Friday, November 24, 2006

FAQ Spiritkeepers

What are Spiritkeepers? Who makes them and why? Find answers about these one of a kind, collectible, unique paintings on real natural stone. Learn totem or spirit guide animal messenger meanings from original text written by the artist. Spiritual symbol, mythology and deity figures, wildlife art, witches' amulets, fun pocket pals to ride in a medicine bag. 

*What are Spiritkeepers™?

Each Spiritkeepers is a unique expression inspired by the natural Spirit world. Designed from totem animal spirit guide meanings and symbols from mythology, they are created to be a personal amulet. The stones are generally pocket sized, and many are paperweight size or naturally holed... known as the Witches' Amulet or a Witches Dream Shield. Each rock (or sometimes sea shell) is hand selected by the artist, often based upon the spiritual energy felt within. The images are discovered within the natural surfaces and enhanced with quality paint. The artist never uses putty, fillers or cutting tools to change the natural shape of the stone for Spiritkeepers.

Since 1997 artist, and odd mystic type, Tree Pruitt has been marking her unique painted rocks as Spiritkeepers, though she'd always enjoyed painting "found" images from the surface of stone. The concept began as a way of spreading a little Spirit and love to her neighbors after having moved to a new place. Tree would do this by painting a small stone, stashing it in a tiny pouch, and then placing it in a mailbox or under a car windshield wiper of someone she hadn't yet met... signing the backs of each stone only as "Spiritkeepers" in the hopes that recipients would understand its good intentions. Later, friends and family began to ask Tree to paint their personal totem animals or a spiritual symbol to carry as a good luck charm. Because of this, and because nearly anything can be painted on a rock, Tree decided to limit Spiritkeepers to being only spirit-animals and spiritual themes.

What is this site?
This blog will serve as a catalog of my hand painted rocks past and present. Each stone comes from my personal rock collection and is gathered by myself either from nature or hand-picked purchased. I think of them as individuals and treat them respectfully as spiritual beings. Some stones may have been in my collection for up to thirty years before being painted! As of 2006 I began individually numbering them and signed them with the rune like symbol seen on the logo design to differentiate them from other peoples painted rocks; It's a true joy to happen upon someone who shows you something special from their pocket and you secretly discover it was you who painted it!

Why rocks and stones?
 I've always been stone crazy. As a small child I braved the hot summer sun for hours to remove my first fossil specimen; I still have that fossil too. I've also been an avid painter my entire life, so it was only natural for the two loves to combine. The stones I collected seemed to call out to me -- wanting to be picked up -- showing me pictures within the surfaces. I began to follow the lines I'd see on the rocks with paint strokes so that I could show others what I saw, at about the age of five. The pop culture craze of the Pet Rock that swept America in the later 1970's only served to encourage my feeling that stones are alive and do communicate. As my Earth based spirituality developed later in life it occurred to me these rocks have messages to share just like a spirit guide.
 In many Native cultures stones are believed to hold spirits. In the Native American Lakota Sweat Lodge Ceremony, known as the Inipi, heated stones are thought to be ancestral Grandfathers and thus given great respect. Ancient people went to great effort to place pictures on rock outcroppings and cave walls. Modern Neo-Pagan Wiccan practices encourage direct communication with nature and the exchange of energy with things in nature. I too feel that they are alive!
 Because I'm so anthropocentric in my treatment of the stones, it can sometimes hurt when it's time for them to go to new homes. They become like friends over time, but I feel as if I'm doing a spiritual duty of a sort when I'm called to paint a Spiritkeepers. Stones and rocks call out to me with a spiritual voice or energy vibration almost like a psychic sense. That sounds heavy and serious -- and it is -- but it's always great fun discovering the final image hidden inside these stones! Because I think of them as metaphysical, spiritual objects I only work on Spiritkeepers in a positive frame of mind and do my best to imbue them with positive energy. I only create Spiritkeepers when I feel I am called to do so, making them somewhat rare.
I am a serious artist and a serious mystic, but I never take anything too seriously... the energy of Divine Spirit often moves through laughter!

*Learn about the Spiritkeepers logo sigil that each stone is signed with upon being finished.

*What is a totem animal or spirit guide?

Click to learn about it.

*Where do you get the stones you use to make Spiritkeepers?

Each stone comes from my personal rock collection and is gathered by myself either from nature or hand-picked purchased.

I've collected rocks and minerals all of my life. It's almost as if I hear them call out to me. Some of the stones used for Spiritkeepers have been in my personal collection for up to thirty years! I've been known to travel often through out my life too and so have collected rocks from road sides and truck stops all over America. There are places to go on vacations where I could mine or pan for gems, and I did quite well! Some of the rocks were collected by other folks on vacations. Due to the location of my former home I could simply dig in my garden to find interesting fossils and stones. Through the years I've attended many rock and mineral shows to make purchases to add to my collection. I've scoured many a flea market and yard sale for that perfect find.
 I've never knowingly obtained stones from illegal methods. *If you go out collecting know that most state parks prohibit the collecting of fossil and plant specimens -- you can't take anything out that you didn't bring in really. It's also a no-no to pocket treasures from private property without getting permission.
 I once braved a lone bull in a pasture just to get a stone with a lovely shape! The owner stood by just in case, but he wouldn't go in after the stone for me; He thought I was nuts! Maybe so. :)

*How do you decide what to paint on a stone or rock?
I can have a general idea what I want to do at the start of one of these rock paintings, but I remain open to guidance -- from whatever the source -- and allow the images to evolve naturally. I often use the natural lines and bumps in the rock to create the picture on the stone, never filling in spaces with wood putty or other fillers. Sometimes the shape of the stone already looks like something. It could have the outline of an animal so clearly that anyone could see it. Or the lines on the surface may make a picture. I'll follow those lines with paint and sort of fill in the blanks. There are other times though where it seems as if the stone tells me what it wants to become. I may see the shape of a wolf and begin to paint one, but if the stone is whispering that it wants to become a cougar there's nothing I can seem to do to stop a cougar from emerging.

*How do rocks talk to you?
(Coming soon)

*How can I own a Spiritkeepers of my own?
I offer some Spiritkeepers at ArtistTree Studio store.

*Do you take special requests?
Yes I do. But please understand that this this is an individual process and may take some time. The individual stones dictate what images they will portray. I couldn't just pick up any old rock and paint a raven or a spider on it because someone said they'd like to have one. It is my belief that the stone tells me it has the energy of a raven totem inside it or I can see the image of a spider on the natural surface of the stone. If I don't have a stone on hand that matches the spiritual energy of your request all I can do is tell you so and then keep my eyes out for the right one. Contact me for more information.

*Can I have a portrait of my pet done as a Spiritkeepers?
No. I'm sorry, but the individual stone decides what it wants to become, in my mind. As fine artists my husband and myself are both willing to do more traditional pet portraits, but the stones are never treated as a merely a painting surface.

*All art work images, unless otherwise credited, copyright Tree Pruitt. Text information may not be used for profit, copyrighted Tree Pruitt. Metaphysical suggestions are intended as entertainment only -- I/we make no claims as to the ability of the action of stones or advise. Information about hand painted Spiritkeepers stones & shells by Tree Pruitt.

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