Harrison Center artist Erin Hüber has a passion for what she calls “Lost Arts”. If you are familiar with Erin’s art, you know that her themes and imagery often reflect her love and respect for times gone by and for the women of past generations and their way of life. Women of the past created connection by participating in sewing circles, quilting bees and gatherings where they worked together to create works of beauty and utility. The items they produced were essentially works of art, worthy of being passed down from one generation to the next, and the teamwork with which these products were created bonded their makers together. These days we head to a department store if we need a quilt or knitted items. Consequently, the skills that were once used to create such things have largely been forgotten.
Erin, along with her dear friend, artist Ana Jeftenic, are launching an initiative to bring back these lost arts as well as the joy that is derived from participating in them.
The inaugural event for Lost Arts was a Flower Mandala Making workshop held on Mother’s Day weekend. What better time to hold this event than on a holiday weekend when we are celebrating the power of the women in our lives? The event began with a tea ceremony with the intention of honoring the time and presence of each participant, as well as to help them to slow down, quiet their minds and focus on the present moment. Together the group used real flowers to create a mandala (circular, symmetrical design) on beautiful walnut and white oak “rounds” provided by Indy Urban Hardwoods. Says Jeftenic, “Mandala making is a wonderful art rooted in a reverence for Nature, the circle being a symbol of the universe, representing wholeness.” Later, in honor of the ephemeral nature of their building material, participants practiced the art of “letting go” by cleaning the mandalas up. There are only photos to capture the beauty of these creations, and they are exquisite.
The goal of Lost Arts is to bring people together. Erin and Ana intend to do this is by tapping into folk culture and reclaiming traditions of the past, as well as creating opportunities to learn about crafts and skills that are practiced in other cultures. The hope is that while connecting with others and gaining respect for their art and ingenuity, participants in Lost Arts workshops will also learn the calming, meditative effects that are available to them when they slow down and take time to create something beautiful. Other mandala-making workshops as well as classes on paper making, embroidery and other mediums are in the works.