Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The meditative life

Madeline L'Engle has come to my rescue today, in  passage from her book A Circle of Quiet. I came to wonder if these most time consuming professions, bookbinding, musicianship, and mothering crowd each other too much.  Many of us will not find ourselves before an open page of thoughtful journaling as often as we'd perhaps like, but it is excellent to recognize meditative creativity around us as it happens!

" It was the first time that I’d been forced to think consciously about creativity in connection with little children, rather than the older ones for whom I often write.  I was trying to think out loud about the concentration essential for all artists, and in the very little child I found the perfect example.  The concentration of a small child at play is analogous to the concentration of the artist of any discipline. In real play, which is real concentration, the child is not only outside time, he is outside himself.  He has thrown himself completely into whatever it is that he is doing.  A child playing a game, building a sand castle, painting a picture, is completely in what he is doing.  His self-consciousness is gone; his consciousness is wholly focused outside himself... When we are self-conscious we cannot be wholly aware; we must throw ourselves out first.  This throwing ourselves away is the act of creativity.  So, when we wholly concentrate, like a child in play, or an artist at work, then we share in the act of creating.  We not only escape time, we also escape our self-conscious selves...

" I am outside time, outside self, in play, in joy.  When we can play with the unself-conscious concentration of a child, this is: art: prayer: love."  Madeline L'Engle

              Madonna and child

Art, prayer, and love. Those things that children can teach us best, in their non-selfconscious way.

These first two brown books are the very first I made several years ago at the beginning of my bookbinding experimentations, and at a time when I was working with a raised cord design.  The leather is from an old leather coat that I was able to turn into many books; it was a very thin leather that was just perfect for binding these books, and in good condition.  These were made using wheat paste as well, using Keith Smith's recipe.

This second pair of books are among some dear to me; the alligator skinned one contains tea stained pages, and hand made end bands.  It is small and chunky, and feels good to hold.  It is portable but thick, for writing small discoveries every day on a continuous journey.

This white journal below is made of the softest leather with earthen off white and tan coloring.  It pairs well with the brass corners, and light silver and gold toned ginko leaves inside.