.CHERI  A  ELLIS







HIVE / written disclosure
It is in the bginning of this brand new year of 2017, that I come to a place of writing about my personal experiences in taking up some very specific endeavors, and actions, as a dedicated, life-time artist. Self taught, I feel my journeys into self created challenges need to be articulated and shared. Its not that my way is right for anyone else, but these advances in my goals as an artist, have delivered me into an ever expanding creative process that feels in unison with my true self purpose. I have experienced and overcome much resistance, I have adapted, I have come upon many unconventional ways of dealing with things that flavor the artist's way of seeing futuristically, and needing to break through boundaries. I hold great responsibility in these actions, my effort has been to do the very best I can, to effort at my highest potential, to be able to give back an evolution of changes that can be to the betterment of my cultural community. That rather than be a critic, I become an adversary of pro-active efforts.

Unedited, these disclosures are merging expressions of research, stream-of-consciousness responses, and at times, a stumble into a rather rhythmatic, poetic dance of words that best describe my journey from the heart. As this year unfolds, I hope to continually address issues that I find compelling as an artist, to be able to shed light upon the many significant cultural changes taking place in the community regarding art and creativity, and how I am personally dealing with them.

I am no angel ...

And my attempt to use my creative artistry to give voice to crucial planetary issues, bees, is not something that came to me glazed in light and star dusted visions of clarity and purpose. It was born in blatant chaos, it was a storm that blew my essence all over the place and then asked me to clean it up. I hid, I let go, I held on, I kept going. It birthed, and I knew enough about my creative process, to listen within, to follow the signs. It was an embriotic vision born into desolation, of coming to a place where I said good-bye to what was not in line with my true self. Work and situations that needed to end, were not replaced instantly with comforting solutions. It was faith and hope, belief that my intentions would deliver the steps to rebuilding a life true to my purpose.

Today I can say this, that I feel I am a vessel that has found its sanctity in what it fills with, and what it then feels beckoned to pour into. I began the journey, angry, perhaps outrage was the outer skin of every cell in my body, and it made me have no choice but to slowly undress my soul to it's core, the seed that was birthing anger into every new chance ... and use my art to internalize the attributes  of nature that would allow me to heal, restore, and regenerate myself into a human being in creative synchronicity with Gaia.


How the bee flew into me ... 

It was my color palette that seemed to open up to the bee. Yellow and black, 'canary in a coal mine', then it became an epic whirlwind of information, assimilation, and sorting out. I had gone through the 911 changes, the recession, watching all my artist friends lose their businesses, galleries closing, and the inability of the artist to sustain themselves in the inner city of Seattle. But, I also knew that in
my heart of hearts, art was not sitting in quite the right place in our culture. So when I began watching documentaries about the bees, it was the artist I saw as well, struggling to survive in these cultures of ego, toxins, materialistic obsession, environmental destruction, power and control.

I am a multi-medium artist, and though that brings me a liberation in areas of attachment and obsession, it can also deliver me into a query of desires to engage in one medium, while I am engrossed in another. Illustrator, painter, fashion designer, all quite inspired by my spiritual evolution. One of the first integral movements to take place, was that in finding a planetary issue to give voice to, I found a way to integrate all my creative endeavors. 'Bee' provides my inspiration to create the flora and fauna, physical sustenance and nutrition, colors, the precious life, death, rebirth cycle that is the flow of life. 'Bee' caused me to story write and then merge all the mediums in creating projects that could be very functional and accessible to all.


So the 'bee' flew in and took me on a journey .......

Researching the bee ...

Learning about the bee began by researching the Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). Watching the documentaries is a shock to the system, and one learns it is truly a holocaust. Its not just one thing, its many issues at hand, and though in the documentaries they are careful to say that 'this or that' cannot be proven,  that they do not have absolute evidence, how could the natural bee and the hive survive in such conditions?

