Friday, January 21, 2011

Flashback Friday - Labyrinth + Lodge + Peace Village

I was looking at photos from the Create & Cultivate Art Camp program that was held here at the farm from 2000-2003 this morning.  One of the artists with whom I was honored to have work here was D'Arcy Teasley.  Her work was (and continues to be) thoughtful, engaging, and reflective of an incredibly creative and talented artist. 

While she worked at Harvest Moon's Art Camp, she did some large-scale, multi-day projects with the children who ranged in age from 6-11 years old.  One of the first projects D'Arcy did was to create a labyrinth in the east pasture. 

The children, teen camp counselors, and D'Arcy used rocks gathered from a nearby farmer's field to line the pathway.  The pathway is covered with bark chips.

Four of the art camp participants by the labyrinth

The children learned the difference between a labyrinth and a maze; heard the Greek myth about the Minotaur and the labyrinth; and were able to walk/dance/hop/skip to the center of the labyrinth on the last day and receive a special necklace that D'Arcy made for each child. 

Another year, D'Arcy guided the children in making a huge storytelling lodge.  The children wove tree branches, grasses, and other natural elements into the lodge that held about 15 children and teens. 

The lodge was built on the back part of the farm - in an open field that had no trees at the time.  Needless to say, in the middle of the summer when the days were very hot and sunny, it was challenging doing construction work. 

However, by the time the lodge was completed and fully enclosed, it was a much cooler place of retreat and escape; and was a comforting spot where one could tell or listen to stories, enjoy a picnic, or relax while listening to the quiet of the country. 

Children in the finished lodge listening to a story.

The final large-scale project D'Arcy did during the Art Camp was a Peace Village.  This was also done in the back part of the property where the nature trail is located.  There were four structures - including a tipi, wigwam, and two other home-structures of different shapes.

If I'm recalling this correctly, I believe D'Arcy designed all four structures to use the same "footprint" in terms of size on the ground.  However, the way the sides were constructed yielded different size homes from the ground to top of the different structures.  Some homes felt smaller (like the tipi) while others felt much larger where the sides simply went straight (rather than angled in to a center point).

Each of the homes in the Peace Village were large - many children could sit in each one.  There were pathways connecting the homes to one another, and tie-dyed and decorated flags that the children made were strung from each of the homes to one another. 

Flags connecting the homes in the Peace Village

It was an incredibly cool project, and one that the children and teens were equally engaged in building and playing in.  The childen were very proud of their work in creating the homes, and were excited to show their parents at the art show on the last day of camp.

Peace village with four homes

What ties these pieces together as I look at them now is that they all used "discarded" wood products - tree limbs and branches that were trimmed; stones from a farmer's rock pile that he didn't want; and other natural elements that would have just been tossed or burned.  Instead, D'Arcy gave new life and purpose to these items. 

She encouraged children to challenge themselves to do things they may never have thought they could do - like build a home or a labyrinth.  D'Arcy brought to life the following quote by Caroline Adams which, I think, is a great reminder of the importance of living a life that is full, purposeful, and meaningful:

"Your life is a sacred journey.
And it is about change, growth, discovery,
movement, transformation,
continuously expanding your vision of what is possible,
stretching your soul,
learning to see clearly and deeply,
listening to your intuition,
taking courageous challenges at every step along the way.

"You are on the path... exactly where you are meant to be right now...
And from here, you can only go forward,
shaping your life story into a magnificent tale of triumph,
of healing of courage, of beauty, of wisdom,
of power, of dignity, and of love."

1 comment:

IHaveANotion ~ Kelly Jackson said...

My soul needed to hear this today. Thank you! I would have loved to have visited the Peace Village as a child.