Where the beauty of quality grows with every generation
Betty Glynn Carlson
Throughout my life I have been drawn to beauty. In the silence of the woods, not far from my childhood home, I experienced a deep connection with the oak trees and the creek that flowed to the Minnesota River. The beauty of the changing seasons invited me to be still, and I dreamed of creating a life that is connected to the land. I dreamed of being a weaver in the mountains and raising sheep.
Somewhere along the way, I focused my attention on the meaning and purpose of life, and pursued a spiritual path. For several years I served as a pastor of small rural churches. During that time, I also had the opportunity to take Clinical Pastoral Education where my second year of training was in an art therapy department at a local hospital. It was in this context that I discovered the healing power of creativity and contemplation, and began to incorporate the arts into my ministry. I have studied drawing, watercolor, pottery, weaving, and writing. In exploring the different mediums, I have learned that the creative process invites us to embrace what is most important to us, to gaze at creation and our world with new eyes, to listen with our hearts and to hear the stories of those around us; and somehow in that process, we are changed by what we have seen, heard, and touched with our hands.
In my experience, the process of creating art, no matter what
the medium, is a sacred act. It invites me to be attentive to the
present moment, to be open and receptive, and to be aware of the beauty
waiting to be revealed in the ordinary places of our lives. For over
20 years, my life has been shaped by this process. In the late 1980's, Hidden Spring was created as a ministry of contemplation and creativity. Over the years, I have created art and provided leadership for retreats and workshops. In 2000, my husband and I moved to Lindstrom, Minnesota to a small farm, where we raise alpacas. The daily ritual of tending animals has deepened our connection to the land, and continually keeps us aware of the changing seasons in creation and in our lives.
In recent years, most of my art work has been focused in the medium of weaving. My weaving is done on two different types of looms: the floor loom and the Navajo loom. Weaving on the floor loom, allows me to create a wide ranges of fabrics that can be used for a variety of purposes. In my current work, I have been exploring the unique properties of alpaca yarns by creating a variety of scarves and shawls. In 2002, I attended the Penland School of Craft to begin my intentional exploration of that fiber; and in 2003, I returned to Penland for a fall concentration where I focused on design and weave structures that would showcase the beauty of alpaca. At Penland I was the Studio Assistant for the last half of the term.
The Navajo loom is a vertical loom that is used to weave rugs and tapestry. My interest in this form of weaving originated in my deep appreciation of the interconnectedness of weaving and spirituality in the Navajo tradition. It has been said, "you must spin your warp thread strong to hold your prayers." When I sit and weave, I remember these words, and each rug grows out of my contemplative practice. My experience of the Divine Presence is expressed in color and geometric forms. It may take one month to one year to finish a rug; and in the process of weaving, the wool yarns are woven together with the threads of life. I have learned that in my weaving, this process should not be rushed. The results are always compromised, when I do not respect life's natural rhythms. When I weave a rug, it is my intention to create a design that invites reflection and deepens one's awareness of the mystery of life.
Shows and Awards in Weaving
2007: "Holiday Sale" at the Textile Center of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota
2003: "Carlson and Hemingway: a weaver and a potter" at the Waseca Art Center, Waseca, Minnesota
2001: First Place for "Four Directions and Everything In-between," Waseca Arts Council Craft Show, Waseca, Minnesota