Friday, October 22, 2010

Exploration #10: One Thing

Finally found some time to continue onward with my "How to Be An Explorer of the World" tasks.

Exploration #10: One Thing
Choose an everyday object. This can be something you find on the street or something you have. Look at the top half of the object for fifteen minutes. Record everything you see there in detail. Then do the same for the bottom half. The longer you look the more you will see.


I chose my Native American Spirit Basket, a gift from my husband and made by my aunt, a Southwestern Artist. Over the years I have filled my basket with things I've found in the natural world such as pine cones, stones, shells, etc.  Staring at an object for a total of thirty minutes was really hard on my ADD and I did get distracted by Katie Couric and Jay Leno. However, this is what I discovered while participating in this task. 

For the top half:
There is leather, light in color, twisted and wrapped around the handle. Yucca pods, that I found on Pawnee Rock are naturally full of light and shade and have a texture that looks like it was done with a graphite pencil.

The main attraction of the basket are the deer antlers. I tend to call them "horns". The texture runs vertical and is smooth. One of the points is super sharp, the other blunt probably from too much head butting. :)
The positioning of the horns on the basket makes me think of the Texas Longhorns "Hook 'Em Horns".

Most of the items on the top half are all natural but I do have a man-made metal trinket on one of the horns that says "Bless This House". My cat has just discovered that I have brought the basket down to her level and she is now furiously sniffing at it. Intrigued mostly by the large Bird of Prey feather I recently found in my yard, I have to repeatedly shoo her away during my observations.

There is a string of shells that look to be tiny Atlantic Sundials. The shells are tied around the handle in a criss-cross manner. Turquoise beads dangle from leather fringe.

Hanging from one of the horns is a velvet bag full of various healing stones collected over the last 25 years. I'm sure there is a Lapis Luzuli  in the bag as that is my favorite. Perhaps because it is an intense blue color or maybe subconsciously I am drawn to it because it was used to make Ultramarine in paint. An artists stone.

For the bottom half:
The basket is weaved with thick twigs in various tones. Light brown rabbit fur goes all the way around the basket and there is a light-colored piece of fringed leather that hangs off to one side and the fringe here is cut in different lengths.

An arrowhead is tied to the basket and hangs with three different colored beads in different sizes. Everything from the top to the bottom is tied mostly with deer sinew. I also have a dream catcher weaved with deer sinew. It's an amazingly strong natural material.

Hanging on the other side is a vertebrae of an animal, what kind I am not sure of but it's a fairly good size. A  long fang is tied with leather and four beads. It looks like it could be from a coyote. Hanging down from a horn is a two tone leather talisman that I made myself years ago. It's filled with stones for love and has a private saying for my husband written on the inside leather.

The story of the spirit basket is typed on parchment with deckled edges and is tied on the right side.
It reads:
Fill this basket with your own special treasures, and the good spirits will flow through your home upwards through the upturned antlers, and trickle down the fur and leather fringes to welcome and send warm wishes to all who enter there.

I like that...it means that if you come to visit, you will have warm wishes bestowed upon you. :)
This was a fun task. It was great to really delve into the Spirit Basket once again and marvel at all of the integral pieces. I'm looking forward to the next task as well and hope to get back on a roll with doing them frequently. Heck, I've only got 48 more to go! *sigh* 

"If something is boring after two minutes, try it for four. If still boring, then eight. Then sixteen. Then thirty-two. Eventually one discovers that it is not boring at all."
~John Cage

3 comments:

Alex said...

What a great item for this project. Thank you for sharing it with the world:) It amazes me how you manage to collect and keep so many items over the years. I am a bit envious of that quality:) It is a wonderful basket. I can only imagine how grand it is in person.

Laura said...

Thanks! I recently watched a program about a couple that started collecting art from young unknown artists in the '60's and today it's worth millions of dollars! I told my husband "looks like collecting DOES pay off",lol. Not sure he was buying it though. :)

Me At Large said...

What an especially interesting piece to pick for this project! I feel blessed to not only have seen this special basket in person, but to have also been gifted with my own (thank you ☺) that I've filled with soulful mementos.

You are so rocking this project!