A month ago I arrived in Quebec to take part in the International Triennale of Textile Art in the Outaouais. The Moonrain Centre for Textile Arts run by Thoma and Gabby Ewen is tucked away in the foothills of the Gatineaux mountains. These mountains are some of the oldest in the world.
Sunset at Moonrain 2013
This is a wide open space, held so beautifully by the trees. Everything is moist and fertile. There are coyotes that howl in the distance some evenings, I saw hummingbirds, dragonflies and the worked to the constant hum of crickets in the background.
Owen (my artistic partner for this project,) and I were given site 1 on the installation trail. The whole trail is a 30 minute walking path through the forest and open land, including streams and a beautiful waterfall. Our site was essentially a huge meadow with a stream running through it.
In my temporary studio on site at Moonrain.
The theme for this Triennale was ‘Matrices’ (Matrixes) and twenty five textile artists, all of us working in different mediums stayed at Moonrain for two weeks in a tented village. We started working day by day, listening to the rhythms of the natural world. Owen and I sang in the morning together and said prayers and blessings to each other for the day ahead. This really helped to connect easily to the land around us . We created a walking path, based on a labyrinth. Intended to take us inwards.
I created four star beings, one for each direction of the medicine wheel – south,west,north,east. This was the first time that I wove my shamanic practice with my textile work. When I’m healing I often work with star beings and I use a star chamber, high in the upper worlds to gain clarity and inspiration for my creative projects.
The lineage I work with is from Peru, high up in the Andes. The people who live there are called the Q’ero nation and they use the archetype of serpent for the south direction. Please see my website for more details of my shamanic practice.
Southern Star being by Ali Rabjohns
Western Star Being
West was spiky because for me in the west, we deal with our shadow side and all those aspects of ourselves we pretend don’t exist.
North Star Being by Ali Rabjohns
North honours our ancestors and was placed in line with a beautiful spruce pine, as well as also connecting to the level of hummingbird and our soul’s calling.
East Star Being by Ali Rabjohns
Finally, east connects us to eagle and to the element of air.
It took us a few days to create the labyrinth path to the centre and back. As soon as we’d created the centre, it felt like something significant had fallen into place. We created an offering in the centre, connecting us to all that is, to the stars and to the seeds of the universe that live within us and that we live within.
In my next post I will talk about Owen’s work, the vernissage and my workshops.