another research strand I am exploring

After doing a bit of reading about the cabinets of curiosities last week  I needed something lighter. I had already decided that another research strand would be Wabi-Sabi. Had found a few books on the subject in the library, with some relief I started to read them and it was like a home coming in many ways (just like the cabinet of curios has been, trouble is both are very opposite in their approach). The bit that caught my eye (in Grigg, Robyn. (2004) the wabi-sabi house; the Japanese art of imperfect beauty. New York, America. Clarkson Potter/Publishers.) today was this paragraph (I think it is something that Judy has been trying to explain me at the April seminars and after reading it and after reading it, I realize it is how I garden): 'The gift of seeing: Soetsu Yanagi (who is the founder of the Folk Craft Museum in Tokyo, also know as the father of the craft movement in the mid 20th century Japan and who has written a book 'The unknown Craftsman; Japanese insight into beauty) laid out the following guidelines to help people trust their own intuition:

  • Put aside to judge immediately and start by just looking - there are times when I walk into the garden and get overwhelmed by what needs doing. I have to remind myself to just start without thinking. As this then clears the mind and allows me to see beyond the work and become part of the garden. This then sets me up for the second point....
  • Do not treat the object as an object for the intellect but rather as one for the senses - opening up all my senses in the garden for me opens up the soul of the space. If I can get lost in this soul I then see more and enjoy more. Unfortunately I do not always egt this feeling, but I do know when I have, as I calm down and see, feel,hear, smell and yes taste more, as there are always little morsels to be found by me, ones I do not always share in the household.
  • Be ready to receive, passively, without interposing yourself. If you can void your mind of all intellectualization, like a clear mirror that simply reflects all the better. This non conceptualization - the Zen state of mushin (no mind)- may seem to represent a negative attitude, but fmor it springs the tue ability to contact things directly and positively" - emptying my mind is what I egt out of gardening. It allows me to do often what some people see as mundane tasks such as weeding. there are days when I like fiddle and there are days I need to tear and pull.

(pg 67 Grigg) This openness to simply doing, seeing and receiving are moments I have had in my arts practice in the last 3 months. (if you have read my blogs you will know that some 'mental panel beating' needed to be done after my first masters critiques, adding to this emotions of adjusting to having my husband home again permanently after him working overseas for 4.5 years and having overseas family stay for 3 weeks). I went down a photography 'rabbit hole' (as Justine describes it) - burying myself behind the camera and really pushing this idea of getting plants into a jar (or just looking at the obvious in a different way). Each day making images, then allowing these to 'gurgle' while simply looking at them and spending little time to seriously conceptualize and intellectualize has been a most rewarding experience.

Posted by Elle Anderson

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