Envision and Enact

I once took a class from Sybil Rampen, where she showed us a bag she had purposely put holes into, to symbolize the “hard times” she had gone through in life. Of course, when she showed it to us, the holes had been “mended.”

They had brought out the creativity needed to go far beyond a “making the best of it” mentality.  Exquisite stitching, applique, beading, etc. made those mended sections the most beautiful part of the bag.

It reminded me of Deena Metzger, who had a tree branch, in bloom, tattooed where a mastectomy had claimed her breast. Then she made a poster of herself, hands outstretched, the artwork proudly displayed. She wrote this poem to accompany the poster:

I am no longer afraid of mirrors where I see the sign of the
amazon, the one who shoots arrows.
There was a fine red line across my chest where a knife
entered, but now
a branch winds about the scar and travels from arm to heart.
Green leaves cover the branch, grapes hang there and a bird
What grows in me now is vital and does not cause me harm.
I think the bird is singing.
I have relinquished some of the scars.
I have designed my chest with the care given to an illuminated  manuscript.

I am no longer ashamed to make love. Love is a battle I
can win.
I have the body of a warrior who does not kill or wound.
On the book of my body, I have permanently inscribed a tree.

That ability to envision (and enact) a metamorphosis of what most would call a mutilation into something beautiful is deeply moving. If you want to read more about Metzger’s remarkable life and work, read her essay entitled Illness Heals the World.


About CarolWiebe

Art entices, inspires, and delights me. Art is a vehicle for laughter, tears, wonder, enlightenment--taking me on a constant path of discovery. You can't say that about housework (except, perhaps, for the crying part).
This entry was posted in Artists, Books, Digital Art, Poetry, Quotations, Topics that catch my interest, Writers and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Envision and Enact

  1. jted says:

    Art infused and intertwined with the mess of life, art as a bridge between our pain and our recovery, art as pain, art as scars… I love this post and the previous post (they blend nicely together). Humans are infinitely creative. Thank you for sharing these stories.

  2. Carol Boyer says:

    Wonderful post! How we deal is a choice and state of mind. Keep looking for the best in everything!

  3. Flora says:

    Carol, this is another example of serendipity. This evening the son of Sybil Rampen sat around our dining room table with his wife and talked about his mother’s gallery in Oakville. He and his wife have a summer home in Bear River and we were talking about painting.
    I like your story too about Deena. What a great way to deal with such a profound event.
    Thanks for this Carol.

    • Carol Wiebe says:

      Wow, that is amazing, Flora. I wish Ted and I could have been sitting at the table with you.

      You were so gracious to us, and we think of you and Larry very fondly. Perhaps now that I am retired, we can look at another trip out east. Be sure to let us know if you come OUR way.

      • Flora says:

        I wish that you and Ted could visit too!
        I’m guessing that the reality of your ‘retirement’ won’t fully hit home until September. I can’t wait to see what comes out of your creative muse. We’ve started referring to this time as ‘graduation’ because ‘retirement’ is a total misnomer. ;)
        We haven’t been to Ontario for almost 2 years. It would be nice to visit soon.

  4. Flora says:

    AND your artwork is powerful too.

I LOVE hearing from you!

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