A Gary Snyder zen poem reads:
“In the shaping of the axe the model is close at hand.”
As a sculptor who uses axes, chisels, gouges, rasps and other tools-of-removal, I am fond of this poem, not only because of its multiple koan meanings, but because of literal wisdom in the notion that if one wants to make an axe, all one need do is simply view the carving axe already in your hand as the model to create the new axe.
Not quite in the sense of Snyder’s poem, but now in my studio I have my own “model close at hand” and am using it to create a much larger sculpture of around nine feet in length (2.7 metres). The small model seen in the photo started off as an experiment where I carved two spirals going in opposing directions. I had no idea what the finished piece would look like and was rather surprised at what emerged. Sort of humorous, actually. Like a stack of fish eggs that diminished in size or an aquatic, never before seen species of sea weed.
Although complex in a mathematical sense and a bit daunting to carve, the little model never fails to put a smile on my face much in the same way seeing someone strumming on a ukulele never fails to cheer me up.
Anyway, I hope the full scale sculpture turns out as intriguing as the model. Plans now are to carve a grouping of four of them (one for each finger of my carving hand).