Creative Spirituality: The Way of the Artist


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One afternoon he receives a check in the mail. To his surprise, his pots have started to sell. Today David Ellsworth is one of the nation's most acclaimed wood sculptors. They are extraordinarily delicate, with thin, satiny walls that rival those of an exquisite ceramic vase. Ranging from four to twenty inches in diameter, some are hemispheric cups with burnished edges and brightly polished interiors; others are perfect spheres, mysteriously hollowed through minuscule openings.

Book Review: Creative Spirituality: The Way of the Artist

They exude what one critic describes as "a serenity, a natural grace and an elegant simplicity," providing what another writer summarizes as "a quiet statement about the correlation of nature and craft. Some have been working quietly within religious traditions, keeping alive the skills of iconography, creating Christian music, or depicting themes rooted in Jewish experience. Others are pushing the edges of religious traditions by asking questions about language and representation, incorporating narratives of brokenness and redemption into their work, and confronting the ambiguities of teachings about God.

It is through their life stories as much as through the objects they produce that artists' insights about the life of the spirit come into view. Their position in society, as has often been true in the past, is not enviable. Although a few make fortunes, most earn only marginal incomes.

The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity | Julia Cameron Live

Many have been drawn to artistic careers by personal trauma or by extreme disruptions in their families and communities. Such experiences necessitate personal reflection and often result in new perspectives on life. As with most artists, David Ellsworth's life story illustrates the gifts of critical self-reflection that seem so often to connect artists' creative work with their interest in spirituality. His lanky, angular features contrast sharply with the rounded shapes that emerge from his lathe.

Seated in the loft of his present-day studio in northeastern Pennsylvania, he chooses his words carefully: I turn wood on the lathe--vessels, bowls, pots. The objects that I make are hollow forms, very thin-walled, levitative, somewhat mysterious in their construction.

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Creative Spirituality: The Way of the Artist [Robert Wuthnow] on linawycatuzy.gq * FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. In a provocative book that explores the. In a provocative book that explores the fascinating link between the creative and the sacred, Robert Wuthnow claims that artists have become the spiritual.

It arises from a principled refusal to explain their work and thus to restrict the variety of meanings it may have for different audiences. But mystery is also one of the ways in which artists emphasize the impossibility of fully understanding God. From the beginning, Ellsworth's art has been closely connected to his deeply personal sense of the spiritual aspects of life.

His pots are neither traditional shapes nor free-form. He denies that they have any utilitarian value. Indeed, they cannot easily be defined. This is the essence that he is most intent on expressing. When we do not have a language about an object, we reveal ourselves very quickly in our emotional response to that object. It was that emotional response as an artist, as a creative person, that I was most interested in. During those long formative months in Colorado, Ellsworth gradually realized how much his own life was without definition.

Although the daily routine provided him with structure, it did not give meaning to his existence. Well educated in the fine arts but unable to find steady employment, he had recently divorced and was largely without friends, alienated. The divorce was particularly painful. I distrusted myself and I distrusted other people.

Being without definition is the key to Ellsworth's understanding of spirituality: We are not at the top of the chain.

There's something bigger than us. But it cannot be defined. If we could quantify it, identify it, catalog it, it would lose its value. It would cease to be what it is. I don't get up in the morning and say, 'Well, how spiritual can I be today? Why did it come out? Where has it come from? Where is it going to lead? What influence is it going to have? And if I don't like it, can I feel free to smash it and get it out of my life and experience the smashing so I can go on? The two are inseparable. When I'm doing it, I'm not thinking about it.

There is a connectedness with it that is immediate and direct. I'm like a pianist. I'm not concerned about the technique as I perform. So working at the lathe is similar. It is an avenue through which spirituality can express itself. The way of the artist involves doing, rather than only believing in the possibility of doing. It requires training, discipline, and a considerable investment of oneself.

