I first met Kate Iredale virtually when she joined the Sacred Arts Ring and I have really enjoyed her work and the way she works with images and digital manipulation. I find her combination of words and images very evocative. One of her images will be in an upcoming issue of Presence journal, for which I have the privilege of being the art editor. She lives on Vancouver Island, one of my favorite places in the Pacific Northwest.
Kate graciously agreed to be featured for one of my Sacred Artist Interviews and I am grateful to her for taking time to share some of her insights into the connections between spirituality and creativity!
Are you rooted in a particular faith tradition?
I was brought up primarily in the United Church of Canada but was exposed to a broad range of Sunday schools as a child; Anglican and Pentecostal, as well as non-denominational community churches…whatever was most convenient for my parents! As a teenager I lived in a very small village, predominantly made up of a large United Church school/camp, which had a big influence on the community, so there was always a spiritual presence from a young age. For many years I actively looked for a spiritual community that I could feel at home in but by my late twenties, I realized that organized religion and doctrines were not a good fit for me and I've found my connection to Spirit/God, within myself.
What is your primary art medium?
I love all things digital; photography and digital art are my main focus but I've recently been pushing my boundaries by exploring mixed media art journaling. This has given me an opportunity to feel comfortable using other mediums..acrylics and collage…and also provides a venue for me to dig deeper into my own spiritual and personal growth.
How do you experience the connection between spirituality and creativity?
Creativity is, and always has been, my voice. As a child I was very shy and tried not to be seen or heard, so as an adult it became difficult for me to articulate my thoughts, feelings and desires. I was always able to express myself through writing and then later on, through the visual arts. Creativity has become a way for me to remember who I really am, what I'm connected to and where I come from…my connection to spirit. I hear spirit speak to me through art and it gives voice to the knowing. Interestingly, it was through art and spirituality that I found my voice again and ended up in a career that required public speaking to very large groups!
What role does spiritual practice have in your art making?
My spiritual practice is to continually be aware of my own truth; to choose love over fear, to practice kindness and to realize that my choices define who I am..all within the awareness that I am loved by Spirit and that I am myself, Love . My art is often a reflection of the questions and quests that I have in my own life at any particular time. There are times when it helps me work through barriers that are holding me back from living a fully realized life and there are times when I create for the pure joy of creating.which in itself is an expression of spirit.
What sparked your spiritual journey?
I've been on a spiritual journey for as long as I can remember. I've always known that I was connected to something greater than that which I could see around me and never felt rooted or at home in the physical world. In my late twenties I read The Nature of Physical Reality by Jane Roberts and it spoke to me in a way that no other spiritual words ever had. I was off and running!
What sparked your artistic journey?
My interest in art and creativity has been there from my earliest memories but for most of my life I put it on the back burner. Although I studied both art and art history while at University, it was from an academic perspective and it wasn't until I began working at an art and design institute in Vancouver that I was immersed in art, absorbed by the ideas and concepts of creative thinking and the creative process. I was surrounded by students who not only thought outside the box, they lived outside the box! These students inspired me and I must have been ready to hear the message because in my 40's and early 50's, I began actively looking for an art medium that I felt passionate about.
Do you have a particular process you use when entering into your creative work?
I'm usually inspired by words; on the radio, in a song, from a conversation or read in a book. These particular words or phases will sound louder and seem brighter than all the rest and they stay with me. I write them down in my journal and then start looking through photographs.my own and sometimes stock photos on the internet. One will jump out at me.and I start manipulating images with Photoshop..adding text.playing with light and color, layering and blending .it's an intuitive process that I get lost in.
How does your art-making shape your image of God?
I see God as energy.the all encompassing energy of creative Love. Art-making connects me to this energy and helps me to "remember" all that I've forgotten. Nick Bantock, well known author and artist of the Griffin and Sabine books, has an art gallery on Salt Spring Island, not far from where I live and his gallery there is called The Forgetting Room. I love the image this conjures up for me…that we came from a Spiritual place to this world, the Forgetting Room and our job here is to remember who we are. That's what art-making does for me…it helps me to remember.
Thank you so much to Kate for offering these jewels to us here. Some of what is speaking to me this day is her image of creativity as voice, as a way of giving voice to deeper knowing that rises up out of remembering who we really are.
Make sure to go visit her blog Thru My Lens Lightly for more of her wonderful images.
(Images from top to bottom: Desire Lines Challenge Card, Journey, Remember Your Dreams, Thai Postcard, Joy-Only From the Heart)
** Make sure to visit this week’s Poetry Party and submit your poem by the end of today to be entered in the random drawing for a copy of What is Blossoming Within You? I will announce the winner Friday morning so I can get the mailing address and send out the prize before I leave **