Art Day on the Labyrinth
Both Vanessa and I are visual artists by training and vocation. However, we no longer exhibit our work and what we make is often more about our personal journeys than it is about making pretty pictures for the living room. As part of our ongoing research and the refinement of our practice, we thought we would spend a day walking our labyrinth and making art. We invited a couple of other artists and a dancer, made a pot of soup for lunch and proceeded to wash the floor and make ready the space.
The Cathedral was quiet on that Friday in March with a few of the regulars dropping by to see what we were up to. We had packed a variety of art materials and after a cup of coffee, we set out to walk the labyrinth while listening to a recording of Matthew Larkin and Bruce Nicol playing for the labyrinth walk in January. It was a peculiar deja vu to hear that music again, however it worked well, as the recording was over an hour of uninterrupted music. Just what we needed.
Having never attempted to make “Labyrinth Art” I barely knew where to start. I had brought a few photocopies of the Chartres Labyrinth pattern and had just learned how to transfer the image using a gel medium. While we were making the labyrinth last summer I came to a new appreciation for the geometry that is a part of the medieval labyrinth design and I wanted to explore visually the proportions and relationships held within the labyrinth pattern. For some years now I have practiced what I call “contemplative geometry”. Working with a compass to draw geometric forms of mandalas, I work intuitively and journal my responses as they occur.
Vanessa was able to try an idea that she had been perking on for years. While she walked the labyrinth she made notes of all of her thoughts and then incorporated them into rubbing of a labyrinth pattern. It was kind of like mind mapping. She reported that is was very satisfying. Another friend also worked with the idea of starting with a rubbing of the labyrinth pattern and then painted back into it incorporating personal iconography.
While we were all working away my friend Mary arrived to explore the full-sized labyrinth for the first time. She is a dance therapist and has a strong link to the narrative. It was a pleasure to watch her move through the labyrinth, discovering its character, all the while measuring it against her reaction to this new space. Quite fascinating and freeing. Dancers give permission to others through their own movement and things flow and are more free when a dancer is in the labyrinth.
The “piece de resistance” of the day was the divine lemon meringue pie that arrived. It was a work of art in itself, being at least 9” high! Of course we had to turn it into an “art piece” (see photo), before enjoying it with our tea.
Our first “Art Day on the Labyrinth” was most wonderfully refreshing and it came to an end all too soon. We will definitely be planning another Art Day before too long.