In the Spirit of Hope / by Hayden Michelle

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It is hard to believe that we are into the new year, and I wish belated tidings to all for this upcoming year.  I have been away from the blog for some time, but holding space for returning.  There has been much hard work in the past many months-- physically, emotionally, spiritually, artistically.  I would like to back up and share about the most recent work that was on exhibit at Atlantic Gallery in New York City, curated by Melissa Rubin, and juried by Ingrid Dinter.  The call to entry had perfect timing in my life...

Instantly intrigued by the complex theme from the International Encaustic Artists Association for their upcoming exhibit, "Hopeful Darkness", I jumped to work to begin exploring the possibilities for articulation.  I appreciated the challenge of creating work which depicted this dichotomy, both of which I hold as vital for exploration and expression.

As the IEA shared in their call for entry, "Two states of being with such opposite meanings, fit so beautifully together and can create a powerful statement:

Hopeful= believing something good will happen; auspicious; bright; encouraging; optimistic; promising.

Darkness= devoid of light; dismal; gloomy; secret; possessing depth and richness.

These are concepts which we all grapple with on a daily basis... globally, nationally, and in our communities and personal lives.  There was plenty of meaning for me when this call for entry came out in July.  And then in August, when the truth of this took on further significance, with a diagnosis of MS.  As the weeks and months followed this newly labeled piece of self to be absorbed and addressed, so did the layers deepen for the work I was creating for this entry.  

I reflected much on wholeness, as expressed in my last post, and created a piece by this name.  

 "What Does It Mean to Be Whole?", (18 x 17.25 x 4.5 in), 2017

"What Does It Mean to Be Whole?", (18 x 17.25 x 4.5 in), 2017

And I created a second piece, titled , "Trust that Light Will Return".

 "Trust That Light Will Return", (12 x 16 x 6.5 in), 2017

"Trust That Light Will Return", (12 x 16 x 6.5 in), 2017

 I reflected on the importance of holding on to hope for peace following difficulty, and the amazing power of our bodies and minds to be resilient and to regenerate to meet life's unexpected comings with courage and growth.

The third piece submitted, "Rebirth",  held both the concept of lightness and darkness within its carefully folded, yet opening, petals.  This is the piece that was chosen to be included in the Hopeful Darkness Exhibit (Nov. 28- December 16, Atlantic Gallery, New York, NY), and I was surprised by my own realization, days after notification of acceptance, that the base photograph of locust thorns contained the same thorns that were used photographically as well as in their true biological form on the bovine pelvis sculpture, entitled, "Tear Bottle", for the IEA exhibit 2 years ago (you can read the journey of that piece on blog date December 7, 2015, Another Way of Keeping a Diary, Part II... hyper link is not working).  I had no idea at the time of creation of that sculpture the challenges that would present themselves in the 2 years that followed, as difficult parts of life are always unpredictably interwoven in the unfolding of our lives.  

 " Rebirth", (5.5 x 7.5 x 7.5 in), 2017

" Rebirth", (5.5 x 7.5 x 7.5 in), 2017

  What has shone most brightly throughout all of these experiences is that there was hope that was always present, and much love and light that did return.  I know it is my challenge, during this new phase, to keep searching for the light that is always there behind the clouds, and to support others in their search.  I am sending this light out to all of you for the journeys in the year ahead, grateful, as always, for the interconnection between us all.


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