Grayson Studios

Journal

The Magic of Power Totems

My art career has not followed a straight path. I am an artist and maker of things who has taken a lot of zigs and zags in my career as I travel this mostly lovely and always interesting art journey.  To continue to grow in this journey requires a pretty large investment of my time, energy and passion. So much so that I admit that there are days when I wonder if I have completely lost my mind for trying to do any of this in the first place. Nevertheless I persist. I persist because my work brings me joy and because I want to make a contribution and an impact on my broader community -- especially in these times.

For the last 18 months I have been focused on making the small figures you see above.  I call them Power Totems because to me they are powerful little figures imbued with magic and spirit. The crazy thing is I began making them almost as an after thought. A friend who is a big supporter of artists invited me to show my work in her space. I had a lot of large pieces along with prints of my work but wanted to include something new and different to show. I decided to start a new series. I began flipping through old sketchbooks, began making new drawings, and started pulling together found objects and fabric pieces that I had strewn, I mean stored, in drawers and bins around my studio. This is where listening and seeing with my hands has led me. The Power Totems were formed. I sculpt each face by hand with wooden and metal tools. No two faces are a like. From there I sew and stuff different shapes of fabric together to create a base for the head and for additional embellishmentt using beads, found objects, paint, and anything else the work calls for. The eyes are closed to demonstrate and perhaps instill a sense of peace in the viewer. Sometimes people ask me why the figures have no arms. To me the presence of arms is implied by the shape of the body. I imagine them to have their arms close by their sides or behind their backs perhaps to hide a set of wings for those who want them. The beauty of these little figures to me is that they will reflect what you put out. Some people are moved by them. Some people are a little creeped out or scared by them. Both responses are wonderful to me.  My current collection of Power Totems is available in my shop on this site. Stay a while and have a look. Do a little shopping for yourself.  Peace, Deborah