Meryl Levenstein: Found My Footing on the Forest Floor

Opening: Friday, Apr 29, 2022 5 – 8 pm
Friday, Apr 29 – May 21, 2022

1463 W. Chicago Ave.
Chicago, IL 60642

Mine is a collaborative process. With help from Mother Nature, I create weapons for the army of folks who are battling real or imagined demons. Our minute of history has been eclipsed by exhaustive and shameful political buffoonery, a ghastly pandemic, dreadful combative heads of state, inflation and on and on. What is the average and tireless world citizen supposed to do to be hopeful, to enjoy control? I worry, because it is my makeup. I worry, because we are too fragile to withstand the onslaught of misery that has become commonplace.

So, I thought about options for supporting emotional wellness. I decided that each of us needs what the most fortunate already have… that enviable feeling of empowerment and confidence, the joyous realization that we all count. We need the stuff of sovereigns. We need tools for might.

So I make scepters. One of kind, doused with jewels and distinctive textiles, remarkable embellishments from everywhere, embroidered to the hilt, my magical wands are multi-faceted. Along with the regal implications of privilege and entitlement, the ornamental branches have mystical capabilities, or so I am suggesting. See them as “divine rods” with supernatural means to manage stress and heighten awareness.

My work is contemplative. It is therapeutic. Each stitch and decorative detail is thoughtfully placed. While I work, I am ridiculously focused and not easily distracted. The work is slow and deliberate and hell on my hands. But I am happiest when I am designing my scepters, because I do not fret about the world and my role on the planet while I am sewing and sharing. Instead, I feel strong and optimistic about being present in this messed-up era. The repurposed branch reminds me that I, too, am noble enough and mindful enough to live my life boldly.

Hopefully, my scepter will arouse enlightening moments for you, allow you to reflect on your own layered story rather than brood about what has become regrettably normal. May the dazzling accessory be part of your private arsenal against self doubt and fear. May it be a symbol of spunk. Should you find comfort in its meaning, consider my power-packed piece a gift to modern weary warriors.