15 May 2018

A Book of Awe

Ancient Indian palm leaf manuscript
I've been making some pages for my "palm leaf" style book and I thought I'd start showing them to you now that I've completed four.

The topic is the emotion we call awe, which has recently become an object of study for psychologists and brain scientists, most notably Dacher Keltner and Jonathan Haidt, who wrote a 2003 paper on the subject and who define awe as "a feeling induced by vastness that requires some sort of mental accommodation to overwhelming new information." Further studies have found connections between the experience of awe and enhanced creativity, improved health, a sense of belonging, and an increase in pro-social behaviours such as kindness, self-sacrifice, co-operation and resource-sharing. According to a 2017 article in Psychology Today, awe is also one of the few emotions that can reconfigure our sense of time and immerse us in the present moment.

Palm leaf books were one of the earliest formats for Buddhist texts, so I decided to begin my book with the Sanskrit word kathamcid, which means "somehow or other." This may become the title of the book, I'm not sure yet. The pages are 6 x 15 inches. On a desktop, you can click on the images below to enlarge them.

I don't know right now if this is the order of the pages or not. Things are very fluid at the moment (not usually how I work!). I'm using old woodblocks, pochoir (stenciling), and rubber stamping to make these. More to come…


Unknown said...

AWEsome. Love that you're tackling this experience. And I want to fall into the second (concentric circles) one; assume that's a universal response!
Can't imagine you don't already know about the "Shots of Awe" YouTube series. Here's a quick intro: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fvi7VLbiMuk

XOXO / Debra

Annie B said...

I didn't know about Shots of Awe! Thanks! xo