Thursday, September 22, 2011

THE STORY BEHIND MY CARVED TOTEMS



I don't think I've blogged about why I began carving totems but when Kim Schoenberger bravely shared her story a few weeks ago I realized that hearing her story added another dimension to her art.

For years I have been intrigued by the Kenyan vigango or funerary posts which are carved by the Mijikenda to house the spirits of the deceased.


Vigango Commemorative Sculpture of the Mijikenda of Kenya by Ernie Wolfe


When we lost our 16 year old daughter to cancer I looked at these vigango with new interest and thought it would be therapeutic for me to carve one in my own style .... one day. They say that to lose a child or any loved one can have all sorts of repercussions besides the obvious and when my husband also contracted cancer I had a strong feeling that the shock of our daughter's death had been the catalyst. To cut a long story short it took another two years of illness, diagnosis and treatment as well as the death of my mother before some semblance of normalcy began to return to our lives and that was when I decided to fall apart. Subsequently there came a time when I knew I would have to pull myself together or it would be a long climb back.

It was the right time to begin carving my totems.... my vigango. I tentatively began and before even completing the first one I could feel a cloud lifting and I raced on to the next and the next, carving day after day, working through the sadness within me until my "studio" walls were lined with totems. They loomed over my work space like guardians.... messengers .... beacons of hope.


I'm sure that carving these totems kept me sane and I'm still carving them because they symbolize so much for me. I am reminded often that creating art heals and though sometimes it is difficult to actually start something midst the trials of life, when one finally gets moving the joy of the creative process takes over and begins working it's magic.

I found this poem by Lucian Blaga on Tumblr last week ....

In my chest,
a strange voice awakens
and a song plays inside me
a longing that is not mine.

They say that ancestors, dead before their time,
with young blood still in their veins,
with great passion in their blood,
with the sun still burning in their blood
come,
come to continue to live
within us
their unfinished lives.

Such a deep silence surrounds me, that I think I hear
moonbeams striking on the windows......

—Lucian Blaga, translated by MariGoes


101 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for sharing this, Robyn.
    Your pieces are so powerful and now that I understand what fueled the power of your creativity initially they are even more so to me.
    xoxo Kim

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  2. Thank you so much for sharing your story with us. It is sad but wonderful the healing power the carving of the totems had. This really touched my heart Robyn

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  3. I wonder sometimes if we will be working through these deeply felt sorrows for the rest of our lives, finding solace and peace and understanding in the art we do. And that's ok, you're right, it keeps us sane, and brings joy and healing back into our lives. Your work is beautiful and inspiring and comes from such a deep place, thank you for sharing, Robin.

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  4. Robyn, I had no idea, to lose a child has to be the worst. You are a brave and strong woman and these totems are magic and beautiful.
    Sending giant hugs.
    And kisses to Digby :-).
    xoxo

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  5. Art does heal, regardless of how the sadness began. I always knew there had to be a story behind things that were so beautiful, now it's even more beautiful.

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  6. A beautiful post. Thank you so much for sharing with us.

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  7. Thank you for sharing your story. It was truly beautiful, heartfelt and inspirational.

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  8. When I first found your blog, I didn't realize you had created the totems - at first I thought you collected them. Your totems are full of an ancient sacredness - and now I know why.
    Thank you for sharing and for creating these totems. I think we are all healed a little bit from your story and your work.

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  9. Thank you for this honest and beautiful post.

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  10. Thank you Robyn. I think all of us have had those breakthrough moments where after a lot of intense life experience, we "decide to fall apart". And you are so right. The long climb back can be steep, intense. A jagged climb full of stops and starts but, using art as our compass, we will find our way up and out. Thanks for sharing. From one who is also slowly and gradually climbing to another. xo

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  11. wow Robyn!
    I love learning the background of artists and what is the foundation of their art. don't you find that many artist's use art as a method of healing? What a gift we have... ; )
    My appreciation for your work just trebled... ; )
    Lotus

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  12. Dear,Robyn,
    Thank you so much for sharing. My husband lost his brother and grieved so much that we felt it was what led to his cancer 2 yrs later. He died within a month of being diagnosed. And a month ago
    my father-in-law passed....I have described these past two yrs as being 'down the rabbit hole'. Everything tumbling and I also
    decided to finally 'fall apart'. I am making it and know that the art
    I a seeing in my dreams at night will be my salvation soon. Your work is inspirational as is your blog....thank you so much for all you share.
    Kindest regards,Missy from the bayou

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  13. What a very moving and inspirational post, thank you for sharing it, I love your totems they are beautiful!

