This is a story of creation in two parts. The first being about how an artist gets inspired by a found object and then finds the tools — and skills — to make visible the physical form that was the object. The second part relates to creation, as well, or more particularly about a certain mythical person’s birth, but it will have to wait for another day.
As for the first part, let me explain.
Most every morning my main ritual is to nestle down into a cushy wicker chair for a breakfast of toast, jam and coffee. During this hour of slowly waking to the day, I will read a verse or two of poetry as well as a chapter (well, maybe half a chapter) of a different book.
On the top of a book shelf next to where I sit is a small collection of various shells and rocks whose shapes and patterns I find intriguing. One, though, I have observed more than the rest and, during breakfast for the several years since I found it, I have marveled over its simple, yet exquisite lines and form. And always, I knew that one day I would translate this shape into a sculpture.
But before I could do this, I had to hold this slightly red stained shell form countless mornings until I embodied its shape; until that is, I was so intimately familiar with its every curve, nook and cranny that when it came time to replicate it (or, as they say in the design business, “scale it up”), I could do it blind folded.
This was similar in process to what Frank Lloyd Wright would do when he palmed spheres, cubes, cylinders, cones and pyramids with eyes closed in order to “feel” their volumetric body and, thereby, indelibly inscribe their physical characteristics onto his own consciousness. A knowing that helped him “sense” the shape his houses or other architectural renderings would become.
Well, the time to put chisel to wood has arrived. For the past three weeks I have been blocking out a small table top sculpture whose fundamental shape is based on my tiny friend. The photos only reveal the very beginning of what will eventually become a more complicated and fairly delicate sculpture.
In the coming days, within the emerging creation of this sculpture there will be a shape shifting into another story on creation. It is this creation story that I’ll write about in a month or two when ‘Ovum d’Aphrodite’ is completed.
And the small shell like form that has intrigued me for all these years? It’s actually the paper liner from a jam jar lid that fell out of the lid after washing and took its wonderful shape while drying.
One can never second guess where ideas or forms will show up.