Andy Goldsworthy, one of the world’s most famous contemporary artists, works in collaboration with the earth’s natural elements to create magnificent works of art, some of which only last seconds. During the harsh Scotland winters, he has been known to rise before dawn to fuse icicles together with the heat from his ungloved hands, working steadily for hours to create magnificent sculptures that immediately melt as the sun rises high overhead. He fervently toils with mortar and pestle to crush rocks together, creating colored powders that he flings into a rushing stream. He stitches thousands of leaves together with thorns, often leaving his fingers raw and bleeding, only to watch his creations be blown apart by a single rush of wind. Why does he do it?
Art has a unique place in the expression of hopes, desires and emotions. The process of making it can be a powerful tool in helping us access these things in ways that can uncover and reveal them at their deepest levels. Andy Goldsworthy’s art is temporary. It is the process of making it that bestows its gifts to him and drives him toward greater creation each time he steps outdoors.
The process of making art has the ability to facilitate our dealing with negative feelings. Not the art itself, but the actual act of making it, without critically judging it for being “good” or “bad,” can help transform us toward a more peaceful and happy existence. You do not have to have artistic experience or abilities, and you do not have to spend a fortune on art supplies.
Art comes in countless forms and can be created out of virtually anything. It has the potential to change lives for the better, in profound ways by allowing us to turn symbols and images into our own personal stories. In telling these stories through our art, we find our place in the world, and our path to emotional reparation.
As you go through your day, ask yourself, “What can I create from this?” whether you are holding a handful of sticks or are standing in front of a bowl of cake frosting. Approach everyday activities with a view toward creativity and do not worry about what anyone else will think or say. Do it for yourself.
Balance rocks to make sculptures. Hammer soda bottle caps onto a board in a pleasing pattern or create a mosaic out of found objects. Do not think about what it will look like or your self-perceived lack of artistic ability. If you make it, you are creating, and the act of creating will set you free in ways that you never before imagined. Express your anger with a smear of paint or mud. Show your happiness by weaving a daisy chain or by flinging glitter high into the air.
When you create, you set your spirit free. The process of doing it is what counts more than the finished piece, and it belongs to you. The joy is all yours.