muffins:
And finally, tea is absolutely essential: