Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Asheville River Arts District - Hands and Heart at Work

While in Asheville, North Carolina, we visited the River Arts District in the southern part of town. After walking through several galleries, we were the first customers of the day at the Wedge Brewery (most popular of nine breweries in Asheville). We enjoyed our drafts in the outside seating area, surrounded by lurking pigeons and cool metal art.

On the wall of the building was a simple mural with these words:
He who works with his hands is laborer.
He who works with his hands and head is a craftsman.
He who works with his hands and heart is an artist.
- St. Francis of Assisi

When I work with my hands, it's at the keyboard of a computer. I always work with my head, and sometimes with my heart. So as a writer, that would make me a craftsman who is sometimes an artist.

The art in Asheville is amazingly diverse. In one of the shops, a woman who works with her hands and her heart had this self-description posted on the wall next to her work: "Since childhood, I've been on a journey towards my spiritual space. When I began working in clay, my beingness merged with the oneness of the universe, transforming my approach to art. My work is about the evolution of soul towards ultimate light."

Okay...Anyway, her work was eye-catching. I was taken by the image of a women with dark, deathlike eyes. An incubus was growing out of her back, and the skulls of both the incubus and the woman were cracked open and rats were crawling out. She definitely had artistic talent. The piece was quite original and thought-provoking. What thoughts? Uh...I think I'll keep them to myself.

Down the street, another artist, Marston Blow, was busy creating clay bowls. But not your ordinary clay bowls. These bowls SING. For real. You know how you can run your finger around certain crystal wine glasses, producing a tone? These bowls produce a tone so loud you can feel the vibrations in your body. Amazing. She learned to create these bowls by accident. She left one in the kiln too long and she discovered that when she tapped it a tone was produced. She followed up with trial and error until she got the size and firing just right. There are other singing bowls in the world, but none made with clay. One of these bowls became my wife Kathleen's birthday present.

Marston Blow worked with her hands and trusted her heart...

Post by Dennis E. Coates, Ph.D., Copyright 2011. Building Personal Strength .


Kathleen Scott said...

Amazing that she could hand-build bowls to the exact shape, size and thickness to produce tones in exact keys. My bowl is an F. When I skim the rim with the wooden rod, at a 45 degree angle, not too fast, concentrating, a tone begins to rise, vibrating and pure, louder and louder until it swirls through my chest and around my head and nothing else exists but the bowl and the rod and the tone.

Sarcastic Bastard said...

Asheville is such a great town. I really enjoyed touring the Biltmore Estate. Now that they have good wine for sale, I may go back. Laugh.

Love to you and my dear Kathleen.
Sorry I haven't been around more. I have been SO busy at work, prepping for a conference.