The documentaries were the foundation for the effort, the vision, the body of work. What followed next was the researching and learning about the bee itself, and that was an utterly amazing unfolding! That bees dance to communicate their needs to each other. Choreographs of their looping figure 8 dance, the infinity sign,  creating vibrational expressions of vital information to each other. The way
they work together, the strength of the hexagon (strongest shape in nature), the way the hive works, and their incredible capacity to work together for the good of the whole. In the beginning, it was a struggle to paint the anatomy, where the crazy intersected limbs began and how they fit together.


Embryonic resonance, using art to internalize ...

I can say that in this birthing and transmutation, I was constantly questioned about my 'bee-like' behaviors, as in 'were they'? What I understand about being an artist, is that I am not creating out of being a perfectly resolved human being, I am creating out of the need to process the lessons I'm trying to learn, and integrate into my lifestyle. I am creating out of the need to process, and story tell my evolution. So I was not always that buzzing happy bee, no, not at all. I was making changes that I had not support for, I was making changes that were highly judged and misunderstood, I was eagerly manifesting my friend's and family's worse fears. As an artist, I know that in building a piece I must create many layers of work first, that I'm engaged in an illusionary vision propelled by the urge to complete a full matriculation of things that can be highly controversial.

I was wombed, my roots buried but begun, I was hidden, seeding with hope and afternoon light. I was highly protective of my process, and the only way to hear the inner guidance pure, was to limit my connection with what counter influenced my effort to birth something that took every bone in my body to newly align with. That I would create an inner harmony of this embryonic resonance, one that could become a full symphony with the 'oneness' truth of Gaia. So no, I was not always seeming 'bee-like', and was not reaching to connect in the outer ways, but knowing that the day comes when one births into the world, and energies will engage to network and share it.

Bee Hive / Sustainable Business

Bees are dedicated to what is good for the whole. The bees have one of the most sophisticated, highly functional leadership systems, found on this planet. Every bee is committed to the greater purpose. Bees have the strength to seek out  resources, to face every situation with an abundance of strength, they have a magnanimous propensity for collaborative team work, and bees thrive and cultivate trust in their colonies. The hive is a successful system of interdependence, bees convey in synchrony, and they are committed to self discipline and self direction. 

The bee and the bee hive make an excellent example for business plan!

'The bee only knows to create the perfect product' ...

Honey is the only food that includes all the substances necessary to sustain life, including enzymes, vitamins, minerals, and water. Honey is the only food that contains "pinocembrin", an anti-oxidant associated with improved brain functions. Anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal, honey helps boost the immune system. Rich, golden, delicious and sweet, honey has been known throughout the ages as a sacred, benevolent, food and medicine. 

So the bees' ability to work together and live in a hive culture that is obsessed with 'working for the good of the whole', allows them to create the perfect product. Humans need to create products as well, for all the same reasons. The bee product can be quite an inspiration for a business to produce products that offer a complete range of healthy, functional, aesthetic qualities.

​I can say that for all of my life as an artist, I experienced personal struggles over the idea of art being something on a wall, to visit at a 'show', or 'something else'. As a hat maker my struggle was in missing an element of deeper expression, as a dress maker I was met with the daunting traumas and projections of the female form and its massive exploitation on this planet,  as a painter/illustrator I felt withdrawn into a world of solitary oaths and lonely timelines. The "Bee Story Dress Project" changed everything into place of great possibilities of interactive opportunities. Starting with the 'bee story' cards, the energetic  messages of the bees can be shared on lovely cotton rag paper, to be written on, to be sent, to be received. The accessories allow the bee paintings and messages to be shared on a wallet or small pouch, backpack or pillow. And the dresses, they are able to express the glory of the bee, right on female body, for such an intrinsic concept of healing and synchronous creativity. I am now in the midst of creating a line of black and white 'bee love' cards that can be colored in, a really fun way of getting the bee art into super interactive venue experiences, and the delight of adding color to a bee, and being able to give that to another.


Bee cross pollinate / networking ...

