l i g h t w o r k s
b l o g
It's been a long time since I've had a guest post on returntotheway...nearly two years ago, when Cathy van Hoppe shared sketches for a winter's tale.
Here's a recent work coming into being; midnight magic, kinship and starlight born from silence and winter stillness.
It's been a long time since my last blog post. And, for those kind souls who read this blog regularly I am truly apologetic for vanishing without explanation.
Life has its seasons I guess and sometimes a very harsh Winter comes our way. It forces a kind of hibernation, a withdrawal from our normal lives. It can be a very testing time - providing little in the way of nourishment and using up all your reserves. Survival depends on something beyond our control and a kind of surrender begins to develop.
And Silence swam as starlight between the trees
Fairy Tale of Kings by Mikalojus Konstantinas Ciurlionis, 1909
From now on ~ interspersed with small tales about artwork creation ~ there will be rolling updates about the building of a tiny temple at Rennaldburn.
I've been inspired about the idea of building small, simple but beautiful shelters since I was a teenager. Here's a more expanded version of what I still hope to do someday:
On a part of the earth which expresses many different energies ~ rugged high outcrops, streams running through gentle meadows, woodland hollows leading to open ocean shore ~ my dream is to create a soulful centre of creative, spiritual exploration, an abundant garden of possibility.
Kahil Gibran perfectly expresses what I yearn to embody in his poem, On Houses:
Here, then, is the inauguration of Altair air Abhainn (Gaelic for Alter by the stream). It's on the site of Rennaldburn's hillside fireplace; if you look at the bottom right corner of the video you can just see the final fire burning there as the space is prepared.
This Samhain new moon, as our ancestors are nearer the forefront of our awareness, here's a small tale about a gravestone I made my Great Aunt Ecila this Summer.
She died forty years ago, but ~ having matter-of-factly donated her body to science ~ never had a funeral or grave...and the time felt right for my mother and myself to redress the balance. (Since I carved a stone in memory of my father a couple of years ago, I'm quite the expert now ;)
I decided to try a multimedia offering this time, with a glass rosy cross inset into the sandstone, along with a little metal Scotty dog broach...and we made the pilgrimage down to North Curry, Somerset to sneak it into the family plot.
There we stayed with a family friend who had one of those wild, rambling and chaotically glorious gardens that have a timeless quality to them (you could imagine it being the same in medieval or victorian times)
(The same could be said for many interior views, such as this nook, ode to glass and dragons :)
I spent much of my time filming the abundance of winged creatures who made their home there and on the local waterways...
These sun-infused interactions became this little video, made as an offering to Aunt Ecila ~ and all our relations who are now more winged than earthbound.
Most of the small tales I'll share here will be of artworks that are available...but this one found a home ~ with Kenneth in the North of Scotland, looking out at the Culbin forest:
I wrote the last blog post exploring a different way of looking at Time a while back...before I bought a glass fusing kiln.
Unbeknownst to me, this was an old-style kiln, needing to be constantly in the not-too-far reaches of consciousness while being fired. As the manual cheerfully explains, ‘at settings above 4 the kiln temperature can continue to rise and could permanently damage the brick and the elements.’
So, I come full circle, intermittently dominated by clock-time and making sure I don’t ‘lose track’ of it...but happily so, as I get to continually play and experiment and be part of the wonderful alchemical process of disparate shards of cold, sharp hardness melding and becoming one.
Rather than being a post about glass, though, I thought it was a good moment to share a part of the creation of my studio - in Rennaldburn’s back entranceway which, though it still manages to be a powerful mess vortex, is becoming a more ‘real’ creative space all the time.
Creating the studio started last Summer, as I finished making a mini gallery in Rennaldburn’s dark and dingy back hallway by painting the floor green. (It’s still waiting for daisies, just as the ceiling is still waiting for butterflies. Girly? I don’t know what you mean :)
The obvious next step for the left-over green paint seemed to be to continue it out through the junk-attractor portal/would-be studio, so I did - happy with how the gloopy gloss covered over the irregularities of the rough, cratered concrete underneath.
Aware that I had small and interested visitors at this time, I locked the door leading through to the wet floor, safe in the knowledge that my bedroom was now the only one which led through to it.
You can probably guess where this story’s going now - deep in divination môde with the mother of Brennan, the one with the most curious feet, they pattered past us unnoticed...not just to the beginning of the wet floor but all the way to the very end and back into the carpeted room, turning round and round in little circles of wonderment at the steadily increasing indelible green marks magically appearing around him.
Later, I had a look and confirmed that, yes, all along the footprint trail the tacky paint had pulled up to reveal small but numerous patches of powdery, lumpy concrete. So, having used every last scrap of green, I mixed some more...but without the same palette, it was a very different green.
No matter, I thought, I’ll make it a feature - and ended up with a solid trail of huge polka dots which still seemed to be undeniably following in Brennan’s footsteps.
No matter, I thought, I’ll just paint them all over. En masse, the sickly-green polka dots now looked like a swamp dinsosaur’s back covered with bunions.
No matter, I thought, I’ll add a better colour on top. Finding another tin of paint store-labelled as dark green, I mixed it up well...to find it was bright red.
Well, I spent all that time mixing it so I may as well try it, I decided, and dripped thin circles of red around each bunion, giving a 3D, oozing effect.
Feverishly, I cracked open another can and tried to cover up this new disaster, now going for a full Pollock-splatter technique.
After a few more hours and a few more tins, I finally felt I had an art room floor worthy of the name: standing on it now gives a palpable feeling of creative liberation; a space where anything goes and that’s alright!
And it’s all thanks to Brennan’s small but vastly curious feet, without whom the floor would be a dull, un-marked expanse of green.