The art of Feng Shui has always been a part of my life growing up. My aunt was a feng shui practitioner, interior designer and artist. She bestowed her knowledge of feng shui on us all. I can remember as a young girl knowing about the importance of mirror placements, crystal cures, space clearing, the five elements and about the transformative power of colour.
Feng Shui is an ancient Chinese traditional practice. It is a system of arranging our surroundings so that we can live in harmony with them. The term feng shui means, literally, "wind-water". It stems from the Taoist belief in Qi (Chi), or the life force that inhabits everything.
It is this idea of life force that always fascinated me. I’m quite a spiritual person, often believing in things, energies we cannot prove but which we can feel. I think this is why I lean towards abstraction, it’s elusive, mystical, it’s the unknown, not giving you all the answers but offering you a way of looking, of seeing beyond. My practice is based on curiosity, the natural world and the interconnection between all living and inanimate things ~ and so naturally, the practice of Feng Shui resonates with me.
When I moved into my new studio, my first instinct was to apply the principles of Feng Shui to this space. As an artist, the creation process can be filled with so much doubt, fears and blocks. It's important for me to create a creative space that feels energetically great, that I naturally want to spend time in and that feels inspiring to work in. When my creative space is filled with this wonderful life force, I feel that this energy is transferable to the art that is made and to the overall positive qualities I want my work to omit. Well, atleast that's what I'm hoping for :)
How I use Feng Shui in my Art Studio
I haven't studied from any Feng Shui school of training. I am merely writing from my own experience, my own learning from books and sharing the practices that I use. There are a few different "schools" of Feng Shui. The more traditional schools are Form Feng Shui, Classical Feng Shui and Compass Feng Shui. The aspect or school that I feel most aligned with at the moment is the Tibetan Black Hat School. It was founded by master Lin Yun in the late 1970s and is based on a more intuitive and holistic approach to Feng Shui. It was founded to reflect the needs of modern society. While the Black Hat School honours some of the traditional Eastern practices, one of the key distinctions is that it does not consider the use of the compass. I was drawn to this school of teaching because it is more accessible for beginners, you don't need a compass or to know complex astronomy to apply the principles and to see results. I also truly believe that wherever you put your attention, there your energy flows! And in this case, for me, it's about taking the path of least resistance.
The Black Hat practice uses what is called a Bagua map. In this system the house/room or property is divided into nine square or rectangular sectors. Rather than using the directional compass, it is based on the entrance door position from which the Qi enters. You can place the map over your home, office, studio, property or even desk.
Here is an image of the Ba Gua map:
It is said that each of the areas of our home pertain to the areas of our lives.
The entrance door position (or mouth of the chi) will always be located in either the "Career", "Wisdom", or "Helpful People" areas. Below, I drew the map over the floor plan of my new studio. The studio is a long rectangular shape, so it was quite straightforward to align the map over the floor plan. Things can get a little more complicated when you have an oddly shaped building with missing sections, luckily this building's shape is pretty straightforward.
You can see from my drawing below that my studio front door opens into the "Helpful People" area. I've drawn in other elements such as the kitchenette, toilet, desk, work table, painting wall, fireplace and stairs into the floor plan to give a sense of the layout.