Saturday, August 9, 2014

Josephine's mandalas: #21 of 21


Air Baloons
Spinning tops
Dyed Eggs


(click on image for additional details)

Thanks to all who have followed along with this series, especially robin andrea.

I am grateful that my mother didn't destroy this series of mandalas that would have upset my father if had he been aware of them.  I am grateful to have been able to share these mandalas on my blog.

My mother's earliest creative efforts involved writing.  From childhood, she dreamed of being a writer.  If I remember correctly, in the last years of my mother's life her creative energy went into Norwegian pattern knitting.  The only writing she did in her last years, that I know of, was writing letters.

In 1966, at age 50, she had finished a poem she had begun at age 48. The original version of the poem ended with these lines:

... "What means Gethsemane?"
The Inspiration fled.  Was God its source?
So be it.
Then rich I am having felt His force.

In the final version:

... "What means Gethsemane?"
The answers rise and fall like waves.  I wait.
Then blindly stumble on towards heaven's gate.

In the years between 1966 and 1989, having lost the Inspiration, she redirected her abundant energy to creations that didn't involve words. It is occurring to me this morning that with the mandalas, she was combining words and images -- not poetry exactly but something like it. Traditional mandalas don't have words in them.  There were still words that needed to come through her, but they presented themselves to her in this process.

Who knows why she started making mandalas sometime in 1989 and stopped making them in July of 1991 and went back to working with color and pattern without words.  Who knows what turned her away from Christianity and moved her toward Judaism?  I know that she found joy and solace and meaning in her last years by celebrating Jewish holy days in secret.

This pillow was one of her many handmade gifts to me during her steady output of Norwegian pattern knitting in her last years:

My mother continued to ask questions.  I know that for sure.  She was an artist and spiritual seeker.  She lives on for me in the words she wrote and the things she made with her hands.


Sabine said...

It has been a really moving journey, looking at these mandalas. Thank you.
I love your last sentence, how wonderful it must feel to have her live on for you and to be able to hold and feel the things she made.

Anonymous said...

I have loved seeing your mother's mandalas. Her creativity, her dreams, her questions have all been beautiful and touching. She was a seeker, and her art is a lovely expression of her rich inner life. I'm glad you did this series.

am said...

Thank you, robin andrea and Sabine, for being with me while I looked at my mother's mandalas. Your comments have given me a much needed perspective.