Sunday, July 31, 2011

Rainbow Grass Turns

Something I often wonder about is do you make your own luck? Indeed, what is luck exactly?

I seem to always have luck with spotting wildlife. Whenever I'm out somewhere, and not just when making land art, wandering, walking, cycling I always seem to see something or other. And particularly when I'm not trying to spot anything.

The other day my chain popped off on a hill and as I waited by the side of the road I saw a juvenile woodpecker attacking a rotten log on the ground. Ok, that isn't that remarkable but wherever I find myself there's always something. Stoats, brown hares, lizards, rodents, bats, birds of prey, foxes, dolphins, seals, crocodiles, great white sharks, polar bears, albatrosses and hump back whales. No really. Well half that list anyway.

Where I used to live I had a badger run through my garden, in both senses of the phrase, a badger did run through my garden and there also was a regularly used badger run, that ran through my garden. Sometimes in the summer I would hear them charging around in a loop, with the path by my house and the garden forming half the circuit, galloping and grunting. I think it was badger fruitiness in action. After work once I came down the path to be confronted by a fruity badger in full flight. You'd think that he would have turned round and scarpered. But he stood his ground and waited for me to move out of the way so he could resume his grunting gallop.

The other week I saw six kestrels in flight together, calling loudly to each other. My guess is they were four recently fledged youngsters and their parents. It was quite an astounding sight and I can remember many hundreds more interesting events I have been very fortunate to see.

Perhaps any of these encounters are unremarkable when taken on their own but they feel more remarkable when you add them all together.

So what's going on exactly?

I do believe that you make your own luck and much of it is a subconscious process. If you are open to things then you are much more likely to encounter them, if your mind is closed you wouldn't notice it if it was right in front of you in any case. But, perhaps, even more importantly luck is a frame of mind. If you feel fortunate and blessed and appreciate as much as you can in life then you are, indeed, fortunate and blessed, it's a self-fulfilling prophecy. Bad luck is also a self fulfilling prophecy too in many cases. Often you get what your unconcsous mind thinks you deserve as you outwardly act to make those things happen, most of the time not being aware of it at all.

Of course, s**t happens too and not everything is down to good or bad luck. But lots of things are and much of our lives are within the control of our unconcsious minds.

However, that's where I consider my understanding to end. The power of the unconsious is astounding, and even if you cannot pin it down, it is acting on your behalf anyway, not always in a beneficial way but it is there behind you, steering you where it thinks you need to go.

I find, through my art, that I sometimes witness the results of my unconcsious mind without actually being aware of how it did whatever it did. I find this fascinating as there aren't any other things in my life where I've ever been aware of this.

A while back all my stories were filled with humour and that's because funny things always seem to happen whenever I was making something. Often the light would be in exactly the right place, at exactly the right time for a photograph or the materials I needed seemed to have been laid about the place ready for me to find them.

It happened again yesterday when I made this sculpture. For a couple of months I've been pondering how to capture the essence of high summer and that feeling you get when you while away a dreamy, warm afternoon, cooled by a light breeze, sitting in a meadow of gently waving grasses and wild flowers.

Last week I sat in such a place and studied the grasses and marvelled at their beauty, diversity and life force. The life force of nature in high summer is surely something to behold, and be part of and amongst.

I tried to use those grasses but did not have the skills with which to complete the task. So I went back again yesterday and tried again.

This time my unconcsious was ready and with what felt like no volition the scultpure started to make itself. I took some Horse Chestnut stalks and poked a hole in the end with a thorn. I threaded the first piece of grass into the hole and begun winding it around the stem, following the same process with each next piece and so on until I had three.

I showed Julia and she said "I like them, but I'm jealous, you always go the extra mile."

I disagreed and said "it's not like that, I just start and see what happens."

And so it was. The stalks were perfect for this application and the technique I devised was the first one I though of and it just worked. I didn't search for different materials, or try several different techniques. It just worked out this way first go, as though I'd practiced and practiced to come up with the best way to advance.

So often it feels like I'm not responsible, I try something, it works and I think "cool, how did that happen?"

I'm beginning to wonder if it happens because I've always loved nature and spent so much of my time out exploring somewhere on my own, even when I was really small. By opening my mind to the natural world I am afforded little extra glimpses of what's there and this plays out in making sculptures too.

And above all I feel tremendously lucky in so many aspects of my life and if I was to do the opposite of over analysing and sum up all the above in one sentence, I would say:-

"Take some time to sit in a summer meadow and watch the wild grasses wave to and fro, and you will feel like the luckiest person alive."

In a nutshell, I don't think there is anything else I need to know.

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