At last! back in Gisborne after selling the Ark in Kaiwaka. Trying to be here now peacefully and without anxiety – surpisingly hard. Transitions! Worried about the world economy and wars and rumours of wars… Still, this building was permitted in 1917, when WWI was still raging and hope for a new era of peace must have been very low. Ferrocementing jobs dragging on, but some progress in Dreamspace Gallery. There is now a dreamspace within the dreamspace – the Blue Room (or, Turquoise room). For quiet meditation, dreaming (of course) and inspiration. I did the windows in stained glass with tree cutout ply panels screwed on, and coloured glass pebbles and stained glass pieces siliconed on and with black silicone between them. I need to sit in this room in the Blue Chair and just be, and let the dreaming come to me again. And if you are passing, and we’re here, call in and dream here awhile too… and soon we must surely be ready to open officially…
I haven’t posted for ages, on account of being away North a lot sorting our property – the land and the Ark
– for sale and migrating stuff down to Gisborne, and waiting for our ship to come in, in the form of a sale which releases us from the Mort-gage. But meanwhile we have almost built a ‘ship’- or ark – of possibility here at 61 Carnarvon St. The gangway is not out yet, but visitors who get past the infinite improbability field (thanks Douglas Adams for that and many other nice concepts!) are most welcome.
We now have four – well, three and a half – studio rooms, a gallery space, a front shop area, and a back workshop for woodworking, as well as a yard for ferrocement building and sculpting. I say ‘we’ as a man of many parts, not as the leader of a mass movement! Or any movement, as yet. But this may change, if I am true to myself, i.e., don’t keep going without but instead strengthen the going within. ‘Of all treasure pits, one’s own is the last to be digged’ – Zarathustra. Indeed if there’s a movement it must start in this truth first – that we go within for our true treasures. And then as through a magic folding of spacetime, we find ourselves outside again, as if we had lived all our lives on the inside of a sock, and one day the sock is turned inside out – nothing has changed, yet everything has (Wittgenstein’s delightful metaphor). And we can begin to create in the outer world… out of the inner one. And truly meet and recognise others who do that too.
This clarity about Dreamspace’s inner vision came to me this morning watching the 2015 graduation address at Naropa University… interesting place! – It was good. Thanks Raewyn for the link! The title is ‘Living from the Inside out’. The link to the youtube video:
So how do WE live like that? Dreamspace is a place that really stands for what he describes…isn’t it? Vulnerable, about faithfulness to ideals, not mere effectiveness at the cost of openheartedness.
Can you see it? Could you join me?
To make it partly concrete: Dreamspace is where we make only things (namely: hobbit havens and accessories, elf havens and accessories, artworks, sacred scultures, arches etc) of beauty, with integrity, for community. Where we bring forth treasures from within, from a cultivated heart and mind. Where we practise and teach digging that inner treasure pit which often is the last thing to be digged…
Increasingly in this new economy we really have to ‘go within’ , or we will ‘go without’… the rewards just aren’t there for us when we try selling our inner life for outer material success. That path has mostly been outsourced…
We need a prospectus for Dreamspace. ..and an ‘Athanor’ covenant by which only those dedicated to living from the inside out may join the ship, as there are limited berths… and from that focus on inner being, do, and finally from the doing, have. This is how we turned around memory frames… after it had been insolvent for years, until one day I picked ‘Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance’ off my brother’s shelf, and read that Quality is what makes up our world, and is the mystical-empirical wonder we all glimpse in the world through all the confusion…
But now it’s at a whole new level of awareness, able to be articulated, a flag hoisted, people enrolled… Dreamspace is a ship awaiting its crew. But first it needs its captain and first mate, to really step up. Well just its captain, truth be told. And that’s me.
So here I am, at the threshold again…
Live hand in hand, and together we’ll stand
On the Threshold of a Dream’
– our motto at cafe Eutopia, from the Moody Blues.
In Cafe Eutopia we built a threshold with blood sweat and tears, but we never fully went through ourselves. Dreamspace, which was built 100 years ago this year as a woodworking factory, at the tail end of the Great War as they called it, has a new motto: maybe it could be from the song:
…. (Who is the Mighty Quinn in Dreamspace? well, I think it’s the great aspectual diagram of the four phases of all process, and the Fifth Element which is the synthesis, the living organism which results from these four weaving their evolutionary magic… see https://4phase.org/
And whosoever wields these five…. in this case, in the first instance, me 🙂
I recently asked a wise Lady, Anne Hamilton who I think of as a prophet of the threshold and of destiny (see her series on names and thresholds and covenants here: Anne Hamilton), ‘Is my whole life to be threshold, and never promised land?’ I think I know the answer – it’s up to me. As it always is… Do we enter, or not…
Yet we have to know that here at the threshold of great things ‘lie in wait for us our seven devils’ (see Thus spake Zarathustra, On the Way of the Creator) God is at the Gateway – and the Devil is at the door – and it is us.