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  14. A sad, but uplifting, story about the beginnings of your totems. Perhaps they are so compelling because of the emotion invested in them. I'm happy that this has been a means to heal, and that you are still finding that inner spark to continue rhis lovely series of pieces.

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  15. Robyn, what's behind the art is more important than the art itself. I know that it has been extremely difficult to live through these heartbreaking events. And difficult to tell your story.

    Your artwork is so beautiful -- thanks for sharing it and the meaning behind it with your readers.

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  16. So appreciate you sharing your challenging and sad story. I celebrate the fact that your beautiful art helped and continues to help you through your sorrow. It really does put a different perspective on your awesome creations. God bless you.

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  17. What a journey you have been on Robyn. Sharing your story of loss and healing has touched my soul and your beautiful carvings hold such a spiritual quality that is even more apparent to the viewer with whom you have shared such profound life experiences.
    xoxo Cynthia

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  18. wow Robyn ... my heart felt as if it was bursting as i read your post and when i finally read the song, the tears came. what a post of immense strength. thank you for sharing your story ... i just feel like hugging you long and hard now.

    xoxoxo
    Luthien

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  19. Robyn that's so brave of you to open up and share such a painful but inspiring story......that is why your totems are so strong and spiritual .....they come from your very soul ....thank you for your story.....x

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  20. Your work is so beautiful!
    One can feel the deeper and ancient connections with everything that ever was and ever will be.
    I was deeply moved by your story, thank you for sharing it with us.

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  21. Thanks for having the courage to tell your story, your work is stunning and the reasons why you create add to their beauty. I too have found a healing after experiencing loss through my artwork. When I'm creating I lose myself in the moment, it's almost medatative in some way.

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  22. My husband and I both are cancer survivors and I know the stuggle's are many, especially for those that Don't Have Cancer that struggle along side us. I'm sorry for your loss as we are never prepared to lose our children. Art does save us, piece by piece, and I'm sure a piece of your daughter is in every one of your creations. It keeps us sane in an insane world. I've admired your work for a long time ~ thank you for sharing your story.

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  23. Thanks Kim (Numinosity), I daresay we are all fueled by something to create the art that we do and it can be really interesting to know the stories behind it all.

    Shirley, a lot of time has passed and I still find art to be my solace. Thank you.

    A Mermaid in the Attic, thanks so much.

    Thanks Annie, sending hugs back:-) ...and I'm no braver or stronger than any person who loves her family. We all do what we have to do to survive.

    A Creative Dreamer, the healing powers of art is a constant source of wonder.

    Dolores, sometimes it is good to share one's stories. Thank you.

    Georgina, I really appreciate your comment.

    Judy, .... an ancient sacredness .... I like that, thanks so much.

    Thanks Lynn.

    Mary, hoping your climb is not too hard. We are lucky to have art aren't we?!

    Lotus, a gift indeed. I suppose everyone has something that will help in the healing process.... Something to be passionate about.

    Missy, I'm so sorry for your loss. Down the rabbit hole sounds very apt. There will be a time when you will create art again. Just begin and see what happens.... and then begin the next day, step by step.

    Jan, thank you.

    Jo, I can't imagine getting to the end of the series.

    Kim, the supportive people who read my blog make it very easy for me to share my story. We all have something to tell and the sharing is what inspires and keeps us connected.

    ArtistUnplugged, thanks so much.

    Thanks Cynthia, I am touched in return. xoxo

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  24. robyn, out of such pain your work emerges with healing. thank you for your honesty here.

