Janus

I made this piece during a Community Art session at Upper Iowa. It was ceramic hand building. What started out as a basic vase shape turned into so much more. I love the art – and not just in the sense that of the physical manifestation, but the process. I have discovered that art is not about the end product, but the journey you go through. It is about acceptance and understanding. It is about exploration and discovery. It is about going deeper. It is allowing your subconscious to use your body as a tool. It is a means of communication.

I have found that the best pieces are those that resonate with my truest of self. These expressions of self are mystical, magical, and powerful beyond measure. These expressions are not planned but allowed. This type of art making is about letting go and trusting that whatever is going to be already is and has been.

The synchronization of this type of art as a reflection of the subconscious to the conscious self is beyond words. Although, through this process I try to use words to help me (my conscious) to understand what my self (subconscious) is telling me.

Meet Janus. Janus is what I discovered about my self – not to be confused with myself – along this part of my journey. See, as I was constructing this vessel I was unsure of what was going to happen. By the time I had built up to the top these two faces emerged. It was at this point that I stopped as I knew I had discovered something but I wasn’t quite sure what it was. This is the part of the journey where I go searching. Usually that means the internet as it is the most efficient tool. As I began to search, I came across answers that did not resonate with this vessel such as “two-faced”. I knew I had to dive deeper. Since this is ceramic, I tend to be attracted more to the Greek and Roman beliefs. So on my search went. When researching “two faced being greek roman” I came across the god Janus. This was it. This is what I needed to find.

See, at this time in my life is when my dad suffered a series of strokes. I was trying to understand who he was now and what he was going through – and what I was going through. Where did we go from here?

Janus has a Greek origin meaning “gateway.” He is the Roman god of transitions and dualities – the god of doors. I was unsure what I had felt about all of this trauma until I could put it into the big picture. Here I was, standing in a doorway – unsure of which way to go, which way to turn, to look forward or go back. Janus is “usually depicted as having two faces looking in opposite ways, one towards the past and the other towards the future.” He presides over transitions. I was in a stage of transition as was my dad. He had to relearn who he was all over again. I would say I can’t imagine what that is like, but see – I can. I am in a constant state of transition, of moving on to the next stage – sometimes going backward. But – then something like this vessel helps me to understand where I got off track and offers me hope and a way forward.

See – I no longer have to carry this burden with me. It is a heavy one – quite literally. It took more than 40 lbs of clay to make this piece. However, I can always look at it and return to it whenever I need to find my way. It shows me how far I have come and reminds me that there is so much more distance to travel.

I have always been fascinated by the Greeks, Romans, Egyptians, the European Renaissance, and other ancient and past cultures as I believe that they knew much more about the self or the soul than we do now. This has gotten so lost over time and I think it is time for a rebirth. I am here to be the founder of this revolution. This is the new cycle of awakening. We need to learn from our past – not just individually, but as a collective whole – who we are now and where we came from. We have been struggling and now it is time to grow.