Tag Archives: Susan Levin

Making art from a dream, by Susan Levin

Yesterday, I reviewed Susan Levin’s book, ‘Art from Dreams’ and I’m delighted to welcome  her into the House of Dreams to talk about the dream behind her artwork, ‘Home.’

HomeI am writing about the piece titled “Home” and the accompanying dream.

Dream: I am on a boat in the Detroit River headed for summer camp. I talk to someone about Detroit—how the city is out of money. We dock briefly along the city’s shore. I go for a walk, barefoot, through the muddy streets. I see little children in slum housing. I walk up the steps to the bank. I clean my feet with water so they will be less muddy.

Dream interpretation: I have to get down with uncovered feet to get close to the truth of my difficult childhood, growing up in a dysfunctional family in Detroit. The city of Detroit is bankrupt—it’s losing its libido for me. I walk barefoot, slogging through the mud of my past. With my uncovered feet, I get close to the truth. The slum of my childhood. Boats are a womb-like container that carry us on our life’s voyage. We all need a sense of security to help us navigate.

Being sent away to summer camp, where I don’t want to go, adds to my sense of being an outcast. By cleaning my feet as I go up to the bank, I am relinquishing my feeling of impoverishment. Something in me has money in the bank. I am coming to a part of myself that is substantial. I have my own resources—my own currency in the bank. I am approaching the SELF, going upstairs to a higher level of understanding.

Cleaning the feet has religious overtones, a rite of purification. I was destined to be barefoot in the mud, living in a slum, when I instead deserve to be in a bank with clean feet and access to money. My inner resources, which were never acknowledged or nurtured, are now accessible.

Have you ever been moved to create a visual image by memories, thoughts and feelings that have been stirred  up in a dream?

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Book Review: ‘Art from Dreams’ by Susan Levin

Today, it’s my pleasure to review this new book by Susan Levin, ‘Art from Dreams: My Jungian Journey in Collage, Assemblage and Poetry.’

As a seasoned traveller in the inner world myself, I love reading about other people’s dream adventures, and one of my all-time favourite books is CG Jung’s Memories, Dreams, Reflections, for that  reason.

There isn’t very much to read in Susan Levin’s book,  just a one-page introduction and ten short poems, but I really like the way the brevity of the text brings the focus strongly back to the images and makes the book, in itself, a dreamlike experience. Levin lets the pictures tell their own stories, and give an impression of the  journey overall.

The first half of the book is called ‘My Jungian Dreams.’ Here the poems expand on the images, exploring the artist’s thoughts about consciousness and experience in an open, direct way.

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In the second half of the book, ‘Nocturnes,’ there are no poems, just a set of striking images with intriguing titles such as ‘Message from horse and snake’ and ‘Ship of souls.’

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The mixed media and collage approach feels to me an exactly appropriate way of conveying the quality of a dream, this bringing together of disparate objects into a unified experience of colour, tone and feeling.

The night after I read Art from Dreams I had a very visual dream which reminded me of one of Susan’s collages. At the bottom of the picture, me with a glass of sparkling wine; above that my Writing in the House of Dreams book launch cake, and flying above that in the clear blue sky, a young woman on a brightly-coloured hang-glider.

The book is beautifully produced and bound, a lovely object which readers will return to, and take inspiration.

Tomorrow, Susan will talk about the process of one of the artworks in the book here in the House of Dreams. Don’t miss it!