Monthly Archives: May 2009

Deeper at Artomatic: Alyson M. Olander

Artomatic opens tomorrow and I’m imagining a series of post about artists whose work is informed and inspired by their spiritual journeys and interactions with the sacred all around them. Artists who dive deep into their souls and bring up images and visions to share of their journey. Artists who intentionally bring a spiritual dimension to their work.

My good friend Alyson M. Olander, the Hasty Quilter, is showing two series that focus on the patterns and cycles found in nature, and has agreed to be my guinea pig on this experience.

Alyson in front of her wall at Artomatic 2009

What inspires you to create?
Just about everything provides me with the inspiration to create. Whether I actually do it is another question. I am most inspired by patterns, repeating lines, concentric circles, angles and corners. It is amazing to me that spirals are naturally occurring phenomena. Color gradients tickle my fancy. Close-up or macro photos jump out at me. I like to imagine the air floating around us as quilting lines.

In her Full Moon series, Alyson researches the cultural associations with each lunation cycle, meditates on how the ancient meanings of those moons fit into her life, and finally translates the images and symbols she see in the meditation into a compelling quilt. In Wind Moon (right), thread and beads recall the strong spring breezes of March and the havoc they create on the impermanent, delicate cherry blossoms.

Wind Moon by Alyson Olander

What is the relationship of your artwork to your spirituality?
Each piece is a meditation; a journey; a lesson. My spiritual nature is based around learning and changing and accepting. When I need to learn something internal, or I need to get something out, the best way for me to do it is creatively. Some lessons are easier to learn, some paths are harder to follow. This is a metaphor for my art. Some days it works, other days it doesn’t. When it doesn’t work, maybe it’s because I’m not ready for that lesson. Then I put it away for another time. I can always tell when I try to force the lesson, to me the quilt is never the best it could have been. Translating my spiritual experiences into my creativity is a new concept for me. Although my art has been spiritual since I discovered my artistic voice, I don’t think I ever really put two and two together until recently. My full moon series is an attempt to understand how spirituality and creativity correlate.

In her larger Water and Stones, concentric circles ripple outward from each stone and overlap each other creating intricate patterns and multiple focal points — really, I just love looking at these pieces and getting lost in them.



To my eye, your pieces tend more to the abstract, to the underlying patterns found in nature. Are you always looking at the world around you in this way?
I enjoy a good landscape as much as the next person and regularly photograph them, with the intention of translating them to fabric. But when I get right down to it, I’d rather concentrate on the blade of grass. I’m attracted to texture, and texture is hard to express when the mountain is miles away. I like to think that if you “zoomed out” of one of my abstract quilts you would discover that it was actually the scale of a fish or the petal of a flower, like one of those games where you only get part of the picture and you have to figure out what it is. If nothing else, the larger, literal view inspires me to look closer & find the abstract.

You can find Alyson’s work on the 4th floor at Artomatic through July 5. You can also find her at and her Etsy shop

Vision of Bastet

Shrine to BastetBack in February, I attended a ritual for Bast led by Michael Smith of the Assembly of the Sacred Wheel at the Sacred Space Conference.  During that ritual, I had flashes of images surrounding the large statue of Bast on the main altar.

After the invocation to Bast, a hazy cloud of blue-violet surrounded the statue and an “after-image” of a lionness head flashed just above and to the side of the statue.

My story is that I don’t regularly see such things so clearly and physically.  I wanted to capture this vision in an art piece — only my first attempts at a digital collage didn’t work very well.  So, I broke out the canvas, papers, and paints and had at it.

Once the collage was finished, I could tell the whole thing needed a richer setting.  I took vintage trim and painted it with a light coat of gold and sculpted two abstract scarabs for the upper corners.  Yet it was still not finished.  I went up to my studio and started digging around, when these two peacock feathers caught my eye. Now, I don’t think there is any correspondence between Bast and the peacock, but the colors complimented each other nicely.

As I walked down the stairs, the bouncing feathers caught my Hermes‘ attention. I couldn’t get him to leave them alone for 2 seconds.  Of course! Wouldn’t Bast want something that alluring and fun in her shrine, too?  I trimmed the stems and added some gold beads. Voila!  It was complete.

Now, I am hopeful that someone who loves cats or Bast loves this shrine enough to buy it for their home or temple. *hint, hint*  The Shrine for Bastet will be showing at Artomatic until July 5, 2009.

Sprinkling Magick Around Artomatic

Artomatic 10th Anniversary Half-Banner

I am showing at Artomatic again this year. I’ve been running around like a crazy woman trying to get the final touches on my artwork and get them all ready to hang on a wall. 

I am showing at again this year. I’ve been running around like a crazy woman trying to get the final touches on my artwork and get them all ready to hang on a wall. again this year. I’ve been running around like a crazy woman trying to get the final touches on my artwork and get them all ready to hang on a wall. I am showing at again this year. I’ve been running around like a crazy woman trying to get the final touches on my artwork and get them all ready to hang on a wall. WHAT: Artomatic, an arts extravaganza featuring hundreds of local artists — visual artists, musicians, dancers, filmmakers, and many more. Nine floors of creativity!

WHEN: May 29 to July 5. Wednesdays and Thursdays, 5 p.m. – 10 p.m.; Fridays and Saturdays, 12 noon – 1 a.m.; Sundays, 12 noon – 10 p.m.; closed Mondays and Tuesdays.

WHERE: 55 M St, SE (at Half Street) in D.C.’s Capitol Riverfront neighborhood. Right above the Navy Yard Metro ballpark exit (green line), a block from Nationals Stadium.

I am showing more of my shrines and boxes this year, including two new pieces made for this show: Shrine for Bastet and Shrine for Oggun.

Angela's Installation

I am also showing next to two other amazing magickal artists, Eric Eldritch and Alyson M. Olander. I’ve worked with Eldritch on several community initiatives over the years, and Alyson and I are good friends through our mutual love of crafting (in its “myriad” forms). Eldritch has done a series of reflections on the Green Man, mostly paper mache wall sculptures — none of which I have seen in real life, just blurry photos from his mobile phone.  Alyson is a quilter and has two amazing series inspired by patterns and cycles in nature. 

I would post pictures of their walls, but every photo I have is BLURRY.  Opening night is this Friday, so I’ll get some good shots then.

Meet the Artist Night is Saturday, June 13, 7:00pm to 10:00pm or so.  All three of us will be there to meet, greet, and talk about our artwork.  We’d love to see you there!