I contemplate a life

well lived,

a life full of

little things

stored on a shelf.

A life of creation,

a life of death,

a life that is no longer,

except in my head.

full view
full view
rear view
rear view

This sculpture was the result of my two week class at Penland School of Craft called Sculptural Weaving, taught by Nathalie Miebach. It was an amazing class. I finally learned some traditional basketry techniques but was encouraged to work them into a sculpture instead of making a vessel. If you want to see more pix, visit the Contemplation of a Life page on my website.

Contemplation of a Life is in response to cleaning out my parents’ house last year with my siblings. I found myself creating a somewhat loose replication of the clutter we had to deal with. My mother had difficulty throwing things out (“you might be able to use them someday”) and therefore, two years after her death, we had to be fierce and fill two dumpsters with stuff including furniture that had disintegrated. It was not a pleasant job physically, mental and emotionally. I have dedicated this piece to anyone who has had to go through this ordeal.

11 thoughts on “contemplation

  1. Great piece (both poem and sculpture). I helped my parents in cleaning out both of my grandparents homes after their passing, and it was an incredibly long and overwhelming process. But the experience has helped me in letting go of things and minimising my own life.

    1. Ooooh, good point. I now struggle with the urge to attain “things” vs the need to let it all go. I’m not always successful but perhaps my mother’s influence is a bit strong at this point.

  2. Love the sculpture!
    I’m trying to cull all the shtuff I’ve gathered, to rescue small “treasures” from the inevitable giant bonfire my boys will have to make one day….(whilst romantically wishing I could be at the bottom of it…a fitting Life Pyre!), but the way the world is going, it’s hard to discard all the pre-powertool handtools etc….this is such a throw away world now…..we may yet need to resuscitate the old ways of making and doing……( I’m having a gloomy morning!).x

    1. It is so difficult to get rid of stuff…what is “treasure” and what is “trash”? I look around my office and think “Really? I must have all of this?” But then I can’t find the time or energy to get rid of it. The ironic thing is that some of it was stuff that was on my mother’s desk.

      1. So glad that I’m not the ONLY one who is not “finding the time or energy to get rid of it”………Sometimes it IS fascinating to trawl through, sometimes I get a fit of ruthless energy and enjoy the consequent bonfire, but sometimes it’s just too darned like housework! x

        1. Oh, I am quite sure we are not alone in our sloughing difficulty. As you say, it is a difficult throw away world. On the one hand, it is easy to buy cheap shit that doesn’t last and must be thrown out, on the other hand, it is easy to buy lots of stuff that fills your life with very little purpose. As an artist I struggle with this conundrum.

          1. I struggle with things like cans of expensive woodblock inks, will I EVER do that work again? Should I give them away before they solidify and die? Then there’s absolutely masses of bones and bits of wood…treasures to sculpt with…but will I? I periodically drag them out and strew them about…stroke them and try to find inspiration, trip over them for days, then hurriedly tidy up ‘for visitors’, and put them away again.Harrumph!
            Let alone endless pairs of fave woolly socks with holes in that I SHOULD darn…clothes to mend or alter….broken treasures that just need a bit of glue….
            It’s not as if I buy much new these days….but I spent 21 years accumulating shtuff for when I had a house of my own…( IF I had my own house I’d be secure…IF I had my own home I wouldn’t be neurotic, I’d be happy… guessed it! I’m the same neurotic, unhappy, insecure mess I always was, I just happen to have a splendid house to be that in!).
            I did go to visit an artist yesterday, who had endless, chaotic sheds and workshops and studio, stacked to the rafters with canvasses, printing press under a sheet, framing mitre machine he hadn’t learnt to use yet….everything covered in a film of dust and cobwebs…and his garden was utterly covered with weeds that he blithely ignores….a happy and contented man….I need to change my mindslant and just accept that I’ve ALWAYS had a chaotic, overflowing house….other people seem find it exciting….I just feel out of control….and crave a zen simplicity that I will never attain! Every once in a rare while I’ll sweep everything off all the buried surfaces, and rejoice for a day or two in Order….but it inexorably creeps back….like a cat trying to creep on your lap when you’re typing.
            And why is it that I have endless heaps and piles of plant pots scattered around my verandah, squillions of ’em, but can NEVER find one of the right size? Hey Ho! There was a little old lady lacemaker in a church i was working for, with loads of bobbins with religeous mottos on them…but I picked up one which said “Tidy homes house boring women” .Ahem! And then there was an embroidering priest, who made a cushion saying “Normal is just a setting on the washing machine.” Exactly! Sorry for burbling on! x

  3. This is such a powerful and poignant sculpture and the details in the close up views on your other site are wonderful. My mother has had a culling over the last couple of years saying to me that she doesn’t want to leave a lot for me to clear – the opposite of feathering a nest…

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