Cross pollination for the bee is an interactive behavior that allows them to cause a plant to reproduce. Plants then give birth to the fruits and vegetables that sustain the planet. Humanity's systems of producing products can be a result of pollinating their dreams and visions into reproducing for the needs of humanity. Bees are interdependent and united, harmonic in a vibrational  one-ness. Bees are exceptional in their product development because that 'one-ness' is a type of strategy that creates what is good for the whole. 

Humanity also endeavors and knows to net-work, with the on-line opportunity extending that ability in so many diverse and creative ways. For the artist, its a fantastic way to reach out and cross-pollinate, such a great addition to working in their more tactile, but solitary environments. We are all seeing how that is affecting the other areas of art sharing, with the galleries and venues experiencing a huge shift in their purpose and monetary success. Perhaps its time for the world to explore new concepts of sharing art and engaging humanity in interactive and creative ways to inspire it into a fuller experience, as many ancient cultures knew well to do.

Path of pollen ...

Creating a means of income that is the result of a passionate skill one has unearthed, as a life goal/dream/vision to pursue, is a path of pollen, a gateway to self awareness and development. The buzzing around from flower to flower of a life, cultivating the birth of a product naturally in sync with the healthy needs of the planet, driven by divine inspirations, or lets just say an inner voice, is the path of pollen. Where every push to develop the product is a step in lesson learning that is direct in self evolution. The opportunity of 'cause and effect' enhances the effort to build a business through authentic lesson learning. That the 'fruits of our labor' can mirror our intentions to fructify our dreams.

Pollen is life source, the golden powder of the planet, cross-pollinated to create a sustaining web of abundance and beauty. In the same ways, an effort to develop a sustainable business, is cultivated by the conception of the pollinating dream with reality, to create and give birth to a vision that can offer sustenance in many diverse  and unexpected ways.

Self expression though clothing / toxic fashion industry...

Certainly the fashion industry is responsible for a huge negative impact on the environment through toxic manufacturing, in every way. Toxic to the psyche of humanity in its definitions of creativity, beauty and health. But ultimately, clothing is a dynamic and empowering form of self expression. We have 'fast' fashion which exemplifies the same non-nutritious qualities of 'fast food', and we have the slow fashion that is trying to re-emerge, and re-educate humanity about the sacred aspects of clothing the body in materials and designs that are made from a place of integrity, authentic artistry, and created though a sustainable 'hive-like' industry. There are many, many visionary artists who are ready to work with the big business industry and recreate the the structures to produce wearable clothing that is highly unique, well made, and affordable.


Artists collaborating ....

The way bees excel in collaboration is the way they are the epitome of success. They work in parallel, synchronous in decision making, converging to create what is good for the whole.

The idea of collaboration in artistic projects, is something that is will honored, desired, and sought after by many creatives. Ideally when artists come together, vibrating with like minded visions and concepts, and each artist is well centered in their core about their artistic evolution, together their diverse and separate selves can merge together to create something quite dynamic and beautifully sophisticated.

I believe that the artist eternally yearns for that union, that oneness, that hive enterprise that employs each to work in parallel, to integrate their diverse skills to build one successfully sustainable, highly creative, unit. Whether that single unit is one art project, or one small hive community. We are in cultures that have made the creative process into an egocentric ambition, where to cultivate ourselves as artisans can be a life of unwarranted obstacles, made to compete in areas that in truth, cannot win over another, as art is about the feelings it provokes within a person. Art is about identifying with ideas and feelings, internalizing those feelings and emotions to help assimilate the journey of life.

I have experienced many types of creative collaborations. I have been seriously challenged in some collaborative efforts, enough so that was inspired to take on NVC training, 'Non Violent Communication' skills. So many issues, possibilities for the artists to feel threatened, uncomfortable, dysfunctional in team efforts to build in unison, from each internally guided voice. Bees successfully build as interdependents creating synchronous, with highly effective  ways to communicate. In our cultures where the creative process can be so convoluted in its place of oppression and control, collaborations can get off track and lost in feuding egos and misunderstandings. I have found that in working with artists who are highly motivated to be self aware, and are clear on their intentions, the collaborative venture can be extremely exciting and successful! To create something far beyond one's capabilities through merging with the magic, the intelligence and skills of others.

