collaborative projects



  Pat Allen
Ojai, California
Oak Park, IL
Box closed

So the box can be closed and tell something of what is going on inside, the beads in the heart are the virtual seeds in the internal pomegranate, the creative rather than actual womb. Inside, the pomegranate itself has been gilded with many layers of colored embossing powder, a process that requires using a heat gun. This has strengthened the very fragile shell. This honoring of the emptiness says to me the emptier I can become, the more light I can give and mirror back to others. But resting in a carefully constructed darkness is necessary a good deal of the time.


I chose a pomegranate for myself that was larger than many with an intact crown with all six points. I felt a little guilty at first but since it was my project, I figured I could do that. I had a number of witness conversations and got that my job was to enhance the outside and leave the inside a dark and empty void. I used embossing powder and a heat gun to create an enamel-like coating of red and gold on the pomegranate.

The box contains a black velvet pillow, which I sewed, and a mirror that reflects the pomegranate and also the viewer from the right angle. Outside the box are red beads in a heart shaped space on the top that evoke the lost seeds that have now nourished countless other beings. Around the edge are red trim, beads and bells. These reference Exodus 39 where the robes for the high priest are described. They are to have pomegranates embroidered at the hem alternated with bells. I have always been struck by this injunction as a means to reference and honor Shekinah, the feminine aspect of God, as the monotheism of Judaism got into high gear. She has been held and hidden in plain view in so many ways in Jewish history. The era of the Crone, honoring the wisdom of older women and the earth herself, is the creative theme I have been working with for some time. The piece can be kept closed to protect the mystery or opened if one dares to see herself reflected as the spark of the Divine feminine face of God.



Pat Allen envisioned and curated the Pomegranate Exercise with the collaboration and support of Sallie Wolf. She lives part time at the base of the Los Pardes Mountains in Ojai, California and across from Scoville Park in Oak Park, Illinois. Her work is about the dance of opposites in many forms. She is a writer, and artist and an art therapist. She is adjunct associate professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and at JFK University in Berkeley, California. Her books, Art is a Way of Knowing and  Art is a Spiritual Path both published by Shambhala Publications are available from Amazon.  Her art and writing can be viewed at

 Copyright 2012 Pat Allen