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Get Your Brave On
Get Your Brave On
This very personal shrine takes on new resonance now, I think, as we are all called to get a bit braver and stronger to stand up for the people and values that we cherish.
At a time I was needing great courage, I began what turned out to be a many-months-long process of creating Get Your Brave On. It started with the phrase "How We Can Be Strong" which I found in a vintage children's book. I decided to explore that phrase for myself to discover what my own vision of strength really is.
The giant parrot was quick to arrive in the shrine - symbolizing how, for me, strength is tied to a sense of perspective - the ability to see patterns unfolding and rise above the fray.
The strong goddess woman at the center of the inner box was quick to fall into place, too - I loved the way she stands strong against the winds, and how fierce she looks with the lightning bolts from the original cigar box illustration behind her.
And then there is the garden. As I built up the multitude of flowers, I reflected a lot on how nature and flowers have been denigrated by some as symbols of the feminine - and therefore 'weak.' To me, this collaged garden, from the grass to the wild, diverse flowers is the epitome of strength defined not as the ability to cause death and destruction, but as the ability to cultivate growth and celebrate beauty and the life-force.
As I worked, some verbal answers to "how we can be strong?" started to bubble up, and I placed them in the series of bottle caps that encircle the center box. Each is a reminders I personally find I need constantly: act, keep going, inquire within, show up, relax, ask for help, love what you love, know what you know, and use your voice.
And inside the door of the interior chamber, around the round mirror where you confront your own reflection, I put the most important advice of all: Get Your Brave On. The nettle image behind the mirror felt important as a reminder that sometimes the healing power of things is hidden behind a sting - in other words, sometimes being brave means not being pleasing, but going after a higher purpose.
On the ground of the main box is a small lion perched on a sweet little red chair. I love this little guy, who reminds me that it is OK to have only baby courage...we all have to start somewhere, right? The theme of big cats appears in other places, too - there are tigers in the collage garden, the outside of the shrine is decorated with orange "tiger stripes" and inside the center box is a brave jaguar, poised and alert with a compass nearby to guide her.
Another visual symbol that appears repeatedly in the piece is the divers that are tucked into the garden collage and also appear in the upper left corner. They inspire in me the visceral feeling of the trust required to take a leap beyond one's existing boundaries or comfort zone.
There are too many little treats tucked into this box to discuss each one here, but it makes me happy to know that the owner of this piece will have a good time discovering new treasures in it over time.
I hope Get Your Brave On will inspire and sustain the courage of anyone who is nurturing in themselves the courage they need to stand up for themselves, find the strength to act, or finally move a dream into flight.
Size: 23" H X 16.5" W X 5.5 " D
Materials: Reclaimed kitchen drawer, cigar box, miniature red chair, rubber lion toy, bottle caps, goddess bead from cast-off bracelet, glitter glue, miniature croquet wicket, assorted collage materials and art papers, 2 mirrors, small wooden bowl, large pearls, mirror, vintage doll arm, starfish, sushi grass, gold stars.
Get Your Brave On stands sturdily on a shelf or table.
Like all Sara Saltee assemblages, Get Your Brave On is a one of a kind piece that will never be replicated or reproduced.
If you have any questions or are interested in purchasing Get Your Brave On, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.