I see my future as a huge, magnanimous shift into a wonderful paradigm of collaborative ventures that will create a type of lifestyle, a hive type of existence, that is sustainable and breathtaking in multiple aesthetics, in all creative genres. That is my hope and heart felt desire.

F A M E ...

Like anything and everything, intention is what sets the nature of fame and its ability to give voice, on a large scale, to important humanistic issues, or becoming a tool of egocentric obsession giving voice and credit to non-humanistic endeavors. The artist who feels internally guided to reach out into the culture of the community, can be caught up in the confusion of a culture that has only provided egocentric types of sharing experiences for the artist to exhibit in. Artists are caught up in an evolution of  strange steps developed by a system that is heavily controlled by politics and egocentric motivations. I personally think that its going to be up to the artists to change these dynamics in their cultures and communities.

When the artist craftsman is working hard, creating works of authenticity and integrity, and is reaching out into the world as far as they can to network, they are like the bee cross pollinating. The artist craftsman is causing the creative births to cross terrains and pollinate the world with upgrades of wisdom, artistry, environmental healing, and inspirations through cultural symbolism, healing representations, and energetic messages of vibration and vision. 

It can be well observed that when an artist is reaching out and taking on efforts for their work to be seen and shared, there is a need to assume they want to be famous, and in that its assumed for egocentric reasons. Art is marketed, and thats how it goes  in the world of marketing. But in truth of the effort to create, 'something' is born, and that 'something' wants evolve and live a life. Hopefully, with the emergence of sustainable businesses, the smaller enterprises will offer multitudes of hives that can work with the artist and share worldwide the incredible talents and skills of millions of magical creatives all over this planet. Like the mono-cultures the bees are being forced to endure for sustenance, so are we humans in being unable to enjoy and access a world of diverse and mind-blowing creative products and art forms. 

Appropriation ...

Appropriation is the new buzz word, and perhaps it is a monumental symbol of humanity waking up. The word describes a theft, 'to steal'. Is it possible that at the very deepest core level of the controversial concern, there has been some extensive energetic thieving, but appropriation is the veil to keep the truths and origins of that  theft  submerged? We are in a time  where pop culture wants to use the beauty and energetic power of ethnic symbolism and aesthetic, reproducing it in ant-humanistic ways, using it without giving credit or value to its cultural origins and significance, to make monetary profits. At the same time, we have an influx of healing symbols, practices, lifestyles, medicines and artistic aesthetics, flooding the world with a very rich and profound opportunity to develop into amazing cultures through merging these stupendous, soulfully gorgeous, diverse elements. Is it difficult for the observer to decipher between the two?

Bees live in hive cultures that blend and unify massive amounts of information, they pool together and cross pollinate to optimize to the highest levels.

Appropriation is a concept that I have become altruistically aware of, I can experience the conflict internally, continually in my daily life, in my daily creative works. Its a powerfully controversial issue, maybe potently fueled by the need to control and limit the effort the planet is making to merge and unify in planetary healing.

I am, and always have been, an artist that finds great inspiration in other cultures. So I will speak from my own experience here. Eastern influences, the colors and representations of nature, the story telling and mythology gracing the aesthetics, the artistry that is connected to ritual, sacred teachings, and benevolent efforts, is what stimulates my own creative process. I love to mix in the beautiful beaded and embroidered silks and decorations, with my story telling art fabrics. I love the way it looks to mix diverse elements, its probably the most significant part of my creative work. I'm often told that my work speaks of "putting things together that you don't usually find together". My choice in merging either ethnic or indigenous inspirations into my work, I hope to do with great appreciation, reverence, and to understand my great responsibility in it all.


