Thursday, 30 July 2009
Tuesday, 28 July 2009
Words spoken at the opening of ‘wabi-sabi – from rags to rust, the art of imperfection’ July 26, 2009
the older I become and the less time it seems likely I shall have on this beautiful earth the more I realise the importance of taking more time to be slow about the things I do
and to engage with the whirled
to take time to appreciate that string of pearls that is “the moments of now” that scatter like raindrops on a river as we wander our life journey
collections of “moments of now” make up the works we see here today. We call them artworks but they are only the tips of the metaphorical iceberg that is the
Art - Work
the thought, hand, making and shaping that was involved in the realisation of the pieces we see
those “moments of now” cannot be pinned down like beetles in a museum.they slip elusively away shimmering and dancing; swooping like dragonflies on the pond of memory
for me the concept of wabi-sabi is as undefinable.
my wise friend the potter Petrus Spronk says that the spirit of wabi comes about as a result of the work being made with great care and attention
and that the spirit of sabi comes about as a result of equally great care and attention from the user
and that in this way the work becomes complete.
Leonard Koren writes that wabi sabi is
…a beauty of things humble….
ask a Japanese person to define it and the response often implies that the need to ask belies the possibility of understanding.
for me it is the difference between a philosophy that strives to say something with a work
one in which materials from nature are worked with care and respect to find a voice that gives the object meaning
in a similar spirit, as a traveller I find the most satisfying journeys have been those in which I have taken the time to listen to land and place
taken time for life to find me rather than seeking out experience or nailing myself to a timetable
it is a frugal approach that finds joy in small detail.
a wabi-sabi of wanderings, taking gentle walks
stopping to listen and being open to the magic that is all around
the works that are being displayed in this place show that others too have found this magic
the makers have been attentive and have listened to the whirled
they have allowed their materials to find a voice through their hands and hearts.
i have pleasure in welcoming you to enjoy the work and invite you to give it the care and attention the makers have brought to it
Monday, 27 July 2009
Tuesday, 21 July 2009
Sunday, 19 July 2009
Friday, 17 July 2009
Sunday, 12 July 2009
Thursday, 9 July 2009
[allegedly] From last week's Bristol Evening Post [whenever that may have been]
Outside Bristol Zoo is the car park, with spaces for 150 cars and
8 coaches. It has been manned for 23 years by the same charming
and very polite car park attendant with the ticket machine. The
charges are £1 per car and £5 per coach. On Monday 1st June he
did not turn up for work. Bristol Zoo managment phoned Bristol
City Courncil to ask them to send a replacement parking
attendant. The Council said "That car park is your
responsibility" The Zoo said "The attendant was employed by the
City Council ....wasn't he?" The Council said "What attendant?"
Gone missing from his home is a man who has been taking the car
park fees daily, amounting to about £400 a day for the last 23
years - tax free.
Monday, 6 July 2009
Friday, 3 July 2009
Regular readers of these pages will know that I have been in Ohio, which can kinda be described as the eastern central mid-west. It’s not quite in the middle and the eastern states won’t have it in their club.
Anyhow I wander out one evening, thinking to take a little air. I go through that cemetery where the headstones indicate that good, lust and music are all interred. The path takes me over the Olentangy River and through leafy suburbs. After a while I reach the high street. I walk on.
Spotting a sign across the road that says ‘Phoenix Bookstore’. On a whim I venture in…to be greeted in whispers as there is a meditation session happening. I ask for the ‘green guide for artists’ but they don’t stock it. However the very friendly lady sitting at the front desk offers to telephone other bookstores in the district to see if they have it.
It takes a while and while the wheels are grinding we sit out on the porch so as not to intrude upon the meditating ones. Actually they all look as though they are asleep.
Eventually one of the local stores finds a copy and nice lady offers to drive me there. I find this extraordinarily helpful and say so. Off we go. I strap myself into the back seat [the front is full of stuff] where there is also a doggy food dish and bowl and quite a bit of canine fluff as well. Nice lady drives like a bat out of hell. I am grateful for the back seat and mutter a prayer or three under my breath. She can’t hear anyway having cranked the volume on her spiritual music so high that cows in the next county will be producing curdled milk for a week.
At the bookstore where they have kindly reserved the one and only copy of this book for me she talks to everyone she meets in very familiar terms. Mothers cluck “stay close by me honey” at their small children. We pay for the book and when the young man behind the counter complains of weariness she brightly points to her cap which advertises some guru’s latest brand of yoga and brightly tells him she’s running on energy and hasn’t needed more than an hour’s nap in the last 48 hours.
I think to myself this is not good. Anyone with so little sleep should not be operating machinery because their body will have better reaction time had they scoffed a bottle of tequila followed by a few schnapps chasers. But nice lady is keen to go for ice cream, which she says is not far from the helltell. Given she has been so helpful I feel she deserves a treat. Twenty minutes later I’m thanking the Powers that Be that my grandmother predicted a long future for me and hoping to heaven that the warranty on that prediction hasn’t lapsed.
I am also reminded that ideas of "not far" relate to "how long is a piece of string"
Eventually we arrive at Graet’s Ice Creamery. Nice lady who by now has been identified as Dena is delighted and skips about extolling the aesthetic delights of the [frankly hideous] glass-walled child captivity centre in which the infants can romp inside a giant plastic ice cream whilst their parents gorge themselves on chocolate chip everything.
We order refreshments. My single scoop of peanut butter flavoured stuff is big enough to feed a small Hungarian family. Dena’s blackberry ice-cream conceals an enormous submerged lump of solid chocolate big enough to sink the Titanic. Mildly fearful of the possible consequences of her driving with ice-cream and spoon in hand [having already seen her simultaneously juggle pen and paper as well as CDs] I suggest we sit on the lawn outside to consume our frozen fatty treats. Dena tells me that people in America don’t sit on the verge.
I insist and so we do anyway.
As we eat more fascinating facts are revealed. Dena is not, in fact, an employee of the Phoenix bookstore but was merely amusing herself by sitting behind the desk having herself decided that the meditation class was not for her. She reveals a history of clinical depression. I wonder privately just how much of her medication she has consumed today. She goes on to tell me her brother is bi-polar and that she keeps house for him. I wonder whether the brother is real or a mere figment. I also wonder how I will get myself out of this situation having observed the rear door has a child safety lock.
At that moment I see dancing lights across the lawn of the houses across the street. Fireflies. I haven’t seen such fireflies for years. They flit and boogie and burn and glow and I am utterly delighted.
Despite the mad ride home later at speeds roughly double those advised on roadside signage it is all worth it. I have the book I wanted, I’ve heard a ripping story and I’ve seen fireflies.
Oh, and I seem to have eaten rather a lot of ice-cream.