Monday, 29 December 2008


Each year, a while before my birthday,
I allow a few weeks of space
For a word to find me.

Words such as listen, courage, kindness, discipline,
Have been part of this annual project
A word concept for the year
This year’s word, which knocked on my door, is ‘fearless’

The reason for this project is that when the going gets tough
I call upon the word and apply it to the situation
This usually results in a little movement
And where there is a little movement, a lot more is usually possible

In most cases this is enough to turn the situation around
To dig yourself out of the hole
And to lighten the load
At least that is what I found

A few years ago I marked the concept word of ‘discipline’ with a project
I called my mother and asked what time I was born
The answer was 10 minutes to midday
I named my project that
And for a year, exactly each day at Ten to Midday,
I took a photograph of where I was at the time.
This resulted in 365 images
Of which the above was one

‘You must be the change you wish to see in the world’

Monday, 22 December 2008


When I was an artist in residence at a Korean University and, as a result of my curiosity, I used to visit a Buddhist temple each Sunday evening. The temple presented a weekly meditation plus talk in English for foreigners. This was followed by a discussion and cup of tea. Since most foreigners were tourists they would come to this evening maybe once or twice. However, I kept up my visits for half a year. This is how I came to the attention of the head monk. And he, sensing my interest in Zen Buddhism, invited me, at the end of my stay in Korea, to a one-to-one audience with the Zen Master.

This, I knew, was very special. The head-monk prepped me on what to do, how to sit and behave. He also told me I was able to ask just one question. (It is useful to pause here and consider what it is you would ask) I would have to go in, sit down in front of the Master and not say anything, until he indicated that I could ask my question.

The day arrived when the Zen Master held his audiences. There were a number of Korean people waiting in line. One after one they went in. Some took longer than others. When it was my turn I entered the space with due reverence, bowed and took my seat on a cushion in front of the master. I sat as properly as I could with my legs knotted into a pretzel shape and waited. After a while the master gave an almost imperceptible nod with his head, indicating that I could now ask my question. I asked: “How may I become a better artist”. Nothing happened for a period of time. “Attention” he then barked at me, upon which I sat up even straighter, thinking I was not sitting properly. Then with a small gesture of his hand he dismissed me. A one word answer to my one question.

It took me a while to figure this advice. But I now know, that we are able to make anything special by giving it our attention. If, however, we are able to give something, or someone, our concentrated attention we are able to find the magic which is inherent in all things. (think here of being in love, for instance)

To test this theory, if something is not working for you. Give it your total attention and see what happens.

Make your work movements as unhurried as caresses

Saturday, 20 December 2008


Why is it so uncomfortable to be still

This sign

at the entrance to my garden

speaks (quietly) for itself

a couple of years ago, or longer, I made a sculpture.

It consisted of two grave stones,

one had the word


and one the word


engraved on it

two different words made up of the same letters

Death comes as a messenger of joy

Thursday, 18 December 2008


This year marks the 25th anniversary
Of the making of these boots

At the time I was working in Chania, Crete, Greece.
When I would occasionally visit the leather workers street
(it was near my favourite PigBalls Café)

The boots were tailor made for me
They have lasted all this time

The poet and the baker,
(and in this case the boot maker)
both nourish the world

Monday, 1 December 2008

'The Supremes'

‘The Supremes’

When recently my friend Nel brought her friend Rose over

for a cup of tea
Rose, spotting my three black chooks/chicks, said:

I’d call them ‘The Supremes’

And here they are newly named