This is my world.
My whole horizon.
It is Beautiful.
And it is all that I need.
I am its only Guardian.
And this tiny world needs me.
I Care for it.
I have some agency here.
And only here.
Any illusion of becoming real in a virtual world is now dissolving like a bad dream.
A nightmare of 4 years.
I have found a place.
Out of the wind and rain.
In the shelter of rock and tree roots.
On a bed of dry leaves and under canopy.
The moss drips at the entrance to this shelter.
Only here do I feel safe.
Watching the whirling world.
While embedded in this spot.
More in common with this tree, this soil and this rock,
than with all those glittering projections.
Melt into the landscape.
Blend in, become invisible.
Just another tiny particle.
If that makes me inhuman,
Then humanity itself now alienates me.
I perceive, as alien, this planet from Deep Space,
With alien senses, hear the ‘hum’ of Earth,
And whispered stories
Of stars and distant universes and of our, as yet unexplored, potential.
I feel Earth’s cold and lonely passage,
I see how very precious She is.
Now I must take such care about which culture I take root in.
I choose a culture that is not ‘on screen’ and more akin to fungal networks.
The Machine now builds a ‘cage’ around the Earth and I find have become mistrusting even of our Father Sky.
Even the Air I breathe, the space around me, now polluted with our, focused, radiation.
This Fire in our oxygen is dry. So very dry. I become wizened.
If I am to be caged, then I choose this place.
For I find myself in good company among the lichens and branches.
Better to tune to their frequency and breathe their fresher, moister, air.
If this is an illness then please feel free to diagnose me.
But I will not be taking any medications, for they are only added layers of complexity and over-looked side effects.
If ‘necessity is the mother of invention’ why do we keep inventing layers we do not need?
Using more fuel to fuel our already fuel-driven lives.
Crudely drenched in the stuff.
Sometimes I see the whole world on Fire.
Sometimes I need to swim, to wash those charred layers off, to re-hydrate.
Where I go swimming I imagine rainbows are left swirling on the surface behind me.
It only takes a drop.
I do not need much.
I have found a place.
Out of the wind.
In the shelter of rock and tree roots.
Dry leaves and under canopy.
From here I can watch the whirling world.
And ride out this wild weather.
Kat Robertson February 2021
I made this gif (below) of my tiny world’s horizons, in an accelerated spin, after doing some research into NFTs. (Non-Fungible tokens).
This would make quite a good one.
I was almost persuaded by the hype, for I have much unmarketable, digital artwork, shared here, on this blog.
But, on looking into it all more deeply, when tapped, it all just has that same, hollow, ring.
I will surely become poorer for little reward and I do not like to gamble.
I work and someone else becomes richer. Same old, same old.
Painted as an ‘evolution’ I see it as another desperate grab in a dying world. Another chunk torn out of reality.
I find I am a bit charmed by the idea of it though.
All artists live in a kind of unsolvable riddle, a koan of existence.
The virtual nature of this proposition is attractive, but if I find real relief in stepping away from the screen what would possess me now to put my real money, and learning time, into a virtual, screen-based, economy!!??
It simply makes no common sense.
My digital artwork remains for sale, in high resolution, through my mandala shop, for £3.50 or so. Why would any fool be persuaded it was worth £1000’s, even if it did prove virtually marketable??
I am also, now, thanks to this ‘advance’, even more fearful of art thieves.
Today yet another marketing entrepreneur has chosen to follow this blog. I may have mentioned this before, but most of my ‘followers’ are media types (and psychiatrists!) who never comment and rarely like. No like minded community being built here. Not all, but so many ‘licking to be licked’, standing on other’s shoulders to see better, with no regard for their well being.
I saw one of these new nfts ridiculing ladies of my age/demographic, depicted riding a social media ‘rocket’, waving her lipstick and handbag.
This seems to be the general tone.
“Let’s dis the Gen X mothers, just as we make ourselves all disposable”.
As may be obvious from this post I am struggling now. I am not OK.
I was worried that I had no Love left in me, until I remembered that Grief is an expression of Love and now I find that Gratitude, for what remains and Grief, for all that is lost, are, prehaps, the only appropriate expressions. I cannot stop being an artist, but if any future, alternative, occupations become necessary I have been considering training as a death doula …… at least I would be useful……
A creative attempt to summarize/record my, month-long, participation in this remarkable project.
