Category Archives: artworks by Wizard of Eutopia

Sculptures blast a hole in the spacetime continuum

I’ve had a tiger by the tail, trying to get to the point of actually doing this Peter Pan sculpture. I agonised over the question whether it will be worth the space and time it takes up. Sculptures can’t be filed away in 2-D like a canvas. They are 3-D, in your face, have weight and breadth and depth. They are an expensive embarrassment if bad, a logistical problem and a sales problem even if good. And, as my own responses in Melbourne recently tell me only too clearly, even a ‘good’ sculpture can leave the viewer quite unmoved. A sculpture needs to be remarkable, 3-D startling, arresting, relating to us in the 3-D world they inhabit. I’d like mine to be climbable, playable with, at least for children. I’d like dynamism, moving parts perhaps, using water in some way perhaps. Or wind, or fire. Fountains, firepits, pizza ovens, play platforms, rideable, climbable, slide-downable, adorable – something! Plus dramatic, rousing, aspirational… haunting…

So hard has this been for me to fit into my weary already-overstuffed world of mainly social shoulds and maybes and onedays, that I found myself last week migrainey – something I had almost disappeared from my repertoire of responses.

And yesterday watching some Youtube videos by artists, I suddenly got the novel idea of going right back to basics – being me, the artist/thinker/dreamer/mystic, and just doing creations by myself, for myself as self-mentor, self critic, and self-muse (without excluding the possibility that if I actually do this, some ideal mentors, critics and muses might actually appear and help me in my quest! But I’m not holding up anything any more waiting for these ideal Godots… after all, I’m lucky enough to still have a wife who loves me enough, and now knows me well enough, to not try and stop me from the mad path of art, and a brother likewise, who from time to time gets inspired enough with one of my ideas to offer me some money to follow the mad hare a bit further down the rabbithole…). So I’m trying to idea out – Dreamspace as the Peter Harris gallery and studio and workshop.

The great thing now is to not follow too many trails at once, and starve like that donkey (not Balaam’s ass but… Aesop’s? No, Wikipedia says it was Jean Buridan’s, a deterministic philosopher in the 14th Century) between not just two but multiple piles of hay… There are too many Peter Harrises, all saying, ‘Be me!’ I must make a round table for us all, sit us down, and come to a consensus… a priority list. We only have one body to inhabit… We are pretty sure though that we should ‘dig our own treasure pit’, stop trying to also open up others’ pits, to teach them, inspire them, enlighten them, at least not directly as a teacher. If others are inspired or taught by what I produce, paint, scupt, or write, good; if not, never mind. I will have made a statement, put my message and last testament in a nice green bottle of art and cast it upon the human sea. That will feel good.

Watch this space for an actual sculpture – or two! I will scale up the simplest model I made first, then the more complex one several like best. Who knows, it might just pay the rent this month, and next month who knows what doors it might just blast open?

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Art and babies: epicentres of disruption

Hi friends who may still be following here! I’ve been away in http://www.dreamspace.nz the gallery and workshops in Gisborne…and http://www.dreamhaven.nz… and the Facebook colonisations of these… I’ve been doing some sculpture ..a commission for the Captain Cook memorial…giant ferrocement gourds..hue in Maori. Now inspired by a dream and my brother’s offer of a donation, I’m doing a statue of a Peter pan figure from our epic Apples of Aeden, Quickblade.

So an artwork begins…And there’s where the DISRUPTION starts. All big art projects blast a hole in the space-time-causality continuum around them – family, jobs, timetables, miscellaneous duties… they push aside lesser values to assert their right to exist. Just like babies – only these babies are more suspect, dubious arrivals into the status quo that surrounds them. And the artist, as mother, is questioned, found guilty of wanton disregard for the careful hierarchy of values that makes up respectable life. Money, or the lack of it, is usually brought up as exhibit A for the prosecution. Irresponsible procreation with no visible means of support is the verdict.

And yet, there it is: the the mother has given birth to this new thing, this awkward artefact to be fitted into their universe. Later, if it is well accepted, the judges will pay belated respects to the artist…perhaps erect a monument in his memory.