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  25. X X X X X for picking up the chisel. X Annie

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  26. Luthien, cyber hugs are good :-)
    The poem seemed so right for this post. Glad you were moved by it as much as I was.

    Artymess, my totems do feel spiritual to me...thank you.

    Thanks Mary Lena, it amazed me at first that i could feel an ancient connection to what I was creating.

    Thanks Dyche Designs, I agree, it is a means of meditation. To be able to lose oneself in ones work is a blessing.

    SooZeQue, whenever I meet a cancer survivor it feels like a personal triumph. It is a struggle for all concerned but there are also many shining lights and unexpected "gifts" along the way, aren't there?!

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  27. Although this is a terribly sad story, the results helping you to cope with it are beautiful. You have found a wonderful healing medium keeping you in touch with those close to you.

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  28. I always wondered why and now I know, I think they are more powerful because of where you live and the reason behind them.That is a poweful poem. Big hugs

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  29. Thank you so much for the insight into your work Robyn. It's a very sad story, the loss of a child must be heart breaking. I'm glad you found solace in your art, your totems are an inspiration to us all.

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  30. Your artwork is beautiful. Coming from a place of pain to comfort makes it even more so.

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  31. Thanks for sharing your story with us Robyn your carvings are extremely powerful works. As painful as our lives can be at times, it is wonderful to find that place for healing, especially within ones art. The similarlities become apparant we all share universally and seem to unite us all in so many ways, the loss of three pregnancies and my mother to cancer within a three year period saw me taking a similar path and the need to assembling totemic sculptures, guardians of healing...

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  32. Robyn, The pain and loss that led you to healing through art making is a remarkable journey. Finding the beauty of the vigango posts and then making your totems a reflection of your experiences is a beautiful evolution. Magic indeed. Thank you for this inspiring post.

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  33. I have always been in awe of you, Robyn. And now, after reading your heartbreaking story of how you began to create these gorgeous carvings, I am even more in awe of you.

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  34. thankyou for being brave,
    It does add so much dimension to your work, not that it needed any more!

    But to know there is a human working life out - well that is a story we all share.
    thankyou thankyou thankyou.

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  35. "Such a deep silence surrounds me, that I think I hear moonbeams striking on the windows."

    I am at a loss for words, but I'm thankful to know a bit of your own story...

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  36. Velma, aren't we are lucky to emerge through the art that sustains us?!

    Annie... chisels, music or the pen .... our life savers :-)

    Sue, the art process certainly does make me feel closer during those quiet times.

    Thank you Penny, big hugs to you too.

    Ro, I think I found solace from the moment I opened that first box of crayons. Can you remember way back to that day? Looking at your glorious colour palette I imagine you were amazed at all the bright colours packed in that little box.

    Robin, thank you,

    Thanks India.

    Kim, we both create our guardians of healing at opposite ends of the world and then when we share our stories it makes it easier somehow. Thank you for inspiring me.

    Mary Ann, I know that you find solace in the work that you do on a daily basis and I am always inspired by your thoughts behind the paintings. Thank you.

    Angela, thanks so much.

    Grrl, one of the most wonderful things about blogging is the stories we share and the support we receive from each other.

    Sweetpea, aren't those such beautiful words? .... I think I hear moonbeams striking on the window... wow! I had almost decided not to do this post when I found the poem.

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  37. R- a little bit of tear duct cleaning on my part; a desire to reach out and, as Luthien said, hug you and your husband; and an insight into this particular part of your art work. Go well, create well and heal with each piece of work. B

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  38. Wow!!! Thank you for sharing and please keep chiselling...! Cyber hugs from me too!!

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  39. A deep gift to know you more.... and the source of your work.

    A friend of mine lost her 5 year old son, when after months of hardly being able to get out of bed, she started dancing. She couldn't stop, she danced and danced and danced until something settled in her just a bit. She says she came to the moment of choice when she could either stop moving all together, or move like her life depended on it, which it did. She's now a beautiful dancer, fire-spinner, and weaver. Creative expression saved her and through it she found her gifts. Seems sometimes we must get thrown into the fire to be "fully cooked" as the Maya say (and I think also the Kung), before our healing gifts emerge.

