1st of two births

November 29, 2010

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.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Gail December 21, 2010 at 12:31 pm

Peter, What a delight to read of your process! I find this sculpture SO erotic, somewhat like the paintings of Georgia O’Keefe. And it calls to be touched.

I remember our fun making music together this spring at Schumacher with your ukelele…

John Regan December 21, 2010 at 9:03 am

Dear Peter, I read of the beauty of your sculpture and Windgrove in Tim Bowden’s book and would love to come and experience it.Your sculpture of the people of the boats coming to Christmas Island is beautiful absolutely gives me the sense of these people as people of the world seeking peace. I was overawed when I saw the photo on Tasmania Times and felt “what a gift you have to the rest of us in the world. Thank you so much.
The Blog give some sense of the beauty of your home and one day soon I would hope to visit. My wife Dorothy and I only twelve months ago left Melbourne to move to Tasmania – MIdway Point overlooking Pitt Water and Mt Wellington, after falling in love with the beauty of Tasmania on a visit 12 months before.

Thank you again for the beauty your hands produce and the world you have been able to capture here. I look forward to being able to visit at some time soon. best regards John Regan

laurie December 13, 2010 at 6:53 am

I LOVE this piece!! But i loved, even more than the gorgeous shape and the almost-edible polished stone in the centre, was the little story of the original inspiring object. It just made me laugh because I can never really know what’s goin to move me next. thank you for making such a wonderful piece and sharing the story of it’s inception. Only wish i lived a little closer to your place…….(Im in the UK) xx

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