Saturday, August 13, 2016

HEALING GODDESS

 Newly completed Healing Goddess (next to Nigerian helmet mask) by Robyn Gordon

"Our work as artists is courageous and scary. There is no brief that comes along with it, no problem solving that's given as a task....An artist's work is almost entirely inquiry based and self-regulated. It is a fragile process of teaching oneself to work alone, and focusing on how to hone your quirky creative obsessions so that they eventually become so oddly specific that they can only be our own." - Teresita Fernandez

Since I've just completed carving my healing goddess I thought I would share with those interested about what initially inspired me to carve her. The new carving is a late addition to a series of Healing Goddesses I carved several years ago.

From an old series several years ago.

A primitive Songye figure or Nkisi (from the Democratic Republic of the Congo) started my thought process about doing a series.


Image courtesy of Boris Kegel-Konietzko

I thought he was rather ugly at first though some would disagree because he has a raw, primitive energy and charm and in any case he was not created to be a work of art but an Nkisi. An Nkisi  is a power figure that is believed to have protective powers for the owner and his family. 

Wrapped around the large figure are a number of smaller figures which could be handed out to those who needed protection from evil or misfortune. When the need for protection had disappeared the small figures would then be returned  to the bigger figure. 



I fell in love with this Songye Ceremonial vessel. It is a gourd with an inner basket (containing potatoes, I think) and several miniature power figures attached to the outside.




I think the vessel has a feel-good quality about it as opposed to the slightly uneasy feeling I get from the Nkisi. 


Nestled amidst the wood shavings on my worktable .... a favourite place to photograph my carvings.

It was important to me that my Healing Goddesses exuded a feel good energy and I can only hope that I've achieved that. It was certainly therapeutic to carve them.


38 comments:

  1. She is not only beautiful, she appears to be armed to heal. She exudes confidence not a bit scary or intimidating except to the evils she could heal.

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    1. That's lovely to know, Lisa. Thank you for the positive feedback.

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    2. Stunning and powerful work!

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  2. wonderful so good to see your work aagain


    wonderful so good to see your work again


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    1. Hello Lyle!! It's always good to see your name pop up.

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  3. the deep love and honouring of the spirits of place in your work

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  4. Thanks Mo. Hope the book is soaring to new heights.

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  5. She is lovely, such a peaceful look, a bit like the look on the face of your mother when you were sick as a child. Not that my mother was dressed like that. My small healing doll of yours is an important part of my life. It is interesting that you say they go back in the gourd when the healing is done, it is a bit like that with my doll. She comes out when I need her. Thank you.

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    1. Thanks Penny. Happy you still enjoy the healing doll.

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  6. Her power is evident: calming, reassuring. Strengthening! I know how very busy you are but I will hold on to the hope that, one day, you will make a Goddess for me! Beautifully done; she's imbued with your spirit, even more precious!

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    1. Thank you so much for your positive feedback MaryJo. I won't forget! Your name is on the list. I've just checked...and its still there :-)

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  7. I am interested as to why you have created your healing goddesses with no arms to reach out and no hands to touch and offer healing.No doubt you had your reasons?

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    1. Avus I was inspired by ancient goddess figures which don't have arms. I wanted to create my own version of the goddess but still keeping the essence of the ancient sculptures. My early totems were inspired by totem poles which don't have arms either.

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  8. So nice to see to your posts again. I've always enjoyed reading and see the beautiful images. Your healing goddesses is so strong, elegant and confident. Thank you for sharing.

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    1. Karen I appreciate your positive feedback. Thank you so much.

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  9. I loved this post Robyn - and I want to hold one of those healing goddesses in my hand - they are so touchable.

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    1. They are very tactile. Glad you had that reaction Pat. Thank you!

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  10. love your process!! I have made cloth healing dolls for friends

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    1. Thanks Susan. I wish you would share your healing dolls.

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  11. She is wonderful in all her ways Robyn - from over here I can feel her gentle healing, and simply want to reach through the screen and touch her. A beautiful gift you have given the world...

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    1. Fiona, such a lovely thing to say, thank you!

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  12. Hi R - I even juist love the fact that you would create a healing goddess - such a positive and energy filled piece - it can't help but bring good energy to those who gaze upon her and those fortunate enough to hold her. Hopefully there will be many more healing goddesses. Peace. B

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    1. I am touched by all the kind words. Thank you Barry. We certainly need all the positive energy we can get to heal our world. I think being in that positive frame of mind must help someone at least. I wasn't sure that I would carve more but the good reaction she has received points in that direction.

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  13. I do love this piece--no surprise there. I think you achieved what you hoped to. The other examples of protective pieces was really interesting. A vessel from which protective objects are removed and returned really starts the ideas flowing, doesn't it? And the Nkisi from which protective figurines are removed as needed and returned. All of these speak of sanctuary or refuge in a rather unsettling way--perhaps the flip side of those concepts. One doesn't enter the vessel and hide from the threat, or cling to Nkisi. These are made for those who are out in the world at large doing battle in some form or other. The Nkisi would need to be fierce, wouldn't he?

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  14. Indeed the Nkisi figures are generally fierce for good reason and as you say they are made for those who need bolstering in one way or another. So glad you love her Dianne. The concept of the small figures moving back and forth, to and from the "mother ship" is inspiring.

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  15. I agree. Daily, I look at the small figures in the piece you carved for me, and feel always that just letting the thought pass over them is one form of blessing. I think there's something to be said for the passing of things to and fro - a physical enactment of call and response - the DNA of each imperceptibly present.

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    1. The sharing aspect, in the to-ing and fro-ing, is so supportive too. Your appreciation of the carving I did for you keeps me smiling.

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  16. As a fellow artist I so appreciate your wanting your art to have "feel good energy," Robyn. Part of the reason it does is because of who you are and the intent you bring to it. I also love that your figures to not have arms. I imagine them as having the power to disarm negative forces and assuage the troubled spirit. I would also not be surprised if they secretly harbor wings. XO Carol

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  17. lol... Carol I have carved many with wings... a long time ago.
    But I do like the thought of wings secretly harbored. Such a lovely image in my mind. I appreciate your appreciation Carol....and your kind words.

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  18. Your beautiful goddess figure does indeed exude a peaceful, feel-good energy. Art tends to capture the feeling and intentions of of the artist as s/he makes it, I think. Many ancient peoples believed this, as you pointed out, and I believe it still holds true today. Perhaps it is "magic" in some sense of the word, or psychic energy, or what ever you want to call it. This piece seems to carry on that tradition, and her beauty touches my heart.

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    1. That means a lot to me Sharmon. Thank you.

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  19. I am lat getting here, she is beautiful and I feel very calm when I look at her. xoxo

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    1. Thanks so much Annie. I tend to be late getting to blog posts too.

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  20. You r a healing force, always. So is your work you. Thanda

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  21. M, one of the reasons I am blogging again is so that I can keep up with all my old friends who don't do Face Book. So lovely to see you here! Thanda xoxo

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