more than one voice

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

shrines

what sacred spaces do you have in your home, she asked with a curious smile

I remember sitting in church as a child, fixated by the altar and the statues, mesmerised by the flickering candles.  Back then children played what we saw and experienced, so I made altars and played church. My altars where decorated with artefacts that I found around my house, ordinary objects that took on new meaning,  glass vases filled with huge dahlias, an old yellow chenille bedspread – the altar cloth, and stumpy candles gave the finishing touches. 

Looking around my house the other day, I realised that I still have altars of sorts, but now I like to think of them as shrines or sacred spaces.  My shrines are arrangements of talismans, and mementos, sacred souvenirs and pictures, objects that are meaningful to me, that remind me of things I don’t want to forget.  Cherished pictures of my children, art that they have made, stones that they have given me, displayed on bookcases and shelves.  I sometimes think that I would love a home decorated in ‘magazine’ style, uncluttered, free of dust catchers, but my displays evoke emotions inside me that are more important then having a neatly decorated house.

I have a little stuffed rabbit sitting on a shelf in my bedroom. My mom gave me the rabbit when I was writing my matric exams, he was smuggled into many more exams after that and saw me through university. Next to him sits a beautiful pottery church that I bought at an art show many years ago, it reminds me of the spiritual journeys I’ve been on.

I guess I should have picked up Noddy for the photo


I read recently in a book on shrines and altars, that to create a shrine, no matter how simply, is to make art.  I like that idea, that my sacred displays are in fact art, created to represent my life, a way to pay homage to my life experiences, to remember occasions and events that have shaped my life. They are I suppose a visible representation of those invisible aspects of my life that I want to remember, just like art they tell a story. 

27 comments:

  1. I never thought of those "collections" as shrines before--what an interesting thought. I like getting to see yours and hearing the journey behind them. I agree that they're works of art. :)

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  2. Very interesting, much to think about.

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  3. You are a talented writer Clare, each of your blog posts is like a praline melting on the tongue! Through your essays I more and more get to know your soul, heart and spirit, you give freely and you are honest and pure - I very much admire that and I cherish you. I am glad I have found you in the endless blogger world!

    Yes, and me too - I also have never thought about my many displays of (to me) meaningful things around the house as "shrines" and I LOVE that idea!

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  4. I love little shrines that tell a story. A story of life. Things that mean something in your heart are much more inspiring than things of mass production that speak of nothing to your heart.

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  5. Your little shrine is great!! I am a big picture person and have them all over my house. I cluster them together so that I always have my love ones near, I guess that is my shrine.

    Love the thought and idea behind this posting.
    Thanks for sharing!!!
    Debbie
    x0x0x

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  6. You always take my mind on such a journey when I visit you. I seem to leave more reflective and in such a peaceful state after coming here to partake of your contemplations and insight....

    Such a joy....bits of our memory....our lives...displayed like the art they become in their creation...

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  7. Magazine style wouldn't be for you Clare,and absolutely not for me. That style don't hold any memories. As I used to say just to explain what I ment: It's just dead fish that go with the stream.
    I didn't want to be rude just tell others that value are something personal. Don't throw your history away. I love how you describes it Clare, it really shows how you appreciate your good memories. Take care.

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  8. Yours is a home the magazine styles are just houses, some even look like furniture stores.

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  9. i like how you look at your shrines as art pieces because that’s exactly what they are; memories, emotions, precious moments, souvenirs... how beautiful.
    xo sandra

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  10. yes!
    wherever we choose to make space for art is in itself sacred space

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  11. Thanks for your kind words on my blog. You're always such an encouragement to me. :)

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  12. Hi Clare,
    Thanks for stopping by my blog. I've been reading through a few of your post and really love what you have to say. I love your art as well. It's so exciting to finally accept or be honest with ourself..... agree with that. I like solitude too but sometimes I wonder if I'm lonely. It's crazy.
    Oh well have a great day.

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  13. Clare,
    this is very lovely writing. You convey they message so beautifully.

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  14. I love to have special arrangements of things around my home to look at too. They are a sort of shrine to me in that they make me happy to look at them and help me to feel 'right' with the world. It's really important to me to surround myself with things I love to look at each day.
    I realised after I did my last post about solitude I must have had yours in my mind without realising! You really do inspire with your lovely blog!
    Jess xx

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  15. She looks so happy and adventurous in her search for beautiful things. Her face is lightened up with so much pretty and whoooo beauty! Just gorgeous! :) In fact super cute gorgeous!

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  16. So very true. There are all sorts of altars.
    And I know I would hyperventilate in an uncluttered house anyway!

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  17. I have few of my friends who always looked at my little altars with a grin....so nice to see that other people ( or maybe all of us ? ) are doing them.... Lovely post Clare !

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  18. Hi Clare - I loved this post and funnily enough my sons played "church" all the time and made little altars. I like the comparison of the "shrines" we set up today as shown in your home. Thank you too for your comments on my blog (I would respond directly but unfortunately you're set up as a no-reply blogger, so I have no way of doing that).

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  19. I really like this post Clare. I too have many things that surround me and give me happiness. I always strive to "put away" things, but it's a feeling of comfort that I have when I place certain things around my home. Your artwork is lovely. Hope you are having a great week so far.

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  20. I feel like I got a glimpse into your heart. Thank-you for sharing this post. I love creating altars with my favorite things. Thanks for the inspiration. xox

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  21. Hi Clare---

    A quick response to your comment, which is not posting to my blog (though I got it in e-mail).
    I had tried the new interface with nasty results, plus my eyes are bad and anything without a lot of contrast makes it impossible for me to see.
    What Bloggers goal with all this is, I do not know. But you know, you reach a point where one has to throw their hands up and say I give.
    I may be close to that....we'll see!
    And shrines...I love shrines!!!!

    XXOO~~
    Anne

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  22. oh clare...just what yael said. i have left so many words for you here and blogger wouldn't accept me. a darling dear person from canada helped me fix the errors!
    LOVE all your new work and of course words. xo

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  23. HO sweet- I love to think of alters as sacred places.

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  24. That's supposed to say "Oh how sweet!" funny

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  25. Clare, how interesting. I have been thinking about shrines this last week and thought about setting one up for my animals that have passed on, to send my love in the lighting of a candle, a little sacred moment. I love your second little nook :-} and your paintings!

    Lorraine

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  26. Your shrines are beautiful mementos of your life...I loved reading this post, makes me wonder if the little "shows" I have around the house are shrines too. Thank you for sharing, dear Clare. Your angel is shining. :)

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  27. Sweet Clare,
    Thanks for dropping by my blog and commenting on my trailer progress!! It's always nice to hear from you!! If you don't mind I sure would like your email address.
    Thanks again!!
    Debbie
    x0x0x

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