ISTHMUS

      Walking on the shore helps me to reflect on my studio practice.  Away from the clutter of tools and materials, I find it easier to consider where I am and where I am going.  It is different from walking down a street, where the terrain is flat and paved and takes little concentration to traverse.  By contrast, navigating the boulder-strewn coast is slow, inefficient, and at times laborious. Because I am obliged to tread carefully and consider my path, I often notice things I would otherwise miss. With luck, I may catch a glimpse of a distant whale, or a seal. More often, I find feathers, shells, bits of bone, and interesting stones. All of these objects have been deposited here, flotsam washed downstream or the deposited by some unknowable act of chance, and it is by chance that I am here to find them.  I feel a need to collect these fragments, as if gathering them will preserve the experience of discovery. Yet a moment in time cannot be captured. It is as ephemeral as the souvenirs I bring home in my pocket.

      Fog creeps in off the ocean, smelling of salt and damp. I can hear the lapping of the waves, the low moan of a foghorn.  An eagle glides in and out of view, a dark silhouette that emerges and disappears back into the mist without a sound.  The world is reduced, and my senses merely suggestions. I sit and think about what I have collected on my walk. What role did these objects play in their previous life?  What is there place in mine?

      I cannot help but find natural forms to be suggestive of crafts’ roots in appropriating found materials for a new use.  It is not hard to be intrigued with these objects. Artifacts both natural and man-made have a sense of veiled intentionality, though their original purpose is unknown. When an object is orphaned by the extinction of its purpose, what remains is the suggestive beauty of their existence to spark the imagination. My intention is to find a voice for these forgotten fragments, one which calls attention to our proximity to the natural world. The act of craft is much like taking a walk on the shore. Both take me a small step outside of the quotidien and into different world. It is a grounding experience to deliberately step outside the territory one is expected to traverse. It is neither the fastest nor the easiest way to travel, but that does not matter. It is my discoveries on the path that are important.

© 2018 Addison de Lisle