I have been accused of many things… but being boring isn’t one of them, nor is dreaming too modestly. I am most in love with the journey of transformation. In a world where so much is instagram and instant gratification, I am drawn to the process of becoming. The nostalgia that exists in knowing what was, and what that manifested into. For 6 years I’ve worked on the Reliquarian, a personal Ennealogy, 9 novels, designed as photographically illustrated story books. Not 1. Nine. Not writing a novel, or taking a photograph, but a series of photographs accompanying the stories. Not just photographing, but weeks, months, sometimes years creating the costuming, the props, the images, retouching and then the storyline, and the documentary of the entire process.
I think at heart, that’s the concept of Elysian. I’ve been told so many times to live in the “real world” but this is my real world. I make it this way because it makes me happy, and I think a lot of other creatives are missing their mark on the world because they feel uninspired, and stifled.
Weeds and Wishes. That has seemed to be more the theme this month than simply florals. No one will ever convince me that it’s not a field of wishes. That it’s more important not to spread seeds, than to blow and make a wish. The floral themes of the image “Forlorn in the Forest of Essence” from the Reliquarian certainly fit in with this month, but it fits emotionally also. The sculpture in this image: The Flower of Faces, is an oracle in the story. When it blooms you it will answer one question, but one petal answers in the best interest of the heart, one for the body, and one for the mind, and you don’t know which speaks for which. Rarely are answers simple and absolute, I’m learning that.
Elysian comes as the answer, and the questions are many.
Someone told me the idea of nature brushes was a ridiculous “Pinterest Mom” concept, where the idea was to make them, but they would never be functional. I have always been enamored with the idea of Art within Art. Layers of creativity that go deep into concept and creation. So challenge accepted, not out of spite, but pure curiosity, and I must say, we had so much fun doing it that we’re adding it to our list of summer camp activities for the kids… I painted flowers with flowers. I love it.
This is also what I want Elysian to be. A place that whatever the idea, however outlandish or grandiose, or extreme, that the environment is always one of experimentation, and play, and exploration. Not blind encouragement or senseless positivity quotes of “you can do it!” but a question of “How can we do it? Who and what do we need?” And amending the process and possibly the goal based on our experiences in the process.
After all, Elysian itself is a very outlandish, grandiose, extreme idea, and the voices in the Group have all very much been chattering with me all the way through about how to make it possible, rather than debating if it is or isn’t.
There is a kind of joy and peacefulness in finding your purpose. You fit into it, like coming home. I myself, and so many others find themselves fighting the gravitational pull of their meaning here. So much judgement from others, so much assumption in ourselves that we will be judged by others. The monarchs are beginning to come back to the garden now, and we knew we wanted to focus this year on adding more elements to our garden to be pollinator friendly and attractive, especially with the decline in honey bees and butterfly populations. Still I watched them flit from our hibiscus to our dandelions and honeysuckle without care. No worry that they were drinking from weeds as opposed to respectable garden flowers. No concern that anyone would think less of them for doing so. They simply seek the nectar they crave where they find it… and at heart Elysian is meant to be a garden of passion and purpose for creatives to seek their fill, unafraid. Giving a place for artists to come home, where we can individually and collectively impact the world IS my purpose, is my nectar… do you know yours?
So I’m at home, though homeless. Today we go to look at our potential housing, and see if it is where home will be. I can’t wait to share it with you. The posts here though, the magic, the decadence, the nostalgia, the creativity, are really the soul of the concept. The sustainability efforts are the heart of it. The location will be the body. The three sides of the oracle. Perhaps finally in harmony. I haven’t written that part of the story yet in the Reliquarian, what the one question is she’ll ask… because I myself have yet to find the question… but I’m pretty sure the answer is Love… whatever the question, and that for me Elysian in many ways is the best way I know how to Love the world. It starts with not telling a single person that walks through the door that their dreams are unrealistic… that their wishes are really weeds.
This Week from Elysian:
From the Atelier: Wistful Expressions: A floral painting done with floral brushes.
From the Attic: Heirloom Pages: An intro for Betty PDF file for our Patrons
From the Garden: Monarch Oasis: Perfect florals for attracting Pollinators
From the Apothecary: Marigold Smudges with Cedar and Sage
From the Library: Forlorn in the Forest of Essence: A feature from The Reliquarian Series by Jessica Lark
From the Kitchen: Dandelion Lemon Cookies, made from our own back yard.
From the Drawing Room: Join us for weekly meetings to discuss inspiration, information, and progress on the project, always listed in our social group at www.facebook.com/groups/ElysianSanctuary