Sunday, December 6, 2009

Remain in Light

I have not posted on this blog in a few weeks. I have been busy with my soapmaking - and blogging up a storm 'over there' - I find soapmaking to be very creative, energizing, fun, surprising and, yes, I am addicted. I have been making soap for over 5 years now. It never fails to engage me. One idea led to another and very soon my house, my studio and my garage looked like Mr. Wizard's Warehouse of Crazy Chaos.
I cannot recall exactly how I made my first batch of soap. I think that is odd! I believe I started with melt and pour (generally looked down upon by 'real' soapmakers) with luxe additives to achieve some  Ayurvedic custom blends. I graduated to the cold process method (which is my favorite). I am currently utilizing the hot process 'cooking' of soap which is straight out of the Middle Ages, Folks! I discovered rebatching and milling.
Sometimes I wonder if my love of soapmaking is greater than my love of metalsmithing. This new lover has created a personal dilemma for me. For 40 years, I have been a metalsmith.
I started making and selling jewelry at a very young age. I literally grew up playing with tools and listening to opera in my father's workshop. My grandfather was a blacksmith.
Metal defined me for most of my life.
Recently, my creative impulse simply prefers soaping to smithing. I have grown impatient with age - and I want to 'lighten up'.
Metal can be a tad - pardon me - "heavy".
Soap is lighthearted.
I cannot quite get away from the fire and drama of the forge and torch - or the gleam and glimmer of metallics. The hot process soap is quite medieval - and I love to swirl a bit of gold or copper minerals in my soap batches. My wrapping is 'gold leaf' paper!
I have even produced a line of Gem Crystal Soaps. Below is my Topaz/Citrine soap:

So, soaping is consuming me now. It does lighten my spirit. I love the way it morphs and changes as it cures. It always surprises me - not unlike the metal of my younger days. The soap materials are not as pricey as gold and silver. Soap allows me to play. If a batch fails, or displeases me - well - I can recycle it or simply toss it. Metal is not so forgiving. Metal can be a harsh taskmaster. Metal does not allow me to play. I have to wear my serious hat.
Soap might just be the ultimate alchemy. It basically requires water, sodium hydroxide and fat to produce something that I think can be magical.
I was actually thinking about my current enlightenment when I came across this post in Wikipedia - This is a piece about Talking Heads and their recording of "Remain in Light". I am flabbergasted that it was recorded in 1980! How could it have been so long ago? I still have the album, fer crissake!
Talking Heads were art students from Rhode Island School of Design who became celebrated musicians. I wonder if any of them still make visual art? I wonder if they felt conflicted?
I could almost conclude that life really is about 'going with the flow'. After all, that which does not change, dies - and then it changes in spite of itself.

Above is a mixed media composition of fine silver wire, steel, surgical gauze and feathers. It is entitled "Walking With the Angels". I was fond of this wall installation. It was the first in a series of similarly themed pieces. This piece literally felt as though it created was pure channeling. As I look at the piece now, I see the taut, tense pulling apart of the anthropomorphic form. It appears to be spinal - or birdlike - and it is being pulled in many directions and pinned down. captures exactly what I was experiencing in my life at the time.
This piece also has an ethereal and airy quality to it - as though it was infused with a light from within.
As the days of winter grow darker, let us all seek to remain in light. Especially the light within.
In peace, light and beauty....

1 comment:

  1. Adding gold or copper minerals to soap is something very new to me. Doesn't it make it more expensive??

    But very interesting aspect, something to be considered for soap giants...