The Draft Prospectus – Renaissance Workshops School and Folk Factory

This is it – draft but enough – calling all mad creators and high idealists, seekers of metaphysical meaning, and art, love and beauty!

About Fifty years after I painted Fireworks over the New University, I’m starting Renaissance Workshops – a kind of University…

Here’s the PDF:

The new card for Renaissance Workshops…

‘It’s Life, Jim, but not as we know it.’ Feedback invited on ‘LIFEGYM’ idea

LIFEGYM with yellow door copy

Well, the only constant is change, whether Evolution devolution or destruction… Hopefully this new thing which knocked on my doors of conception in the wee small hours the other day is an Evolution for Dreamspace and friends….?

The thing is, I’m an artist but I don’t want to just fill Dreamspace with Things I Created – I want there to be a Life here for more than just me. I want to Share Dreamspace and its ‘havenly’ qualities with others – and not just visitors who come, look and go away. Hence, ‘LIFEGYM’ (working title – could also be Artgym or Mindgym or Dreamgym or…)

Let me know if the following trial prospectus interests you. It’s a concept doc only, not set in stone – or woodblock – yet!




At Dreamspace Gallery and Workshops, 61 Carnarvon St, Gisborne

A safe haven for artists, spiritual and mental seekers A workout space for the mind and spirit…

-a supportive place to learn and create art and crafts, read, meditate, practice Yoga, Chi Gong, Positive Psychology and other life-enhancing techniques

– a venue for workshops on a rainbow of fascinating, life-enhancing topics

– meet and synergise with others of like mind and heart.

Membership of [ballpark] $17 a week gets you into your own Dreamscape, a kaleidoscope of life-enhancing experiences:

  • Use (scheduled) of the various workrooms and their equipment –
  • Painting studio
  • Picture framing, glasscutting, stained glass area
  • Blue Room for meditation etc
  • Library and fibre broadband
  • Bookbinding, embossing and printmaking room
  • Woodworking, metalwork and carving area
  • Stone/shell/bone carving and lapidary room
  • Routing and shaping room
  • Mouldmaking and casting area
  • The Ferrocement yard for sculpture of anything from garden pots to ponds to statues to ‘hobbit cabins’
  • The large gallery room for meetings, talks, dancing, yoga etc, also exhibitions and other events.
  • The ‘upper room’ to eat, drink and lounge…


  • Individual and group life/art/writing coaching from Peter Harris (MA in philosophy) based on his 4phase creative process philosophy – see – and metaphysics, a mix of Plato, Pirsig (Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance), Nietzsche, and others of the ‘Perennial Philosophy’ of the Western tradition (and some wisdom from the East, naturally! – mainly Taoism, Tantrism and Zen).

Our goal is to create in ourselves a dynamic, ultra-creative ‘Great Health’ as Nietzsche called it, honouring the Balance of masculine-feminine, left brain-right brain, rational and intuitive, dynamic progress and stable prosperity.

As in Star Trek, ‘It’s LIFE, Jim, but not as we know it.’ It’s LIFEGYM.

Come to Dreamspace and have a look and a chat with me now! (At present open Monday to Friday 10 AM to at least 4PM but I’m normally no more than 5 minutes away –  this is Gisborne!)


Follow us on the website   and get email notifications of new posts. Phone Peter Harris 022 3326568

A Retrospective, nostalgic, fantastically optimistic, long-overdue Opening Do

This is the sheet we printed and didn’t get around to handing out…

Dreamspace Opening  13th January 2018

A Retrospective, nostalgic, fantastically optimistic, long-overdue Opening Do

Welcome, present or future friend, to Dreamspace, an everything-I-love space for dreaming my Possible Human!

This Space only took me about forty-seven years to find. It could have been sooner, but I blew it after my first lucky exhibition in the summer of 71, in the condemned Denby Golf club building with its wavy wooden floors and a beautiful view over Whangarei. Other plans than following my bliss seemed more important… mostly trying to discover the Meaning Of Life, find True Love, and Save the World… Oh and raising four kids and trying to get rich or at least get less poor!

There really are legions of excuse devils dressed as duties lying in wait for us poor souls who venture upon the plane of human existence. One excuse in the age of Google is, hasn’t  EVERYTHING been done, already? But no, the key is to digest what you like, compost it, and grow your own tender plants in it. If you make it your own, it IS new. Retell the old tales in YOUR way, and you never know, a new generation might just be inspired to carry the torch of some Good Thing, some aspect of LOVE, BEAUTY, TRUTH, and LOVE…

Why teddy bears?

Art is about the sacred (see my if you agree – or disagree). And one of the most sacred things is domestic bliss – home and hearth, childhood, bedtime stories… We need to get ‘back to the Days of Christopher Robin and Pooh’. Old song from the 70’s – google it😊

Likewise for old hand-tools and ‘working ornaments’ (there’s a wonderful old blacksmith’s vise from Cornwall in the workshop – a lovely old guy (even older than me) virtually gave it to me with a sturdy bench and two other vises mounted… as I like to say, I now have THREE vices! Plus coffee addiction that’s four… So, ‘Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance’. Here’s to old tools, motorcycles, and old guys who give a damn (you know who you are!).