My original, published, ‘cool’ captions and inspiring ‘Earth quotes’ became lost to the ether when I chose to delete my Facebook account…..which is just as well….as with hindsight it seems I was not really listening…..some of my posts where only text and gone forever now ….but this is all the visual work I shared with the group….cobbled together, chronologically, and with new meaning.
It all began with Nuts.
Those prefectly designed, well travelled, nuggets of both nutrition and potential.
(Reminded now, also. in hindsight, of an Egyptian Nut.
Daughter of vital breath and heat, a star-covered naked woman, bowed over the Earth,
With her head in the West and her feet in the East. A bridge between the Earth and the Sky.)
I wondered how this ‘tree’ would grow from there…..
The endangered red squirrel became my constant companion on this journey.
And, as always here, the Wind.
Winter Hawthorn showed me her sharp, protective, thorns…..
The Beech hedge whispered ‘Sssssh…..ssssh’……
Mole spoke to me of staying buzy, but remaining underground, unseen…..
Mosses demonstrated how to cling on and thrive, on only cold, ungiving, stone……
But I was not really listening …….
And worms writhed in the compost heap of my mind, giving birth to strange new, artifical, creatures….
I have a well-weathered head.
Colonized now by Nature.
Worn away by Time.
Still able, though, to see those ‘Spots of Light’ and bask in their Radiance.
Celebrate their Beauty.
That is, until I see when I venture out, again and again, our trashing of everything Sacred …
And I am returned to Grieving.
Yet, I was reminded, in that Darkness, there is always Light.
You only have to find new ways of Seeing.
It is Imbolc.
A time of Rebirth. Of Future. A Time of New Beginnings and Returning Light.
Humble Snowdrops blaze a fanfare.
Spring is on its way.
The soil gives way to green, urgent, spears of New Life, pushing up toward the Sun.
Even, inside our winter home, the houseplants put on a show of wondrous, exotic, blooms.
Out walking I was shown something weird, almost alien, something that I had never encountered before.
Earth spoke to me again of all the unseen wonders that she holds.
That Living can only ever be learning.
I cracked open my first rotten egg in a long, long time.
The smell was of Sulphur.
I learned that Humans create more Sulphur now than is released by all the Earth’s volcanos put together.
So Humans smell, to the Earth, of Sulphur too.
A smell associated with Decay.
And the breaking open of her Crust.
Then we were invited to dig deep and find our authentic Howl.
Always a tough one.
It turned out my Howl is, and has always been, my felt Impotence in affecting any real Change
Through what I am able to do, through my own unique gifts.
Earth told me it was OK to share, again, some work I have already done.
For it is Work that has not lost Value through Age.
Just as I have not lost Value.
Work created when I first began to Give the Earth a Voice online.
(Though, at that time, I thought I was Alone in doing so.)
Sharing this Work, reminded me that I have been Standing here a long, long Time already.
And brought home how committed I am to doing it still.
Rarely witnessed and, in the main, uncelebrated.
As undeserving of applause as a weed in a lawn.
A rock, the moss or a twisted tree.
A sea squirt.
Or a hooded crow.
This is not a show.
A creature of magik and alchemy.
Who no longer needs to shout out “I am here!”
Because, in the course of this experiment, the only One who really matters told me that:
She Loves me,
that She is Sorry,
that She Forgives me
and is Grateful for all that I do.
And when I heard that back….
I just Let Go.
I AM HOME
and that is where you’ll always find me.
Kat Robertson. Standing As Earth. Imbolc 2021
I am staring at this screen.
How to condense the Experience?
The above barely scratches the surface.
Now only recorded in pages and pages and pages and pages and pages
of messy, scrawled notes, avid, crazed, chanelled, journalling …processing …..too much to edit.
And this trail of shared artworks.
I have deleted my Facebook account.
Deleted all social media accounts.
I am too much to edit.
It was Earth that called me to withdraw from all that fight to be seen.
The fight to feel heard.
While I celebrate all who are able to continue this work of being visible online.
Who have those skills.
I have become exhausted from trying to find new ways to say such a simple thing.
There simply are no words left in my limited vocabulary.
I can tell you how I felt when I first saw the online invitation.
