Saturday, February 25, 2006

Three-dimensional prayers

This is a longer answer to the question one of the 'anonymouses' (ha - that looks like an anonymous mouse) asked me in a comment. Where did I learn to do the window lamps, etc.? It's not something I 'learnt'. It came about after an inspired moment in 1998. I was at a friend's house and her neighbour had a lot of pieces of junk under the house - one of which was an old window. It had 4 panes and it was very long/tall in shape. I was drawn to it and, realising that he was going to throw it away, asked if I could have it. I had no idea what I would do with it, but ... in those days I used to collect 'junk' and transform it into different things (reincartnation).

I was living in Woodbrook at the time. I kept the window outdoors in the driveway and would just look at it whenever I passed. Around that time the friend I had been visiting was going through a time of great darkness and despair. One day I looked at the window and realised the way the light shone through its panes. It must have been at that moment that I thought the light could also shine through my friend's 'pains'. I decided to make a lamp out of the window and give it to her. It was like a three-dimensional prayer.

It was a very simple lamp (being my first) but beautiful. The top pane had a unicorn on it, reaching for what appeared to be the moon. It was a visual prayer that said - continue to believe in your dreams and reach for them. The second pane was simply a blood red spiral done in glass paints, filling the whole pane. it symbolised blood (life) being transformed and constantly evolving. The third pane (I can't remember now). The lowest pane had a misty black cloud of spray paint in the middle, with an old watch stuck at the centre and abstract, mystical-looking symbols drawn in gold around the black cloud. That lowest pane was called "The mysteries of the Universe" ... that which we don't know in our conscious minds but which is revealed to us through God, dreams, meditation, experience and time. The light shining through the dark cloud is enlightenment.

My friend loved the lamp and her life turned around. For her, the lamp had become a symbol of her transformation and for me, a realisation of the healing power of art. She kept the lamp for years, taking it with her wherever she moved ... until about 2 years ago one of the panes broke (can't recall which one - perhaps the spiral) and we thought that the lamp had 'done it's job' and it was time to let it go. She was going abroad to study anyway.

The second lamp I had made (soon after I did hers) was called the "Twilight Door" - and I was going to put it in an 'Exhibition of Lights' (1998) that I was involved in with three other artists one Divali. In addition to some lamps I had made in conjunction with another friend who does batik, I had done a series of deep blue lighted pieces called "Twilights". The Twilight Door was one of them. It was so beautiful with its deep colours, I felt I couldn't put a price on it ... yet I wanted someone to have it. Every time I looked at it I was drawn in, soothed and inspired. I decided I would give the lamp to the first person at the exhibition who came up to me and showed in some way that they really understood and felt the depth of what the lamp was about.

That night at the exhibition opening, many people came to me and said they loved the lamp and found it interesting. At one point, two teenage girls came shyly to me, pointed to the lamp across the room and asked me if I had made it. I said yes - then one of them said "I love it!" Something about the way she said she loved it gave me goosebumps, because I knew by her tone and the look on her face that she felt it in a different way from everyone else who had said they loved it. She then started gushing in a torrent of words all that she had felt and picked up from the lamp - simple yet meaningful things that I didn't think anyone else would have sensed. At the end of her gushing, I said to her "You can have it." At first she didn't believe me. Then when I repeated myself, she and her friend clutched at each other, jumped around and screamed and ran off to be near to the lamp. Apart from the moment being funny, I was aware that the lamp was going to the right person.

Anyway ... it turned out that she was the daughter of the girlfriend (now wife?) of Nigel Rojas, lead singer of the band Orange Sky. One night I was out somewhere and he came up to me and, in chatting, mentioned something that sounded like it was the Twilight Door, saying that his girlfriend's daughter had got this lamp made out of a window, etc etc bla bla. When he realised I had made it, he said: "Wow ... I love that Twilight Door! It gives me real inspiration. I sit in front of it to write songs ..." (I wonder if that lamp is still around).

Anyway ... that's how the whole window lamp thing started ...



Anonymous Anonymous said...

wouldn't it be nice to found out what happen to the lamps you a mini documentary on where ther are now or who has tracking it down...that might be cool and you can have people say what it has done for them...that might be nice for your own personal record to know.

1:24 PM  
Anonymous theglasshermitage said...

So interesting Elspeth. I'd love to hear more about how you are inspired to create and how your creations in turn inspire others. Enjoyed the Diva post too. My doggie child just came in and with a sharp upward movement of his head flicked my right hand off the keyboard. This is how he says, "Enough is enough! Time to play!!" Could you tell me more about Pippa and the Pippa actions that inspire you or simply make you laugh?

2:46 PM  
Anonymous malik said...

i always like the way you think

Blessing Flowz

6:35 PM  
Blogger Elspeth said...

Thanks, Malik. Anonymous, that's a great idea. Glass - re Pippa, laughter/chuckles are evoked mainly from her expressions (e.g., the quizzical twisting of the head as she 'listens' or observes, her little name tags tinkling as she runs ... etc. Maybe I'll feature her one of these days.

7:14 PM  
Anonymous theglasshermitage said...


12:45 PM  

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