Friday, 15 July 2011
Last week we had a big old fir tree in our garden cut down. I was pretty sure there was going to be a magpie's nest in it and indeed that is why we waited until this time of year - when the young were sure to have flown - before taking the tree down. We were lucky enough to have both skilled and sensitive tree surgeons come round and they hardly blinked an eye at my request to save the nest. They couldn't just lift it out of its perch though as it was so interwoven with the tree and the creeper that dominated the tree, that the whole branch was lowered down on a rope for me so that I could unentangle it slowly on the ground.
Having known that the tree was coming down weeks in advance, and being convinced that we would find a nest, my dreams had been plotting a figure. So, within a day of receiving the nest a little porcelain man emerged in the studio. Here he is.
Now, this is a figure from the unconscious. One of the figures that I consider a gift in that they just come to me ready formed from somewhere in the mind and then all I have to do is make them into a reality. A few days after the figure was made a man, whose opinion I respect and to whom I am very grateful for the honesty of his opinions, came to the studio. He felt the piece was sentimental. I had felt that the fact that the figure was male and was curled in such a way that he was quite exposed, would mitigate against that possible accusation of sentimentality. I don't have any answers here, but it is certainly a question that I find myself asking in the studio quite a bit at the moment.
If a sculpture comes up from the unconscious does it have a validity even though it might be considered sentimental? If it has a validity for me in the confines of the studio should I fight for its right to see the light of day in the sophistication of a gallery or simply accept it as a private work? Is 'sentimental' necessarily a bad thing?
Lots more thinking to do on these questions but in the meantime I shall simply hang on to the nest and the little figure and let time do its work.