Friday, July 31, 2009

Peyote Stitch as a Meditation

I consider the creative process meditative, whatever the medium, especially when the process flows naturally without much conscious thought. Repetitive processes particularly take on this aspect. If nothing else peyote stitch is repetitive.

I started playing with free form peyote stitch over 20 years ago. It is something I have come to and gone away from over the years. When inspired by the little beads or wanting to engage in a repetitive process bringing order to the chaos of the loose beads and the world around me.

The last time I spent much time creating these pieces was in September of 2001. I came home from the office on the 11th. I had been painting in the evenings to relax and escape the stress of the corporate rat race. That evening my focus was not on painting, I turned to those tiny beads and began stitching them together. For sometime after that I spent my evenings and weekend free time stitching beads together one by one into beautiful and colorful objects of art. The pieces came together one bead at a time with little conscious thought. After a while I realized this process was my way of gaining control over my small piece of the world as everything was seemingly falling apart. The little creations brought order and beauty into a chaotic world.

Recently I acquired a mass of Czech glass beads from a friend and fellow artist that decided she wouldn’t be using them any more. I started listing them in my Etsy shop to share with those whom share the passion for small shiny colorful glass beads. As the photographing and listing progressed I remembered creating these free form peyote stitched pieces in the fall of 2001.

I decided to play around with this process again. Focusing on the process, thus in the present moment, no attachment to the out come, allowing the creativity to flow without any more direction than stitching the next bead in place. One at a time the objects grow from a random pile of beads into colorful forms with eye-catching patterns that sparkle in the light. Time passes without notice.

I particularly like the ‘free form’ aspect of this work. I begin with an idea; however never end on the same idea. As the piece progresses new directions develop. Another color catches my eye or an idea for a different pattern emerges and therefore I switch. Increasing or decreasing the bead size, narrowing or expanding the form, adding an appendage or combining two pieces together it is all par for the course. I enjoy the flexibility of creating this way; what ever comes out in the end is right, perfect, and just the way it is supposed to be. There is something very Zen in the meditative repetition of the process and something Taoist in allowing the piece to unfolding and reveal itself on its own terms. Frequently I am amazed myself at what comes from simply allowing.

Below from right: 1) 2 bracelets in progress. 2) The latest completed free form sculpture. 3) A work in progress

1 comment:

  1. Brian,

    You are so right about the meditative aspect and just allowing. Those are my most fun and creative moments! These are wonderful pieces.