The artist is usually perceived as a solitary genius, toiling in isolation in her studio, working and reworking a piece to get it just right.
But when you do the RadJoy Practice at a hurt place, everybody joins together to make a gift for the place. You participate in co-creation, whether you’re one year old or ninety, a marathon runner or moving through life in a wheelchair, whether you typically think of yourself as creative or not.
The process isn’t always smooth, but it is usually fun and surprising. It starts when the group considers what kind of beauty they will make for their place. For the Global Earth Exchange, we suggest that you make a bird, but that’s optional. Depending on circumstances, people have made honeybees, whales, and rhinos. They’ve designed mandalas. They’ve danced, drummed, and sung. It’s the making of this gift together that’s important, not what it ends up looking like.
The photo above is of a bird made for a dry lake bed at Tamera Biotope in Reliquias, Portugal. It was a large group of about forty people, and that meant that eighty hands collaborated on one large bird.
When the bird was finished, some were dissatisfied. It was too fat. It looked more like a hippopotamus than a bird. Someone else pointed out that it was perfect. “And when the rains come and fill the lake, the bird will be so fat it will float!”
Working collaboratively to make beauty for the Earth, we learn to let go of our own concepts about how things should be as we weave a work with shared contributions. It is the making of the gift that is the point.