I have always loved flame…the way it dances, mesmerizes my focus, and whispers to my soul. In NC, we used to gather around the bonfire on our hobby farm, roasting marshmallows for s’mores and burning away yard trash, fallen limbs, and the occasional kitchen chair (yes, really.)
In art, I started long ago using flame. I remember my sister, Regina, helping me burn the edges of a graduation diploma I created for my Snoopy. I collected Snoopy clothes for my faithful stuffed companion and when I got his cap and gown, it just seemed like he needed that rolled up document to complete the ensemble. Burning the edges just seemed to age it a bit. Now, the diploma sits in my box of childhood mementos, naturally aged, but still crisp around the edges from our marks.
Later I burned art work, not only on the edges, but to make holes, stain surfaces, and “age” collage pieces. I love having spontaneous results in my art and flame definitely is spontaneous.
Over the decades I have been teaching art journaling, or some sort of visual story telling, burn pots have always been a favorite part of the process. Over the last three years, I have moved my teaching into more of a healing realm, encouraging the release of stressors my art students are burdened with through writing them down and burning them in the burn pot. It’s an act toward healing that one can only understand when in the process.
The symbolism of burning brings about clarity. It changes the aura around and, coupled with creating an art journaling page, it opens up perspectives, alternative view points to explore.
It is also a great step in healing broken hearts, hurt feelings, and pesky work related issues you just need to vent about!
Recently, I got to experience a Native American celebration where we were each given a kernel of corn upon which we were to release our negative thoughts, our woes, and meditate to relinquish their power back to our selves. The kernels were then burned in a sacred fire. It was so comforting to have this experience in a larger group setting, the darkened space, and the spiritual feeling that, at least for a short time, the burden was lightened.
So, I propose an International burning on New Year’s Eve, wherever you are. Find a vessel that is safe for a small amount of flame, write down what you would like to leave in 2014, and burn those woes away! I use stoneware bowls that have a small opening to their larger bellies. Make sure you have plenty of ventilation and that you watch your flame until it extinguishes itself. Enjoy the movement of the flames, the release of the load, and welcome in 2015 with a clearer mind and a lighter soul.
Join my Facebook group and post pics of your flames as well as your art journal pages if you choose to do them. Closer to New Year’s Eve, I will post details, an art journaling prompt, and more!
Now I must post this…Disclaimer: Please burn responsibly. This is not a request or permission for vandalism and I am not responsible for any misuse of flame that results in any personal injury or property loss.