Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Hsin-Hsin Ming

Whilst pondering on what to use my 'found wood' for, in my studio this afternoon. I saw a copy of the ancient poem *Hsin-Hsin Ming lying on the window sill, I picked it up and re-read the insightful words....This is my theme I thought! So here it is, started and completed in less than three hours, .... and varnished !
The poem written out in pencil, an Oryoki bowl and some characters in chinese ink ......wabi sabi art!

Hsin-Hsin Ming
The Great Way is not difficult,
for those who have no preferences.
Let go of longing and aversion,
and it reveals itself.
Make the smallest distinction, however,
and you are as far from it as heaven is from earth.
If you want to realize the truth,
then hold no opinions for or against anything.
Like and dislike
is the disease of the mind.
When the deep meaning (of the Way) is not understood
the intrinsic peace of mind is disturbed.
As vast as infinite space,
it is perfect and lacks nothing.
Indeed, it is due to your grasping and repelling
That you do not see things as they are.
Do not get entangled in things;
Do not get lost in emptiness.
Be still in the oneness of things
and dualism vanishes by itself.
When you try to stop motion to achieve quietude,
the very effort fills you with activity.
As long as you hold on to opposites
you will never know the One Way.
Those who do not understand the Way
will assert or deny the reality of things.
Deny the reality of things, you miss its deeper reality;
Assert the reality of things, you miss the emptiness of all things.
The more you think about it,
the further you are from the truth.
Cease all thinking,
and there is nothing that will not be revealed to you.
To return to the root is to find the essence,
but to pursue appearances is to miss the Source.
The moment you are enlightened,
you go beyond appearances and emptiness.
Changes that seem to occur in the (empty) world,
appear real only because of ignorance.
Do not search for the truth;
only cease to cherish opinions.
Do not hold to dualistic views,
avoid such habits carefully.
If there is even a trace of right and wrong,
the mind is lost in confusion.
Although all dualities arise from the One,
do not cling even to this One.
When the mind exists undisturbed in the Way,
everything is without fault.
When things can no longer be faulty, it is as if there are no things.
When the mind can no longer be disturbed, it is as if there is no mind.
When thought-objects vanish, the thinking-subject vanishes.
When the mind vanishes, objects vanish.
The arising of other gives rise to self;
giving rise to self generates other.
Know these seeming two facets
as one Emptiness.
In this Emptiness, the two are indistinguishable
and each contains in itself the whole.
When no discrimination is made between this and that,
how can you prefer one to another?
The Great Way is all-embracing,
not easy, not difficult.
Those who rely on limited views are fearful and irresolute;
the faster they hurry, the slower they go.
Clinging, they go too far,
even an attachment to enlightenment is to go astray.
Just let things be in their own way as they are,
and there is neither coming nor going.
Be in harmony with the Way
and you will be free of disturbances.
Tied by your thoughts, you lose the truth,
become heavy, dull, and unwell.
Not well, the mind is troubled.
Then why cling to or reject anything?
If you wish to move in the One Way,
do not dislike even the world of senses and ideas.
Indeed, to accept them fully
is identical with true Enlightenment.
The wise attaches to no goals,
but the foolish fetter themselves.
There is but one Dharma, not many.
Distinctions arise from the clinging needs of the ignorant.
Using mind to stir up the mind
is the original mistake.
Peaceful and troubled derive from thinking;
Enlightenment has no likes or dislikes.
All dualities come from
ignorant inference.
They are like unto dreams or flowers in the air,
the foolish try to grasp them.
Gain and loss, right and wrong,
abandon all such thoughts at once.
If the eye never sleeps,
all dreams will naturally cease.
If the mind makes no discriminations,
all things are as they are, of One-essence.
To understand the mystery of this One-essence
is to be released from all entanglements.
When all things are seen without differentiation,
you return to the origin and remain what you are.
Consider the movement in stillness and the stationary in motion,
both movement and rest disappear.
When such dualities cease to exist
even Oneness itself cannot exist.
This ultimate state
is not bound by rules and descriptions.
For the Realized mind, at one with the Way,
all doing ceases.
Doubts and irresolutions vanish
and the Truth is confirmed in you.
With a single stroke you are freed from bondage;
nothing clings to you and you hold onto nothing.
All is void, clear, and self-illuminating,
with no need to exert the mind.
Here thinking, feeling, knowledge, and imagination
are of no value.
In this world of “as it really is”
there is neither self nor other.
To swiftly accord with that,
only express nonduality.
In this nonduality nothing is separate,
nothing is excluded.
The enlightened of all times and places
have personally realized this truth.
The Truth is beyond time and space,
one instant is eternity.
Not here, not there,
but everywhere always right before your eyes.
Infinitely large and infinitely small,
no difference, for definitions have vanished
and no boundaries can be discerned.
So too with “existence” and “non-existence.”
Don’t waste time in arguments and discussion,
attempting to grasp the ungraspable.
One thing and everything
move among and intermingle without distinction.
To live in this Realization
is to not worry about perfection or non-perfection.
To put your trust in the Way is to live without separation,
and in this nonduality you are one with the Way.

*The Hsin-Hsin Ming is a verse attributed to
the Third Zen Patriarch. Written in the 6th century, it is considered the first clear and
comprehensive statement of Zen.

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Small dog, vast sky

 A drive out to Harwich, well Dovercourt to be precise, on a cold and blustery Autumn day. The clouds were racing across the sky as if they were late fore something. The tide was in, leaving not much sand to walk on. How I love his coast line . Not pretty like the west country, but big and open and woolly. It holds no prisoners and only those brave enough to feel the lashing east wind on their faces, appreciate fully the vasteness.

