Saturday, October 23, 2010

An Art Exercise and Meditation

While at the retreat to plan the retreat, we closed with an art exercise which led to a meditation, discussion, and prayer.

We divided up in pairs. Each pair got a piece of construction paper and two piles of neon-colored stickers, the kind that's like an office supply (to mark file folders or reinforce punched holes). We did the exercise in silence.

One person put a sticker on the paper, and then the other person put one sticker on the paper, and the process continued until each person decided to be done (we folded our hands when done). Each person could only place one sticker on the paper during any given turn.

When done, we put our papers on the board and meditated on all of them as a group. What a diverse group of finished projects. Some people had tried to create some sort of realism: flowers and figures and suns in the sky. Some of us did abstract art. All of the projects were compelling.

We talked about the implications. Was God like our partner, an active participant, unable to control us, yet intrigued by what would happen? Or do we believe in a more omnipotent God, one who knew what we would each create?

What did the process say about our own creative process? Those answers were as diverse as the 18 people in the room. I was amazed by how much I liked the other creations and after viewing them, how lacking I found the one that my partner and I made. I found myself wishing I had been given differently shaped stickers--no need for analysis there. I've spent much of my life wishing that I had different gifts than the ones that God gave me.

I enjoyed working with non-high-art materials. We'd have had a different experience using paint and canvas, I expect.

It led to an interesting period of discussion. I highly recommend it.

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