Every end is a beginning

University of Windsor School of Art student, Collette Broeders, chose Ralph Waldo Emerson’s essay, Circles, to go along with the themes of circularity she expresses in her own works in her newest exhibit, Habits in Motion: a visual exploration of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Circles from the First Essays (1841).

Habits in Motion features prints and drawings inspired by Emerson’s Circles essay. The exhibit is a personal exploration of the essay, not an interpretation. It explores Broeders’ own habit of circles.

Emerson’s essay deals with religious icons, something which Broeders herself represents in her own artwork, which focuses largely on connecting Christian beliefs and human nature against the chaos that surrounds us.

“It’s not an interpretation of the essay or anything like that. I didn’t intend on doing that,” Broeders explains. “Everything is kind of religious and circular,” emphasizes Broeders, who believes everything has its connections.

“I was very inspired by some of the writings,” continues Broeders. “One of the great statements in Circles is that ‘Our life is an apprenticeship to the truth that around every circle another can be drawn; that there is no end in nature, but every end is a beginning.’ It’s a wonderful statement that I just flew with.”

Broeders usually works in prints and Habits in Motion is no exception to this. Additionally, some of the prints in the exhibit feature writings from the essay intertwined within the circular works. “There is some calligraphy in the show with some of the writings in it,” she adds.

Broeders began her university career at the University of Windsor in 1993 where she studied for a Bachelor of Commerce degree. “When I had my son, I decided to go back to school and do what I wanted to do. Now I’m doing the BFA program and I’m in my third year,” she says.

At first, Broeders did not notice the circular patterns in her own work. Her professor, Lisa Baggio, actually pointed it out to her. “In the summer, I got my first press and I started working on the press, doing some prints, and I realized that there is this circular motion. That’s when I did the research and came across this essay,” says Broeders.

Broeders’ habits do not stop with circles. “I used to do these ornate paper dolls when I was really young,” she says. “I still do them. It’s part of an everyday ritual that I make these dolls, which is kind of funny.” Broeders also makes paper sculptures, invitations and ornate boxes.

Broeders got her start when she belonged to a papermaking group out of Dalton, Massachusetts. Her first entry of artwork consisted of shredded US currency, which she then pulped and made into a unique piece of artwork. For Broeders, this exhibit and her exploration of Circles is very personal.

“This show is more major to me because it’s very personal. It’s a very personal exploration. For me, it’s just bigger than what I’ve done before,” says Broeders.

Broeders hopes that the exhibit will help others to be more aware of their own personal habits. “This is my habit—this circular habit. I want to expose people to it and have people think about it. I want to invoke that we have these little habits that are actually really big habits,” explains Broeders. During the closing reception on October 20, Broeders will be doing a performance at 8pm where she will read Circles and draw upon the circles it represents for her.