This exhibit is an extension of my most iconic work—that of the labyrinth. I include my latest rendition of the labyrinth in the one fabric piece on display, “Spirit of Life.” The labyrinth image I use is of the labyrinth in Chartres, France—a labyrinth I walked as the primary purpose of a pilgrimage I took in October 2008. Lauren Artress writes about the labyrinth:
[It’s] an ancient mystical tool that can help us prepare ourselves for the “transformation of human personality in progress” and accomplish a “shift in consciousness” as we seek spiritual maturity as a species.” Furthermore, “the labyrinth is a spiritual tool meant to awaken us to the deep rhythm that unites us to ourselves and to the Light that calls from within.” (Walking a Sacred Path, 1995)
Walking a labyrinth allows one to let go of plans and strategy, for the path is laid out in front of you and all you have to do is watch your step. Similarly, whether on marked trails of national parks or sidewalks in town, I let go of choreography and open myself to the improvisation of where the path takes me.
Early in 2015, on a neighborhood walk, I picked up my first found object (“objet trouvé”) and brought it home. In doing so, I developed a different form of mindfulness on my walks. Not only would I watch my step, I would keep an eye out for interesting objects not meant to be in the road or on the path.
While this exhibit represents my daily outings and the general parameters of my urban trails, it also represents an observation that gives me pause. It reminds me of the carelessness that many take toward the planet, allowing non-biodegradable objects to be tossed into the landscape. I purposefully made the letter “O” from a hubcap, as a reminder that if humankind continues to discard large pieces of trash, we will, indeed, obliterate our planet, not just our scenic view.
Walking pilgrimages call to me and walking has become an integral part of my daily life. I walk everywhere every day. This exhibit represents many of my walks in what has become my hometown, Kalamazoo. The images are collaged from found objects, an online GIS map and one photo.