YES! YES! What a brilliantly simple idea!
Let’s ALL Stand AS Earth.
Earth, my true Nature, guides me now to simply write of the WEATHER during this month long experiment #standingasearth on Facebook.
The Weather of Standing As Earth
It began with a, freezing, Siberian Wind that howled from the East.
Screaming over vast, populated, landmasses,
Carrying all that stale air,
To meet the ocean
All the way from China, it came hurtling through, at tree-breaking ,wave-hurling, speed,
Onward over the Atlantic, toward the East Coast of the Americas.
It was hard, sometimes, to Breathe.
The Land became hard too, as iron.
It’s Life Blood frozen.
Impermanent diamonds grew in the Mud.
And the Trees grew hair of Ice.
Until the very Dryness turned it all to Dust.
Dust that came Alive, like dervishes, like dancers,
Rising, with the gusting wind, up from the Ground.
Gritty in my eyes.
Making me Cry.
And then it Snowed.
And all became Still and Silent.
And all became Clear and Sharply defined.
Blueish and Breathtaking.
The Light alone, a sensory orgasm.
And then, it all, inevitably,
The winds have never stopped blowing.
They are blowing still.
They have just swung around a bit and radically changed direction.
I found I had been blown off course.
I found myself, full circle, called back into the Mystery.
I found I was, already, HOME.
Kat Robertson. Standing As Earth. Imbolc 2021
My last post on Facebook, after realising I felt I had shared way too much, and deleting my account, was this.
It hangs on the wall of my ‘artden’.
And, while not my own words, says all I really have left to say of any worth.
My continued prayer is only that more of us will find this Truth and try their very best to LIVE BY IT.
And each find their own ,unique, Balance.
(N.B. I have only just realised that when a person deletes their Facebook account, they disappear, also, from all groups. As if they had never been there at all. I experience a deep sadness about that, as I fell in Love, with new brothers and sisters, and Earth, over and over again, during this month of participation …….. despite not joining in on Zoom! Now guided just to rest in the Knowing that we are, all connected, through the Forest floor. )
I was contacted by my dear Treesister, Victoria Rose DeAngelis (who I have made mandalas for before), with an interesting idea!
She sent me a ‘free’, computer generated, image of the COVID-19 particle and asked if I could turn all the ‘red bits’ into hearts around the Earth.
She wanted to begin spreading an Earth Love Virus on TikTok!!!
I said I’d see what I could do and this was the result.
I am a particular, (pardon the pun), fan of her W.E.I.R.D. (Wonderful, Exciting,Imaginative, Radiant, Delightful ) fun approach to Living Life to the full and Spreading the Love, worldwide, from her home in Conneticut, USA.
Though primarily aimed at younger children, I believe she shines so bright that all those, who are young at heart, can feel her infectious, remarkable, energy!
I certainly ‘get it’!
You can read more about Victoria and all facets of her work here on her website ‘Spirit Tree Wellness’.
And I could not resist making this wee gif of it too….pulsing, pushing, the Love around our dear planet Earth….
SHARE LOVE NOT FEAR!
The next and the last.
Ardfern Lockdown Art Challenge is going down in a blaze of orange and pinks! The prompt being ‘Colours of a Craignish Sunset’.
It has been decided to wind it down.
I will miss these weekly prompts to do something ‘other’!
This week I decided to simply use photographs of recent, incredible, sunsets here and make some mandalas….
Then after making them I thought I’d like to try taking it one step further and completly abstracting the mandala itself!
Can you see (from the above images) which photo was used to make which mandala and associated abstraction?
Then there were lots of other experiments!
I really quite liked this one….it became my cover photo on FB for a week or so.
Colours of a sunset through glass…..a bit like a lockdown?
So this is the last week of prompts.
I’ll miss this lovely project that connected me to the village more.
Restricitions on movement are ‘loosening’, the people are ‘bubbling’……not entirely sure what I feel about that….
Always lots more to be getting along with here though, without going anywhere!
Sometimes I feel Grateful that we live ‘past tarmac’, so off the beaten track.
So strange. This lockdown. Such world wide effects.
Yet here on the hill all Time stands still.
Only the media keeping us connected to the chaos outside.
When I do not watch/listen all is fine.
All is good.
