Since my Dream of the Painted Face in 1995, I had understood that my art, studies, purpose and daily life had become a medicine story. This medicine story was the unifying thread of my life and the passion which fueled it.
2016 was the year of my mother and father’s death and included a series of events that challenged my health, heart and understanding of who I was and my place in the world. I found myself exhausted and depleted on physical, emotional and spiritual levels.
I am not exactly sure when I first began thinking and eventually saying that I was going to take this medicine; what I had learned, the story of how I had lived, who I had become and what I understood my purpose to be, and I was going to put it in a box. Not only was I going to put it in a box, I was going to put it up on a shelf. I no longer knew how to make sense of the story, my relationship to it, or who I was. In this new life that I was living in, I did not mention to anyone that I had been given the responsibilities of a medicine woman and what those were or what they meant. Looking back now, I understand that part of what I was trying to do was ensure the medicine and the story's survival. I no longer trusted myself to carry it, so I placed it in a box for safe keeping. The dreams faded and so did I.
Life moved on and in 2019, I began designing boxes. What had started out as simple gifts for my beloveds quickly became an obsession. I could not really explain why or how it had started. I could not really explain why I could not stop. This was also the first time in my life as an artist that I did not consider what resulted from my artistic practice as an ongoing conversation with spirit or the source of my existence. Soon there were boxes everywhere and I began to think of these boxes as part of my artistic product or output from the studio.
The box making went on for almost a year and a half until one morning when I was writing in my journal. I had the dawning of a realization regarding what had been happening. Over and over again, I had been designing and creating boxes in an attempt to take the one that I had closed the lid on and “put on a shelf” back down. In that moment, I understood that my artistic practice and process had continued to be an ongoing conversation with the Divine; I had just been unaware that I was still involved as a participant.
This understanding was enlivened through ritual and the first Medicine Box danced into being holding my promise to carry the responsibilities and the medicine that had been placed in my hands. Each of the creations that has followed is prayer and part of the greater and ever unfolding conversation. Each box carries Medicine and each is part of the Story.
Perhaps one will speak to you and the place where our stories touch. I look forward to sharing them with you.
In Love, Art, Beauty & Spirit,
the "outside the box" collection
Click on the images below to enter the individual galleries.
Heather J Geoffrey