Some people choose a word for the year instead of making resolutions. I like the idea, but didn’t really plan to choose one of my own. Instead, I think a word chose me: serendipity. I’ve been wading through the Carl Jung philosophical discussion of synchronicity which lead me to the more accurate idea of serendipity: a happy accident.
Yesterday I took a two-hour mixed media class at a local studio, A Work of Heart. We started with three small canvases, and three tag-board hearts. We applied a thick, clay-like medium to each canvas, then used templates to make impressions in the medium before it dried. The template I used is reminiscent of a beehive.
While we waited for it to dry, we got to choose a page from sheets of music, children’s books, or a dictionary. She had stacks of them. I reached for a children’s book, and quickly came upon Alice in Wonderland. Not only was this a childhood nickname, but I still have a few of the beloved pages from my copy of the book, a gift from my grandfather in England. It’s one of only a handful of possessions we brought from Canada.
The class continued and it was great fun. We mixed our own secondary colors using three primaries, then painted over the medium. We cut the hearts from our chosen pages, in my case Queen Alice. We spent a joyful two hours, layering, painting and stamping till we had the desired effect. When it was time to add the final detail, a couple of words or a quote on each page, I went back to Alice. There, on the second page, was the following quote: “Where do you pick the flower?” “In a garden or in the hedges?”
In other words, I made a work of art at A Work of Heart using pages from Alice in Wonderland, managing to find a garden quote in the last few minutes of class.
Oh and one more thing: when I looked up the term synchronicity, Wikipedia cited a passage from (you guessed it) Alice. Here’s the passage:
One of Jung’s favorite quotes on synchronicity was from Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll, in which the White Queen says to Alice: “It’s a poor sort of memory that only works backwards”.
‘The rule is, jam to-morrow and jam yesterday – but never jam to-day.’
‘It MUST come sometimes to “jam to-day,”‘ Alice objected.
‘No, it can’t,’ said the Queen. ‘It’s jam every OTHER day: to-day isn’t any OTHER day, you know.’
‘I don’t understand you,’ said Alice. ‘It’s dreadfully confusing!’
‘That’s the effect of living backwards,’ the Queen said kindly: ‘it always makes one a little giddy at first–‘
‘Living backwards!’ Alice repeated in great astonishment. ‘I never heard of such a thing!’
‘–but there’s one great advantage in it, that one’s memory works both ways.’
‘I’m sure MINE only works one way,’ Alice remarked. ‘I can’t remember things before they happen.’
‘It’s a poor sort of memory that only works backwards,’ the Queen remarked.
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