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Volume 24, Number 7 — July 2017

Labyrinth at ElderSpirit Plaza features Gloves

Margarte Gregg distributes gloves along the labyrinth at ElderSpirit in Abingdon, Va.
Margarte Gregg distributes gloves along the labyrinth at ElderSpirit in Abingdon, Va.
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By Margaret Gregg | June 12, 2011

My art is my journey. My journey is my art.

I experiment with various techniques to liven up the process of concept and design. There's always more to learn and it's all about relationships — cosmic, communal, ecological, and more. That journey hopefully goes into questions and presence about how we all are here and how.

One day I noticed that my neighbor Carolyn Hudson's grandchildren were having a great time with chalk drawings on the expansive concrete plaza at ElderSpirit where I live. And I thought that I could have fun with chalk. I wrote out big birthday greetings for good friends here.

The plaza is an unplanned part of the site layout at ElderSpirit, a co-housing retirement community in Abingdon, the first of its kind in the country. The view from my apartment focuses on the plaza and I wanted to see something more pleasing and more permanent than chalk. Others felt the same and realized that major replacement of concrete and new landscape design was cost prohibitive at this time.

I proposed painting a labyrinth on the concrete. A series of presentations, discussions, and consensus decision-making over a six-month period came to the conclusion that yes, let's do it! Finances were provided for expenses other than my contribution as project designer and working artist.

Last spring my "Seasonings" exhibition at the Abingdon Arts Depot included a "Gloves" installation. (www.mgregg.org/seasoningstourslides.html) Gloves were used and torn and worn, each a story, a journey, a remembrance. I decided not to store them anymore and as a final gesture to lay them along the Labyrinth path as a farewell. Those few days were fun for photo opps and inspiration.

Labyrinth design traditions date to ancient Mesopotamia. My design is a classical seven-circuit labyrinth that predates the most famous Chartres pattern. At ElderSpirit it measures 22' x 24'. This pleasant path includes five flowing, flame-like shapes that originate from different points on the circuits and extend beyond. "Five" references all sorts of symbolic energy in an extensive survey of religious, cultural traditions.

I love to walk the Labyrinth. At first I was hesitant...will it "work"? Then I found myself feeling the ease of movement and a connection with a centering energy in the midst of the ElderSpirit community. Walking with the five extending flow shapes gave me more to play with.

>>Margaret Gregg attended the Banff Centre School of Fine Arts in Alberta, Canada, and received her MFA from East Tennessee State University. Her art works have been exhibited throughout our region and she has received numerous awards.

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The labyrinth at ElderSpirit.