A string of pearls with the affirming message, “Today is the day to find courage within,” lightly dance around the tail of a man’s tie like the wave of the Chinese symbol for yin and yang. The oyster with its soft, sensitive body, not unlike a woman’s, creates a pearl when challenged by the irritation and discomfort of a grain of sand or grit. Wisdom that comes from life experience is hard won in the same way pearls are created. “Pearls of wisdom” dance around a woman’s throat from where she gives voice to hard won opalescent experiences of sacred passion, desire, being, creativity and so much more.What happens when a woman wears a tie or puts on pearls? As women – single, married, divorced – how do we maintain balance with bringing home the bacon and frying it? My desire with Ties and Pearls was to create a piece that spoke to the invisible partnering of the male and female in each of us, and how that manifests in our relationships in a visually appealing way. The archetypal power struggle that happens when masculine and feminine energies within us are out of balance (Jung referred to it as the anima and animus) is the inspiration for this art that mused its way into my studio with this passage from that book I am tearing up.
I see where my husband became my life, rather than came to be in my life. Somehow I deluded myself into thinking that I was strong enough not to lose myself in him. That I would know if I crossed the line. How did I get so far over it? How? I spent too many years carrying on like a man. My own distorted spin on the women’s liberation bra burning era I grew up in.... As a woman, safety in a man’s world required liberation from myself. What a paradox! The inner male I took on for strength was the one leading me astray. The very behavior I despised in a man who could not honor, recognize, or value a woman was the very behavior I supported when my male side shadowed my female side...When I let “him” lead, I am chasing my shadow, going nowhere fast. Did I lose myself in what I felt driven to, or find myself? I don’t regret for a minute letting the woman in me take the lead ... I don’t regret the time I’ve taken to get to know her, to learn to trust her. She has the map to my psyche. The wisdom and strength I need to hold true to my soul’s calling. And through all of this she is showing me how to give of myself without giving up myself. Better for my inner male to provide the fuel and momentum under her direction and inspiration. That way they both arrive at a place they actually want to be. A much healthier arrangement!” Excerpt from Bernadette’s Pages: An Intimate CrossroadThis was a big classroom for me. My need to find balance and create a safe space for expression as a woman wearing pearls found its way into many journal entries through the course of that 9-month period of separation-on-the-brink-of-divorce ... and beyond. While musing over this art, my desire was to create a light visual for a heavy topic. From a distance, I wanted this to be simple and graphic. (Yang/Masculine) Up close, I wanted the layers to reveal themselves slowly, to entice the viewer into more intimate discoveries. (Yin/Feminine) In the struggle to find a balance, puzzle-pieced together text creates a man’s stark white dress shirt squared off against the inviting curve of a woman’s red bra. Background, created by text collage, represents the boundless body of a woman and the content of her experience. So many rich layers of metaphors spoke to me while playing with this. Here are just a few, captured with images and captions to springboard you into entertaining your own thoughts about this subject. The straight angular tie is cast off and almost phallic. (Something I didn’t notice until later.) It is the only piece of the art where text was not the substrate used to make its form. Gold thread and striped text whisper to challenges in breaking free of choking restraints A string of pearls, with their affirming message, lightly dance around tail of a man’s tie. Balanced, at last, like the wave of the Chinese symbol for yin and yang. Chinese characters for peace and joy (alternate corners) provide a foundation for moving forward when the male and female at last dance in harmony. Every woman has her story in relationship to ties and pearls. (Gentlemen, I invite you to consider your side of the fence with this because you have a relationship with ties and pearls as well.) I would love to hear about them! Are they working? Not working? In for revisions? And, if you are a creative-type, how do feel you about using your chosen craft as a way to see an aspect of yourself or life differently – or perhaps more lightly?
#5 from the series “Tear Up that Book and Make Art.” Prints available in the Messy Room Art Gallery or Click Here for my Etsy ShopIf you like this post, then please LIKE it and SHARE it because together we grow!