I venture out on our bi-weekly shopping trips as if going to war.
But it is unlike any war I could have envisioned.
Empty streets. Confused people.
All doing as demanded. All socially distant.
Fearful of each other, yet being polite. So polite.
I smile and say “Doing the doesy-do” as we side step each other.
I approach these trips out with trepidation.
Gloves. Check. Scarf, Check. Han Sanitizer. Check.
On return all the shopping/car is wiped down.
Goods all put in quarantine.
Our shops are 21 miles away.
Why do I feel guilty if I stop for a short wander on a deserted hill, along a deserted shore?
Not touching anything except my camera?
The programming is working.
Hard to ignore the death toll.
Hard to ignore too the insessant advertizing of digital products on our mainstream TV.
“Use ‘Team’, all the proffessionals are.”
The laughing families connecting on this gadget or another.
The endless online occupations for bored people in houses.
Email after email inviting me to join with Zoom, yoga, meditation, chat rooms….
Whatever did we do before the advent of the internet?
Would it really be so bad to sit and read, and draw, and wander, to make space to dream a little? To garden, to cook, to wander with no desitination, to rise with the sun and go to bed at dusk?
So bad to worry? Perhaps to pray?
Alone. Without being seen? Without being witnessed?
I guess the dependance was already in place.
I see it in this blog, my own distracted use of facebook.
My children’s sticky screens.
My husband’s new love of old shows on the TV….and ‘Judge Judy’.
Endless Judge Judy and ‘how to’ mechanical videos.
Like there is no ‘outside’ anymore.
Here where all this spring beauty and space just begs for us all to wake up to it…..
I guess many are forgetting how to just be.
“It’s the devil makes work for idle hands.’
I do my share of digital connecting too. Not innocent. but today has been a good day.
I started another sourdough loaf, to bake later.
I dug out 30 or so bramble root balls to try and stop it taking over the whole bank.
I watered my seedlings and sang to them.
I listened to the birds and sat by our tiny pond a while. Tadpole watching.
I meditated for an hour and envisioned only the good of the whole.
Offering hands and asking ‘Show me’.
I thought about Death quite alot.
I find myself thinking quite a bit about Death these strange days.
Cycles. Creation/Destruction. Beginnings and Endings.
“Beause the Earth is round there is no beginning and no end.” I wrote.
We phoned Granny today. It is her birthday. She is 86 years old.
I guess she also thinks about death quite a bit too.
It is my brother’s birthday also.
I dug up some old pictures of us when we were kids and sent them to him on messenger.
Experiencing such waves of nostalgia. So precious Life.
I went out on Earth Day and sang a song to the alder trees, by the burn.
To share with all dear Treesisters who are ‘Singing for the Trees’ today.
‘All connected through the forest floor.’
I prefer this way of connecting to this digital connection.
I cut my own hair. Badly.
So let my husband shave it all off again.
Now this is a pandemic haircut!
Wonder how many are making a similar choice?
I am working on more illustrations, in mud.
I have a new challenge from the local art group.
Funny how that fits exactly with a picture I have been dreaming up for so long now. Think I will spend some Time, later, working that up, before getting on with cooking tea.
A curry tonight I think…..
Mainly I have been just gazing in awe at the rampant march of Spring all around.
The leaves burst out such a brillant green.
Oh how they shine!
We have had exceptional weather these last weeks….the air so dry. Unusually dry.
I feel it on my skin.
This easterly wind blowing all the Fear, of the main continent, our way.
I have had to moisturize, hydrate and water the garden everyday.
But somehow the leaves on the trees keep shining.
Their roots going down deep into the, until recently saturated, Earth.
Stunning in the sunsets we have have also been blessed with.
Let’s all keep shining our light. Turn over a new leaf.
Root down, while reaching for the sky.
And rest in just knowing we are all connected, whether the screens are on ….. or off.
I have dug out an old flower press and found these daffodils, pressed by my son, years ago.
So fragile and precious.
Thought I’d have a play with them.
And now here she is.
A wee smiling daffodil fairy.
In all her finery.
Sending love to all from this place on Earth, as the daffodils outside now also fade, replaced by blossom and startling greens.
Or perhaps this one…..
I found a whole load of usnea lichen on the ground after one of these big gales.
