‘The Spell of the Sensuous’ and ‘Becoming Animal’ by David Abram

Posted: July 27, 2018 by Mo Crow in Braille for the Soul, good books, It's Crow Time
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‘The Spell of the Sensuous’ and ‘Becoming Animal’ by David Abram
Trace Willans of Soewn Earth sent me these two books recently, they had been on my wish list for years
here’s an excerpt that resonates deeply;
“With the first hint of dusk in those high valleys, various flying insects launched into the air, including large flies that would bedevil me where I sat cross-legged, usually on a boulder, watching the light fade from the upper ridges. It was during those crepuscular hours that I discovered a useful technique for disbursing such unnerving, whirring beings when they disrupted my quiet contemplations. (It’s a technique I still use to this day, although only when I’m off in the back country, since it requires a focused clarity and precision tough to muster in the middle of town.) Whenever a fly’s feverish orbit around my head begins to unravel my poise, tearing apart with its buzz the simple calm of my mountain ponderings, I search my inward awareness for any small but annoying thought whose unpleasantness matches, in some way, that monotonous sprite buzzing again and again past my undefended ears. Oddly, such an irksome thought always seems easy to find at such a moment – as though the fly’s buzzing had already drawn forth that nagging notion from the depths of my awareness. Once I’ve become conscious of that thought, I shift my attention to the air just in front of my face, watching that near space through which the fly weaves, again and again, trying to catch its trajectory in my gaze, waiting patiently for the serendipitous moment when I will manage, for an instant, to focus my eyes upon the fly. As soon as I do so, in that split second of visual contact, I offer my vexing thought to the insect. At which point the fly – to my considerable amazement – buzzes away! Sometimes my eyes have been able to follow the fly as it departs into the distance before me, becoming smaller and smaller until it dissolves. I am left sitting on the rock, unburdened of both bug and bothersome thought, released into the ringing silence.”
from page 121 of ‘Becoming Animal’
there is such deep magic caught in this notion
I will try it with mosquitoes this summer!
Sea Urchin IV in process
felt pod by Bronwyn Hunter stitched with Deb Lacativa’s magic thread and Glennis Dolce’s indigo dyed silk
getting back to basics with Braille for the Soul
I have been busy this month applying for grants for the project, one of the good things about the process is it gets me organized  with writing an artist statement
Mo Orkiszewski’s forthcoming exhibition Braille for the Soul (scheduled to take place at Artsite Gallery in March 2019) explores the restorative powers of love and community via the sense of touch. Sewn and knotted, beaded and feathered, these votive vessels, pennants and talismans are bound with love and deep intent for mending our beautiful broken world stitch by stitch. The major work ‘I dream of a world where love is the answer’ is a collaborative project bringing together a worldwide circle of 70 art and craft practitioners with the purpose of making connections, communicating a sense of how we belong to our earth, that each person has value, each moment of reaching out has potential, collectively lighting a beacon of awareness and respect for our planet Earth.

understanding the purpose of the work
The purpose of this project is to make art as agency for change, to shift the dominant paradigm from planetary exploitation to a restorative one of kindness and repair. The central work is a collaborative installation inviting a worldwide circle of 70 makers to dream of a world where love is the answer, encouraging a sense of community and caring by thinking globally and acting locally. As the humanitarian aid worker Carl Wilkens wrote “When we make something with our hands, it changes the way we feel, which changes the way we think, which changes the way we act.”

and working out a budget and a production schedule-
Production Schedule for Braille for the Soul exhibition Artsite Gallery March 2019

July to December 2018
finish binding armature for the main installation “I dream of a world where love is the answer” that will carry the 70 pennants and talismans
finish & frame wall mandala Sea Urchin III
finish votive vessels

December 2018
deadline for receiving the pennants and talismans contributed from makers all around the world

December 30 2018
Artist Statement and CV, high res images of all work, catalogue details, confirm opening speaker & guest artists for talks and associated activities for promotional material

January 1-February 14 2019
assemble main installation “I dream of a world where love is the answer”
prepare materials for visitors to make votives in the gallery
place ad with Art Almanac (deadline February 1st)

February 2 2019
contact newspapers, council’s What’s On & radio stations
post snail mail invitations
photograph and document work for publication on issuu.com

February 25th 2019
deliver work to Artsite Gallery for installation
post invitation for the opening on social media & blog

March 2 2019
Preview exhibition
post online catalogue on issuu.com

March 3 2019
Official opening of exhibition

March 10 2019
artist talk & votive making

March 17 2019
guest artists talks & votive making

March 24 2019
Close exhibition

with deep gratitude to everyone who is contributing their pennants and talismans for our beautiful broken world

  1. Marti says:

    Mo, what an impressive amount of work is going into your exhibition. I had no idea of the many thorough steps included in mounting this amazing event. As I read through your artist statement, your purpose and of the many deadlines until the opening in March 2019, what came to me is this:

    The world is on such a slim thread right now with all that is happening politically, economically, environmentally, socially and morally. In all of this, one woman with an open heart and an extremely creative artistic view of community, locally, globally, is taking a mending step, making a stand, not hostile, not in your face, but with strong, quiet determination. This exhibition is a call out to the world, to tangibly speak love to action, love for the planet, love for each other, allowing for many threads to come together via talismans, via pennants, via the need to say that when we become involved, when we become aware, when we care, our threads weave together, our threads are strong and hold. What they hold are inclusion, respect and awareness and these threads stitch together a conversation that says simply, together we will speak, together we will share, together we will understand and together, LOVE will be threaded around the globe…

    • Mo Crow says:

      (((Marti))) your beautiful words & pennant help me so much with understanding what is happening with this work. I’m sitting here with tears of gratitude and joy falling out of my eyes & hope you don’t mind how I used your words in my artist’s statement (see above) that you wrote back on June 16th
      “Linked hearts, linked arms, linked threads, woven, stitched into cloth, flowing out into the world with the deepest sense of love and caring for the world, for each other, BUT to bring together a group of like minded souls, it took that first step, that call of inclusion and that began with the vision depth of one woman, Mo. Mo uses all that is within her, as does her partner Rod, to dig deep and bring forth ART that speaks of connection, that communicates a sense of how we belong to our earth, that tells the most important story of our lives- the fact that each person has value, each moment of reaching out has potential, that collectively, we shine a beacon toward understanding, love and compassion. See ” Si se puede” begins with that first step of extending a hand and saying, “come along” and Mo did and we did and it continues. With deepest gratitude for your extended hand Mo…”

  2. grace Maestas says:

    i love. love very much the word “practitioners”. i hope you keep it in your statement.

  3. Fiona says:

    Oh Mo – how amazing. Somehow when you put it together like this it becomes apparent how large and magical and amazing this is. And Marti’s words – are so full, so open, so honest in their telling of what you are doing. It feels BIG! Within the words you wrote these ones really resonated for me: ‘to shift the dominant paradigm from planetary exploitation to a restorative one of kindness and repair’. I think I would be a happy woman to know my work was doing that – and yours is so very very much. I feel like pinching myself to think I am participating in this – thank you! PS dates are in the diary and fingers are crossed…go well.

    • Mo Crow says:

      (((Fiona))) such wild magic is afoot in this collaboration, we are making an act of reverence, a magic spell cast into the world to heal the divisions and bind the world with love to honour and respect our planet & this morning is the Full Moon eclipse!

  4. Eliene says:

    So much work in this Act of Love…past, present & future. Love what Marti has said and totally agree. Also liking the Sea urchin 1V as it is progressing…looks really tactile.Will you be making more than the one. No moon watching for me this morning…too much cloud unfortunately.

    • Mo Crow says:

      (((Eliene))) there’s two felt pods you can see them in the photo with the books, Sea Urchin V will be the smaller one, loving stitching with Deb’s magic thread every bump is a different colour! It’s a clear night here so far will go for a walk to watch the eclipse at 4:30

  5. deemallon says:

    So much to love here – the quote with its interesting approach to interferences (already I imagine how this might work with jack hammering?); your felted vessel looking very nearly alive; your artist statements putting into words what you are creating and why (like Fiona, I gravitate to that phrase “restorative kindness” – which somehow also puts me in mind of Grace’s recent idea that we must do more than care for the earth, we must enter into a Reciprocal relationship with her). And finally, your schedule. I’ve long been impressed with your discipline and powers of execution and it’s interesting to get a glimpse of how you structure such a big project.

    • Mo Crow says:

      (((Dee))) jackhammers are right up there with the sound of an electric plane, there’s no meditative technique I know of that will make them fly away so I just go into town to catch a few exhibitions until quitting time, the noise levels of the ongoing gentrification of my inner city streets are one of the main reasons I start work at 2am to catch those rare hours when the city is quiet. Both of David Abram’s books are well worth reading, they align with Grace’s thoughts on reciprocity & Hannah Arendt’s concept of ‘Amor Mundi’, a love for the world that she locates in the ”point at which we decide whether we love the world enough to assume responsibility for it.”

  6. Still practicing on this lunar eclipse, Guru Purnima day in Manhattan where, though damp, the sun is shining, a rescued orchid has finally revived to grow roots again, the windowsill basil is ready to reap and the thin geranium is surviving. What plans “Love” has for the world and how glad I am to be a part of it.

  7. Liz A says:

    Your latest sea urchin struck me as a small world, the lines of stitch like be-jeweled longitudes. How fortunate we all are to have the artistry of Bronwyn, Deb and Glennis to accompany us.

    As for the rest of this thoughtful post, I think back to the many threads you gathered together in the making of and exhibit for The Illustrated Lyrics of Old Man Crow. And so, while the schedule for Braille for the Soul looks daunting, your purpose is clear and there is no doubt in my mind that all shall be well and timely done.

    Gather on …

    • Mo Crow says:

      ((Liz))) the sea urchin is getting very wild and wooly with this full moon energy & it’s time to print out that production schedule so I can add more things that need to be done and start ticking off the ones that are, I do enjoy trying on all the different hats for getting a big sprawling project together!

  8. vdbolyard says:

    I loved the spell of the sensuous, it came at the right time. Haven’t read the newer book yet. Did you like the bit about the lightning bugs and the stars in TSOTS?

  9. Hi Mo
    Your artist statement is very powerful! The attention you bring to words about the restorative, the loving repair work, the world wide connection-making with a shared purpose, all crystallise the intention and draw together the strength and potential of ‘art as agency for change’ in our beautiful world… and I love how you give such respect to the concept of kindness
    Bravo warrior woman!

  10. Saskia says:

    I sat smiling, almost laughing out loud whilst reading David Abrams’ fly-fly-away solution! must have a go at it when fly/mosquito/wasp starts bugging me next time! mental note to self: add to personal book wish list

  11. ravenandsparrow says:

    I love David Abram’s books…you have inspired me to go back and read them again. I also like seeing your schedule and plan for your show. There is something soothing about the nuts and bolts of accomplishment. I am so looking forward to the ongoing process and the culmination. Go Mo!

    • Mo Crow says:

      (((Dana))) with just under 7 months to go it was time to get the dates, schedule and costings worked out! There’s a grant that’s due soon which wilI consolidate the bio, artist’s statement and costings which feels like it has this project’s name on it for community based art, will give it my best shot

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