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United We Stand - the need for belonging

Welcome to my very first blog. Blog is such an interesting word for me as it feels in my mouth like an outward motion of sound without filtering....kind of like a burp with words. Let's hope I can refine that sensation a little in your reading experience!

In considering writing about my glass art practice I simply had to begin with the series I call United We Stand. Each candle shelter is utterly bespoke despite sharing the same design concept and over the years they now reside across the world as lovingly hand crafted glass candle shelters made in Australia.

Begun in 2006 as a special series devoted to inspiring unity in our interconnections with each other and nature. At night the colourful shadows of people joined in circle literally dance across the walls with the gentle movement of air and to me are truly captivating.

It is perhaps not just the innate beauty of glass that offers this series its popularity as I suspect it also points to a feeling state I have longed for most of my life, that of belonging. The belonging that remained elusive to me is a feeling state of fitting, of meshing in. The feeling of security and support when there is a sense of acceptance, inclusion, and identity...being seen. It is when someone can bring their authentic self in full for the benefit of the collective as well as their own growth.

My own displacement from belonging is a long story which may appear in later blogs as it touches on trauma, colonisation culture, emotional neglect, sexual abuse and secondary wounding which are all circumstances not unique to me but require their own space to sit and explore further. The very first publicly exhibited work in this series was in a gallery exhibition I founded and project managed for a few years called the Artfelt Art Prize, raising awareness and funds for Heartfelt House, an organisation in Australia who provide a therapeutic pathway to small groups of adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse.

Since then so many commissions have come to me to make these special candle shelters from handfasting ceremonies, remembrances of lost loved ones, lgbtqia friendship support, environmental groups, liturgical groups and so many more inspirational reasons always with a deep love and gratitude for the recipient from the commissioner. This has deepened my sense of awareness and wonder at what seems a universally held desire to belong.

In more recent years I have moved my glass workshop where I create and teach my love of glass to an off-grid property west of Tenterfield in Northern NSW, Australia to fulfilling a long held dream of lowering my impact on this beautiful place we call home.

It has been here on my mountain in long periods of deep silence and careful witnessing of life unfolding around me that I have slowly become more aware of my connection to it all. Trees now whisper their song to me as I sit. Water splashing down the rocks on its way inland sing of the ever changing wonder filled journey of life. Bird song announcing the coming of colours to each new dawn tingling around my ears.

I belong somehow in this strange dance of life...and so do you.

“Lovers find secret places inside this violent world where they make transactions with beauty.” Rumi

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