Marcia Raff has a lot of friends. Fortunately for us, one of our friends/editors/supporters, Marianne Rochelle introduced us. We had a lovely afternoon together as she shared stories and memories with us both from her gorgeous home in downtown Austin.
Marcia uses her mind, body and spirit to create beauty. Lucky for us, she loves three things we love: meditative walking, labyrinths and butterflies.
It all began in 2007 when Marcia googled Chartres, France and saw a Cathedral with a labyrinth underneath it. Immediately, she knew she that she wanted to design labyrinths. She wanted to use a symbol so she chose to use the design of a dreidel for her first labyrinth.
She designed it on a piece of canvas with red tape and showed it to the Landscape Department at Modiin, Israel. They loved it and wanted The Dreidel Labyrinth to be the centerpiece of a Chanukah Park in the City of Modiin. However, the park was never built. Marcia soon realized she could turn a walking labyrinth into a sculpture and create a series of Dreidel Labyrinths.
Marcia writes, “a labyrinth was a path born approximately 2300 years ago to represent wholeness. During medieval times, a labyrinth symbolized a path to God and walking labyrinth was thought of as a symbolic form of pilgrimage. When people couldn’t afford to travel to holy sites, the use of labyrinths substituted that need. Today, it’s walked as a meditation to receive many benefits. Dr. Herbert Benson, of the Harvard Medical School’s Mind/Body Medical Institute, conducted research that has found focused walking meditations are highly efficient at reducing anxiety and eliciting what Dr. Benson calls the ‘relaxation response.’” She adds, “labyrinth walking is among the simplest forms of focused walking meditation, and the demonstrated health benefits have led hundreds of hospitals and spas to install labyrinths in recent years.”
Marcia invites everyone to receive the benefits of walking a labyrinth by walking The Dreidel Labyrinths. Check out this video to watch how The Dreidel Labyrinths were designed and how one was included to be on exhibit in the Trail of Lights at Zilker Park in Austin, Texas starting in 2019.
*When did you know you were an artist? Even though I became a Fine Art photographer when I was 68 years old, it wasn’t until I became a professional sculptor when I was 55 years old, that I thought of myself as an “artist”.
*And, how did you know you were an artist? You are what you do.
*How do you conceptualize a labyrinth? A labyrinth can be thought of as a path to your center.
*Who inspires your creativity? What inspires my creativity are ideas from books that I read and feel passionate about. Yet one of my sculptures was serendipity at it’s finest. Another was triggered by a subliminal remembrance to something in a book I loved.
You won’t want to miss following the links below. You’ll see more of Marcia’s beautiful masterpieces, including an Iron Butterflies Project favorite…the butterfly labyrinth. Let’s fly forward with Marcia. Happy Happy Birthday, Marcia!
Poem by Marcia Raff, October 23, 2021
To Be a Nonagenarian
I will soon be a Nonagenarian, something I never dreamed I would be.
I’m delighted to see I’m still working, feeling good and still have curiosity.
I continue to plant seeds to keep my life interesting and meaningful, too.
I make new sculptures that I hope to exhibit in a location that is new.
How do I make others aware a nonagenarian is not redundant or not in the know.
They are active and look like they’re full of energy, well, maybe for show.
Okay, so some days are lazy and we don’t do too much running around.
But where is a better sense of humor to be found?
Know that I look forward to being a nonagenarian on the 24th of this November.
But do not worry a bit if it’s YOU who doesn’t remember!