Friday, December 9, 2011

Still Waiting..........

After a endlessly long time "waiting" to do the final firing of the remaining chairs for my "Waiting" installation, and finally wanting, needing to be ready to move on to my next body of work, there was more unexpected waiting. I delicately, lovingly loaded the last family of chairs into my kiln in my basement studio. When I sat down on the floor to program the kiln, I noticed that under my shelf, where all the chairs were drying, along with those already fired chairs, was a lone broken chair. It had somehow been knocked to the floor, probably by one of the interlopers that unfortunately sometimes pass through our basement. I looked sadly at it feeling, oh no, not another setback. I am feeling this need to move on in so many areas of my life right now, but constantly feel pulled back by life itself happening. My choices were, change the number of chairs , from my original intent of the auspicious 108

Followers use 108 beads in their malas. They implement the following formula: 
6 x 3 x 2 x3 = 108 6 senses [sight, sound, smell, taste, touch, thought] 3 aspects of time [past, present, future] 2 condition of heart [pure or impure] 3 possibilities of sentiment [like, dislike, indifference]

The meaning of the number 108 has been a resonant voice for me that I did not want to stray from. It did not feel true to myself to change it, even after all the "waiting" for the piece to become. I was feeling impatient but a need to be true to my self. I did not want to take the easy way out. My other choice, was to create another chair, after the fact, so to speak, after it felt finished, to be a substitute for the broken one, but I felt that the integrity of the piece, for me would be compromised.No one else would notice the change, but I would, and I have put too much into this piece to compromise now. Each chair was created in a specific order, with a specific intention and story behind it, representing what was happening in my life at the time. My decision was to pick up the crumbled, broken chair and try to mend it, not an easy task. Two of the legs where broken off. Ironically, this is how I am feeling at the moment, broken, trying hard to stand and support myself emotionally,  and trying to mend my heart, again not an easy task. So this is what I was compelled to do. The chair that broke was ironically entitled Disappointment, from when the Waiting installation was not accepted into the Portland Building last year for their exhibit. So here I was, faced with this wounded little chair, like Humpty Dumpty. I used all the tricks of the trade, vinegar, slip, toilet paper shreds , time and patience. It is now, after a few hours of tedious work, back together again, not the same as it was before. Now it is awkward, unbalanced, misshaped, unable to stand on it's own, and not pleasant looking like the other chairs in the family of Waiting, although they are each a bit unique, and have their own personalities. It looks a bit out of place, and there is no guarantee it will survive the firing. More waiting. I will sequester the chair on it's own shelf for the firing, so that if it shatters, it will not harm the other chairs. I scratched off the title from the back, breaking it a bit again, mending it again, and then carving it's new name on the back, difficult with bone dry clay. It is now named Loss and will now be moved, taking the auspicious  spot of last chair, the final one to be finished in the installation of 108. It will hold a small feather that a bird lost, and that I picked up and saved in Florida, during a rare, brief walk to gather myself, and try to take care of myself. Sometimes, things get broken, and they will never be the same again. Sometimes they can be mended, and will still never be the same either. Part of life, part of hurt, part of being human, part of death. Whether it is relationships that are not what you once thought they were, that you thought you could count on and now you feel deceived, or the people you love break and you have to let go of what they were, and accept what they are, or are not, right now. We have to try to give up all hope of a better past, and try to accept and make peace with what is now. Change is inevitable, suffering is optional, so they say. Neither feels easy right now, but it just is. In a few days, when the broken and mended chair is dry enough to join the others in the kiln I will fire it. I have to give up any expectation that it will not break again, will not survive the firing. I will have to wait and see and know that I have no control over the outcome, but trust that the outcome will be as it should be.

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