If you ever get tired of feeling like you have to come up with new ideas, fret no more. There are two reasons. First: reiterating symbols and themes allows you to explore and understand them more deeply, so stop trying to come up with new stuff and see what happens if you try working with the same ideas in new, improvised ways.
Second, and the main topic of this post: taking a symbol or a theme from one medium and using it in a new medium is totally awesome! Weeee!
That is what I've been doing lately, taking images that initially appeared in my art on paper, and giving them form in clay.
A few weeks ago, I posted about how I used movement to process some difficult emotions and that it resulted in a clay sculpture instead of the usual painting. I was able to continue that exploration of form in my recent ceramics class.
One assignment was to create a box or container for an object that has special meaning to us. Yum! I loved that idea. She showed some gorgeous art to inspire us by artists Ron Kovatch and Donna Rozman and others, as well as the history of altars, niches and reliquaries.
I was particularly inspired by this piece by Ron Kovatch. You will see the obvious influence in my own piece!
My piece is a box, with removable idols. The idols are the Foal Woman, who is derived from a dream I had many years ago. The symbol has changed and matured over the years. I've never fully articulated what the symbol means for me, but it seems to represent transformation and rebirth.
The other image is the Rabbit, a symbol that has reoccured throughout my life, starting with my mother's nickname for me being Bunny. This symbol is my central symbol for self when I feel vulnerable or in need of something.
I also wanted to make a Stag figure, but we only had one day to make the project in this condensed class. The stag is one of the symbols that appears when I am trying to be a leader, but the way it appears it is a female form with antlers.
After the week-long intensive, we had one more assignment in ceramics. I chose to create sketches for 6 more pieces I would like to make. 4 of them relate to the project above.
One of the things I most love about expressive arts is the intermodality of it...taking something and moving from one mode of expression (visual) to another (anything from movement to music to writing). Often in the translation, something unexpected emerges. It might be a new inspiration, or an insight into a situation that brings resolution and healing.
Share your own translations and transmutations...what metaphors do you explore in your own work?