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  40. How auspicious it is to come to see you, at this time, as you share your mythic story.

    Your hero's journey is a model for possibility...we need your story...it makes us all stronger.

    I bow _/\_ in the direction of the beauty that you bring...how proud is the Spirit of Your Daughter.
    hugs
    d

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  41. Robyn. I am speechless with your story, with your way of oversoming things and your repeated working at it all. So many things go on in our lives - it happens in blogland too - and yet we know so little of other people and their suffering. Thank you for sharing this and for making me feel so humble.

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  42. i dont know where i read on your blog about your daughter and husband..but i was aware of that. just didnt realize the totems played a part in your dealing/coping. thank you for sharing more of YOU. its refreshing to read about you robyn..you do such a wonderful job highlighting other artists here i think its important you share more of you too! :)

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  43. "Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
    the world offers itself to your imagination,
    calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting
    over and over announcing your place
    in the family of things." Mary Oliver

    The totems are such perfect and stunning containers for your passionate love of life and family Robyn. Thank you for sharing your beautiful story of creative energy healing. xxoo

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  44. Robyn, how my heart grew large, escape me
    and in that overwhelming compassion and beauty, became silent (true).

    so much resonates back, understood.

    Big Thanda!

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  45. moving and inspiring. thank you for such a beautiful post.

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  46. The very first time I saw your carvings I knew they came from some other place deep within you.
    Having a daughter myself, I can't imagine the loss of this,,, every parent's nightmare.
    Thank you Robyn, for this courageous post, and for your wonderfully inspiring carvings.

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  47. Dearest Robyn, I knew your story but the telling moved me anew, as did the poem. The alchemy of your work is as uplifting and healing to us all as it is to you. Hugs xxxx

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  48. Sharing your story does add depth to your work. Creativity does help carry us thru the worst of times....thanks for sharing. I am passing the link for this post on to a friend I know can relate to your story behind the art.

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  49. Dear beautiful soul, thank you so much for sharing this part of your heart...perhaps the heart of your art would be another way to say it. I find that for me photography and writing have become my healing practices.

    May your love infused totems continue to heal you and everyone blessed to be in their holy presence.

    xo

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  50. Oh Robyn. This post has just made me treasure my totem that much more. Thank you for sharing the story behind them. Hugs.

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  51. Barry, I am so very touched by the caring response to this post. Thank you.

    Thanks Found Art Blog, it's great to receive so many cyber hugs!

    Valerianna, I relate so well to this story..... and yes sometimes we must be fully cooked before our healing gifts emerge. I'm smiling at the thought of your friend dancing as if her life depended on it. Thank you so much for sharing this.

    Donna, you are so right.... sharing stories makes us stronger (You'r story comes to mind). Thank you so much. My Daughter's Spirit is indeed proud and beautiful. She would be very chuffed to read this :-)

    Weaver, I'm never sure whether to share the personal facts of my life but when i do I am always amazed at the love and caring within this community of ours. We all have some sort of sadness to bear. That's life. I have been humbled over and over again by the stories shared in the blog world. Thank you for your sweet gentle presence in my blog circle.

    Thanks Paula, you know how much I enjoy reading about how you overcome the challenges in your life.

    Leslie, so often have I found comfort and inspiration in Mary Oliver's poetry. Thank you!

    Mansuetude, you have such a beautiful way with words. Each comment you leave is poetry. Big Thanda :-)

    Thank you, Rebeca.

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  52. Babs, I appreciate your words. When a cousin lost her child many years ago I can remember saying that I would not be strong if I lost a child but I have learned that the strength comes when you need it.

    WildC, ..... the bonds we share through the telling of our stories .... thank you.

    Oogleboops, the emails I've received from people who have gone through something similar make me realize just how important it is to share our healing process.

    Dear LauraX, your posts about your struggles and how you rise above them have inspired me since the day I found you. Keep on writing and sharing.

