Two recent posts, Community Immunity by Natalie Weaver on May 6, and Carol Christ’s May 11 essay, Women Invented Agriculture, Potter, and Weaving…, have spurred me to focus and finally share something that I’ve meant to for a long time. For 30 years I helped my husband realize his dream of a small farm, while I continued working as an artist. We both came from urban backgrounds and both (separately) charged out into the wild world at age 17, inventing as we went along. That fearless approach continued with the farming many years later.
We started with sheep and cows but soon turned to focussing on goats. We wanted to farm organically from the start (1988) and that, combined with a lack of childhood indoctrination into Big Ag Culture had us devouring all the information we could while carefully observing the animals and applying our shared humanistic approach to daily life to the care of goats. I say this last part so no one imagines a slavelike situation as is often seen in images of dairy farms. Continue reading “Caprine Community by Laurie Goodhart”
With every wonderful, heart-wrenching, deeply researched, and inspiring post I read on F.A.R., I feel less inclined to share my own somewhat out-of-step contributions to this world. Nevertheless, I keep reminding myself that they are the things that I do, and I do them because I feel compelled, and have consistently been compelled in those two specific directions — art and agriculture/wildcrafting — since childhood. Also, the paintings and prints are a product of my always thinking about and feeling into both feminism and spirituality, and the fruits of the intersection of the two. So here is another offering.
I’ve always had a fondness for the visual aspect of playing cards, and collect books on them. One image of an uncut sheet of cards printed in 1585 in Frankfurt, where the black and white cards were jammed in every which way on large sheets of paper, inspired the look of these four prints, The Cuisine Cards.
They are conceived as celebrating food and cultures from various parts of the world. The face cards are non-hierarchical in terms of rank and gender. The 10 is a Table of the suit’s food, then there are the Shaper, Mover, and Taster, who, although usually carrying on in a certain sequential order, each contribute equal value to the whole experience of eating food. Two suits have all female face cards and two all male.
Artwork and sustainable agriculture are the two threads of my professional life. They mingle fruitfully beneath the surface as I sift through remaining evidence of ancient worlds, trying to sense how people of lost cultures met basic survival needs and also how they responded to the very human hunger for beauty, meaning, and story.
In revisiting the remnants with empathy and wonder, scavenging for resonant clues and forks in the road that we didn’t take, some subtle but significant things continually resurface. For one, various ancient Greek writers (males, e.g., Plato, Strabo, Euripides) noted that it is “the women” who keep things sacred and maintain spiritually oriented rituals; that without the impetus of women, men would not bother to honor the sacred in everyday life, carrying on without much concern beyond themselves. Continue reading “Wealth In Imagination by Laurie Goodhart”
I’ve always been an artist-painter, with an innate drive to explore the mystic and ethereal. Concurrent with artwork I minored in Philosophy as an undergrad, then farmed (certified-organically) with animals and plants for thirty years, all the while accumulating a fine archaeology reference library. The farming grounded the other endeavors in a way that probably nothing else can. Scraping by in the best of years, and always subject to the vagaries and perils of natural forces, one learns that there is no other way forward than to surrender, constantly alert to the complex nuances of Earth and Life.
Even though no longer farming, I still carry on in this way. A couple of weeks ago I participated in a three-day regional Artist’s Open Studio Tour, hosting the general public during some of the most sweltering days on record in our area. Bringing people into the un-air-conditioned studio to suffer was an awful prospect, so I hung forty large paintings and twenty tiny ones in a large shady area that I’ve thought of as The Sacred Grove, since acquiring this property five years ago.
A sacred grove because it is bordered on its long side by a small stream that emerges from a spring at the uphill end. Further uphill from this area is a columned platform that the previous owners erected and dubbed, The Parthenon. These wonderful features dovetail exquisitely with the fact that for the past twenty years my artwork has focused on what I call Remnants And Residents Of A Lost Sanctuary Of Aphrodite.Continue reading “In A Sacred Grove by Laurie Goodhart”