2-laidee Cooke, ~rtist txtraordinaire rninaBibson earlier, the Pilgrim Center (which hand. What an artist's eye she has. is now used as living quarters for The following article was featured in some of the residents and the gen- a Sunday supplement of an East Coast eral registration office; health per- magazine. When she was an art student at Kutzmitting, Bhauji still gives his talks town University, Haidee Cooke's teachers in the main dining hall too.) On my last visit there when my would ask her to put up her work for the admiration and curiosity moved other students to see. Then, she says, they me to make enquiries as to who would tell their students, "That's exactly was responsible for these beautiful what I don't want you all to do." "I see now," she says," that it was good benches, I was told the artist was in residence and if I liked I could for me. I didn't stick to the norm. I was so go to her atelier and watch her used to being out of whack, that I never create these masterpieces. I had to tried to please, because I couldn't." chuckle when I found her 'atelier' It was during this time that a spiriwas the bicycle storage r - -l7"":-....;;;:;:;;;;;f"_ -':In!!liill:=......---~~.., shed at the end of the bus sheds in the parking lot! But how fascinating it was to see her at work! Haidee explained the process to me and then let me watch as she worked on her latest commission from Ted - decorating the benches to go in the gardens outside the men's and women's quarters. To start her works of art on the
hose of us who have had the good fortune to stay at the Meher Pilgrim Retreat in Meherabad have no doubt spent many a delightful hour sitting outside the main dining hall on the patio beside the 'Welcome to My World' tile wall. And while sitting there in friendly conversation or quiet contemplation you must surely have noted and admired the exquisite art work on the stone benches. It took me two or three visits to the MPR before I finally met up with the very talented artist who created these benches. Haidee had been commissioned by Ted Judson, the architect who designed the magnificent Meher Pilgrim Retreat and also, many years
benches, or indeed any piece of stone, cement, marble or granite, Haidee first paints the outline of the wonderful swirls, circles and patterns she is creating. She does this all freehand while she squats beside the slab upon which she is working. I was amazed that the circles and swirls were so incredibly even and round, as though she had used a compass to make them so perfect, but it was all done free-
tual transformation caused a radical change in Haidee's work. A fellow student, Michael Cooke, who was later to become her husband, introduced her to the work of Me her Baba, an Indian spiritual leader, whose stated purpose was not to teach, but to awaken the love of God in his disciples' hearts. She was so strongly affected, that "it made me go through a change. Up to that point I used to paint realistic. But I couldn't do realistic anymore. I started doing dots. I thought, 'I'm going crazy.'And then came these waves of pink. I'd call them energy; everything was energy. People would say, 'What is that you're doing, Haidee?' 'O h,' I used to say, 'it's all energy.''' Today, her paintings are of beings she calls the "coconut men" in swirls and spirals, done in layered and textured gold acrylic paint on huge pieces of shimmering white moire and brilliantly blue silk. She prefers silk to canvas because, "It's more delicate; it's more translucent."
Published on Apr 6, 2014