Tuesday, 28 July 2009

exhibition opening

raku work by Lyn Reeves

the reason i was invited to Tasmania was to open an exhibition

those who know me well will be aware that i have a speech impediment
i'm not keen on making speeches
however i decided to be brave
and read a prepared text
which some people seemed to think was ok
under the circumstances
i thought perhaps i'd reprint it here...

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

thank you



  1. "The older I become and the less time I shall have..." opens a whole new world...of appreciation, of gratitude, and of seeing beauty. Thank you for these precious words. I'd like to put a link on my side bar to this post, if it is alright with you. I feel myself slow down in response to your wise words.

  2. I am proud of you, you have grown in spirit in the last few years.

  3. This is a beautiful description of process between artist and materials, at least when the artist respects the materials. I was just thinking about age last night and the amount of time I have left...possibly twenty years, if I take care.
    Thank you for sharing your wisdom.

  4. Wise words indeed. Thanks India.

  5. You can always...
    move me to tears

  6. So beautiful what your wrote.
    ...and your retreat sounds quite wonderful.
    Your blog is one of not many, your way of being comes through, and it all seems so real.

    ps.have you read "the timeless way of building"

  7. i haven't yet read that book....but it's on my wishlist, thank you for the reminder [and for the kind words]

  8. beautiful, striking words - thanks india

  9. awe yes...so gentle, so thoughtful and beautiful...
    Thank you for sharing this with all of us that did not have the pleasure of being there ... such and appreciative mood setter...

  10. i love your speech, you CAN speech! very poetic words India!

  11. i always find speaking in public is only difficult if it does not come from the heart. i cannot imagine you having a problem with that. the timeless way of building is a marvelous book. a gift from my son. i enjoyed it immensely.

  12. Such wise and beautiful words India - you are a true poet! Thank you so much for sharing - my day was feeling dull and you have awakened my senses to 'that precious moment NOW' I hope one day I have the chance to see your work in the real, take part in one of the retreats or to even meet you in your travels

  13. Thank you for sharing these most beautiful words. I drop by occasionally but maybe it is time to drop by more often. Thank you again.

  14. what words....awesome...thought for a minute that is was Leonard Cohen who had written about wabi sabi...oops, giggle! Wouldn't surprise me but. thankyou.

  15. that string of pearls that is “the moments of now” - these words kept me 'busy' for a few days. They were dancing in my mind. Today I get the answer, these pearls are the metaphore for the mirror, which shows you the real life, that moment of now is all there is...

  16. You caught the thought beautifully: the moment of now is all we ever have access to. The art of being - living and working with "presence" - is life transforming and gives the fruits of one's labour a special lift...