(PLEASE NEVER RIP LICHENS OFF TREES! Even this lichen is still alive (as long as it has water content and any colour… it will just not survive long on the forest floor, so it is considered best practice to collect it from there. I ask permission.)
I am truly in love with its ‘duck egg’ subtle hues and incredible complexity.
This independent fusion of algae and fungus.
I took it into the ‘box-house’ with no idea what I was going to do with it.
Holding it, still soft and pliable, and playing with it, showed me how it loved to knit itself together and, with the help of a PVA solution (wishing now I had experimented with wax/starch), and drying Time, I have ended up with this!!
There is a strange beauty to this dead lichen mask.
The lichen is dried now, coated in glue, and it is scratchy to wear.
It is also a bit dusty and, vaguely remembered, stories of lichen spores causing respiratory sickness meant I did not keep it on for long!
I might sew it onto some felt. That would make it more comfortable to wear….
I just love the lightness of it like this.
Perhaps I could find other ways to use it?
I used photoshop to create these images on a white background.
The detail of these images is mesmerizing!
I created this eye-bending mandala from the above image.
Then I played more with digitally layering the mask images onto various other forest images…they appear like such intricate embroidery!
I had to make up some bronze pigment for ‘Transpiration’ drawing and went a bit mad, with the left over paint, painting lots of things ‘gold’.
This series of photographs became ‘something to do with them’.
When the rain eventually stopped I took the mask into the sitka woods.
‘We’ had a short photo-shoot.
It was cold and eerie.
Definitely intend to play more with this mask, in the trees.
I would love to try making whole nature-woven bodies for this face.
Using living trees as the ‘spine’ for them and using only available natural materials to weave them.
Brittle, dead, Sitka branches would work well for this I think..
No glue, nails or ties.
Figures with lichen-glow faces in the woods.
Less of a mask now than it’s own face.
Reminds me a bit of our family ‘GreenMan’ entry for the Ardfern Village Scarecrow Competition 2012.
All this from finding some lichen on the ground, blown off by a big gale!
Such are the infinite, interwoven, connections in Gaia.
(working inspired by the ‘7 Days of Rest and Radiant Diversity 2020‘ global, online, earth healing, experiment)
I have been so excited to begin this journey again this year.
It all fits so well with my ongoing practice and experimental nature.
The opening ceremony had me tingling with potential.
Long have I prayed that the whole world would just stop and observe a united moments silence, so I was thrilled to see that it is the same people, who conducted the recent solstice, global minute’s silence, who were opening this sacred dive into being.
As I observed/listened to this I was guided in so many ways.
All the language used in the opening seemed to be speaking directly to me and where I am ‘at’ in this time.
The new ‘mud-love’, mud as a painting medium, I am guided to explore, that satisfies on such a deep level, is primal. The primal language of Life. In a way an act of remembering. In an innocent way, deeply connecting with the ancients, who often used earth pigments to express and make art. Nourishing in it’s physical connection with the Earth, the delight of my ‘inner child’ and the ceremony of intention that goes into the working with it.
The gathering of it, with permission requested and granted. The distillation of the medium. The processing of it into pigment.
The asking only ‘show me’ of the great mystery….asking it to guide my hands, and hear, to find the pictures in the mud.
Unexpectedly, I was clearly instructed that the shame I feel in needing to find ways to make my ‘living-life-as-a-creative-prayer’ practice pay for itself, in this modern world, was not something to feel guilty about.
Affirmation that I am correct in identifying this gift as my part to play in this new epoch and to persevere.
I also ‘heard’ that not always being able to join these zoom calls and events online, when others are doing it, is also not something to stress over.
The Earth has a rather different sense of Time.
I smiled as the recording spoke of each shining our unique colour as, more recently, my experiments with soil painting have led me into a deeper reverence of BROWN.
I showed my new ‘mud art’ to a friend recently and his response was a negative condemning of the ‘brown-ness’ of it, the suggestion that I must use more colour, that it was, in some way, unattractive.
I beg to differ.
Our sleeping, Scottish, winter landscapes are an entire spectrum of beautiful browns.
The colours of tweed, natural dyes and ancient hunting tartans.
The many colours of soil, from which all Life grows.
An interesting colour theory fact is that, when all colours are mixed, it is always BROWN that results.
