My paper is a discussion of how I have been developing a visual language to evoke the
experience of the sacred expressed in the poetry of Emily Dickinson, particularly her poem
Safe in their Alabaster Chambers. Experiential knowledge, through experimentation with
materials has generated the project leading to at times unexpected and serendipitous
Using print processes of layering, words, images and folded textures, the poetry of Dickinson
provides me with the "tacit" knowledge to make material the sacred "unknown" in her poetry.
Printmaking, with its traditional links to religious texts and imagery, is a particularly
appropriate medium to explore the sacred through the poem. I employ it to suggest a space,
which hovers between the material and the sacred through enfolding multi-layered textures
and spaces. Gilles Deleuze provides an allegory for this in his concept of the Baroque fold.
The materiality of the fold allows it to be used as a visual tool denoting the fluidity of matter,
and the ephemeral state of the ‘soul’. (Deleuze, 1995)
Inspired by Dickinson, who found within her domestic interior the sacred space where she
could retreat to write. I seek to recreate the experience of her poem The Alabaster Chamber
through the tangible means of the art – making. Dickinson’s chamber can reference a space
where earthly and sacred fold or co-exist in a state of suspension.