“Sacred Entwinement: Beneath the Surface” by Rhonda Luckey
February 18, 2022
In December 2020, I was eco-printing flowers and leaves; the prints intended to be given as gifts. At the same time, I was given corylus avellana (common hazel) or Walking Stick by a friend, whose branches grew and intertwined in an exquisitely twisted and whimsical manner. I had a spark of insight when I saw the enchantment of the Walking Sticks paired with the eco prints and their ghost-like beauty. It was then I committed to taking the prints and combining them in some way with the Walking Stick branches, not realizing—yet intuiting in my bones—that they would find a way to be expressed uniquely, and, like kintsugi, beautifully through some form of surface design.
As a practice, kintsugi enables one to see what might be considered imperfect as beautiful. Using plants grown in my garden in Western Pennsylvania, I created ten botanical prints and a ghost print for each. I chose different materials and techniques including the Japanese art of mending broken ceramics by filling the cracks with gold.
The Walking Stick branches are also integral to the ten works and serve as a unifying symbol—both visually and spiritually—of Sacred Entwinement, my soulful journey. The pieces, though broken and imperfect, were not only transformed but also supported and strengthened by the Walking Sticks. As I worked, time became a mystical space, an imaginal realm, a meditation, and a sacred gift to make visible the divine light that guided my hands and heart.
It also became a challenge and perhaps something more. What I learned with each meditation was that I could not pre-determine how their expressions would unfold. I tended this garden and cared for them, while protecting and preserving their essence. As I moved through the months of 2021, quietly, silently, sometimes in the dark night of the soul, I finally found myself on October 27, 2021 completing the last of the Sacred Entwinements: Beneath the Surface and what I call my ten meditations.
First Meditation ~ weave the silken threads of your life
The Forsythia (better know as the Easter tree) ghost print is surrounded by shibori silk, dyed with black beans and turmeric. The work is woven throughout with cane and silk and sashiko stitched with bamboo thread.
Second Meditation ~ follow your path, beneath the surface
Echoes of the Pachysandra and Walking Stick are embedded in nuno felt. The crevice is embellished with wool locks and lined with shibori silk, dyed with black beans and overdyed in indigo.
Third Meditation ~ do not stand apart, become one
The Mountain Roseberry Rhododendron ghost print is sculpted on the bark of a downed cedar and then stitched onto a hand-painted canvas.
Fourth Meditation ~ you are not alone
The Black Chokeberry ghost print is embossed with the veins of leaves, wrapped with vintage lace and sailcloth, printed with a leaf woodblock and sculpted around the trunk of a dogwood tree.
Fifth Meditation ~ breathe new life
The echo of the Hills of Snow Hydrangea is embedded in an encaustic painting. The preserved hydrangea (from which the eco-prints were made) rests in its encaustic sea.
Sixth Meditation ~ rest with brittle bones
The Seaside Goldenrod echo print and Walking Stick are stitched with copper into handmade textured paper, draped in lace from vintage linen and embedded in beeswax.
Seventh Meditation ~ feeling light within
The Azalea echo and Walking Stick are wrapped and draped with threads of raw silk and sprayed with starch.
Eighth Meditation ~ i am the vine
The Sweetbay Magnolia ghost print is woven with jute, wool and silk onto a Walking Stick.
Ninth Meditation ~ here, now, always
The ghost prints of Mountain Rosebay, Lily of the Valley Bush, Japanese Meadowsweet and Japanese Carpet Box are encased in frames of paper, mono-printed with leaves and woven with waxed thread. The lantern is both bound by the Walking Stick and hangs from it.
Tenth Meditation (October) ~ from desert to forest…we are one
The Spirea echo and Walking Stick are stiched, woven with copper thread onto paper, and mono-printed with leaves. The piece is backed with silk organza and hand-made textured paper.
Sacred Entwinement represents a journey in search of the sacred and that which lies beneath the surface of all things. These ten works serve to guide the seeker in her travels to the imaginal realm. Supported by the Walking Stick, the traveler becomes one with the mystery of all of creation.
Sacred Entwinement’s ten meditations will be included in the Waltz of the Flowers Art Exhibit at The Artists Hand Gallery. On display through March 5, 2022.
–Rhonda Luckey draws upon her early training as a weaver and garment maker to create fiber expressions using eco-printing, block printing, silk painting, sewing, weaving and nuno felting. Her art is influenced by her early childhood spent living in Asia and Europe. Luckey works in her Enfoldme Fiber Design studios in Michigan and Pennsylvania.