This is a piece that was recently contributed to MamaMoontime”s Blog. I am sharing these thoughts again but with some extra pictures as these were not available at that time.
Why do this? is a question that has been often posed to me.
“This” being days spent creating small nature scenes from tiny bits of fleece, felt and yarn. It can be painful at times, too, stabbed by the barbed needles and all too often requires resisting fatigue to work through the night. Why indeed become so immersed, enmeshed, inspired, overwhelmed and at the end even inconsolable. Why indeed?
At first it was driven by wonderment and experimentation – a desire to communicate, create and to share the beauty and inspiration given by Nature. The workmanship is exacting and detailed. Creating these pieces takes time and intense focus. It requires not only concentration, and observation but also periods of being a hermit, so that I have dubbed my work room “the cave”.
Before commencing a project I spend some time researching, photographing, sketching, watching, musing, refining and even more time seeking the right materials. Not only is this process a labour of love but it has become a mission not to replicate but rather to inspire creativity as well as to encourage others to explore, investigate and learn. The intention is that these small scenes help to create awareness that we are not owners but custodians of this planet with a duty to leave for our children and grandchildren a planet that has not been despoiled but nurtured, respected and protected.
The first naturescapes resulted from a request to create seasonal table centrepieces. Since, my versions have evolved and no longer the quintessential Steiner style playmat .
Steiner play mats, constructed from natural fibres with very simple detail, are marvelous tools for encouraging creative play and stimulating a child’s imagination. The ones that I make, although honouring the intention for creativity and imagination, primarily seek to educate. They are not only a visual experience but also as a tactile one. These small scenes are designed to reveal aspects that lead to curiosity, questions, learning and understanding as well as leading to a greater awareness of our personal responsibility for environmental care and protection.
I try to depict, in a simplified microcosm, a more complex macrocosm whose many layers and connections sustain the relationships that need to coexist to enable the web of life to function effectively. Only hints are given, such as in this latest commission for an Australian Bush scene. Here, as in every piece, there is water. In this instance there is a billabong and a stream. Water is the vital element needed for life, what happens if we pollute it? There is also a hollow log- why? Who lives here? A story begins to unfold, layer by layer enabling understanding and awareness to grow.
Suzanne Down encapsulates so beautifully reason so many of us craft. Her explanation is that “When we show our children something special that is warmed by our imagination and love they will see it with wonder and love for the rest of their lives”. This is why I create, each piece is born from wonder and love in the hope that it will generate these feelings in others.