I have been in a bit of a lull lately, with the urge to create quietly subdued, and wondering when, or if, it would return. Then, quite suddenly, it did. For this, I have to thank Cai Guo-Qiang, his quest to fulfil a dream, and his mesmerising, “Sky Ladder”.
As I watched and listened to his story I had a deeply affecting moment of inspiration, and insight. This was not implicit in the film, but arose from the beauty of the film, the people in it, the subject, the beautiful smiles, the quiet humility, acceptance, the strength, the perseverance, the determination, the faith, the trust, the desire, the beauty of creation, the artistic urge.
The next morning, still dazed and thinking, I went to the woods; I walked, and I cut and carried home some treasure. I opened my long closed workshop – to see the layer of dust on everything, and carelessly placed tools, saddened me a little.
For a while now I have been reluctant to begin work on this chair from fear of the dissatisfaction I always feel when I finish something I have initially been enthusiastic about. Regardless, I blew the deep layer of dust off my tools and I started to work. Before long I recognised that state of deep absorption that tells me I am enjoying what I am doing – that all is well in my world, on my little island with wood-shavings for sand.
The chair I made, started in an almost euphoric state, is sublimely beautiful to my eyes – not because of its aesthetics, its technical execution, its colours, or its form, but because of its genesis, because of its meaning and what it encapsulates – it is an awakening to, and arises from, an understanding of impermanence, and the necessity to accept change, without fear or sadness. It could be a pile of broken, rotten, crumpled sticks and it would still, because of all this, be beautiful.
As I look at it I realise, sadly, because it already has an owner, that I adore it – for many reasons. I do not want to let it go! But, go it must, for it now belongs to another.