Labyrinths on the Make

As readers of Ariadne’s Thread will appreciate, our pace at Labyrinthos HQ has been a bit on the slow side this month. With healing beginning to happen, we’re looking forward to stepping back into labyrinth activity over the course of the coming weeks. Spring is normally a busy time for us, and we have visits, fun and travel planned, all with a labyrinthine theme, of course.

We had been looking forward to co-teaching a day workshop with our friend and colleague Jan Sellers of  University of Kent at Canterbury last month, but with Kimberly’s leg in plaster, she had to bow out, leaving Jan and Jeff to lead the fun.

The purpose of the day was to introduce local enthusiasts to the joys of making their own labyrinths, large and small. Opening with a short powerpoint presentation, we quickly jumped into the process starting out with simple three-circuit pencil drawings before moving on to and exploration of other materials, sizes and designs. By the end of the day, creativity and teamwork combined to quickly produce this beautiful Chakra-Vyuha labyrinth made of paper cups:

We will be teaching a similar labyrinth-making workshop for the University of Westminster in London on Thursday 26 April, then we’ll be off to the Netherlands where Jeff will be speaking at the Wereldmuseum in Rotterdam for World Labyrinth Day on Saturday 5 May.

Sighting!

One of our great joys is coming across a labyrinth unexpectedly. As many of you know, Jeff is a veritable walking encyclopedia of labyrinth knowledge, so it’s a relatively rare treat to be completely surprised by a labyrinth in a public place. Nonetheless, it does happen…

When we had to make an unexpected visit to the Emergency Room soon after arriving in Glastonbury on the day of our Watts Chapel visit, we couldn’t believe it when we spotted this little standing stone guarding the entrance to the hospital.

Reborn into Spring

Here at Labyrinthos HQ, we enjoy stumbling into our metaphorical cave to wait out winter’s gloom, but when spring breezes invite us out to play, we love the newness of the world and revel in coming out to visit labyrinths and play with all the lovely people who make up this amazing labyrinth community. This blog is our invitation to you to join us in our labyrinth adventures…

Our first real outing of 2012 was a spur-of-the moment visit to the extraordinary Watts Chapel in Compton, only a short way off the busy A3 near Guildford south of London. We were meandering towards Glastonbury, when traffic on the motorway suddenly ground to a halt, so we dove off the nearest  exit where we soon realized we weren’t far from our much-loved labyrinth angels: Watts Chapel Angel This angel, which you may recognize as our logo image, is one in a series that graces the exterior of the splendid Arts and Crafts memorial chapel in the heart of the Surrey countryside. Designed by Mary Watts, wife of prominent artist George Frederic Watts, the chapel was completed in 1898, and is a visual delight of esoteric symbolism and art, inside and out:

Watts Chapel

A bit morbid for a beautiful spring morning? Not at all. It is a glorious monument to beauty and spirit, set into a veritable garden of celtic carvings, statuary, and lovingly tended grave flowers, some which have somehow managed to escape their little plots and now grace the lawns and pathways as well.

 Collecting blessings of dew        Art-deco angels stand guard over a loved one's eternal rest        One of many exquisite crosses

And… there’s a marvelous tea room just up the road next to the stunningly-renovated  Watts Gallery where visitors can learn about the talented George and Mary Watts, and think deeply about the causes they espoused. First we enjoyed the charming decor and delicious cake in the tea room,

Tea Room near Watts Chapel

then we moved on to the stirring and thought-provoking displays that encouraged us to consider the social message that art can promote when courageously pursued.

This stunning bronze by Mary and GF Watts shows death as a mother receiving and comforting a dead child. Created as a memorial for a young relative, the image reveals much about the artist’s heart and philosophy.