Thursday, January 28, 2010

The face is the mirror of the mind, and eyes without speaking confess the secrets of the heart.

"The face is the mirror of the mind, and eyes without speaking confess the secrets of the heart." Saint Jerome

I have completed three flowers of secrets since this idea flowed into my head on Sunday afternoon. It was an ordinary day, up early, fresh cup of hot coffee, peruse the Internet, face book for a few minutes, five miles on my stationary bike, quick bite to eat, shower then off to Sunday morning mass. It was sometime during the homily that the Monsignor mentioned the activities of his previous day. One part of his day included hearing First Confession or Sacrament of Reconciliation for 61 second grade school students the day before.

My mind went back to the day I first time I received the Sacrament of Reconciliation when I was seven years old. Life was pretty simple back then; I fought with my brothers, I ignored my mothers endless request to run down into the basement to get her a can of something from the pantry for dinner or to bring up a brown paper bag to replace the liner in the waste paper basket. Pretty simple and easy, always wanting to please. Always the " Good Girl" I never stole anything, hit anyone or hurt anyone on purpose.

Years pass by, life gets more complicated, less reward or satisfaction for being the "Good Girl" and my burdens, secrets, regrets grow more serious. I was thinking how fortunate people who practice the Roman Catholic traditions of faith are to have a person and place to tell secrets. Where do people with regrets that are eating them up inside go for stress release?

If you don't have a place, a release valve for something that is eating you inside perhaps you will resort to drinking, drugs or foods that make you feel good for a little while until you remember your secret again. 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 heal the pus will run out freely and the healing can begin. If the wound is not opened the infection will 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.

One way I was thinking to get secrets to write down was to ask people to send me secrets that bother their hearts anonymously. Then a place that does this flowed into my mind, PostSecrets. It is an online community where people make handmade postcards with the secret that is bothering them written on the back. The designer of this community art project then posts the card on line
That's solved, I have an endless supply of secrets from no one I know.

I decided to focus on secrets most likely written my a female since I understand how a woman may think more than I do a man. Since secrets that bother us have the ability to make a person feel like trash; my new favorite art material, used coffee filters offer an large supply of material for the cost of collecting and washing them loose of excess coffee grounds.

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, a Mother Earth, and a sacred space.

I like the stains left behind by the process of coffee being made. These filters have life, they have been used, served a purpose and carry a stain or scare from the act of being used. I have been coating my sheets of handmade paper with bees wax for years to add, strength, a pleasing fragrance, a translucent quality that allows light to shine through.


"Beeswax is a byproduct of honey production. It makes wonderful lip balms, hand lotions, hand creams, moisturizers, in cosmetics, wood finishes, waxes, leather polishes; waterproofing products, and dental molds. It is impervious to water and unaffected by mildew. It has a melting point of 143 to 148 degrees F. and should only be heated using a double boiler as it is flammable when subjected to fire and flames. It is pliable at 100 degrees F.
Beeswax is produced by the (female) worker honeybees. The wax is secreted from wax glands on the underside of the bee's abdomen and is molded into six-sided cells which are filled with honey, then capped with more wax. When honey is harvested, the top layer of wax that covers the cells, must be removed from each hexagon-shaped cell. Bees use their wax to "glue" together the wooden frames in their hive, and that must be scraped off so the frames can be separated. The beeswax, which contains some honey, bee parts, and other impurities, must be melted and filtered or strained. Most beeswax is gold or yellow but can also be in shades of orange, brown, etc. The color of the wax is in most part determined by the type of plants the bees collect nectar from. Beeswax has a delightful, light fragrance of honey, flower nectar and pollen. Beeswax makes superior, slow burning candles. Beeswax burns more beautifully than any other wax. It exudes a faint, natural fragrance of honey and pollen. When candles are made with the proper size of wick, they are smokeless, drip-less, and burn with a bright flame.
If you wonder why beeswax is so expensive, consider this: It has been estimated that bees must fly 150,000 miles to produce one pound of wax. Bees must eat about six pounds of honey to secrete a pound of wax. For every 100 pounds of honey a beekeeper harvests, only one to two pounds of beeswax are produced. "

Bees Wax
"While there are scenes of honey production, it is unknown how the Egyptians rendered the wax. It has been suggested, that after crushing the combs and extracting the honey they used the "hot water technique", placing the broken down combs in a metal vessel filled with water and bringing the water to the boil, pouring the vessels contents into a sack and pressing it. In every day life wax was used for sealing things,[5] coating the inside of wine amphoras, making amulets,[41] which were at times gilded,[42] and, since Ptolemaic times, for covering writing tablets. [41] Beeswax found use in boat and ship building, as a binding agent for paints and in metal casting. Sometimes it served as a base for medicines. Mixed with pulverized stone it made an adhesive for connecting razor blades to their handles. Wigs were waxed[43] to give permanence to plaits. Although people must have known about the flammability of wax, it was not used for lighting in ancient times.
In a religious or funerary context wax was used in mummification where small bodily orifices were plugged with it. From the Saite Period onwards votive bronze statuettes were cast in large numbers using the cire-perdue method.[38] In Roman times wax was mixed with pigments and used to paint the encaustic portraits, which came to replace the funerary masks. Corn mummies buried during the Osirian mysteries often had faces made of wax.[39] In the Third Intermediate Period, when canopic jars began to fall into disuse, figurines of the Sons of Horus made of wax were at times included in the packages of embalmed viscera returned into the mummy's body cavity.[40] "

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 of the anonymous author. I decided it would be better to embroider with soft, speaking, neutral color floss the word I copied form PostSecret.

Throughout the entire time I am stitching the secret I am praying, sending good energy, well wishes to the female in pain enough to share her secret. I pray that healing power is sent her way to heal her wounds, open her heart and make her feel more precious than feel like disposable, throw away trash someone is finished using for their own needs.

. I now have three secrets embrodiered on the coffee filter objects. These rounded art objects are according to an obsevation from a well respected Artist- MFA who looked at the begining of my project; "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 individual. " .

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