a : a divine influence or action on a person believed to qualify him or her to receive and communicate sacred revelation b : the action or power of moving the intellect or emotions c : the act of influencing or suggesting opinions
: the act of drawing in; specifically : the drawing of air into the lungs
a : the quality or state of being inspired b : something that is inspired <a scheme that was pure inspiration>
: an inspiring agent or influence
Inspiration can be found in some very unexpected places. Some of the more inexplicable locations I have found items:
IN THE GRAVEL PARKING LOT OF A SOCCER FIELD
Sept. 11, 2001 During 911 I was an art teacher at Bluewater Elementary School teaching K - 5. I wasn't working on that Tuesday morning, but instead watched it all unfurl in front of my eyes on the TV screen. I had on the Morning Show with Katie Courac (low volume) as I talked on the phone to both my mother-and-father-in-law in New Jersey. As I hung up the phone, I turned up the volume, just in time to see the 1st plane hit the 1st Tower! I gasped, and immediately picked up the phone to call my in-laws back. The phone lines to the NE were jammed and I was unable to get through to them. My husband's older brother, Peter, worked in the Millennium tower, just adjacent to the World Trade Center. I couldn't get a hold of anybody . . . finally, I heard from my other brother-in-law that Peter had been able to send out an email AFTER the first tower collapsed and his building was being evacuated. We all watched in continued horror as the 2nd tower collapsed. As of the following morning, no one had heard from Peter and he had not returned to his home in suburban New Jersey (the ferries and subways off Manhattan island had been closed down).
That afternoon I had to continue as if NOTHING WAS WRONG . . . the kids still had soccer practice. At the time we lived in Niceville, FL (just across the bridge from Destin, FL, and very near Eglin Air Force Base). We always knew when something was urgent with American security because the practice bombing and low fly-bys dramatically increased. On that day, it felt like we were in the midst of war - the windows shook and the china tinkled in the cabinet, and you could feel the bombs low vibration from your heels to your head.
On the way to the soccer field I remember thinking/praying "please not here", "please not here" - my fearful thinking assumed that the No. 1 Air Force Base in the U.S. might just be the next target? We pulled into the play fields and parked. The kids were frantic and just as chatty as usual, but the adults were somber and kept looking up into the sky and down on the ground. Sometimes we would catch one another's eyes and just stare in understanding and shared agony. Many of the parents worked at the Air Force base or had spouses already deployed. We all knew - this was going to be something that would cause a huge change in the life of our Community, our Country, and our World.
As I walked back to the van after delivering the kids to their coaches, I began quietly crying again . . . looking down at the gravel under my feet I saw an olive green toy soldier - it was broken. I picked it up and worried it in my hand the entire hour I waited for the children to finish practice. It later sat on my nightstand, then made its way into a box of treasures - and finally into an artwork - encapsulated in resin inside a toy capsule.
The next day we finally heard that Peter had been evacuated between the collapses and he was one of the suited office workers dashing through the streets, ducking into doorways, trying to stay ahead of the raining debris. He finally caught a ride on the back of a firetruck heading away from GroundZero, but couldn't leave the island due to the shut down of the subway andferries. He spent several nights on Manhattan Island before being able to return home to Lawrenceville, NJ. To say the least, the experience LITERALLY changed his life forever.
This is one example of my life being marked by items - reclaimed, found, manipulated - a visual timeline tracing backward and moving forward. Here is one more example:
WASHED UP ON A SANDY BEACH IN ATRANI, ITALY
After a long 10 days of site seeing andtraveling in Sunny Italy in June of 2007, my husband and I retreated to a 5 day RELAXation in Amalfi, Italy. We took the days leisurely, sleeping in, eating, walking through the town, hiking along the Mediterranean and basically doing very little . . . one of our days included a kayak trip along the coastline . . . on our trip back we decided to rest on a beach just South of Amalfibefore we turned in the kayak. As we pulled it up onto the beach (which consisted of pebbly-gravel) of Atrani, we glanced at our feet andrealized we were walking on dozens of pottery shards. Picking them up, we saw they had been tumbled to smooth edges by the sea - just like the sea glass we would find on the Jersey Shores in the States. Upon further inspection we realized the shards were being dumped into the sea from the drainage of Atrani and washing back to shore, refined by the Sea. There were shards of true Majolica and pieces I could only imagine were decades and perhaps, in my romantic inclinations, centuries old.
Many people never look up, nor down . . . if you take the extra time to embrace the moment of NOW, you never know what you will find - what meaning it will have, or, how special the items can be to you. Just as literature uses symbols, so does visual art.
To the left is a box of items I have collected over time - as I work on pieces, I rummage through and find just the right EMOTION/item to include in assemblage work, collages, and sculptures. I feel using these found items evoke a remembrance of what the item may have been imbued with on its long journey into my possession - that just like myself, it may have been abandoned, abused, and discarded.
What joy to be given the opportunity, as we each as human beings have, to reclaim and redefine our lives, our purposes, and - ultimately - our futures!
What in your life do you treasure???