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Abby Willowroot - A Goddess on Every Block

A Goddess on Every Block...<P>
©2002 by Debora Hill<P>
MedioCom<P>

Although she is last in our chapter on Goddess artists, Abby Willowroot is the quintessential interpreter of the Mother Earth vision in all her aspects. She has been designing jewelry and sculpting images of the Goddess since the early 1970's. Raised in New England, she now lives in Northern California.<P>
Abby is a self-taught metalsmith, but her father, renowned artist Charles Kerins, introduced her to fine painting at an early age. When he took her to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts on Sundays, she spent most of her time studying Goddess images throughout the ages.<P>
In 1967 Abby became an artist in her own right. She remembers her first piece -- "The very first piece of jewelry I ever made was an Ankh. The first conscious piece of Goddess Art I made was Artemis Diana's Collar, a large necklace with multiple breasts and a small drop of milk flowing from the center breast."<P>
Over the years she has expanded her line and branched out into other forms of sculpture and jewelry. Some of her porcelain and silver jewelry was chosen for permanent exhibit at The Smithsonian Institute. She was approached by representatives of the Smithsonian at the International Women's Year festival in Houston, and asked to donate them to the museum to become part of their permanent Women's History Collections.<P>
Abby is a prominent internet presence; she sells much of her work online. Her online work began in 1997 with the Sacred Goddess Grove. The Grove was started in 1997 as a 'virtual Goddess Temple'; it became a meeting place and exchange group for pagans around the world. Out of the Goddess Grove sprang the Goddess 2000 Project.  This international organization was created in 1998 as a response to Abby's concern about the commercialization of the Goddess culture.<P>
"For a long time I have been concerned that the imagery and aesthetic of the emerging Goddess Culture was being too heavily influenced by commercial design and the constraints of the marketplace. I felt it was important that neo-Goddess culture speak from the grass-roots soul of the culture. My concern was that contemporary Goddess culture would be finished before it really got started. I wanted to find a way to involve the average Goddess worshipper in the creation of their own emerging culture, and to unite pagans across the divisions of tradition and path. I would start an organization to encourage the full participation of Goddess Folks in creating sacred imagery."<P>
The motto of the Goddess 2000 project is "A Goddess on Every Block!". Visit the project at: www.goddess2000.org. It has now grown to include thousands of participants in 62 countries. Abby is now planning a book which will contain all the pieces of art created world-wide for the Goddess project.<P>
Two more sites, The Witches Web and Circle Sanctuary, joined the Grove in forming the Goddess 2000 Project, and in coordinating efforts by world-wide pagans.<P>
During the early years of her career, Abby's major influences were jeweler Helen Woodhull and metalworker Barbara Scarponi. About their influence, she says, <P>
"I have tried to emulate their courage in exploring new territory and in listening to my own 'artist's voice'. Thanks to the lessons they taught me through their work, I have become confident with that voice. With each passing year my work becomes a better reflection of what it is I wish to communicate through my art.<P>
"I view myself as an archetypist and folk artist. Both of those things give me a very wide latitude in which to express myself through my artwork. I think that I have truly come to understand that no one can make my art but me. I have stopped comparing myself to other artists and have moved on to focusing on being the best artist that I can be. I have developed a great respect for the Muse that visits all artists willing to listen.<P>
"I truly believe that artists are just people who refuse to surrender the crayons."<P>
During the 1980's Abby surrendered some of her crayons to fellow visionary artist Liz Stillwater Stephens. During this decade their work was done in collaboration, and Abby asked that information about Liz be included in her profile.<P>
"Liz's contributions to the process of bringing these Goddess images into being was crucial, and I do not know how many of these images would ever have been born without her contributions. We were true believers who were devoted to empowering women through Goddess imagery. Both Liz and I produced the Goddesses and although my name was the one people recognized, Liz is as much a part of the Abby Willowroot Goddess images as I am. Anonymous was a woman, but it shouldn't be this woman."<P>
What lies in store for this true believer in the future?  Has the time of the Goddess arrived, in synch with the mythology of the Christian millennium?  Judging by the popularity of the Goddess 2000 project, the pagan underground is alive and well out there, all over the world. And Abby Willowroot is here to provide the tools of the Goddess to other true believers.<P>
"In the next five years I will focus on sacred ritual objects, such as magic wands, and other altar tools. The direction my work seems to be taking is a very organic one, so I am anxious to see where it leads. I do know there will be a lot of working in wood, and I will be exploring various types of energy flow in a visual and tactile way. I have no real aspiration, just a desire to continue to be an artist who grows and changes."<P>
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