Creative Self-Empowerment: Self-Portrait in a Thousand Pieces

>>Mosaic art available on commission<<

I first learned how to make mosaics nearly 20 years ago, from a Hungarian man who emphasized the craftsmanship and durability of the medium. To him, this was not some slap-dash craft project; mosaics had gravitas, and were meant to endure. I’ve always appreciated this approach—I love being able to immerse myself in projects, and honor them with time and vision. I want my pieces to endure, evolve, to age, and to be burnished by their being loved.

It’s only recently that I’ve begun to untangle just what it is that draws me to mosaic-making. Sometimes, I think I’m totally nuts: I literally spend hours upon hours cutting tiles into tiny pieces and gluing them down onto a board. There are nine million other things I could be doing.

But what I’ve learned is that that is one of my meditations.

As I break tiles and lay them, my mind has time to unspool. My thoughts wander, coalesce, and converge in flashes of insight.

For me, there’s something resonant about smashing something to pieces and rearranging them in a way that makes something beautiful. 

It’s a new opportunity to create beauty out of brokenness.

And mosaics are heavy—they have gravity. I use stained glass and stone and vitreous glass and ceramic and shells and crystals, then mix grout to tie them all together. Mosaics are grounding in the most literal way. They are of the earth.

What’s even more fascinating is that I find that the piece I’m working on teaches me as I go. When I try to force a tile piece, I often realize I'm trying to force pieces in other parts of my life. Then there are times when I find the perfect piece—a shape that fits a tiny, irregular spot so perfectly that it can’t possibly be coincidence. My genies are prodding me along—I am co-creating this with the universe. It is creating me as I’m creating it. It compels me to make it, to bring it into being—there’s no other way to describe it. I know this thing wants to be born, and I want to be the one to birth it.

After I lay the tiles and the design is finished, it’s time to let go.

For me, this is the most excruciating part. I’ve spent countless hours making this beautiful piece in front of me… and then I slather it all with grout. It’s like burying a newborn; I don’t know how or if it will reemerge, or if I’ve just killed it.

Then, as the grout dries, I start excavating it; I wipe off the grout, layer by layer. Colors and design re-emerge. Now, the grout, this primordial ooze, has filled in all of the cracks—all of those broken pieces emerge as a unified being.

As it dries, I wipe off the haze and polish the pieces, returning them to their vibrancy. I can see the whole, and I breathe, finally, in relief.

These works are my labor, and my love, my metaphysical offspring.

My creative acts of self-empowerment and expression. A way for me to say,

I made this; it’s for you. I’m for you.

 Everyone has a different way of expressing their creativity.

Whatever it is, it becomes even more powerful when we understand how our creativity feeds us. How it is a co-creation that allows us the time to come back to ourselves in a more connected way, to channel and express whatever genies are hovering around us.

To make something for ourselves, and for others.

To give the world the gifts it needs: the gift of you.

 

Blue Goddess

She was born in the time before language—before anything could ever possibly be lost in translation.

She rules the moon and the heartwomb, those twin sanctuaries of shadow that grow gibbous with the pure potential of gestating light.

With time, language was imposed on her, a tongue that emerged in rigid lines rather than all-blossoming being, a language too one-dimensional for her to express.

And so, without a voice, she withdrew to the watery underearth.

In her rootbound nest she lay in wait for a time when her power would again be quickened, when her voice could bloom and be known in its fullness.

Now, as the earth contracts and screams her agony into the oceans, panting for some divine, saltwater mercy, the crowning time has come.

The blue goddess resurges, raw and resplendent in her pulsing power of expression.

Her message is this:

Your tears are the amniotic fluid of a brand, new universe.

As you birth it, you will be reborn. As you create it, you will be created. As it suckles at your breast, you will be nourished. As you love it, so will we all be loved.

Cry yourself alive; you are your own baptism.

Every day, you give birth and are reborn.

To be born is to obliterate everything but love.

Love + courage,
Calee

Copyright Calee Lucht 2017