Forest in a Tear Drop
18 January, 2021
New year, new artwork, new exhibition! "Dreaming Of The Future" is a curated exhibition featuring New Zealand's members of SDA (Surface Design Association). I couldn't be more excited to know my piece in the company of such awe-inspiring fibre artworks.
Artists were invited to explore the following:
“In these times of huge upheaval socially, financially and politically we are all facing a future of a different shape from the past we are walking from. While there is much reason for fear and tension there is also an indomitable human spirit for survival and a powerful restorative force of Mother Nature. Both these ‘influencers’ can be ‘vaccines’ for strengthening our humanity as we move forward into this uncharted territory.”
Shortly before I received the call of entry in October last year, I had started working with some stunningly golden muka (fibre of harakeke), dyed with raurēkau bark. Raurēkau or Coprosma grandifolia is a native tree to Aotearoa and the bark is traditionally used by Māori for dyeing muka. My little bundle was a gift I received from a friend a while ago.
Spring had sprung and I felt strongly drawn to these golden threads. They promised positive energy, warmth, sunlight and new beginnings.
As usual I did not have something specific in mind in the beginning. I started observing the fibres carefully, especially as I did not make this muka and I wasn't familiar with that particular harakeke plant. I separated the shorter fibres and began with twining. The slow process of preparing and twining muka gives me all the time I need to start a dialogue with the fibres. I also added some natural muka I made myself. It didn't take long until I envisioned a nest like structure in the middle of the miro (yarn) and I started experimenting.
While playing around with shapes and yarn ideas, I was surrounded by the abundant yellow of another tree native to Aotearoa - the Kōwhai in full bloom. But not only the flowers are glorious, also the seed pods (a wonder in itself) release beautiful yellow seeds for the next generation of trees.
Have I mentioned that I love yellow? :) No wonder I adore the Kōwhai tree and no wonder I already had a few seed pods gathered the years before. It felt only natural to put them in my little muka nests.
I knew right away that these little creations have a lot to say. But it was only when the brief for “Dreaming Of The Future“ arrived that everything fell in place.
A golden seed embedded in a muka teardrop - the perfect expression of my way of looking at things - especially after a challenging 2020. Every difficulty can turn into something positive. They are in fact the compost for our growing, exactly in the same way as decaying matter nurtures a tree. Only then a whole new forest can emerge from a single seed. "Forest in a Tear Drop" was born.
However when I first was reading “Dreaming Of The Future“ I spontaneously thought: I don‘t want to be dreaming, I want to be awake - right here in this moment!
No surprise, as this is what I‘be been practising over the last 18 years as a Zazen practitioner. Appreciating life by being present for each moment has been my core value for many years now.
Of course I dream from time to time as well. Sometimes about a world without struggle and pain. Mostly about a future where humans realise that they are not separate from each other and everything else in the universe. Often about a world where we all grow trees and treat them as family.
But every time I come back to now, I know, being present for each moment is the most important thing I can do for myself and the world. Only if I am aware of this moment I can shape the next one. Only if we change our relationship with the present moment, real change can happen.
To bring that aspect into my piece as well I decided to create an ensō (picture above), hand spun from muka and kōwhai seeds.
Ensō (circle) is a sacred symbol in the Zen school of Buddhism and has many meanings. It represents the oneness of life and all things contained within it, the spirit of harmonious cooperation, the cyclical nature of existence. The ensō is a manifestation of the moment, an expression of absolute enlightenment, and a representation of our true and innermost self (www. modernzen.org/enso-htm/).
Here is the statement about my work for “Dreaming About The Future“ - now on show until February 15th 2021, “from out of the blue studio gallery“ in Opunake, Aotearoa New Zealand.
Forest in a Tear Drop
Sometimes I dream about a future where there is no struggle, no fear, no pain. But that world would also be without unfolding, no moon in the night sky and no decaying matter to nurture a tree.
Rather than dreaming I want to flow with it all, in the here and now. I want to stay awake for the abundance of each moment.
Isn‘t it this present moment where future lies? Where humans wake up from the dream of separation. Where there is only one time: pastpresentfuture.
Sometimes I dream.
Hand spun muka (fibre of harakeke; natural and dyed with raurēkau), wire, kōwhai seeds, charred driftwood