Mavis Muller

Artist Statement: The Art of Activism

Art is not a mirror held up to reality, but a hammer with which to shape it.
- Bertold Brecht.

How fortunate I was to come upon this teaching early in my career as an artist. I was certain that art had a valid place in the movement for social change and environmental protection, these words rang true, and were an invitation to use my art making as activism for the protection and restoration of natural habitat, wild places and sacred sites, and to educate and build community around these ideals.

To use art as a means to create the reality of a nurtured, protected Earth. This notion inspires me.

In the early 80's, I made a commitment of creative partnership with Nature, to use my human artistic imagination to advocate for the non-human world, which could help dispel the illusion of a boundary between the two worlds. This is the essence of what I try to articulate and communicate through the art forms of contemporary basketry, photography, and poetry.

The workshops I facilitate are designed; to help we humans access our bond to the land; to awaken our true nature,and draw energy and insight through our still-wild roots; to establish a firmly rooted sense of place; and create a reality of health and well being for the future of the planet on which we bloom. Our benevolent Earth.

What is possible in art becomes thinkable in life. - Brian Eno



Artist Statement: The Art of Basket & Story Weaving

Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you.
- Frank Lloyd Wright

The ancient art of basketry continues to evolve, I enjoy being part of that evolution. With the borrowing of age old techniques I am able to share my artistic vision today.

I do this with respect and gratitude to the first basket makers of the globe. To those who made baskets that could walk, and talk, and teach. I am influenced by the journey their baskets invoke, the journey into the natural world, for a true aesthetic experience.

The organic materials that I use keep me in touch with the land; the colors, patterns and textures offer me an intimacy with nature that is both tactile and intangible. As the woven vessel, in some way, gives voice to the natural world, I am rewarded with the gifts of natures songs, teachings, and their transforming qualities.

Warp and weft, become yin and yang, as the two opposites create balance to form a whole. The language of basket weaving is a pleasure to contemplate and has inspired original poetry and stories which enable words, written and spoken, to enter into the design. I call this "story weaving"; when the basket, and the materials used, have language and they weave each other.

Verse by verse, strand by strand, warp of words, weft of land. The non-traditional baskets that I create go gently beyond utilitarian purpose, the inner space holds the metaphors that help me understand my own connection to Earth. I can see myself as part of the landscape, and invite others to do the same.

The artist is a receptacle for emotions that come from all over the place; from the sky, from the earth, from a scrap of paper, from a passing shape, from a spider's web. - Pablo Picasso



Artist Statement: The Art of Migration

Life is not a support system for art. It is the other way around. -Stephen King

The art I create is cyclical, like the seasons, influenced greatly by my migratory lifestyle. Since the early 80's I have seasonally followed the central and pacific flyways that connect my Alaska home with regions in the lower 48 that are wintering grounds for migratory birds.

The migratory bird species that I am guided by in particular is the Sandhill Crane. My studio-home in Alaska is in a grassy field that is frequently visited by these large, lanky birds. For many years I have been observing them and have developed more than a casual interest in these wise sky travelers. It is a pleasure to share their natural beauty, and their valuable teachings through my art of photographic montage, poetry, and "story weaving". This art is my way to advocate for them and their threatened and vanishing habitat.

My lifestyle as a migratory artist has me touring during autumn and winter months, visiting many different communities outside of Alaska, exhibiting, teaching, speaking, sharing a common love for the cranes and their wetland/grassland habitat. In springtime I return to my Cranehaven Studio of Art & Nature where I continue to share the inspiration of cranes, until the migration call is sounded again in autumn.

The more clearly we can focus our attention on the natural wonders and realities of the universe about us, the less taste we shall have for destruction. - Rachel Carson


©2007 Mavis Muller
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