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As a child, David Ellsworth was not reared to believe firmly in the teachings of any single religious tradition. His parents were academics who put in nominal appearances at an Episcopal church but gradually found its services less compelling than their own explorations. His ideas about spirituality took form through college classes in comparative religion. For several years Ellsworth read avidly, gaining growing respect for the writers of the Bible and for the words of Jesus, Muhammad, and the Buddha, but he could not bring himself to affiliate with any congregation.

He came increasingly to believe that the truths expressed in religious writings point toward something that is mysterious and ineffable. It is this mystery that he tries to evoke in his art.

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But I'm the one walking around it in the hills. I'm feeling the energy that's coming out of that house. I'm not disconnected from those people.

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I don't feel alone. And yet I also don't want to conform to their rhythms and philosophies. I think they feel my presence, too. They know I'm out there. They prefer to do things their own way and sometimes feel genuinely uncomfortable in crowds. Yet they are, as Ellsworth says, a presence in the culture, reacting to it, contributing to its beauty, and enriching the lives of those with whom they come in contact. Ellsworth's exhibited works, not to mention the classes he teaches and the apprentices he mentors, provide lessons about life as well as about art.

Like most artists he has been exposed to the teachings of organized religion and has had to search for answers to questions about the meaning and purpose of life. These artists provide rich insights into the social and cultural problems of our time. Many have been shaped by the growing ethnic, racial, and religious diversity of the United States. Many are at the cutting edge of new thinking about body, mind, and spirit, and many are seeking ways to integrate their understandings of spirituality with interests in nature and preserving the environment.

For readers interested in exploring contemporary spirituality or engaged in spiritual pursuits of their own, this engaging, elegantly written, and erudite book will answer many questions about the changing moral and spiritual role of creativity and the arts. I bought this as a gift and haven't heard how she liked it. I loved it, as did my niece when i gave it to her a few years ago. However, although I expected the anniversary edition to be especially nice it actually wasn't as nice as the original and I regretted choosing it.

It sounded a bit corny like self help book for artist. Like chicken soap for the artist soul.

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But getting past that and actually getting into doing the assignments and homework the book ask that you do week after week. I found the book was really helpful. I read somewhere that this book might have come out too soon for its own good. I think that if had added what we know today about neurology and how the brain works, instead of the spiritual stuff it would have been better off.

I have recommended this book to others artist friends and have had moments where I felt I needed to reread a curtain part or do a curtain writing task again.

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Underneath the things that turned me off, there really are some priceless gems within the pages. But depending on who you are and how many issues you might have rough childhood, stuff thats happen to you in the past I recommend this book with a bit a caution. This book causes you to face a lot of things. So just be ready for that. Yes, we are all creative and it should go without saying creativity is vital to all areas of our life's, professionally, with our partners, our children, just think about it.

Often we put that part form of intelligence closer to that back of our minds, under utilizing this gift we all have. Cameron has brilliantly designed ways excersizes we can strengthen that unique part of our thought processes. One of her first and arguably most valuable excersizes, for simplicity we'll call them "morning notes" introduces even the most analytical of person to the stream of consciousness thought and the value of writing it down.

Even the concept of an am routine supports a wellness that Ms.

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Cameron and her practices support. In many ways it's an abstract form of meditation writing down ones process of clearly the mind?? It could also be seen as a practice of mindfulness, taking that time first thing to be in the "here". There are other excersizes and suggestions that can re awaken the creativity we feel we may have lost or never had. This book is a staple for anyone who relies on their creative intelligence to live.

For those who don't feel as strongly, experiment with the idea of better developing these skills, I strongly believe you will surprize yourself with results that are unique to you and each situation they effect your life. She also wrote a book to help instill and strengthen creativity and its value in all area of life. Such a skill is invaluable to learn early in life! Your recently viewed items and featured recommendations. View or edit your browsing history. Get to Know Us. Delivery and Returns see our delivery rates and policies thinking of returning an item?

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