I was standing in a woodland park in Lenoir, NC for an outdoor sculpture show. Judges don’t usually speak to the artists, but this judge clearly was looking for a toe hold with which to judge my sculpture.
I stood there looking at the children zooming all around the fairies with their crepe paper wands giggling and laughing. And I thought, “OK, I guess this could be called performance art.” But I knew in my heart it was much bigger and broader than to be type cast as such.
It was people, little at first and then adults, interacting with the piece in such a way that it brought joy to themselves and others. And if there was no wind, they became the wind by running through the fairy fields.
And so I finally looked at the harried judge, and said, “Sure!”
And she was relieved that it was a performance piece, and she moved on. I did not win a prize that day.
I continued to look at the “performers” and took in the whole of what I had created and saw that it was more than an interactive piece, although it was certainly that. I saw that the humans were having an interaction with their own childhood in such a way that they visibly produced the energy of joy.
It was what I had named it, “A Celebration of Joy!”
It was a joy energy generator!
It was an interactive sculpture using the elements of earth and wind and fairy energy represented by the plaster fairies I had created. The human participation with those elements added to the dynamics of the piece but the piece could stand alone and winkle the light as the wind fluttered the fairy wings and waved the long streamers in all and sundry directions. You see, the standing poles played with the wind all day long and into the night. The streamers on the poles literally danced and formed images of grace and joy as they played with the wind. And when I would meditate in my meadow where they were installed for an outdoor show and contemplate the streamers, it would bring me a deep sense of joy.
I wonder what I would do today, faced with the same judge in the same field? I am older now, more mature, and I know what I know about my art. So I wonder how I would have handled the conversation?
So I carefully went back into time and stood beside the judge on that sunny day and softly smiled at her, and said, “For me, it is a joy generator. It physically produces the energy of joy.”
So be it.