Ideals of the Veils and Stones project:
To forge accessible ways to create personal and communal narratives, because humans live by narrative and the global culture is accelerating towards an alienating and fragmenting barrage of information. To find a way to involve people, not only ‘artists’, in the process of creation, and by this, also encouraging them to become active, not passive receivers of ‘art’ and to respect their own and others expression in small, intimate enactments of ‘art’. To create moments that are meaningful in their intimacy and individuality and to tie them into a wider, meaningful context that doesn’t deny, but respects and celebrates their originality. This ‘wider’ context could be universal in its perceivable humanism, but more importantly, is within a community, however small – as a reflection of its own depth that doesn’t need the popular validly. To encourage confidence within peoples expressive language, personally and communally, and awareness of the freedom of creative space within it..
Here are some of the stones made from clay and carved with symbols from the letters.
I wanted people to be able to touch the work. Writing the letters on the textured colliograph prints was a very tactile process, an enactment as well as an experience. But once hung they became distant in a way, untouchable. I don’t like the culture of ‘don’t-touch-art’ and wanted to find a way to make people engage with more than just their eyes. So I began to place the symbols people made onto smooth pebble-like clay-stones.
The idea is to place the stones in a pile on the floor and to put a few cushions around them so that people feel invited to sit, and to ‘read’ them with their finger-tips. Perhaps with some diagram/shape beneath on the floor or a cloth to suggest relations between the signs and inspire narrative. The placing of a symbol on two sides of each stone suggests a series of choices, also a key to narrative; forks in the road.
People may recognise some of the signs from the Painted Letters ~ Unwritten Letters hanging above or outside. I see this repetition as part of building a narrative world, as in literature, oral storytelling, dance or music, where repeated patterns, images and gestures create the consistency of a certain reality. This can also be felt when looking at a body of work by any artist – the world of their vision becomes evident in their use of colour, mark, gesture or subject – not necessarily by direct repetition or similarity, but by echo.
Here this echo exists between the materials, (the weathered and elemental feel of the colliograph prints and the clay-stones) between the marks on the letters and on the stones, and between the languages of individuals, each elemental in its symbolism.
One letter-writer said that trying to write in symbols was like taking images down to their most basic parts. I think that this simplicity is key to the symbols being both mysterious and accessible.
People have commented how the stones seemed to fit with the Painted Veils ~ Unworded Letters which, themselves, all seem to belong to the same language despite the clear variety of styles and symbols. They appear as though they could be all the same language at first, but when studied for a moment each hold their individuality and character. Like a pile of stones or a stack of leaves…. their unity is at first striking, but their individual markings and subtly are undeniable.
Like fifty pairs of hands, held palm up… a single gesture shows the individual expression that is irresistibly human.