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.


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.



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


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.


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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