Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Reflection: Full Spring Studio: Ten Years Exploring Connection and Flow

An Invitation:

If, like me, you are nurtured by the stories of co-journeyers traveling toward a life of greater meaning, or are rediscovering your playful creative dimension, or working on your relationship with the Earth, or  simply curious, …then please join me in an experiment —  a year of reflection to explore the story of the last 10 years of Full Spring Studio. I would love your company (and ideas) and I hope you will find something that helps you see your own story more clearly and perhaps feel a sense of companionship as I do when reading the story of others on their adventures.  


Connection and Flow

Since childhood I’ve been  drawn to playing with essential elements of the earth: making mud pies, constructing twig forts, and burying secret rock collections. These elements and actions seem deeply symbolic, even without naming what they mean. I think that’s what attracts me to Joseph Campbell’s work which examines the commonality of symbols in stories across time and cultures to reveal something essential about human experience and imagination.  As I reflect on the mission of Full Spring Studio “…to explore the connection and flow between humans and the rest of nature,” I feel centered by two of his quotes below.

On the story of the earth:
“…the World Navel is the symbol of the continuous creation: the mystery of the maintenance of the world through that continuous miracle of vivification which wells within all things.”

On the call to connection and flow:
“The effect of the successful adventure of the hero is the unlocking
and release again of the flow of life into the body of the world.”

—Joseph Campbell, the Hero with A Thousand Faces

The Tenth Year

I’m also drawn to symbolic timing. A year from today will be the 10 year anniversary of forming Full Spring Studio, LLC. I’ve been thinking about this day, and the coming year for quite some time. For a long time I’ve wanted a sabbatical – a time apart from the usual routine. Not as free time, not to even try something new, but to nurture something old. It’s as if I’ve been planning and making and planning and making for nine years, and haven’t really stepped far enough back, or slowed enough down to see where I’ve been and to care for the project-children I’ve brought into the world. What I mean by that is partly practical and physical: I want to have records of images and nice documentary artifacts of past works – particularly performance or interactive works that are hard to capture in a few photos. For example, I’m two-thirds the way through a booklet about a two-week art-led environmental education project with preschoolers called Downstream/Upstream that took place in 2011. The project is done “externally” but I am not finished with it. So part of this year is about closing loops. The other idea for  this “sabbatical” is reflection. Where am I in this journey? What have I learned? Where do I go next?

My intention is to take this tenth year leading up to the decade mark and retrace where I’ve been with a goal to do several things:

1.       I want to give the art works that are most important to me some attention and reflection so that they each have at least one post that acknowledges their place in this decade of work.

2.    I want to ask some questions about each art work: “How has this creation  played a role in the mission of Full Spring Studio to explore the connection and flow between humans and the rest of nature?  What have I learned from it? What human-nature story does it tell? What questions does it raise? How does it relate to the questions I’m asking now?

3.     I want to tell an overarching story across the collection of blog posts so that at the end of the year I’ve’ made sense of the last ten years.  One of my guides and sometimes collaborator, Audrey, suggested I consider the Hero’s Journey, since that figures prominently in some of my work, and since – well -  it is a proven narrative form.  This is daunting – since I’ll be experiencing the last year of this journey simultaneously with telling its story. Yet it is by telling the story of Full Spring Studio that I hope to bring back some of the quest’s  “elixir” – some sense of clarity and wholeness about this decade cycle of an ongoing adventure.

Jonee, age 4

The hero’s journey starts in the ordinary world where we find the protagonist in their ordinary environment and learn about their character. In that spirit I’ll write the next post as a kind of autobiographical artists profile of how I found myself ten years ago reincarnating a dormant call to art.


  1. Hey Jonee,
    Really cool to follow the Hero's Journey. Joseph Campbell's an excellent choice. Check out the image I sent you. Don't forget 'The Hero Within' by Pearson. Another fav!
    Good Journeying!

    1. Thanks, Deb. 'The Hero Within' is a nice pairing - I know I've spent a lot of time as "The Wanderer." I'll have to think about which one I'm most like right now.