You are the Universe

I made this collage last night with paper from an old hymnal and other paper sources. I distressed with Tim Holz distress ink and with glazing.

I love to do collage art. Especially lately. In my writing cave I have an assortment of art supplies, of old magazines and scrapbooking paper bundles, of distress inks and paints and glaze and ephemera galore. Last night I had a spot of time, and with my renewed rigor to take care of my soul, I gave that time to myself to create.

I never know which direction a collage will take me. I don’t know how it will look when it’s done and if you asked me, “What are you making?” I’d answer, “I don’t know ’til I’m done.”

This is the process of artistry. The artist  has to show up and start doing the deal to discover what the deal is. The art emerges as the artist surrenders to the creative process. It’s kind of like truth telling. You don’t know what the chain reaction is going to look like until to reveal the truth.

In her brilliant book, The Artist’s Way, writer Julia Cameron says this:

The act of making art exposes a society to itself. Art brings things to  light. It illuminates us. It sheds light on our lingering darkness. It casts a beam into the heart of our darkness and says, “See?” 

I  love that. Art casts light on our darkness. This reminds me of the description of the creative process described in the first pages of the Bible:

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.  Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.  God saw that the light was good,and he separated the light from the darkness.  God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.

We are creative beings, no doubt. When we create, whether it be art, poetry, a new invention or a homecooked meal, we are participating in the creative process of creation itself. Kind of like what Carl Sagan said, “You are the universe experiencing itself.” 

Creativity is … seeing something that doesn’t exist already. You need to find out how you can bring it into being and that way be a playmate with God. – Michele Shea

Women are incredibly creative beings. We procreate, we makes nests of our homes and sew quilts. We paint the kitchen and agonize over which wallpaper is just right for the dining room. We learn to stencil and crochet. We create scrapbooks as memory holders for the family. We play music and sing lullabies. Women create ways to make community and explore the boundaries of friendship and healing. Women are ever shifting with our artful expressions. Have you been to Etsy lately? Women have unlimited depths of creative power.
For creative power to flow, the artist must be uninhibited, free from the harsh censors within and without who tell her, “You have no business playing with paint.”  What is really being said here is, “You have nothing worth expressing.” To shut down the artist is to shut down a part of the universe, of God’s glorious creation, from emerging from darkness to light. It is to quiet the voice of God with a scold.

There are many forces at work in a woman’s life to quench her artistry. She will face these dragons of doubt from the crib to the grave.  This is why we need one another. We need to enter the arena of self-doubt and help our sisters slay the monsters.  When fear keeps a woman uncreative it is like a poet who has lost her voice or  a blogger her blog.   But here’s the rub : when dragons come upon us to block our way, we must then not settle for defending our space, but find new ways of creating as we stare into those red glowing eyes that would kill us. Make the dragon a friend to the art. Slay the dragon with courage and discover that under the roar is fear wanting to be free. A slayed dragon is courage born.

There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening  that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and will be lost. – Martha Graham

Do not underestimate the power of your creativity. What you make, what you create, is only possible by You. No one else can make it like you. I can’t sew like Arianna, or paint like Deborah. I collage much different than Kelli Rae and I sure as hell can’t cook like Paula, or decorate like Martha. But with the dragons befriended I can collage like Pam, I can write and blog in the unique voice that is mine alone, I can storytell like no other. Art helps me recover my lost creative soul. Art helps me recover my buried self. The artistic process is then an act of spiritual healing that rejoins the fractured soul with the universe.  We are meant to Create the Universe with God. 

So what about you? How are you expressing the universe through creativity? Feel free to add links to photos, blog posts, etc… that show your creativity in action. Let’s inspire one another!


You are the Universe — 12 Comments

  1. Loooove your creation above, Pam. You. Ooze. Art. xx

    –speaking of Julia…This is my all time fave. poem by her. I’ve had it on my fridge for years.

    ******Jerusalem Is Walking In This World.****

    The air is silk.
    There is milk in the looks
    That come from strangers.
    I could not be happier
    If I were bread and
    you could eat me.
    Joy is dangerous.
    It fills me with secrets.
    “Yes” hisses in my veins.
    The pains I take to hide myself
    Are sheer as glass.
    Surely this will pass,
    The wind like kisses,
    The music in the soup,
    The group of trees,
    Laughing as I say their names.

    It is all hosanna
    It is all prayer.

