Wednesday, June 1, 2011

art as contemplation

"a day spent without the sight or sound of beauty,
the contemplation of mystery,
or the search of truth or perfection
is a poverty-stricken day;
and a succession of such days
is fatal to human life."
-lewis mumford

art is contemplation. few people even scratch the surface, much less exhaust the contemplation of their own artistic experience. there are moments when i think i am one of those who have yet to do more than scratch the surface of my artistic experience. though i imagine the moment that i attempt to define my place along this path, i am lost for whenever we try to tack something down by defining it, labeling it, we limit it and thereby inhibit its expression.

there is nothing i enjoy more than sitting down with needle and thread in hand and contemplating through thread chanting. creating art out of salvage and discards. something from a perceived nothing.

being buddhist, i have experience with many forms of meditation and contemplation. being an artist, and carrying forward my meditative practice into my art and, indeed, the rest of my life, i find such things as thread chanting deeply contemplative.

i feel like i'm stepping into a place of spiritual contemplation every time i enter my studio. it bears a certain magic for me that has never faded with familiarity. it is also my fervent desire that you might feel this in my work...or, better still, in your own experience when you sit down to "contemplate" through whatever medium you express yourself in, both artistic and mundane.



  1. Joe, beautifully written. I can identify with this sense of meditation and contemplation when with the plants. With needle and thread would be awesome! Hope all is well in Billings, waterwise. Blogger has been misbehaving and I haven't been able to comment here. xo

  2. Joe, I followed you home from Jude's and Penny's - and am glad I wandered here. I'll return, if I may. Thank you for this post.

  3. thank you, peggy! waters are still threatening to engulf many, what with the recent snowfall (!) beginning to melt with warmer weather, but we'll get through. :)

  4. welcome, stitchinglife2! thank you for stopping by! looking forward to seeing you again. you have a lovely blog, too, btw! i look forward to exploring it further as well...