Of Wolves and the Meaning of Life

There’s an old Indian story about the Two Wolves… Well I’m not going to tell that one. I reckon there aren’t just two wolves inside us, one good and one evil. There’s a whole wolfpack of values, most of them ‘good’, fighting it out for top place. Which ones win? The ones we feed. Also, it wouldn’t hurt to shoot a few of the worst buggers! There ARE Wargs in this world, all is not sweetness and light. That makes even one little candle so wonderful. In my (unfinished) cupboard triptych The Three Metamorphoses of the Spirit, I quote Zarathustra – A ‘sacred No’, even to (some) duties, is required for the spirit to create as it should. There IS a cost, there will NEVER come a day when you wake up and say, ‘I’ve got nothing on today, no debts, no duties – I might as well start being a sublime creator’ You will have to be a devil to SOME value to be an angel to the ones you choose to dedicate most of your days and years to… You have to put food on the table, you say? Rice is cheap, fish are free for the catching. Have to pay the rent? Come on! Live in a garret, for art’s sake!

‘Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it now!’

‘Follow your BLISS.’ ( Dammit!!)

I am finally doing that right here. ‘Best time to plant a tree is fifty years ago. Second best time: NOW’). As Nietzsche’s Zarathustra says,

‘…of all treasure pits, one’s own is the last to be digged – the spirit of Gravity is the cause of that. Almost from the cradle we are presented with heavy words and values: this dowry calls itself ‘Good’ and ‘Evil’. For its sake we are forgiven for being alive.’


…‘O afternoon of my life! What have I not given away that I might possess one thing: this living plantation of my thoughts and this dawn of my highest hope!’

A big part of my highest hope is to share the skills and wisdom I have been learning of how to locate your personal Dreamspace, explore it, dig the treasure buried there. Would you like to join me in a group which can meet here at Dreamspace say on Wednesday at 7 for coffee, tea, and communion with each other as creators, seekers after a life that is up there in the stars with the gods and goddesses, not down here where bank managers and landlords rule. ‘Seek first the Kingdom of Heaven and all these things will be thrown in’. I have found it to be true: the times I followed that higher duty, things worked out strangely well practically too (not without sacrifice but hey that’s life! See the Wolf story above).

For God’s sake, in the free world we are all gods and goddesses, having more freedoms, more powers via the free internet than kings and queens of old. What the @#%@# are we doing with this freedom? Worrying about repayments on that fizzboat? That ‘ceiled mansion’? There IS a scale of values, and how inverted most of ours are here in Godzone, and the whole Free World! So let’s begin righting things in our own worlds! Sacrifice a little. Create good art, good love, good things. ‘I love him who creates beyond himself, and thus perishes’ Die to that old boring life, live for art – that is, the Sacred, whatever that means to YOU.

The Dreamspace Club??

So, anyone want to join a club for doing just that? I know, not for everyone, lots of conceptualising, challenging, daring, meditating in blue rooms, trying some new art… But let’s!! Talk to me, or leave your email and what you’d be keen on (Dreamspace club, learning some philosophy, writing, reading, bookbinding, etching, painting, ferrocement, casting, carving etc…) in the Minute book (one of three donated to Dreamspace by our esteemed land agent Colin McNab).

Oh yes, enjoy the evening, drinks and food by our daughter Anna and her good man Marco of Endcliffe Spit fame (they’re doctors too if you need one for some reason – beware hazards in the workshops, and keep an eye on that kid! Toilet is through the back, handbasin at foot of the stairs). The paintings carvings and handcast items are mostly for sale (time to really sell stuff later – doors open from now on as often and as long as I am here… and Raewyn is studying here so will also be serving in between early childhood education assignments… There is eftpos here, I trust, and I have change for money. We take pledges, pigs, produce, old books too… If something I made (or could make for you) enchants you, could be you can get it from me for a song…

So, this space is your space too. It’s just over 100 this year (council permit application dated 1917). So, an opening and a 100th birthday! Dreamspace was built while WWI was still raging. That’s faith…  I hope you will see it as part of the ‘eutopian’ landscape of this good city and visit often, especially when we do a show, on one of a hundred different things I’m keen to create, if I am spared! ‘Somebody, stop me!’ as the Mask said. Enjoy this evening and make it count – and every day beyond today, let’s treasure each one and get out of our own way and create something wonderful!

Peter Harris. Ph 022332 6568 Website for Dreamspace: My personal art blog : My process theory and ‘phasetimer’ clocks etc: My personal blog:  The fantasy epic: apples of Aeden – google for amazon smashwords etc – free volume one as ebook there. Other free or cheap ebooks by me on Amazon and Smashwords.

Dreamspace at the docks, 2017

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.

The Dreamspace sign the night it went up – letters still a bit drunk!


by  streetlight and moonlight…

the gallery, earlier photo.

gallery by night

A new door being made in the workshop.. yeah messy here too. But productive!

Planning room and library, taking shape…

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:
‘Come on without, come on within’
…. (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
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!
…Come, my friends,
‘T is not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order smite
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die.
It may be that the gulfs will wash us down:
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles…
Ullysses, Tennyson