Odyssey Spirit Caves Mom's Bones Tikkun Olam Weaving Totems


Tikkun Olam

Tikkun Olam, literally "repairing the vessel," is a Jewish mystical concept relating creation cosmology and social justice. A creation myth from the Zohar describes how "in the beginning" the vessel that is the world cracked and humans' task on Earth is to "repair the vessel." See also Tikkun Olam in Wikipedia. As Leonard Cohen sings in Anthem, "There is a crack, a crack in everything, That's where the light comes in."

Caught by the notion of tikkun olam as personal ritual, I explore that ritual in my art. One example arises from our family recycling efforts. My husband Terry is a woodturner and when a vessel he is turning unexpectedly explodes, or breaks open I “rescue” the vessel and repair it with yarn, in a ritual enactment of tikkun olam, as shown in the first two pieces below. Another example is shown in the third piece, the joining of two slabs from a cracked tree by weaving the exposed "growth rings" together, signifying healing, or a relationship, like friendship or family connections.

A further example is my larger fiber sculpture Anima Mundi, the "the soul of the world," or "spirit of Earth", which began simply with my idea of a "bouquet of Ocean" and pushed me creatively to conceive my own vision of the World Soul -- a giant bird with the sun on her back, with Ocean for wings, below a turbulent firmament. This creation emerged in three pieces, as a triptych, and gradually came together as some of the cracks in my own world healed. Thus, several years after the initial creation of the parts, all came together as one large sphere, the sacred body of Earth. To see stages of composition, further images, and close-up details of the completed Anima Mundi sculpture, visit my Anima Mundi Gallery.

Repairing the World (olive)

Repairing the Vessel (olive)
Growth Rings (eucalyptus)
olive vessel explosion repaired
small vessel turned so thin, needed to be darned!
bookended eucalyptus slabs woven together

Anima Mundi (yarn, wire, stuffing material, plywood backing, 60"h, 48"w, 7"d)

Anima Mundi in early form, in three separate pieces, a triptych

Anima Mundi as a triptych, in three pieces, hanging by a thread!

Anima Mundi, elements coming together, complete

Anima Mundi "mended," complete, whole