By Elizabeth Erenberger
My whole life I have been fascinated with mandalas. One of my favorite childhood memories is weaving “god’s eyes” out of yarn at bible school with the other children. I have always been attracted to and inspired by color combinations and textural composition.
I remember zoning out on plants as a child using my eyes to microscopically scan each detail of the blossoms, the buds and the leaves. I would marvel at the ways things came together, the natural cycles around me, the beauty of life. I am reminded of a quote by Pablo Picasso, “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.”
Creativity and Imagination were encouraged and supported in my family, but there were always undertones of knowing that neither would be the reason you made any money. Even as I became older and began to participate more consistently in artistic events the general response was, “it’s so great you have this hobby as an outlet.”
As I have aged I have imagined a new possibility where I could truly believe in the idea of my art making me money. After all, handmade and handcrafted items within my own home are some of my most treasured possessions.
I once went into a home where there were three generations of women’s artwork decorating the house. I was so inspired. The great grandmother had been a photographer, the Mother a sculptor. The daughter, now with children of her own, was a painter. I remember thinking that someday I would like to live in a house decorated with my own creative work; this idea still calls to me.
From beading to knitting, patchwork to baking, I am often happiest when I am creating with my hands. I still love watching the way the yarn comes together, or the fabric lines up. I love creating patterns with color, and creating something unique no one else would make exactly the same.
Now that I have grown children who are talented artists as well, I feel compelled to exemplify a life of confident self-expression, and passion for ones work. I want to show them that it is indeed possible to love your work, and that you can make a living doing what you love.
I know from experience that manifesting big change requires believing in and visualizing a different future. It is deep soul work to rebuke my naysayers, and believe in the reliability of my creative process as financial stability.
I imagine a mandala, a beautiful spiritual mandala, a textile masterpiece inside my mind. It is woven from the most beautiful fabrics I’ve ever witnessed, stitched with golden thread. It has applique, and embroidery, beadwork and gemstones, henna and poetry painted on canvas. Branches and blossoms, leaves and vines weave themselves into the fabric. It is a meditation, but I am humbled by this miraculous artwork within. I begin to see myself with fresh eyes.
I am the artist ancient and primal, being called to channel this divine creative energy. There is no time to feel sorry for wasted time. I must make art, even if it never makes me a cent. I have to because art is a meditation for me. Because I like the way it makes me feel, and the way it touches others. Because the little girl inside me loves color, and texture, and mandalas.