Photo by Renata Szar

Photo by Renata Szar

Coagulatio is the alchemical process of coming down to earth, of setting things in stone.

I expected to have a lot of trouble with this one. I am much more comfortable in the abstract, spiritual/intellectual realms and often feel nervous at the idea of making anything too solid and permanent. So when the art therapist described to our alchemy group how we would explore Coagulatio through work with literal concrete, bringing elements of our choosing and setting them together with concrete or grout, I wondered what in my life I could possibly want to make that permanent and how I could trust my artistic skill enough to make this work. I wanted to take risks, to choose items from my world that really were meaningful, and I would have to believe that the process of concretizing or my lack of skill would not ruin the elements I chose.

As it happens, Coagulatio filled our little workspace with more laughter and light-heartedness than any process we have worked through so far. Though people talked about their trepidation at the outset, we all smiled and laughed our way through the project. Scary though it was, it felt wonderful to bring things down to earth for awhile, to pin a few things down, so to speak.

One of the options for this project was to bring materials together with concrete in plastic molds to form a stepping stone. This seemed an apt choice, since bringing a idea down to earth is often necessary before another step can be taken. I thought about my propensity for getting lost and how very rarely I have the opportunity to be conscious and intentional about how my stepping stones are formed, and with what material.

When our time was up, no one had finished. Even those who had completed the assembly of their pieces still needed time to let them dry. I took my own work home to complete it, and though I have worked on since, I still don’t consider it done. Where I expected to have trouble setting materials in stone, I now find myself wanting to add more.