Saturday, January 30, 2010

Art of Healing Show Impact Gallery Tri-Main Buffalo, NY month of February

Flowers of Secrets will be presented in the
Art of Healing and Mental Health Exhibiton 2010

Impact Artists' Gallery
#545 Tri-Main Center, 2495 Main St.,

Buffalo 14214 The exhibition may be viewed during regular gallery hours Wednesday –

Friday 11-4 and Saturdays 1-4.

Please call the gallery if there is inclement weather.

Flowers of Secrets were conceived from the concept of people feeling like trash by something they are ashamed of, a secret that burdens their soul. Since secrets that bother us have the ability to make a person feel like trash; my new favorite art material, used coffee filters, offers an large supply of material for the cost of collecting and washing them loose of excess coffee ground. Like a wound, a sore filled with pus from an infection, the wound needs to be lanced. Once lanced, cut open, exposed to air and sun light, the pus will run out freely and the healing can begin. If the wound is not opened the infection will continue to grow. It will fester and increase in volume, size and pain until a person who was once active and healthy feels like a worthless, piece of trash.

Writing secrets I gather from PostSecrets, an online community where people make handmade postcards with the secret that is bothering them written on the back offers an endless supply of secrets. I decided to focus on secrets most likely written by a female since I understand how a woman may think more than I do a man.

The coffee filter is perfect because it is a circle (sacred hoop, ring): An ancient and universal symbol of unity, wholeness, infinity, the goddess, and female power. To earth-centered religions throughout history as well as to many contemporary pagans, it represents the feminine spirit or force, the cosmos or a spiritualized Mother Earth, and a sacred space.
Each coffee filter is coated with bees wax which served as a base for medicines to act as a healing balm. The wax also adds strength to the paper filter, a pleasant fragrance and a translucent, skin like quality.
Writing the secret on the circular, up cycled coffee filter did not seem like I gave enough time, respect and esteem to either the secret or the anonymous author. I decided it would be better to embroider with soft, speaking, neutral color floss the words I copied from PostSecret. While I stitch each secret I pray for peace in the heart and soul of the anonymous author. Piecing with the needle, a sort of acupuncture, tattooing ritual further adds to the healing process. As I work and pray for the healing of another woman I am feeling a cathartic healing within myself.

"Loaded with so much symbolism: round like breasts; slits like vaginas; soft like the female body; interiors like wombs, vaginas, mouths, and/or the psyche; and then subtly stitched with secrets, like clues that give insight into the person who secret they caress.” I envision this installation growing until I create a large, walk-in, space filled with healing Flowers of Secrets hanging suspended from above.

Carol Ann Rice Rafferty

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