The Fifth Element

Pat Lloyd

This past year presented some challenges that temporarily limited my ability to turn wood. I needed to find new ways to express my frustrated creativity. Woodturning was set aside, while photography took the lead. Then, a chance encounter led to my discovery of Kumihimo braiding and braided jewelry design, a rather unexpected turn I must say; strange twists and turns.

walnut bowl PLWhile in Oregon last fall, I visited the Portland Japanese Gardens. The guide pointed out a large Japanese stone lantern and described the 5 traditional elements in Japanese Buddhism of Earth, Water, Fire, Wind and Void. I was most intrigued by this Fifth Element of Void. Void represents spirit, thought, creative energy and inventiveness, the “here,” or the center.”

Kumi necklace PLOnce I let go of the need to control the uncontrollable and accepted the “here” and found my center, I was able to release the creative energy and inventiveness resident in my inner spirit, in that Fifth Element of Void. The discovery and exploration of the ancient art of Kumihimo braiding gave me a new voice.

Pat pig photoIn this new year, I am back to woodturning, with a renewed energy and passion. And, the discovery of Kumihimo that energized that creative emptiness last year, has taken on a life of its own. Kumihimo design is filled with endless possibilities. Of course, photography continues to influence my everyday life. Some days it is just hard to know what to do first, it’s such a blessing.


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