The ruminations of an artist on art & quilts, beading, knitting, drawing, painting, printmaking, bookmaking are all my passions, I love to explore creating....

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Doodle Flowers or Patterns of Life

Since I was a small child, I have loved patterns--patterns in nature, and human made patterns--which are mostly derived from the natural world. The noted anthropologist Angeles Arrien says in her book THE SIGNS OF LIFE, Five Universal Shapes and How to Use Them, "I discovered that five basic shapes appear in the art of all cultures: the circle, the square, the triangle, the cross, and the spiral...the study [she conducted] also confirmed that people in different cultures do give similar meaning to these shapes. The circle symbolizes wholeness, the square indicates stability, the triangle represents goals and dreams, the cross stands for relationship, and the spiral means growth. It also became evident to me that the meaning attributed to each shape stands for a process of human growth, and the shape carries this process within itself."

Thus--patterns I am attracted to carry cultural meanings--which most of the time, I don't even think about or consider. Today I wandered around our house, snapping photos of a few of the patterns we are surrounded with.

Perhaps that is also why I am drawn to poetry---since poetry tends to arrange language and words into patterns much of the time.

I will speak to you in stone-language
(Answer with a green syllable)
I will speak to you in snow-language
(Answer with a fan of bees)
I will speak to you in water-language
(Answer with a canoe of lightening)
I will speak to you in blood-language
(Answer with a tower of birds)
----Octavio Paz

Arrien's book has a process to use the five universal shapes "as an effective tool that can be used to determine the connection between a person's preference for certain shapes and the same person's inner, subjective states." For example, if you are drawn toward circles and triangles--what does this say about you and your cultural world view?

Since I could draw--as a young child--I have drawn and doodled repetitive patterns, and now--in my fabric design classes, I am learning to create repetitive patterns---from these universal shapes, or from nature.

I call this "pattern" I designed DOODLE FLOWERS.


Felicia said...

It makes sense because people communicated with symbols before the written word. Each group probably had their own symbol that other groups recognized. Interesting and thought provoking post.

Mary Timme said...

I really am fascinated by the signs and shape book. How cool that someone is actually studying this stuff again.

Aurora said...

Yes, Felicia--and many symbols or shapes and patterns are universal to almost all cultures---you can find the same pattern on ancient Greek pottery that you find in a medieval manuscript or a traditional Celtic design...I found this fascinating when I began to research (many years ago)repetitive patterns to use in my art work.