The Ritual in Practice

The Ritual in Practice

A long time ago I came to the realization that if I didn’t set aside time and commit to making my art, life was going to take over, dictating it’s priorities and affirming that all other activities have more importance.  I’ve since learned that making art and consciously putting myself in that space  has a profound impact on the way I feel and so is deserving of a much higher position on my list of my priorities.

When I’m sculpting a piece of stone I do what’s called direct carving which means I work with the stone developing the idea and imparting it directly to the stone rather than copying something  from a preliminary model. As part of this process, I’ll ready all of my tools nearby, sharpen my chisels, and center myself becoming quiet internally, just to name a few.  Doing all of these preparatory tasks as I’m done thousands of times before feels so second nature that without even thinking about them, I’m already becoming more in tune with what I’m about to do with the stone. I’m preparing myself in a way that feels ceremonial in order  to have access to another space that goes from the linear to the non linear perspective, much as rituals do in sacredly held practices.

Throughout humanities history and even now we gather to perform rituals to evoke another aspect ourselves. These rituals or ceremonies act to take us out of our daily logical mind to another focus that invites the sensory, the imaginative and most of all our intention.  Ritual and ceremony are so ubiquitous, I even wonder if man can exist without them.  And then there is the actual practice of the art that once involved, takes me completely into “my own world” so to speak. Then once I’ve finished my singularly focused  session, I find that I receive the  incredible benefit of coming  “back into the world”  but feeling more present and somehow more grounded. The other night at Creative Pinellas’ opening reception for artist Akiko Kotani, she described in her talk how when crocheting her work she enters in a meditative like, quiet space that she really enjoys and I can very much relate to this in my own practice of sculpting stone.

By Christina Bertsos


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