    HHnB, xxx

    Heather, I should have known you would appreciate the story behind your totem. Perhaps the time didn't feel right then but I'm glad it has added meaning to your totem.

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  53. Robyn, your artwork and words are testimony to your courage, strength,love and spirit.

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  54. Thank you for sharing this. To lose your child must be the hardest thing to deal with. So glad you retained your sanity through art. I appreciate your work even more.

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  55. Robyn---what a lovely piece about your life. Kiss Digby for me.

    Toni

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  56. Di, thank you so much.

    Thanks Don, btw I have such a clear image of your painting in my mind since seeing it on your blog this morning.

    Toni, Digby graciously accepts your kiss ... which is surprising because he never sits still long enough to be kissed.

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  57. I am flipping over that poem.

    I didn't really start doing any art until my Sister in law died, She died right after a close friend - another "almost" sister in law and both died young and it was tragic in both cases. Both were creative people, and I truly TRULY felt that they were both channeling thru me. I've always been creative but didn't have the confidence to draw or paint...and suddenly the fear was gone and off I went. I really believe that they both wanted to work with me on creative actions.

    After my SIL died, I got bad home news, and then my father got sick...and on and on it went. Art and singing have kept me sane.

    My heart bleed for you losing a daughter - I can't imagine the pain. I'm glad you found a way out of the well....

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  58. A post on Mim's blog sent me here.
    Your art is stupendous.
    Your reasons for creating...touch every heart that reads about this I am sure. I am so sorry for these losses.
    I am deeply moved to see and hear about your healing process.
    Thank you for sharing;
    and how inspiring your journey is, how inspiring your art making is. Thank you again.

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  59. hello robyn, it's a pleasure to meet you, i also came from mim's post.
    you sound like an amazing artist and person. the beauty of the totem's you make and the story behind is truly a sad but beautiful thing. you defintely are art propelled.
    blessings to you from california
    lori x

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  60. Robyn....it is obvious your work has strong power and is imbued with a beautiful creative spirit....your story has only enriched it. Thank you so much for sharing...as always an inspiration and a reminder of the great power of the arts to heal and transcend.

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  61. Guardians and beacons of hope. Your carvings have always struck me as very powerful and I sensed there was a story behind them. But I had no sense of the level of personal challenge and loss that fueled their creation. I am thankful for you that they have helped you get to a better place and I thank you for being brave enough to share.

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  62. Thank you Robyn for sharing straight from your heart. I am very sorry to read of your suffering. I admire your generous spirit and am inspired by the beauty you create with your carvings. Thank you x

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  63. Thank you Robyn, that was brave to share your story and I'm grateful. It does add another world of feeling, importance, necessity to your totems. By sharing this, it's also soothing to those of us who have experienced loss. It doesn't feel such an isolating experience. I've always wanted to adopt one of your totems, and now I'm even more determined.

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  64. Hello Robyn. I too come here from Mims blog and am so glad I did! Your totems and the story behind them strike to my heart. When art is grounded in something of passionate importance to us it comes out in the art itself and is plain for all to see. As is the case here. I will visit again. xx Jos

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  65. I've always loved your totems, from such sadness beauty eventually comes.

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  66. Robyn, I of course did not know about all the loss and past sadness in your life and family.. and as usual we are on the same mind track.. when you see my next blog post "Creating from a Dark Place" you will understand.. out of the ashes beauty is re-born. This certainly applies to your light and art.

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  67. I stumbled upon your blog from Mim, and was so warmed by this post. I would love to own one of these wonderful totems too. These are obviously connecting you to your daughter.

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  68. I didn't even realise you are a South African. I am too, been transplanted here to London for the past 25 years...would love to get in touch with you and buy one of your totems.

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  69. Wow Robyn - such a heart rending post. I had no idea you had lost a daughter. I was very sorry to read that. I am heartened that you have been able to receive solace in your art, however. Your sculptures are incredible wittness to more than just your remarkable talent. That is something no-one or no thing can take away.
    Debrina

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  70. Dear Robyn, how could we know what stays behind one's art?!... But I'm sure that when it provokes my feelings and moves me, there ARE reasons for that - no matter of what kind.
    I'm so sorry to learn about your losses! I can't imagine how you've born the pain... Your magnetic totems have achieved now (for me) a new dimension... I read and feel in them new thoughts and visions.

