…Crazy Horse dreamed and went into the world where there is nothing but the spirit of things. That is the real world behind this one, and everything we see here is something like a shadow from that world. — Black Elk
Ideas for projects begin in interesting ways as one thought combines with another, veering off into entirely new directions. This project began sideways from my interest in Irish crochet. I had begun to practice the craft with the ambition to one day create a large-scale work influenced by nineteenth century collars and other forms of crocheted lace. When a call for entries came out for “Art on the Trail” at Lake Roland Park I began to daydream about this while practicing basic stitches. I envisioned creating open “starts” that I could invite former students to transform, thus giving a purpose to my practice and bringing in some aspect of chance. I wrote a proposal and began to invite certain individuals to see if there might be interest in collaborating with me in this way. The participating artists in this project have worked with me in courses I taught in the Studio Arts area of the Department of Fine Arts at Loyola University Maryland. These alumna had shown themselves to be gifted, hard working and creative. All have continued developing their skills after graduation.
I asked everyone to watch the documentary about the artist Andy Goldsworthy (Rivers and Tides) and to look at the links of images I had collected on my Environmental Art board on Pinterest. With that inspiration and the request that they work with natural and/or environmentally friendly materials, the artists selected one of my starts and delved into it in their own ways. The result is the energy of nine creative souls meditating upon the natural world, each as one part of a larger visual voice sharing a chosen site in proximity to each other. It was thrilling to work with such a leap of faith, knowing that as part of a group we were not really working on our pieces alone. Now we collectively mark a space within the very special Lake Roland Park. Our web of connections combine and create new ones through the alchemy of making work to offer freely to the community.
This act of offering art into a natural environment where others regularly escape urbanity and center themselves amid beautiful water, trees and wild land feels like a prayer. May it be enjoyed both outwardly and inwardly by all who visit here, particularly at this time in our strife-filled world. Thank you to Paul Powichroski, who built the tree-box to hold the project catalogue, and for his help in installing the works. Thank you to Kurt Davis and all the helpful staff of Lake Roland Park, especially Joe, John, Shannon and Becky.
-Janet Maher, December 2016
You have noticed that everything an Indian does is in a circle, and that is because the Power of the World always works in circles, and everything tries to be round. In the old days when we were a strong and happy people, all our power came to us from the sacred hoop of the nation, and so long as the hoop was unbroken, the people flourished. The flowering tree was the living center of the hoop, and the circle of the four quarters nourished it. The east gave peace and light, the south gave warmth, the west gave rain, and the north with its cold and mighty wind gave strength and endurance. — Black Elk