An Artist's Quest

Keeping the wheel spinning

Well there are lots of metaphorical images to be teased from Monday’s shadow of the wheel photo, I had a couple of great comments on Monday’s post that expanded the conversation and I encourage you to check them out.  As I got started on my art piece this week I focused much of my attention on the spokes of the wheel.  The function of spokes is to hold the wheels rim to the axle, the spokes have to stand in perfect tension to each other or the wheel goes catawampus, gets lopsided and keeps the wheel from turning smoothly or turning at all.  The word tension in my mind generally has negative connotations (the pinch in my right shoulder just gave a twinge to remind me what that tension can feel like) but I think perhaps we run away from what tension has to offer.  I keep imagining myself standing on a teeter-totter, legs straddling the center point, striving, struggling to keep it level.  Each time the board tips one way I feel a lift on the opposite side and muscles tense and push the board back into balance, action/reaction.  In the art piece I portrayed each spoke as a double helix, the spiral model of our DNA, with the idea that this tension is built into us in our structure.  Any of us who have been around small children can attest to the fact that children have personality traits that they come into the world with, they are who they are!  As children this can only be pure nature…the trick is using that pure nature in it’s most constructive form.  What I’m trying to get at is the tension again.  Tension between dark and light, negative and positive, balanced and unbalanced.  Nothing about us is inherently good or inherently bad…it’s how we use what we have…it’s how we react as we stand on the teeter-totter, do we use core tension in our inner wheel to get in balance or out of balance?  My thoughtful, science minded 14-year-old son said it was like “diffusion” in cell biology, the balancing of amino acids from areas that are always striving towards equilibrium with in each cell.  This struggle to be in balance gets down to the cellular level!  Finding the useful, constructive component in all our traits is the trick, so hop on your teeter-totter of a life, get all the wheels of your core self spinning and see (to quote poet Mary Oliver) “what will you do with your one wild and precious life?”

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2 responses

  1. Siobhan

    I’m loving your blog and your insightful thoughts about your journey with each piece. I also love the look of this piece. I echo Laura’s sentiment that I wish I could see them all full-size–guess I have to wait for New Year’s for that! Love, Siobhan

    October 30, 2010 at 12:07 am

  2. Laura Thorpe

    I think the long, narrow rectangular shapes on the “spokes” of your response piece are words, yes? As I peered at them, though, for a moment I thought I saw mahjong (spelling?!) tiles…. Can you enlighten me/us as to what is on those strips? I’m squinting, and alas, tensing up, in the not knowing. Wondering from a distance, Laura

    October 30, 2010 at 2:48 am

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