For years I've been secretly hiding a desire to go back to batiking. I fought it because it's not a popular art form...at least not in the rarefied circles that I inhabit :) But I'm not talking about your Indonesian batik, I'm talking about the Americanized variety that uses crayons, dyes and cloth. I practiced it 35 years ago. Had my first art show 35 years ago. Sold my first batik for $35 dollars 35 years ago. So what am I really saying here? That I want to go back to that style from the mid-seventies? The big turquoise poppies and the red calla lilies? NO! Absolutely NO! Those days are long gone and along with them an inauthenticity that even I wasn't aware of at the time.
I learned how to do American batik from a local girl who made it big. Sara Eyestone - American Artist. If you google her there are over 85,000 hits that reference her and her work. In the seventies I was young and I idolized her. I tried to be her in fact. And I failed....miserably! Even admitting that I learned the art form from her is exposing more of myself than even I am comfortable with because in doing so I must expose how negatively she impacted my life. She was my idol and my mentor. In my naiveté I believed she was also my friend. But even though that relationship ended badly for me it opened up my absolute love for Art and for 12 years gave direction for my work. Even if that direction was not my own.
Now 35 years later I'm ready to pick up the beeswax and brushes again. But this time what will emerge will be the authentic self. The real Carolyn, a Jersey Girl. The 61 year old woman who has survived breast cancer with dignity and is ready to begin again on a path of creativity that is finally my own. Where will this journey take me? Hopefully back to myself. To the real me who is scared of failing but is willing to try again despite my fears. And who is willing to say to anyone who is willing to listen...fear is our biggest stumbling block. Once we can get past our fears (of rejection, of failure, of embarrassment) the opportunities for personal growth are huge!
So tomorrow, when I would ordinarily be in church, I am going to pick up those brushes and touch them to my homemade paper and begin again. Begin something I consider sacred...rediscovering who I really am without the fear and the need for an idol or a mentor. My journey of self-rediscovery may be a bumpy ride and I may fall off the horse more than once but I hope that as I share my fears, failures and triumphs that I'll inspire others to rediscover their own dreams.