So is Brown is the colour of wholeness?
As a culture we tend to be so dismissive of ‘brown’.
We concentrate more on the stunning illusion of light that is vibrant eye-catching rainbows of separated colour, sometimes I think we forget brown.
Reminding us of our shit, dirt?
Perhaps, dare I say it, this even feeds into ‘our’, conditioned, understanding of race?
I have another related problem with the word ‘soil’.
How can the word for something so elemental to our existence, be a word that rhymes with ‘toil’?
That ignites images of ‘dirtying’, ‘soiling’, ‘spoiling’?
With so few positive synonyms, rhymes?
As an embryonic, soil painting, artist, on what feels to be the beginning of a long journey with this medium, I can see trouble ahead in catching the imagination of many!
‘Mud’, ‘soil’, ‘brown’ are not the stuff of mainstream advertising!
Yet in Nature, along with green, brown is the predominant hue.
Deep bow to Uqualla.
Excited to be connected visually, (isn’t the internet amazing! I loved his brown eagle feather head-dress! Stunning!).
I stand, as ever in my memory, with all earth tribes on Her. and offer her, and them, only my purest love, my hands and heart, in deepest reverence of their remembered wisdom.
I then went on to listen to Shelley Ostroff’s wonderful meditation for the day.
Day One. Essence
I make my self open and whisper ‘Show me.’
And, as often is with me, I see again the concentric rings, radiating outward from centre.
This is Source to me and has become the basis for much of my art.
Why I make mandalas. Why I paint ensos.
The root of this Rolling OM.
It tells stories of eye and planet. Of cells, atoms, planets, orbits, universes , even black holes! Of beginnings and endings. Of never ending….
It ‘holds’ all.
This is everything.
This is why we come into circle.
This is the first fires and the human ‘beans’ who gathered around it for warmth and light.
And sometimes I am enabled to sit in it’s centre through mediation which always gives me joy.
I experienced a clear vision for a piece of art I intend to create tomorrow.
Something I that found bothered me a little, within the Day One info, was the use of a symbol I know well, here called ‘The Vitality Code’, but I know as Triskele.
This is an ancient Celtic symbol. Over 6,500 years old.
While used in similar meaning, it seemed odd to me that while there is much talk of honoring indigenous tribes and our ancestors, this has been used without acknowledging the origins of this scared symbol.
I spend much of my time researching the ancient tribes of our own Western lands, our true, blood, ancestors, and find they still have much to teach us too.
I felt some disrespect in this, especially, sited as I am, on Scottish soil.
Three is indeed a magik number.
It is inherent in the above symbol for Source also, in our eyes (pupil, iris, white of the eye), the Earth (crust, magma, core) and, of course, Father, Mother and Child.
I feel it’s magik most powerfully in the glide of a waltz or in the Scottish Country dancing ‘pade ba’…the dance of the ‘individual, the diversity and the Whole’.
My kookie ‘bent’ led me to wondering if it really matters which way this symbol turns.
(I have such thoughts often.)
I was for a long time blinded by the swastika propaganda and it being an ‘evil’ sign, until I traveled to India and learned that, not only is it a holy symbol (of similar meaning to Triskele), but that to true Hindus it is of little consequence as to which way it turns.
Some say one way for the feminine, one way for the masculine….all fine as long as it turns and keeps on turning.
I own a Hari Krishna shirt that is covered in swastikas that turn both ways. I wear it infrequently these days, for fear of offending others.
This is what can happen when the truth of something is corrupted by another’s malevolent control of it.
(I am not, however, suggesting that is the case with this doubt over this use of the Triskele! Just a lack of credit where credit is due. Something we artist’s are overly aware of.)
I like this double Triskele very much, as it has a labyrinthine nature of going in one way and coming out another.
The words ‘Vive la Difference!’ meandered through my brain as I listened to the mediation…..
And then when I opened my eyes, I saw this first!
A long-loved optical illusion that I have had on my artden wall for years.
It seemed to say alot about radiating and vibration!
Even if these do give many a headache….please do not look too long at this if it affects you this way!
I looked up the meaning of ‘diversity’ in the dictionary.
There were several different definitions, the one I liked best was….