Such is normally the outward path of the ser

ious artist. Only the rich inner life of creation of a beloved child, sometimes with the help of friend muse or grandchild – as here! can compensate for the uncertainty, the rejection and criticism, the poverty..

Happily, every now and then he receives a commission that pays well…usually a ‘safe’ project such as these hue. But safe projects do provide respite for the plotting and gestation of more daring works. 🙂 That’s about where I’m at right now. A good space to be in, however insecure.

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The Sword of the Fifth Element and the Long Tail

There’s a ‘long tail’ – or long tale – to the things we create, if we live (and believe) long enough and don’t forget too much but let it all simmer on a long-term ‘back burner’ – or perhaps call it an athanor, or alchemist’s oven, which would slowly heat ingredients to fuse them together.

An example from many in my life here at Dreamspace recently: the short epic love/sacred quest story set in ancient Cornwall and Aeden. I wrote this spinoff/sidetrack from the epic Apples of Aeden about a decade ago, printed and hand-bound it with embossed covers, uploaded it as an ebook, free here https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/153457 and gradually forgot about it as uptake was slow and feedback online almost non-existent. But brother John (of Greenstone Pictures and now flying solo at www.boyfellinpond.com sees a beauty to it and the possibility of a short film, and has commissioned me to make a new edition of even greater ornateness as the centrepiece of the film development… complete with silver medallion of the Forging of the Sword of the Fifth Element. …which is handy because I have been getting a passable silversmithing setup going here at dreamspace gallery and workshops. www.dreamspace.nz

Here’s a draft of the design for the medallion. Watch this space… the book and the medallion – and the film, should we be spared – will hold much sacred magic, long incubated in the Harris brothers’ Athanor…

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My burnt thumb and the Lost Salmon of Knowledge

For a few days now I’ve been carving my first Pounamu (greenstone/nephrite) from a piece I cut with my newly built diamond saw here at dreamspace – a fish which I was calling the Salmon of Knowledge, from the Irish myth of Fionn:

“The poet Finegas spent seven years fishing for this salmon. One day Finn Eces caught Fintan and gave the fish to Fionn, his servant and son of Cumhaill, with instructions not to eat it. Fionn cooked the salmon, turning it over and over, but when Fionn touched the fish with his thumb to see if it was cooked, he burnt his finger on a drop of hot cooking fish fat. Fionn sucked on his burned finger to ease the pain. Little did Fionn know that all of Fintan’s wisdom had been concentrated into that one drop of fish fat. When he brought the cooked meal to Finn Eces, his master saw that the boy’s eyes shone with a previously unseen wisdom. …”

from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salmon_of_Knowledge

Strange things happen when you carve an archetype… Yesterday I got a steam burn on my thumb from my kettle – a first for me in 63 years. Later, swimming at Kaiti beach (where Captain Cook first came ashore in New Zealand), I had the fish in my pocket behind a green plastic doggie bag. It must have slipped out while I was floating on my back in the shallows. We waded back and forth until dusk, then told a young German camping couple what had happened and gave them my card, offering a reward if they found the greenstone fish at low tide. As of this morning, when we looked again ourselves, and the couple was gone, the fish is at large, whereabouts unknown, doing its wise thing out there. I want it back if only to finish carving it, but meanwhile I ponder the magical significance of this happening. It came at a time when I was pondering how to come out and teach my learnings, arts crafts, and philosophy. Perhaps I’m not ready yet. Perhaps when the Fish returns I will be…

Watch this space…

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A t shirt full of ancient stone

I had an interlude on the old Kaipara today, an impromptu quest for the smooth heavy brown stones that I’ve carved from time to time – including lately as I live alone in the Hall of the Ark while I finish relining the hall for the hopeful new owners (who want to teach yoga in it). I put a crystal on the brow of the Bird and made holes in the pupils so you can sit inside and look through its eyes…:)

It was just an interlude between taking sofas and gas tanks from the land before handover day and going back to the Ark to cook dinner and prepare to get back into the renovations, but a bit of magic opened up by doing it.

