act the first

potential… arouses a strong anxiety in the artist’s heart: ‘god that’s big… HUGE… what am i gonna do with it? oh my god, what are we gonna do?’  this goes on for a while… the while it took to coax Chainsaw Andy away from Glastonbury, to get him into town to employ his formidable skills.  (lord, we go back a long way by now, Andy and me, attacking wood)

photo 3

the delay in Andy’s arrival turned out all for the best, allowing the preliminary planning, sketching and measuring… creative ferment, shall we say.

this is a chance to explore, to get real with creative fantasy. what can be done with a piece of wood? what lies within?

‘building castles in the air is all very well; now build foundation under them’
– thoreau

 what shall we do? let us ponder precedent… my own previous explorations, for example:

sunbird flight
sunbird flight

or, apart from my own explorations, what artists work for me?

(this is not even VAGUELY related to ‘popular’, ‘big-selling’, ‘fashionable’ artists: F. OFF.)

david reuben piqtokun

piqtokun carving


morrisseau work

dashi namdakov
dashi namdakov

namdakov work

WOW. a primal nervous system reaction to their work.

an Inuit, david; a Cree, norval;

and a Mongolian, Mr Namdakov… all artists possessing a clear line through to the imagery of their own particular spiritual inheritance.

what are my tribal roots? Norse and Celtic clearly enough, no question there, which is fine in itself, but leads us to the certainty that we must not be cute, or cliched, or, god spare us, twee…


Yggdrisil   Norse Tree of the World.

a towering ash, rooted in hell, holding up the heavens, nibbled by a stag, supporting a serpent…

a tree supporting all the world: seems like a good start, we could work a few things into that.

‘the word for “world” is “forest”.’
ursula k. le guin

in establishing an artistic narrative, if one starts simultaneously at two opposing polarities, then if one then guns it in toward the middle, where the two polarities meet… there, there may be a flashpoint of interest.

Large/Smooth/Simple/Vertical   meet   Complex/Intricate/Interlocked/Horizontal

two polarities meet

so arrives the initial concept.

Pasquale says, ‘draw draw draw.’ excellent advice: drawing reaches through the superficial layers of the imagination to the more interesting and obscure depths. then – how to move from the flat 2-dimensional planes into the three dimensions required? a maquette?

breeze block maquette

no… drat… failed to ignite.

i know: i’ll buy a huge lump of modelling clay, that’ll do it… and to some degree, it did.


the tricky bit was the transition from the trunk into the branches, it narrows and it spreads, the waist or crotch of the piece, always a focal point…

‘a-hotter than a crotch’
– Dylan, ‘Tough Mama’ – Planet Waves


where’s that goshdarned andy?

‘soon, brother, soon.’

<— back to overture

onward to act the second —>

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