near Villa Mañihuales, Chile
I’m back in the studio again, all fresh after three weeks in Patagonia and working with some new perspectives. Travel is good for that, right? Giving you a new look at the big wide world and maybe your own little personal world too. Providing opportunities to see things with new eyes when you get home. I’ve had a lot to think about…
I find the fact that I (really, obliviously) chose Patagonia for my first foray out of the country in 22 years so interesting because it was as though I landed smack-dab in the middle of one of my dimensional art pieces. With its compact homesteads (campos), huge birds (condors), and archetypal trees (the moss-covered lenga), all the imagery I use in my art and print on Home + Range wares came to life in the Patagonian scenery. The remote and rugged mountains of southern Chile dwarf you at every turn, staggering you with so much awe-inspiring beauty it’s really hard to take it all in… and very easy to feel small in relation to it. Everything I saw reflected the themes I strive to express in my art… humanity’s fleeting existence in relation to geologic time, cosmic time, the forces of nature. Of landscape being bigger than our own sense of relevance. Of the big world of nature prevailing.
This is a thing I love: every day from atoms to galaxies, the gears of the natural world shift in weird and wonderful ways. All of their own accord they proceed with existing in ways we can’t begin to understand and in so doing they continue to form this small world that we’re familiar with and this vast world, much of which lies beyond our comprehension. And this is a thing I was reminded of in Patagonia, with all its glaciers and ice-age-carved topography and active volcanoes still adding layers to the geologic record. Those shifting gears were apparent everywhere I looked.
So how does one go about applying these thoughts to making dish towels and tee-shirts you may ask. What do things look like back at the Home + Range studio after traipsing around amidst the forces of nature? Well, inspired and committed. Because experiencing rugged wilderness and meeting wonderful people (I have a whole story of a Patagonian named Juan that’ll have to be for a future post) motivates me to put attention toward my own personal forces of nature – the things that give my own little world meaning. And for me that’s creating and connecting.
Making things is the most complete way I know to communicate thoughts, ideas, feelings – a dish towel is really just a dish towel and I don’t give it any grandiose status, but I hope the imagery I print on it makes a connection to whoever appreciates it in some way. Maybe it’s thoughts of shifting cosmic gears but more likely it’s a reminder of a place they knew or an association with a particular feeling.
The point is that this connecting is key – it’s the basis of belonging, friendship, community, love. We all strive to connect in our own particular way because it’s what gives us all stability and confidence and comfort even as cosmic gears shift and unpredictable things happen in this ever-changing world.
And this is how I happen to go about it – by taking inspiration from the things that give me awe, endeavoring to distill this awe into imagery that communicates it in some way, and then having that connection with whoever it is who is drawn to it for whatever their own personal reasons are. This is why dish towels and tee-shirts and Home + Range and my art and the studio that facilitates it all bring me such satisfaction and joy.
So I love that Patagonia was so beautiful and rugged and remote. I love that it impressed me with its forces of nature. And I love that the experience reminded me once again of why this is what I do, why this is what we all do.
CREATE <-> COMMUNICATE <-> CONNECT