How Eco Arts Connects to Self Care
Using the natural world as an ally for our work together allows us to re-connect to ourselves and and replenish our needs. I sometimes interweave eco arts practice into creative self-care sessions and workshops, using natural materials as a creative material to open up a deeper dialogue with the world around us.
Many of my sessions and workshops incorporate some aspect of eco arts. Gathering natural materials before sessions can often add a sense of ritual and intention to the work. Connecting to, relating with, being creative with aspects of the natural world can allow us to feel part of something much more than ourselves, much deeper than just our bodies in space. We breath, we move and we flow with the elements around us.
Over the years of making, I have always been drawn to natural materials. My weaves consist of threads and wools, I use canvas and wood to hang my pieces.
Gradually I moved my artistic practice more towards a more eco arts-based practice. I am aware of the impact my work has on both my local and more global environment. I consider the environmental and social implications of the art work that I do more and more, from the materials that I chose and the history of my supplies.
Yet, in the broader context of the self-care work that I do, I am also interweaving the elements of environment and social context. How can we separate ourselves from our environment and our communities? How can we see ourselves in isolation when we are so immersed in our relationships?
I recognise that the hand weaves I build act as a symbolic representation for some of these ideals. The warp, a long tense cord that is bound around a central frame, acts a a steady foundation for the piece. This seems to present something eternal, the universal forces that create the patterns of our lives. The communities we build and the societies we form.
The weft, made from any material, can be either short and measured or lengthy and weaved endlessly in and out of the warp, reminds me a lot of the personal. How to I, how do you, interconnect and interrelate to the natural world around us, the people and places that make up our lives? How can we see nature, the air that we breath and the food that we eat, being anything other an extension of our existence?
The warp and the weft in the weave, myself and the other, myself and my environment.
The concept of care travels through all that we do. Many of those who I work with are big-hearted people – they care deeply about their place, the land around them, the people that inhabit these spaces. This care also moves out into a more global system as the interconnections between us all becomes more and more evident.