    I've been absent from blogging world this summer, 'cause I tried to take a little break. But I read you last posts and liked the themes you had chosen and the way you had interpreted them - especially the "cage" and "tree" ones.

    Kisses!xxx

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  71. Mim, I noticed a flurry from your direction.... Thank you for the mention on your blog. I'm so sorry you have gone through such sadness. Things have a way of coming in clusters, one thing after another but hopefully all is good from now on. Glad you have found art and music to work your way through it.

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  72. Lynn, thank you for stopping by. I really appreciate your comment.

    Lori Ann, I'm pleased to meet you too :-). How wonderful that we can stretch from one end of the world to the other and offer comfort. Thank you.

    Patti, the power of healing through art .... something I am grateful for every day.As you know, even if we don't actually create something each day the thought of it is sustaining.

    Seth, we certainly are lucky to find so much joy and comfort in the art we create.

    Robyn, thanks so much. It is wonderful that we can all inspire each other.

    Shayla, you are so right about the sharing as a means of helping one another. We all experience that terrible sadness and loss at some time in our lives and talking about it eases the pain.

    Hi Jos, thank you, I recognize your profile photo so I must have bumped into you somewhere in the blog world.

    Emma, thanks so much.

    Thanks Donna, I'm so looking forward to your next post.

    Soulbrush, wonderful to meet a fellow South African! London has a very special place in my heart. I will email you later. We are off to Durban to make deliveries followed by a little retail therapy :-)

    Debrina, thanks so much!

    Thank you Rossichka, I did notice you were quiet. Glad you enjoyed catching up with posts.

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  73. Thank you for sharing your journey!
    And thank for all the wonderful images you post on your blog! They are such an inspiration.

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  74. Thank you Robyn for sharing your story. I am usually a silent reader, but felt compelled to comment on this post. Your work has always been haunting to me, and now I know why. I thought the poem you shared was perfect. Who knows which descendent will look at our work after we're gone, through their eyes we will continue to be in the world.

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  75. Robyn, I always knew your pieces were full of emotion but I had no idea that they were propelled by grief. I hope that by this time you have churned out the grief and your love is what emanates from these beautiful figures.

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  76. When I look at your art work I feel it has come from a deep place- it has that sort of power and consideration about it- I had no idea- you are my hero! I can not put myself in your experience - I don't ever want to go there- The loss is too great and I am weak. Again, you are my hero! Your art is more than amazing it moves right straight to the middle...where we feel, where we live. You have made moving beautiful art out of grief and done it so well- who would have known. Thank you so much!

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  77. Robyn, thank you for sharing your deeply moving story. I just can't imagine the enormous amount of strength and courage it must have taken to redirect your sadness and loss into such powerful and inspiring art.

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  78. Thank you for sharing your story. Hearing your story brings about healing in others and makes us know that we are not alone when we experience suffering.

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  79. Dear Robyn, what a sad and beautiful story you have shared with us here. I can see how much your totems mean to you, and how much carving into wood free's you and keeps you alive. I am so touched here, i cannot put it into words. Only that I love the beauty that you create.
    roxanne

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  80. Carla, thank YOU. I'm inspired to know that people read my blog.

    Thanks Ruth, glad you commented. It's great to "meet" silent readers. The poem did seem right for the post.

    Lisa at Greenbow, several years have passed and though we still feel the big gap that our daughter has left in our lives we have worked through a lot of sadness.

    Linda Sue, I am very touched that my work moves you. Thank you so much for the kind words.

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  81. Lisa, it's surprising that the strength comes and we have met so many people who share their healing stories which certainly helps.

    Beth, you are so right. Shared experiences have made it easier over the years.

    Roxanne, I remember a time when art helped you through loss. We are lucky to be able to lose ourselves in our work.

