Alexander First Nation Cree
As someone who suffers from mental illness, I hold a deep connection with myself and my stone. As odd as it seems, I like to keep the expectations of Creator and Spirits or Grandfathers out of the carving process. I sit and "observe" the stone as I try to envision if the stone can be what was asked.
If not, I ask the stone if it’s willing to be said request for me. In the whole process I need to be present in the moment, ready for every detail and movement of tools. I understand the respect of what the Creators presence means, in my mind I believe the gift I was provided, to see and create in the solitude of my own mind roots deeper than an exterior belief. I need to understand I am incapable of reversing a mistake, or covering it up without fine detail easy to spot. In my experience with not only mental illness, but also others who function properly is the lack of confidence. We lack the ability to believe in one self to provide the structure to create with stability. which costs confidence as we go. We hold a divine expectation that we don't belong in that moment. We are incapable of due to lack of "creativity". I like to teach the acceptance of "Alone" the idea that in that moment the outcome is strictly on our own ability to understand no other will create the image we see.
At first I teach with the most basic hand tools, and have the individual create a flat image. And then demonstrate my technique I use to slowly shape the image into something more of a realistic relatable image. I also remind that with the perspective of Art, Abstract and contemporary can be blended. The art is defined by the confidence of the creators ability to accept the final product.
Once the shape is accepted and the piece is ready for the final process. I then have the individual sand in stages until they feel the next task is accessible. I will point out areas of interest one time and observe as they continue on. and when the final polishing process is completed, we will then move on to the heating and waxing of the product. after the wax is applied, if the piece is flawless, I will congratulate the artist and remind them, they are the ones who made the carving. If there is flaws or imperfections, I will remind the artist we are only human, and been human, and need to fix it to reflect the care in which we hold to our creation. once they have gone back and fixed the situation, I will commend the artist on taking the commitment to accept ones flaws and go back just to reflect the expectations we need to provide for ourselves.
In my experience so far. to have a piece complete. and something I can be proud of in the end. is a conversation i make with myself. a conversation with the stone. And the complete disconnection of codependency, allowing myself to take pride in my confidence, and commitment to put the effort in to make a gifted skill feel welcomed and content.
The entire process can be anywhere. so long as the tools and the artist are present. eventually the mind will become so confident in time. Ones faults will be so far gone, that basic day to day tasks will be done calmly through healthy assertion. With a prideful reminder of what we first created in allowing ourselves simply to be there for ourself.