A lesson in perfecting patience

May 27, 2013

From the many poets I read — Rilke, Oliver, Stafford, Wendell Berry to name a few — the inspiration I receive from their words comes, not in the form of a visual three dimensional sculpture, but in how one might live as an artist. And this all boils down to artistic integrity, perfection achieved through patience, and most importantly, maintaining a beginner’s attitude.

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So… a month ago the sculpture DeepTime suffered a horrific first oiling after 14 months of steady slow carving and sanding. In the end, all I could do was 1: maintain my artistic integrity by being out in the open and honest to visitors of this mistake by the “master”, 2: not yield to a tired temptation by calling it good enough, and 3: go back to the beginning and start over whilst asking questions of others on how best to fix the problem.

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Love

Fragile as a spider’s web
hanging in space
between tall grasses
it is torn again and again.
A passing dog
or simply the wind can do it.
Several times a day
I gather myself together
and spin it again.

Spiders are patient weavers.
They never give up.
And who knows
what keeps them at it?
Hunger no doubt
and hope.

May Sarton

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It took a bit grieving and procrastination before I could get the courage and motivation up to tackle this issue. During this wait, though, I did manage to carve Paulus’s walking stick as well as seek solace in the garden enclosure where I prepped winter garlic beds, toiled in the soil, harvested autumn squash and picked the remaining tomatoes and green beans. Soothing.

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Now I am beginning the slow process of removing the sticky, slightly hardened oil by first applying acetone and then sanding to a 1,000 grit finish. Probably a week or two of extra time.

If nothing else, the office where I work in has the added benefits of fresh air and beautiful surrounds.

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