‘the diversity of something is the fact that it contains many different elements’
As someone who believes that we are all stardust, and who lives by rules of Earth, Fire, Water and Air, this rang true.
True as the bell that was used in the opening ceremony.
I hear and heed the bell.
A resonating call to Awaken.
So after all this musing, and peculiar pondering, I sat quietly to see what would arise through me.
On my alter I have many objects of natural beauty and wonder.
The spirals in the shells and Shiva’s eyes called to me and, instead of beginning the mud art piece, I found myself happily working away to make these digital images.
I found this Triskele, or ‘Vibrancy Code’, calling to me as I handled these wonders from the ocean.
I then ‘took it’ to photoshop and created these two images.
One from a seashell and one from a land snail.
I found it interesting to note that in all natural forms the seashell spiral turns anti-clockwise from the inside out, the land shell clockwise.
But I suppose that is respectively clockwise/anti-clockwise from the outside in and entirely the other way round from inside the shell (as with the Shiva’s eyes!)
Not quite the contribution I had planned to share.
More words than image.
But true to what arose in me this Day One of Essence.
(working as part of a ‘Japanese 72 season micro-climate’ artist collaborative initiative within Treesisters)
Japanese season called ‘Seimei’/ Pure and clear 5th April until 19th April .
Micro climate ‘wild geese fly north’ 10th April – 14th April.
The geese would have a job flying North these last few days….. these dry, Easterly winds continue unabated….and they are freezing!
(The geese are still here though, grazing in the fields around. I meant to take a picture, but got blown off course!)
Still crystal clear days, but everything is wilting in this blast from the East.
It carries the kind of cold that gets into your bones.
I made this gif of the wind in the willows as they bend and flex.
I guess that is what we all must do too.
There has still been no rain, so I have to water everyday. 2 weeks now. Our hill water supply is under threat now…freezing drought conditions….so, what began as a welcome respite from Argyll’s usual dampness, is turning extreme.
The wind even uprooted a transplanted, mature gooseberry plant and I had to catch it, as it rolled like tumbleweed, across our lawn!
And sadly a few more of the big sitka in the forestry behind our house have also fallen…
The forecast suggests we may get some rain soon and that these winds might begin to calm down. Here’s hoping!
I have now got my new crabapple tree, Malus hupehensis, (or ‘Tea crab Apple’ as the leaves are used for tea in China) for the centre of my garden….poor little thing…I bet it is pining for the potted shelter of the plant nursery! It is ‘Argyll hardened’ though, so fingers crossed it can survive this beating. It has a long way to go before it is the prolific blossoming, spreading beauty that I envision….but it is now in….with prayers and a rainbow moonstone buried beneath it.
The turtle shell I placed there has inspired me to build an Earth Turtle at its base…’swimming’ east to west….around the world, so eventually it will look like a turtle with a tree growing out of its back….this piece of driftwood looks very like a turtle’s head! Just need to build up the shell, seed it and create the fins somehow….
Too windy to begin work on the tiny gallery…..
So, this morning, with the wind howling outside, I played around, on Photoshop, with a ‘sketch’ idea I am working up from a workshop vision board I created recently. This idea is growing and growing….beginning to see that it will form the basis for the pavement art I intend to do in Edinburgh during July…
I call it ‘Have you heard it yet?’.
Other notable, natural ‘diary’ events this micro-season include seeing roe deer, most mornings, in the field behind our house, (I guess they are coming down off the hill now as the grazing is so dry up there and for the mating season?), the Lesser spotted woodpecker has returned to our bird table and a pair of sea eagles are checking out a tree near my Dad’s house. The community FB page informs me that they have returned to the, well guarded, nesting site near here also.
We sometimes see them flying over out garden so time to keep an eye out.
The first lambs are beginning to appear…this ‘lamb’ we spotted today though confused us for a moment!
I was working with used machine oil.
Looking for ways to recycle it as art.
Watching it split and curl on water.
When I suddenly saw it as a fat.
Like butter melted, grease that sticks, that makes watertight.
As a woman I know about fat.
Those deposits that creep onto my hips and belly, arms and thighs.
Calling me to exercise, to balance out….too much weight.
Religiously reading the, small print, ingredients on today’s packaged nutrients.
Fat per 100 gms.
Starving myself. Detox. Giving my body a break. Drinking only water.