The sand was littered with shells and with every step I took, I bent to collect yet another. each one resembling an animal skeleton. The more I picked up, the more I wanted to make some sort of  'land art'. But the wind was keen and small black terriers feel the cold when they have been surfing. I wondered how I could use the shells when I got home. Possibly in a sculpture or maybe just pick up on the colours for a painting.


There is free parking at the end of West End Lane, near the rec. I wonder if I could walk south, all the way to Kirby Le Soken...I guess not...it looks pretty marshy!

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Open sesame

I'm lucky enough to be showing work in a number of shows in the next couple of months, the only down side is trying to decide what work to put in what show! 
I am getting more and more into assemblage, incorporating painting with an over engineered use of found objects. I love to use great big hinges and rusty nails to hold down a very delicate feather for example, or a rusty chunk of metal used to bind two bits of wood together. It's all a bit girlie in execution, and all you DIYers out there, would be tutting at my use of nails instead of screws....and not even ones that match!

These two 'fishy' works I will take down to Brightlingsea at the weekend to be part of the annual winter show at the Coach House Coffee Shop down near the harbour. Alex always has a great selection of artists showing and it's an exciting mix. 

Some more assemblage recently made. 
The one below is called Open Sesame but I've used the Arabic word simsim. The words open sesame are spoken as an unfailing means of gaining admission....the word 'Inshalla' ....if Alla wills, are on the door....and 'what lies within' serve as a possible warning! Read into it what you will.

Words of wisdom encased in cotton. Click on the pic to enlarge.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Studio visit

Today I have been to visit Gilly Burrell's studio at Cuckoo Farm Studios. Gilly works with textiles in a truly imaginative way. A wonderful collection of organic sculptural pieces line a shelf. Crocheted with dishcloth string. Gilly explained how the shapes just evolve while she crochets away. The stiffness of the string enables them to hold their shape.

Tiny jewel like bags hang on the walls. 

Pieces of amazingly intricate textiles like this one, belie the amount of work that has gone into them. Many pieces of fabric, sewn, cut, re-arranged, embroidered and re-worked end up giving great depth to the piece.
Gilly's studio just fills the senses with colour, sweet jars filled with buttons, fabric scraps and all manner of magical bits to enhance her textiles. Coloured cottons all neatly standing on a board like something in a North African souk.

Cuckoo Farm Studios are hosting a Winter Lights show in November, which I am hoping to take part in. I'll keep you posted. There will be a wide range of artworks for sale, from ceramics, textiles, metal work and paintings. Just the place to find some unusual Christmas presents. 

Monday, 11 October 2010

Call of the sea

Ten myriad stars
Suspended in the dark sea
Silently beckon

That's it..I think I have exhausted the haiku and sea theme now! Back to work


Waves washing over
Ten thousand pebbles kissed
Slow breath....aaah

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Ebb & Flow, Flow & Ebb

Ten thousand bubbles in flow and ebb

Friday, 8 October 2010

What makes ART?

So what do you think makes art? Does it mean it's something you can pick up and take home? is it something pleasing to the eye? should it challenge? move boundaries? does photography count?...Blue tack on a wall? transitory land art that is only recorded by a photograph or a narrative? 
Art is subjective and every single person out there has an opinion on what it means to them...if anything.

For me, art has to be original in it's concept, but not necessarily original in it's execution. Some very famous artists including Picasso and Damien Hurst, not to mention Old Masters have used a myriad of student artists to carry out the work for them. Although the original idea was theirs, they employed their students to execute the work. Artists have used age old techniques, rolled with other artists ideas, but always the original concept was the thing that made it different and 'art' and specific to a particular artist. I could go on all day about how I think a blob of bluetack on a white wall (Martin Creed pared down his art to the barest minimum, finally only being left with the tack that holds it on the wall)is a genius piece of art and how I don't like a Constable. 

What do you think?
I am interested in hearing your opinion...Please, go to my facebook page and leave a comment..

I will be soon starting my 'winter job' which entails helping run our business here at the farm. Which doesn't give me much time to be in my studio. As I was walking Tilly today, I thought I must find something creative that can be done on my daily dog walk around the farm. This is normaly a time for contemplation and meditation. *Thinks* I will combine my daily meditation and walk and turn it into an art piece ....Huzzah! I'm not sure yet how this will pan out..... maybe a daily photograph that records my walking meditation.

Today I decided to count my steps and pick up a small stone for each 100 steps. It's harder than it sounds but certainly concentrates the mind. It's almost impossible to 'think' and count properly. At one point my mind wandered and I lost the numbers, and had to go back to where I knew I had picked up the last stone and start to re count from there. 
You see, I felt I couldn't cheat, and guess where I my counting had reached. Not that anyone would know if I had cheated.....but to me that would make it a walk, picking up stones, and most definately NOT art ! 
The 'Art' is doing the thing, exactly as it happens, that the walk is the finished piece. It just needs to be recorded. 
There were places where I needed to pick up a stone but there weren't any, so I took small leaves instead, with the idea I would change them for stones at the end. But when I came to swap them I couldn't do it!. Again, that would be cheating and not how it happened and not Art.

Today I picked up 25 stones and leaves with an extra 37 steps, equating to 2537 steps in all! a distance of 1.18 miles, according to google maps.

THIS IS THE WALK     Best viewed in Satellite or Earth mode

Thursday, 7 October 2010

A Winner

Jane Valentine from the US won the post card draw. Thanks to all those who took part.

Sunday, 3 October 2010

On going

Here's a new one I have been working on this weekend. Not finished yet, the bowls need a little more work.

It's the last day for the post card give away, so if you would like to be entered for the draw please email.
Thanks to all those people who have already shown an interest in both my cards and the forth coming workshops.


I'm away for a few days next week but will be doing a few posts on technique when I return.