The room was decorated with streamers of paper flowers, Chinese lanterns, candle light and party favors. The table of presents looked like an art installation with paint and decoupage wrapping and unique bows. The cake was homemade with hand-made decorations suited for a princess. A small, but enthusiastic group of friends attended the party that I call the artistic event of the season.
I am blown away and deeply nourished by the creative force of the friendships that surround me. Harmen has inspired and encouraged in me a keen interest for all things related to learning to see the world through the lens of the trigrams. In one of his many suggestions of things for me to try, he mentioned creating a workshop. In sharing this with my friends, ideas were seeded and tended into a unique and creative expression of the attributes of the trigrams.
We started with little more than diagrams on napkins and vague explanations of the meaning of the bagua. Stone and Michelle decided to take on this project in secret preparation to present on my birthday. I was aware that they were working together on it, but I was not allowed to see the progress. Before this, neither of them had even heard of a trigram. They did the research and worked together to gather the materials and assemble the many parts.
The stories they tell of the collaboration are inspiring. In the fabric store they imagined the movement of materials through the focus of the attributes of each trigram. As they considered weight, color, and form, they asked people in the store if the chosen material resembled fire or water or earth. They asked friends to guess the trigram represented by the combination of the material chosen.
Art is invention and a concept imagined can be different in actual application. The paint chosen doesn’t adhere or the fabric shows more light then expected or the glue won’t hold the weight of something. Stone and Michelle are both strong, independent women with different styles and varying approaches. They balanced and flowed with alternating deference to the other in the process of this lovely collaboration.
Each present I opened was something thoughtful and wonderful: an etymological dictionary, a framed and matted print of me painted purple with parasol, a Chinese silk tai chi outfit in a jeweled color that shimmers, a box of little surprises that were funny and sweet, and a handmade beaded bracelet.
One gift was a pair of gloves with blue lights. My sources of inspiration follow from three deep influences: tai chi, puppetry, and the Yijing. One crazy morning I told Stone I wanted to find a way to have lights on my palms to illuminate the imaginary ball of energy in the movements of tai chi. She had seen something the day before on the internet and ordered them after she heard my idea.
The magnum opus was a big box. I felt overwhelmed. It was as if I was in a dream to be the recipient of such love and caring. I opened the box to folds of tissue paper encasing 8 panels depicting the bagua. I could not continue in revealing them and asked that Michelle take over. I took a seat and watched in awe as she brought out each panel made of black and white silk and painted in shimmering gold.
Each panel presented contains a pocket. Inside the pocket is a magic wand that captures the meaning of the trigram presented on the panel. Michelle was animated and engaging in acting out the attributes of each. It was an original performance art piece which was informative, imaginative, beautiful and hilarious all at the same time. By the end there were panels and bagua and colors and fabric and glitter everywhere.
(Special thanks for the photos by Sylvia Cross @ http://www.decaturartclasses.com/)
I now have the panels hanging on a wall in the middle of my apartment and arranged in the sequence of later heaven. The magic wands are hidden in the pockets. It is a sight that inspires, comforts, and nourishes my soul. Words and pictures cannot capture or express the craftsmanship, creative originality nor the
joy and delight I feel inside. I am rich, and I am thankful.