Anne being a Christian, says – as I understand her – that there must always be a sacrifice there at the threshold, before we can safely pass over (just as at the first ‘pass-over’ where the blood of a lamb had to be put on the threshold so the angel of death would not enter). Not to be so churlish as to argue here the literal truth of the cross, I can see that the thing is, we are that lamb, or if you are a Christian the idea is that we must identify with the Lamb of God – and what crosses our threshold is not our old self, but our true self, reborn, freed from the shadow self or ego, which imitates the true us but always lives backward and fearful of losing itself, and out of fear tries to freeze-frame life … and therefore lives a kind of death in life. It really must be sacrificed if we are to be free to be the divine selves we all are to be.
I will let that gangway down, for the sake of those brave souls who will sail with me. We will set sail! There are Blissful Isles to be discovered!
A picture paints – a picture. Photoshop gives a nice image. Only paint, dust, noise, chaos, money, and even blood sweat and tears, create a walk-through 3d-real, real-time, livable Place that looks something like the image. Along the way we can get tired, forget to step back and let the place in progress carry us, delight us. But the work goes on. Too late to turn back, luckily! Here is a picture tour through the ongoing renovation of the 99 year old lady for a new life as a gallery and workshops, opening soon, asap, before the money runs out (well, not to long after that point!). There are 3 studio spaces for renting to keen co-creators, maybe 4. The gallery now has about 12 spotlights. I did one or two driftwood works in between efforts, and of course more grandson times! Oh and the strange holes in the particle board panels: they are free on side of road. I have a round router pattern and rout disks to glue into the holes. A great ongoing resource!
ps: yes I know that ladder looks dodgy. It is ok, but it’s a bit scary 5 metres up it! I’ll take care. Stairway to heaven – not yet!
Gradual progress this week, but great to have the unexpected loan (thaks Marco and Aidrian!) of a wonderful old floor sander – after lots of scraping of thick deposits of ?tar and fibreglass in places, and punching hundreds of nails, and vacuuming dust and old nails and staples etc from the cracks, the actual sanding has been a breeze, with the old machine working effortlessly and also sucking up nearly all dust into its sack-sized dust bag. Up to medium and fine sanding now, then Tung oiling… (this magnificent oil from the Chinese Tung tree sounded like the best natural finish – maybe with beeswaxing and buffing over it). The floor is wonderful heart rimu throughout. A joy!
I brought our ‘Live Hand in Hand’ round coffee table in today, and put up the Kaiwaka dreaming painting to test some cheap spotlighting…. Exciting how a space like this invites creativity. Been resting a bit today being Sunday, reading ‘The Geography of Genius’ in which the charming author goes to famous former and present hotbeds of creativity and delves into the reasons for the rise, and decline, of the constellations of brilliance. Athens, Edinburgh, Florence, Calcutta… some real surprises and insights. Thinking, can this dreamspace be a catalyst for a mini-flowering here in Gisborne??
Some photos taken in the middle of life/work/play/agony and ecstasy in the big shed as I renovate and make the walls for the exhibition space. Visitors, well-wishers and helpers of all stripes invited! (And thanks to those who have already helped to make it even vaguely viable!) Also inquiries for studio spaces small or medium-sized for craftspeople or artists who love the vision of an Arts & Crafts revival.
The vise pictured is on an old bench with three vises I bought from a nice retired builder who said it’s from Cornwall he thinks, where his (and my) ancestors sailed from in 1860. I LOVE the quality and heavy blacksmith’s grace of this tool – it feels like a symbol of what we yearn for here. The old wooden floors also – nearly 100 year old rimu. To think that the building permit was applied for in 1917, while WWI was still raging! So there is ALWAYS hope for freedom, and peace to tend to good things and make good things. This is what our grandfathers fought and died for… I want to cherish it, and be worthy of them, as we continue the ancient struggle to manifest the Good and defeat the Bad…
It’s just good… a good feel to it, a Good Old Space, and plenty of it! Needs and deserves lots of TLC. Today was the first most-of-a-day there, tidying stuff away, fixing, moving old desks, putting up a shelf, sweeping a bit, all sorts at once, then later the boys came with Anna… Here’s a little gallery of the day. Note the front wall in its unphotoshopped state – just add paint! Note too: the lights are on! We boiled water and had a tea bubble, and ate avocado and cheese on Vogel’s bread. Later Anna got chips and yoghurt.
From the pecha kucha talk came this article, in the Gisborne Herald weekender supplement, 11/6/16. My phone has (not) been ringing red hot, but… the wizard’s word is out there! Glad we have got the place, so those who seek shall find… something! Yay! Some floor scrubbing, tidying and unpacking has begun. Electrickery to be switched on through the new fuseboard and cabling tomorrow, we hope! Then there’ll be no stopping us…
Thanks to Natasha who bravely interviewed me and managed to make something coherent of it (and who let me see it and tweak before publication). And the photographer – a nice young man who came, smiled, arranged doglets and wizards, and left. Of course, there were one or two minor factual corrections; mainly that of course the pictured playhut is not a true hobbit haven, as it isn’t curved and is very little… Here’s a concept picture of a hobbit haven just to set the record straight. I need to build one ASAP!: