Ways of reflecting

We are often urged to ‘reflect’. Artist and atelierista Holly B. F. Warren takes a visual approach to explore what it means. Go with this surprising piece and see where you end up!

The texture and shape of reflection

What happens when we reflect? Do we bend back ? Do we lean into ourselves? Do we give back what we see ? Do we think and ponder over something? Or maybe we are inverting and transferring through a plane at a same distance. But what are we transferring, sharing, or illustrating?

Reflection can be such an intriguing word of many shapes and textures if not of substance and depth.

Reflection, thought and light

Can we also add the word thinking to our search for a meaning? Possibly thinking and reflecting are good friends, but not always best friends. They can be like a married couple that makes a vow, or companions that decide to live together without strings attached or they can be roads that meet at crossings and then change direction.

But maybe we might need to consider that light is a vital component of reflection as well. Without light we would be in the dark. Without thought we would be in the dark too. Thus, light and thought can bring solace and meaning in our search for what . . .  a partial answer?

As the sun is the master of ceremonies in our life’s banquet so is thought. Neurons fire as we think, connect, and create. A current of connections generates a sequence that we order in order to make meaning. Spikes spark, lights are switched, thoughts become ideas that mould into concepts and reflection allows us to see with a tilt, from different angles and perspectives.

Looking without seeing

When we look at a reflection in a pond or a lake it can be above and below our viewpoint. What we experience can be very alike, almost still with just a few ripples. Underneath the water world is active, full of life generating new forms. We can’t see all this activity as it is too deep. When we reflect we bend over, we flex but are still, we turn without moving, we look without seeing. We become acrobats combining, grace, taste, flexibility, aesthetics, balance, poise and sagacity. Strength and stamina, passion and enthusiasm intertwine while we walk on life’s tightrope. Arms stretched out to support balance and agility as we move or stand still.

Qualities of light

If we look at the qualities of light we can mirror intensity, colour, direction, and movement as we become elastic and conciliatory to the dynamics of reflection. Maybe just like a stone dropped in a lake, ripples generate a dynamic and rhythmic movement of reflective pathways. The intensity of light as concentration of thoughts, the direction as perspectives, the colour as emotional hues that blend and weave our considerations in an ongoing movement of body and mind.

Reflection as process

How does it move when it does? Is it linear where we walk on the dots that form lines like steppingstones? Lines can be bent, they can curve, reverse, and be rubbed out. Is reflection cyclical?  Round or in the shape of a spiral whirling in or out and never stopping? Maybe processes are work in progress that change, mutate, jump, skip and hop. At times they become static and bend over looking for the ripple that will set them back into movement.

Perspective and pathways

Sometimes having company could yield great insights. Perspectives create halls of mirrors and magical effects of unpredictable narratives.

Written reflections as ink pathways where reading along the lines could induce the curiosity to dip in between the lines or to go online in a spidery web.

As I reflect I might wander, searching for connections. I look at the still water in a lake, the drifting clouds in the sky, sea waves as they approach the shore or splash on rocks dispersing drops and foam. I walk in woods and along mountain paths following ways of life. As I orbit around my thoughts, conversations, dialogues, narratives, brushstrokes, and melodies I bend over and am in awe of this human quality. Reflections as a passage, a course, a direction, and an encounter.

During these times where uncertainty, unpredictability and chaos wrap our lives, reflection might show us where to unravel knots, clear creases, iron out pleats and pan out crinkles before they become wrinkles and furrows of selfishness.

Personally, I feel that someday somewhere I will see my own reflection and who knows if I will recognize it.


Holly BF Warren currently works as an atelierista and creator of the Think Tank across International schools in Milan that are part of the Inspired Education Group.




All images kindly provided by Holly.