Facebook  / social networks ...

Social networking is here to stay, breathing in, and exhaling, in all the same ways technical evolutions are accepted and rejected on this planet. There are 'dos and don'ts' , there are always new dangers in things that seem to make it all easier, better, and faster. Yet there are new comforts and safety in generating beyond things that have become oppressive. Networking above and beyond, and into more universal expressions and opportunities, can be exhilerating and profoundly rewarding ... are we attempting to access universal one-ness?

Artists are encouraged to take on social networking. In fact, for a career driven artist it is recommended to spend 2 hours daily, on the web, in way one or another. At the same time, it is said that posting artwork on social forums, will take down the value of the work.

I personally have made my own decisions regarding the social networks  and how I feel about interacting with them. Its very easy to have moments and days when the decisions have been confronted and negatively judged, and I can feel uncomfortable with my presence on the network. I remain clear and firm on my original intentions, and the constant is that I am working on something that just has a bigger purpose than my every day efforts may reflect. I want, and need to share, how art and creativity are integrated into my life. I want to share how I push to evolve a vision, and the every day type of steps that are taken. I create so much imagery! We all do, with so much easy access to recording our lives visually. I am profoundly saturated with opportunity to create imagery of the process. For me, that choice is to have that imagery released into the ether, versus having it stay in my technical devices, waiting for an opportunity to exhibit in a venue. When the tactile experience of creating a body of work for a show is in the 'next' spot for me, I feel it is an additional, enhancing opportunity to share the work. Nothing, nothing can take away from the physical experience of connecting with art though a tactile exhibit.

And bees ... my choice and effort to take on such an important social cause and issue, as the bees and CCD, makes my efforts and presence on the networks, different. The images do not feel like 'mine', especially any of the bee art and story telling images. Energetically, it feels like the bee artwork needs to be integrated and 'free', it needs to cross over the borders of ownership, and judgments of its value, and just be left to roll on the networks ... and give voice to the bees!

Oh the dress ...

written in 2010, exerpt from  'The Dress" , a self exploration on dress making


The dress that is chosen, the dress that is just right, the dress that we always remember. The crowning feminine expression, in the dress a female reveals a tale of her own inner beauty and how it looks to her. From puffed and bowed little girls, onwards through a lifetime of dresses that can create a story line though their connection to monumental events. Enchanting, beguiling, ravishing, or 'simple'. The perfect dress could be in a bold cotton, an embroidered silk, a tucked and tousled plaid, or a gathered, pluming, floral gown. Sexy, prudish, stylish, or fit for a tom-boy. The 'wrong' dress being as much of the story, as the 'right'dress.

In the dress  I have found an art form that is both expansive and utterly challenging. In my work as an artist, the core element of most of my creativity has been about feminine healing and empowerment. The exploration of the inner world through art. Processing, storytelling, and ultimately healing. This constant movement allows me to regenerate and maintain connection to an unending source of inspiration and renewal.

When I began the development of dress-making, I was well aware of the negative aspects involved in placing too much of anything into our outer images. Social pressure to over indulge in materialism, and the effort to disguise ourselves though outer appearance. Certainly the fashion industry can exude in the superficial with such exploitation of feminine beauty, and misrepresentation of what true beauty is. These are all a very real part of the dress and its legacy in our world as we know it.

In my experience of sewing up a dress, I have found a medium that has fully captured my heart by allowing me to mirror the inner self of a woman. In the idea of feminine empowerment, comes the opportunity to creatively express ourselves though our clothing. As in anything, intention is the deciding factor in all that we bring into our lives. So let us celebrate with the dress, and allow that internal soul-full self to frolic her loveliness and grace!




​to be constantly continued ...

nurturing and sharing the flowers of the eternal garden that grows within me ... thankyou






































































'Bee Story Dress' fabric, skirting in a light weight cotton voile, bodice in cotton twill , and the fabric for sleeve details, in silk.
unedited



click small images