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Artist of the Month - August 2002

Laura Griffiths’ Infinite Potential
by Sydney Francis

I am very lucky to get to interview artists about themselves, their art and their artistic processes. I always leave an interview with my inspiration renewed and faith restored in the human spirit. Artists, in my mind, are the stewards of cultural meaning, and as such, they serve a given community with the nourishment of their art. Most artists do this by turning their introspective and intuitive knowledge gained from life experience into their art, which, once exhibited, stands vulnerably proud for all of the world to see. And what we, the audience, gain from this artistic process is the beauty, insight, inspiration, hope and meaning that is invested in the art.

So I should not have been surprised in interviewing Laura Griffiths this month that I have happened upon such a story of personal conflict, art, and transformation, inter-woven with the threads of beauty, magic, and illusion.

Admittedly, I took some creative license and embellished upon her story, just a little, due to the following relevant detail. Griffiths just opened a new bead shop on Main Street called Infinite Potential. In addition to beads and beading supplies, the shop is filled with artfully crafted dragonflies, which provides the theme and logo for the store. According to the Medicine Cards, dragonflies symbolize the spirit of illusion: “ The iridescence of Dragonfly’s wings remind us of colors not found in our everyday experience. Dragonfly’s shifting color, energy, form, and movement explodes into the mind of the observer, bringing vague memories of a time or place where magic reigned.” The above sounds like a description of Infinite Potential, where heavenly beauty exists in an earthly realm: strands of colored light hang in rows of rainbows; color coded shelves are sorted by size, texture, and hue; and delicate art objects and tiny treasures nestle in corners and free spaces.

~

...Once upon a time, in the 1970’s, in a land called Moab, lived Laura and her husband. They enjoyed the carefree life of river rafters. In the spirit of the age and with a mind towards the future, they built Moab’s first solar home. In her spare time, Laura embroidered and read books. She seemed to enjoy the periods of calm and the periods of adventure that life afforded her.

Eventually, Laura and her husband left their carefree lives in Moab to pursue higher education degrees in the Mid-west. Laura went into Nursing. And they were meant to live happily ever after.

Then, not too long ago, Laura’s husband left her for his high school girlfriend, and the bottom dropped out of Laura’s life (or so it seemed). She went through a very painful divorce in which she sunk into a deep depression. In the midst of her grief, she was diagnosed with bi-polar disorder. She was unable to embroider or read; she was unable to work. She was too unhappy to function. At this time, Laura returned to Moab to live with her mother, where they were able to share the mutual caregiving they could offered to one another.

While staying with her mother, Laura decided to take a beading class at the Lavender Lizard. She immediately loved beadwork. Her experience with embroidery had taught her to make small, refined work with her hands. She loved the beauty of the glass beads-the vivid colors and the different textures.
As she continued to do beadwork, Laura found her self more focused and more centered. Each tiny piece of light and beauty added to her hope and her healing.

One fine Moab day, in the midst of this gradual recovery process, she followed a dragonfly to the well of her dreams and visions. At the deep well of infinite potential, the dragonfly showed her the dream of a bead store full of brightly colored glass beads of every size, shape, texture and color. In this dream, Laura’s life and beadwork would be supported and nurtured by this store, filled with beauty and inspiration in the form of small glass beads. As the dream went on, Laura saw artists and crafts people coming from near and far to experience her beauty and her hospitality. She could share her artistic knowledge and teach classes. She could work with other artists to create beautiful visions out of beads. And this would be one of many gifts of her transformation.

And so it was...that Laura manifested this beautiful dream into a reality. In the land of Moab, she overcame the fear and the grief, the pain and the suffering through the creation of beautiful beadwork. She focussed her energy on surrounding herself with the beauty of the beads and making a special place of glass light and color for all to come and enjoy.

~

Griffiths tells her story better than I. She divulges the conflict, pain, and transformation in greater detail. But I could not resist in indulging in the metaphor of the dragonfly for the sake of expressing the real transformative potential that empowers us to make change in our lives through art and beauty.

In addition to her beadwork, Griffiths is working on organizing an artist’s guild in Moab. The concept of a guild makes an historical reference to Old Europe, where the best craftsmen of a specific field came together in an association that supported their craft. Griffiths sees this idea filling a need for Moab’s fine crafts people. The guild provides support to the individual craftsperson in a number of ways: it promotes the belief that there is value in hand-crafted items; it provides one strong solid voice to represent many media; it offers organization to a community of artists; and it provides support for the promotion and sale of hand-crafted art made in Moab.

If you are interested in Griffiths beadwork, beads, bead projects, bead classes or the Moab artist’s guild, please feel free to contact Laura Griffiths at Infinite Potential, 135 N. Main, 259-4161, www.infinitepotentialmoab.com.

 
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