I have written a whole ebook on the subject of these stones, kind of – it was discovering them that set me to thinking about loving stuff, all stuff, beginning right here with what is to hand that we relate to. A dollar on Amazon How to Love Everyone and Everything….Starting with a Stone  and free on Smashwords  Here. And I did relate to these strange, ancient smooth stones, all sitting on a section of the muddy shore in a kind of ancient convocation unearthed by time. So, now we have sold the land which is close to the Kaipara, having loaded the trailer I thought why not walk the dogs and seek a few more of these sacred little stones, so unassuming but like gold for a carver…

 

It’s a bit hard to do a good selfie while holding 63 heavy pebbles in your t shirt!  Funny, when I counted them later – that’s how ooold I’ll be this year… So, maybe I went a bit greedy prospector, but I know eventually I or someone at Dreamspace – Tiana are you reading this? -will probably carve them all. Some could just be polished a bit and left as found objects of great antiquity, too…

The lone mangrove tree marks the spot. In the sunset it was like a tree of life standing in the tidal mud and oyster-covered stones…

Magic. Oh yes the carving is my evolving take on ancient fertility goddess figurines. And the adzey thing is a chisel I angleground today from a piece of hard old steel I found inside the wall of the hall.

Next post here I may already be back in Gisborne to stay, creating more things I ‘know to be useful and believe to be beautiful’. Here’s to Dreamspace Gallery and workshops!

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Writing again, naturally!

Ah, it is a fateful thing to begin writing! It always demands more until the tail of the writing wags the dog of life… so to speak! Or the world of the tale bends around and swallows the writer whole.  See here for my post on what is afoot in the world of Apples of Aeden, a world big enough to swallow an army of writers! https://applesofaeden.wordpress.com/2016/02/02/the-narrator-staggers-back-to-the-desk/

This painting I did last year is one little image from that world. I hope to do some more images, this time sketches or illuminations to go with the text. Another tail that could wag the dog!

enthorned they dream copy

 

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Why do Christmas?

Ask this boy! 🙂

bruno with plane at airport

 

 

040

Grandson Bruno (here wearing my sparkly hat and glasses) is waiting patiently for his third Christmas  and the pine smell of the tree is already bringing magic into his house.  This is a year I decided to once again try hard to DO Christmas. Why? Because for once I wasn’t trying to cram an impossible eleventh-hour achievement of this year’s goals into the last two weeks of the year – I’d given that up early, for once 🙂 Grandchildren help you to do that…something has to give!  So, I was free to look at what we HAD done – and had – this year, and celebrate it, however wistfully and frugally.

Yes, there were hopes and goals that didn’t materialise; but by Jove! (as my father was wont to exclaim), though ‘much is taken, much abides’, as Ulysses says in Tennyson’s inspiring “Idylls of the King.” I remember the best Christmas and holiday we ever had as a family was one year when we decided to have a ‘poor man’s Christmas’. We bought a leaky clinker dinghy and went North to stay with my parents and go boating on the Whangaroa harbour and swimming in the local creek, and other things that cost nothing but a little planning. After the holiday we sold the boat again and so it was virtually free. And we still have the photographs…

As I said in my last post here, the making of a photographic record of 2015 for a christmas card was a great thing for the igniting of gratitude in the midst of the ever-present struggles of life. Since then I have redone it to put in a few more images for something like balance, though still very far from completeness. Here are jpegs of the card, and if you didn’t receive a printed one, accept this as our offering to you this Christmas. Oh, and let’s all reread the wonderful “A Christmas Carol”, by Dickens! (another exclamation of my late father’s, God rest his soul).  (Did you know that Dickens was in dire financial straits when he had the Scrooge inspiration and this one little book, self-published, brought him back from the brink!)

The first page of the card now includes a little stone from the beach below our land in Kaiwaka that I carved. Picking it up made me realize what a gift the natural physical things around us are. One little brown stone accretion, probably deposited millions of years ago… mine for the picking up and taking home. A precious epiphany.

Christmas card A4 07 12 2015-1

Christmas card A4 07 12 2015-2

Page two – now with Crocodile and Caesar’s penny from our Siblings Great Australian trip after our mother’s departure. And a Hyde Park squirrel, jumping for my potato chip 🙂

HAPPY CHRISTMAS, rich or poor!

Love from Peter Harris

AKA the ‘Wizard’ of Eutopia

AKA grandpa.

 

 

 

 

 

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