How to use these devices.
While developing the forms, I came up with many different approaches as well as materials and I like them all for a variety of reasons. I will share some of my approaches, but want to encourage you to make your own methods.
With the felted banner featured, I started with the darkened center and followed the line up and to the right, using an inhale. At the peak of the shape, I would exhale and leaving the orange form, I would give an extra short exhale/snort upon visually landing on the black spot at the bottom. Sometimes I start at the bottom black spot and thinking about creation from the void, I jump to the bottom of the orange form and continue until I hit the central darkness which is kind of like a life in concept (perhaps a thought, extinguished and rebirthing in the black dot again).
Sometimes I focus my attention on the exterior of the line. I have deliberately created lots of undulations so it can be viewed as almost two lines; the left and right of the original line form.
Once my mind is settled, I direct my gaze to, in this case the red transparence of the scarf and do an eyes-open meditation. This spot gives my eyes a place to expand and yet be someplace like what Susan Piver does in her Open Heart meditations (just wonderful and free).
In the burlap banner I start by taking in the entire textural surface for a moment. I then move to the top sisal string, the open line and follow it left and at the bottom left corner it crosses over the other thread. It moves into a loose knot and travels back in the same path, crosses over and then goes into a round knot that is off the surface of the burlap. My eye travels around that circle and back to doe the entire corse again. It is intricate, and yet not complicated. I like the comfort of the down-home feel of the fabric.
In this photographic banner I sit and think about nature. Here is the dry river bed. I’m taken in by the eco issues and think it’s both normal and needing love. I start and follow the line with my eye. Sometimes I start fast, but the complexity slows me down. Sometimes I pretend to be an ant walking along one side of the line and returning back on the other side. They would just do that sort of thing in that purpose/non-purpose sort of way that ants do and we could learn from.
Here an image of the road foam after a rain is captured and altered. I start on the left and make an association with a heart, but that’s just me. I move to the largest shape and then lightly land on each dot making my way around. I go to the largest again but this time I move my eye around the outside edge of each dot and then out to the heart. Sometimes I count that as one. I set a goal-'This morning I will do ten rounds’. At some point I notice the fold of the paper. This flaw feels like I’m allowed in the group as I have flaws too. Just my personal take on it and you don’t need a flaw to like the fold and how it brings your eye back into the foam if you get lost outside of the banner. I really tried to make the shapes in this non-referential, even the one I call the heart. I have had other prototypes and one just looks like a horse head so much I couldn’t use it. The association was too strong.
The magnet always feel fun and fast. Its like the practice of a few deep breaths between activities that Pema has mentioned. I like this. Its on my fridge which is the transition spot between inside and outside of my home. Its located at the junction of the launch of an activity and the moment to think it through. I start at the open yellow squiggly line on the top right. It moves into the open knot and loops out to the end where I have a slightly orange tip which signifies, turn around. Back through the loop and to the boxed off end and back again. Is it like a traipse artists movements? Its plain materials lend to other things. Its complicated enough to hold your attention for a few passes. Okay, now, do you have your keys, phone, what else-your mind is clear to grab everything, right?
The Altar has a serious feel to me. I have taken the connection of natural rocks and feathers from my mother, who also uses Byzantine icons. There is a very deliberate sitting that happens for me. The light has its own beauty, through the lines, and on the wall. I can fall into the metal-ness of the metal right away, but I’m just that way. I run the course fast the first time, sometimes. Next, I take a breath at each mark and pace that breath accordingly. I go from top to bottom and then to the top again. Other days I go top to bottom and then bottom to top. Some days I’m fussy in my head and make a complicated system. I will look at all dots first, or all lines first. Sometimes I’m all about the craggy edges and make a full circle around each shape, even if at first it looks more linear that circular. Some days I notice the screws and somedays they are so functional I don’t even see them. I settle into the uncut space on the bottom. There are grind marks that allow me to move deeper into the metal. When I use the altar, I usually involve yoga, don’t ask me why.
The table top metal piece is very much like the altar in many ways, especially that wonderful cragginess and how permanent a movement of my hand in making it is now frozen in time. One breath causes a wiggle which in life is usually temporary, but not here. I change my ideas about how the light should be positioned and whether I see the little sand bag or not. I had made others that had counting beads, meaning that at the end of the course, one would slide a bead over, so you know where you are, like a mala set. I took that off, but could be easily persuaded if someone is interested, to make a special one. My eye travels the lines as they are and then the edges within each line. This is a good choice for people with little space, but a great view as when you finish, your gaze can turn to the view.
Grip can be hand held or not. I had designed it originally for my desk top and then realized the intimacy of holding it added something for me. The way it took on my heat. I could move to make it shine. Its very simple well except for the place where it seems like it should be another straight angle, but its curved and I always linger there for a moment. Each round deserves a breath. If its on your desk, its nice to take a few seconds, oh go on - two entire minutes can be taken away from the computer, especially in-between tasks.
Double bulb is like Grip, but larger and not so hand related. This is a great candidate for being in the garden as the elements won’t be bad for it, just more rust. Gotta love rust. If you have it indoors, you can add a magnet to it. I did that with lots of different magnet choices. I did it as a starting spot. Now I weld in a small kick-out as the start/stop point. Its good for counting. Its good for controlled breathing, doing one long breath in and then at the chosen spot, a long exhalation. Sometimes I align something with its angle, like my head or my torso. I go around the outside, and then around the inside. I follow every nook and cranny. I feel it’s dance. I see the nuance of my creating hand. I love the pre-use of this as it is most evident. It is like a figure eight, but not at all.