Laura's Blog

Imminent Ritual- Artful Meditations & Rituals In Birth

Handbuilding in my home studio.

Handbuilding in my home studio.

I am pretty obsessed with art and birth these days. My current work titled Imminent Ritual certainly reflects this passion. The work is focused on the idea/concept of using rituals in daily life and using hand made tools during the rituals. But the stars of the show are my finger-tracing labyrinths. I wanted to created a hand made, special piece of art a woman could use during labor to help her relax and help manage pain.

As a childbirth educator and inspiring postpartum doula, my library has outgrown it’s shelves. I have interesting books about birth history where elderly midwives were used in birthing to the complete series of Dr. Sears’s family books. But it wasn’t until I read, Labyrinth of Birth: Creating a Map, Meditations and Rituals for Your Childbearing Year, by Pam England when it all clicked for me. As an artist in the exciting birthy world I become enlightened and inspired by the concept of using art as a tool during labor and birth. It is clear that labyrinths have been used for millennia as tools for rituals and ceremonies but I wanted to create ceramic hand-held labyrinths to be able to use in the water. I added texture, drew words of inspiration and added a clear glaze so they could be submerged in water during water births.

As a ceramic artist, my heart is fascinated with the touch of clay and how limitless it is. This book lead me to the idea of creating a handmade tool to help with the stress of birth, labor and parenthood. The labyrinth is a hand held finger tracing tool to use during stressful moments. They are therapeutic for mothers, couples and anyone in need to focus on breathe.
They are tools used for meditation and problem solving. Studies have been done on brainwaves of people while they have traced a labyrinth. Walking or finger-tracing a labyrinth invokes a sensation and guides the viewer through meditation. Alpha brainwaves are produced when your attention is focused in mediation, using a labyrinth, creative visualization, and the waves are even stronger with your eyes are closed. These Alpha brainwaves are slow, nine to 14 cycles per second and create a feeling of well-being and induce calming changes in the mind and body lowering the heart rate, blood pressure and stress hormones.

Examples of work in show

Examples of work in show

I have attached mixed pieces of driftwood to the labyrinths, leather tied, so they can be hung. There are several sizes, some to hold, and some to hang. I hope to inspire and remind the viewer to experience how interesting and calming this tool can be in birth and during the time of need.

Excerpt from Labyrinth Of Birth, by Pam England:
“The Labyrinth is an ancient, universal symbol representing our journey through life, ordeals and transitions. Its single, convoluted pathway begins at the opening, leads directly to the center and out again. The journey into the labyrinth’s center is symbolic of letting go and of death (psychic or physical). And the journey from the center out of the labyrinth represents birth and rebirth.”

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