beauty in imperfection

. . . that was the moment I became educated
about an ancient practice in Japan, known as ‘kintsugi’.

plate by Blossom Young, Moonrise Studios, Mullumbimby, Australia

Living life in a small space tends to encourage zen-like simplicity. I find myself giving due consideration to most objects I bring home. So when it comes to items that are not of a practical nature, I am even more ruthless in my weighing up. I ask myself… do I really need it?

I’ve wandered in and out of Moonrise Studios in Mullumbimby for over a year now. Stopping to admire and desire the hand-made ceramics by the gallery owner, Blossom Young, more times than I’d like to admit. So when the buying of Christmas gifts was recently on the agenda, I decided to treat myself.

I explored every surface of this beautiful little white, light filled, gallery looking for the right piece . Being on a budget, my choices became refined. I was just about to give up when I noticed a little plate nestled on a shelf behind the front counter, with a blue web-like design, and asked if I could see it. Oh it has a crack in it… damn… (think again)… oh that doesn’t matter, it’s the design I love and it’s the perfect size. I asked Blossom if the crack could be filled, and that was the moment I became educated about an ancient practice in Japan, known as ‘kintsugi’.

The term ‘kintsugi’ means golden joinery in Japanese and refers to the ancient art of fixing broken ceramics with a lacquer resin made to look like solid gold. It is thought that these vessels become more gorgeous, and more precious, than before they were fractured. Many Japanese cherish the imperfection of a broken pot repaired in this way, seeing it as a creative addition and/or rebirth of the pot’s life story. (Source: Dick Lehman)

I had to wait about a week while Blossom lovingly filled the cracked plate before it was bought home for ‘kintsugi’. The sense of ritual was immediately apparent. The appropriate materials were gathered and laid out on the table: cotton gloves, small fine brushes, specialist glue and gold leaf sheets. Slowly the glue was applied to the crack line. A waiting of 15 minutes was needed for the glue to cure. Sitting patiently, an opportunity to bring presence to the task was deafening. Time’s up! A flutter of excitement as cotton gloved fingers tore tiny pieces of gold leaf from the glistening sheets; gently allowing them to float down on the tip of a brush onto the glue. Painstakingly the crack began to emerge as a volcanic outflow across the patterned landscape. It’s glowing imperfection now offering beauty and new life.

I love my little plate from Moonrise Studios. It sits on my bedroom dresser, offering it’s pattern and gold imperfection to my eye every day. It’s an object I’m glad I’ve brought into my small space. It gifts the simplest of pleasures. As an artist, it especially reminds me to allow the beauty of so called ‘imperfection’ into my creativity… and even more so, in life.


Note: Thanks to ceramicist, Dick Lehman, for his article – Kintsugi: gold repair of ceramic faults. The complete article is here.

Charlie Hebdo. A Seven Year Old’s Reaction.

Art is freedom… freedom is art. Drawing is freedom… freedom is drawing. Non-violent communciation is freedom… freedom is Non-violent communication. Awareness is freedom… freedom is awareness. Love is freedom… freedom is Love. Mx

The Daily Think

I didn’t get to switch the radio off in time this morning. She heard, and understood (it seems). This was her response. charlie Hebdo

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studio awareness

It’s the new year and the mind would say… time to get back into the studio!

art studio detail by melinda blair paterson

Yet there is no movement to do so, there is no interest to engage with canvas and paint, and it’s certainly too hot here (30 degrees most days in Byron Bay) to be in a container painting. Well that’s what the mind would have me believe.

You see I’ve learnt to let the mind’s thoughts on matters like ‘getting into the studio’ pass me by like clouds. I’ve learnt to sit and wait until the movement comes from the being or the body. It’s more like the experience of just finding myself in the studio painting and then realising… “oh I’m in the studio painting”. Somewhat like an out-of-body experience but it’s not. It’s just that the movement to create comes of it’s own accord, it’s own volition, and the ‘me-Melinda’ is just along for the ride. I love that.

It seems a bit uncomfortable at times, especially to someone who loves to plan her day, week, month, year, LIFE etc. Just ask my partner. His favourite saying when I start trying to plan is… “let’s just see how we feel.” It’s become a bit of a joke between us and I’m finding I’m learning to let go more and more in the moment. In fact I feel 2015 may just be the year of ‘NOT PLANNING’ or knowing what’s next for the ‘me-Melinda’. (God I hope that doesn’t sound like a plan!)

What a gift. The relief and resting this creates in my awareness feels fathomless. To realise I don’t have to know, to plan, to structure or to effort my artistic life is just so wonderful.

So in this moment I don’t know when I will step back into the studio, pick up the brush and pot to paint, create a little scribble on the beauty of a fresh new white canvas, play with colour until my heart squeals with delight, or test out some ideas that have been floating around for months in the back-end. It’s all a mystery and I’m just resting in awareness til the moment arrives.

Bliss Mx

art and awareness

sahaja peace (detail)  100x100cms  acrylic on canvas  2014  melinda blair paterson
sahaja peace (detail)     100x100cms     acrylic on canvas     2014     melinda blair paterson

I’m an artist living in the Northern Rivers of New South Wales, Australia and am passionate about awareness or consciousness and expressing this through art.

I  started my artistic career over 10 years ago with a spontaneous awakening after my mother passed away in 2002. I spent the first five years painting intuitively without any formal training, but somewhere along the way I got the idea I needed to go to art school so that I could say I was ‘a real artist’.

After three years of training and a lot of frustration I finished with some wonderful technical skills but felt completely devoid of what had been an innate intuitive joyful expression in my life. It took me another three years to stop listening to the critical conceptual voices in my head that were very much of the contemporary art world speak I’d learnt in art school.

Now I’m happy to say I am standing as an artist that paints and creates from that space that has no name and is beyond the conceptual mind. I call it ‘consciousnessism’.

I was recently asked to feature my work on a artisan’s blog called ‘the awakened eye’. This blog features artists that express their work from a nondual perspective. It was such a liberating experience. I finally felt I was able to talk about my art without having to dumb it down for the contemporary conceptual art world. I was able to speak about my art in a way that is about consciousness.

This is what I plan to bring to this blog. To share my art, creativity and nondual awareness that prompts a deep desire to express this in a form of beauty that is an offering and invitation to life.