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  82. Thank you for sharing with us all Robyn, the story of your totems, your loss, your art.
    The poem is beautiful...I have written it in my journal.

    Jacky xox

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  83. Wow..said softly. I've loved your carvings from the moment I first saw them and never guessed they were born from such a sad time. Having been through so much with my own daughter, to know how much we've fought for a better quality of life for her...I can only imagine the grief that must come from actually loosing a child.
    Your carvings have taken on a different meaning to me, not as a reflection of loss and grief but as a testiment to the inner strength and power of mind which has bought peace to your soul. You inspire me and many others Robin, thank you.

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  84. Jacky, I find many beautiful poems on Tumblr. Glad you enjoyed it.

    Lucky Dip Lisa, your daughter has been on my mind and I'm hoping you are finding time to unwind after your last month back and forth.

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  85. The powerful images of your totems embrace your story in a magical way.

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  86. Art saves; I'm a true believer and your totems fully prove that. I love how they stand tall, reaching, hopeful, and meaningful to you and all of us viewing them. I am also a firm believer of symbolism in our art; I find it soothing and so comforting and makes me closer to the one I lost.

    Thank you SO much for sharing this with us. Thoughts of you and yours. xxoo

    Also - thanks for stopping by my new Blog today - I really appreciated it.

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  87. Robyn, words seem so trivial when someone reveals such transforming moments in their life. Pushed to what must surely have been desperation with so much loss and illness, you managed to channel your pain into creating, inspiring healing and creativity to so many who know you. I can't help but express how blessed society is that your reverence for your beautiful young daughter found it's voice in carving totems.

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  88. Such a moving story.
    It is true that art has the power to heal.

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  89. Dear Robyn-I read this post when you first wrote it...but did not have time to respond in an appropriate manner. I still don't. To think that such beauty can come out of such tragic circumstances seesm unbelieveable...but here you are! Here is your work in all it's glory and grace...their beauty and luminosity. There is a noble sadness to your totems...but they are stunning...a reminder of what the human soul is capable of. Thank you so much for sharing this deeply personal story with us. xxx

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  90. A beautiful and powerful post - thanks so much for sharing your story, Robyn. Thanks for having the strength to inspire the rest of us xoxoxox

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  91. thank you... great loss can drive you to great things... so glad you found your way.

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  92. Thank you Art at Cesterbrook.

    Thanks Marilyn, something we all share here is the knowledge that creating art can draw one out of despair.

    Curio, what a lovely thing to say. Thank you!

    Azirca, it has indeed!

    Soraya, I think of your story too and know that the art you create is therapeutic. We are lucky to have our art. xxx

    Noela, our friend Kim led the way. xoxoxox

    PJ, I suppose the difficult part is actually getting to that point when one is ready to begin.

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  93. Yes, yes, absolutely. I agree with you so much about what you say in this post. I am glad you shared your story Robyn.

    ps: for some strange reason, I am not getting your posts on my blogroll. I decided to visit anyway and I am so glad I did.

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  94. Thanks Priya, it was surprisingly therapeutic.

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  95. What an amazing post, on so many levels! Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful carvings, but thank you especially for sharing your story and your source of inspiration. The poem, too, was especially beautiful. You showcase so many other talented artists, and I really appreciate that. So much to see and so little time! Your story touched my heart and your art has brought joy and inspiration to my day.
    Thank you!

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  96. I was very touched and moved when I read this post. My mother always speaks of and misses her sister she lost before I was born. So many of her spirited stories feed me. Who knows. And I can understand creating to survive. That kind of art has a power and life of its own. It can sustain and save a life. Thank you for choosing to create and carve and give yourself and this blog to us. When I am thirsty for real inspiration, I come here. I hope you know that. Thank you Robyn.

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  97. Thanks for sharing your story Robyn. It is obvious that you pour your heart into your work. Now I know why.

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  98. Vineeta, thanks so much. We find so much inspiration and support in the blog world. What did we do before blogs?

    Thanks Stevie, art is the best outlet for so many emotions from joy to sadness and everything in between.

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