Once I vividly recall seeing my own fat, in a wound that cut deep…
We can all see it now…in operation documentaries…in mammograms…….
Human, creamy, lard.
A ventilated , cold, room in which, once upon a time, there used to hang whole carcasses for a, grateful, knife to carve off blocks of precious, tasty, fat. Raw and unhidden. Fat.
Fat that dribbles glistening down the chins of those that gnaw bones, that keeps them either warm….or obese.
And does not wash out easily.
That stains transparent.
I see the fat that so many parallel mammals seek to build up before winter’s bitter teeth bite in.
Protective, warming, fat.
In some countries viewed as beauty…. as a sign of wealth.
Ganesh dances, wobbling his happy belly, laughing, somewhere far away.
My inner bear shakes its skin in ripples of glorious layered muscle and fat.
We press seeds to glean their nourishing fat.
Squeeze them til only husk remains.
Bottling the produce in graded, filtered, qualities of amber.
That seed’s protection and reserves.
We extract it’s future.
And yet our vanity now fights this build up of reserves in us.
We no longer need it.
We pay to have it sliced away.
Who needs it?
(I wonder where that resource goes!?)
And then I ask whose was it?
The animal’s and seed’s?
Whose fat are we now wearing?
In the fragile, Gaian, systems, we ignore at our peril, nothing goes to waste and all spins in cycles.
Something goes to waist, certainly!
Perhaps this black oil, this crude, black gold….that we extract, cut out, go to war over, what I had previously thought of as her blood, is fat?
The eons of collected layered composting Life?
The Earth’s fat? In molten form, before it hardens to seams of coal.
Her reserve? Stored for when it got colder?
Her timeline knows wonders we will never be privy to.
If I imagine being her, it is being taken faster than I produce it.
Perhaps she is becoming chilled to her very bones.
Physically and through our basic lack of care.
I know what I do when I feel chilled.
I put more layers on.
I move faster, jump about a bit, blow on my hands.
She accelerates to get warmer.
So she changes the heating control. Turns up the dial.
Tunes her flows to warming, for she has to be warm to Live.
If she gets too cold she will die.
I used to believe that the Christians got the teaching of Hell all backwards.
‘Underworlds’, ‘hell fire’, ‘hot’, ‘smokey’, ‘lorded over by Satan’…..it was an obvious warning not to go there….but then they did.
I clearly saw the bringing up of oil, to fire the planet, as ‘devil worship’.
And to model their ‘fallen angel of evil incarnate’ on the, previously beloved forest dwelling, prankster and lover, Pan, was surely no coincidence……
Now this feeling brings it even closer Home.
It seems we cannot all just stop making the Earth more beautiful in our eyes.
Giving her free liposuction and expecting her to be grateful!
Dancing around our artificial fires, blinded by our genius, creating false idols.
While she demonstrates her suffering in the only way that she has learned how to get our attention!
We cannot put it back.
But we can plant more trees to shade her,
Whose innate generosity we now, increasingly, depend upon.
We can seek out new ways to fire our imaginations
Redefine our definition of ‘power’.
And try and ‘feed the world’ again.
Help her put on a few pounds.
Put a few pounds onto her.
Put a few pounds (££) into her.
Let her begin again to build up her reserves and glow with health
And restored vitality.
A plump, bountiful planet again.
For where was once a firm, fatty, giving nipple,
I see wrinkles and pruning and dryness.
Cracks and violent rashes.
Dry skin and raw patches.
And I understand her molten need to create new virgin land.
Such a birth.
New basalt ground that for millions of years cannot sustain us.
To increase her ocean cloak,
Creating winds to blow her seeds, to create more energy in the failing pump, to fan the fires, to layer the charcoal that makes the coke,
In order to regenerate that fat.
To shake off miners and pipelines and intrusive exploiters.
Perhaps she needs it now, what has been taken.
We cannot put it back.
We are extracting our own future.
In a different way.
Kat Robertson December 2018
I spent much time in the summer struggling with knowing which direction to put my energies into. Coming against blocks.
Spending time playing and allowing myself to follow many different threads. Throwing out ideas. Like these ‘pebbles.’
These are not ‘polished’ yet!
Just a quick, simple, idea.
I think these would look pretty good printed on a huge white canvas?