    Jerusalem is walking in this world.
    Jerusalem is walking in this world.

    ~Julia Cameron Art.

    • @My Inner Chick

      It is all hosanna
      It is all prayer.

      Jerusalem is walk­ing in this world.
      Jerusalem is walk­ing in this world.

      LOVE THIS. Thanks so much for posting. She is amazing. I also have her book, The Right to Write. She is such a wise, creative leading others towards wholeness.

      Thanks for chiming in!

  2. There is something that sticks in my throat when people talk about crafts and assume I must like certain things because I am female. Or people think that because I love being creative I shouldn’t also love mathematics and science, which is what springs to mind when people talk about being ‘a creative’. People balk when you say you love maths. I guess what I’m saying is that I don’t want to be in anyone’s box.

    But yes, my creativity reflects my wonderful Creator’s creativity. I love stories, and I have often been tickled by the thought that God is the greatest storyteller. Creativity reflects our Creator. It’s part of being made in His image. I wrote a short story about the creation of Adam, with the notion that God thoroughly enjoys creating and loves His creations. I need to make more time for writing.

    ‘Sing a new song to the Lord!’ Ps 96.1

    • @Sandy, I get what you mean. I am not a scrapbooker…and I do not bake nor do I sew or decorate my home very girly. When I was younger I felt so less of a woman because of these deficiencies, as if I was deficient, unfeminine. But now I see that a woman is not defined by cultural attributes of femininity, and that’s really what we’re talking about here….which is of course, off topic of what I wrote about when it comes to the creative process. Could write another post on gender and creativity and how creativity transcends male/female.

      I’d love to see your short story. Want to shoot it to me??

  3. Oh, my dear dear sisters, that’s about IT in a nutshell, isn’t it . . . . or perhaps it’s more like another launching point. And off we go, reinvigorated with the validation that this creativity is elemental, part and portion of our very selves. Today, I quoted myself again, “So, before I left Seattle, I was saying to myself, I need to have more Creatives in my life.” I said this while walking down a street in Argentina with my new Nigerian friend. We were visiting art supply places, thinking together about what we Do, and realizing it’s particularly wonderful to connect with someone else who knows that she must create. The moment will be poignant in retrospect, but at the moment, it was just “as it should be.”

    • @Gretchen, my artist friend!!!!!!!! Oh, visiting art places in Argentina in the company of a Nigerian friend. Sounds about right!

      I hope to go or organize an art camp sometime. We are all so overwhelmed with busyness. I make space for art in my life (which means SLEEP DEPRIVATION!!) and I know many women who would love to do art in a community setting. I fantasize about organizing an art camp for women, a getaway with lots of space for creating and learning new techniques from one another. Maybe some day..! Will def have you in that conversation should I be able to go forward with it. Enjoy Argentina!

  4. Your collage is great, very expressive. I am an artist myself, oil painting. Portraits are my specialty. I learned so much from Cameron’s book, and I would highly recommend all of her other books as well. She helped me to recognize the destructive thought patterns in myself that kept me blocked for years. Church and our culture stifles creative thinking, especially in women. Performance anxiety and groupthink kill creativity.
    As Joseph Chilton Pearce said, “to live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong.”

    • @Temperance, thanks so much! I have been doing collage for about five years. I think I’ve hit a new level, a new vein of creativity with it as I am bursting with collage ideas. I just ordered some cradled boards and I am intending to collage my first ever series and see where that goes. I gift my collages usually to friends, though a few folks have actually paid me for a one of a kind collage piece. (imagine!) It would be very cool to continue making art as gifts, but to also have a try at making art to sell on purpose. (do you market your art?)

      I LOVE Julia Cameron. I do have her book on writing. I’ll have to check for her other titles. Yes, church culture and society stifles creative thinking in everybody. I’m listening to a book on tape in my minivan right now (thomas moore i think) who says to be creative the artist has to be willing to play the fool. We are so taught to avoid playing the fool and to avoid taking risks…both which kill the creative process. I think that I had to get to this age in my life (48) to finally begin doing the art I’ve always wanted to do. It’s taken me this long to get comfortable enough in my skin to “play the fool” and take risks. I do try to have fun and enjoy the process though. It’s not all anxiety!

      Lose our fear of being wrong….love that and amen. Thanks so much for adding to this conversation! I’m thinking of writing a small ebook on creativity. Seriously.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.