Monday, November 24, 2008


I spent the morning carving a small nature box to hold some of my found objects and found great comfort in doing something so simple. For the first time in weeks I could actually feel the tension seep away as I relaxed into my work. Creating in solitude works every time. It's not that I'm antisocial but I feel so much better in my self if I can maintain a balance between my social and my solitary pursuits.

The christmas beetles have arrived in full force and they sing heartily from the forests. These cicadas usually come with the heat of summer, reminding me of my childhood. The first cicada song always sent me into a wild spin because it meant christmas was just around the corner.

I've been doing a lot of reading over the past few days. Dipping into old favourites rather than reading something new from beginning to end.

Susan Woolridge offers many nuggets of wisdom in her book Foolsgold.

"Maybe some of us need to dive into the depths of self, no matter how dangerous it seems, to uncover more meaning, passion, expression of soul, and, indeed, more light. We might feel most alive in the presence of what seems most dark within us. There are many ways for us to begin to plumb our unknown depths and free creativity without going crazy. To honor our boundless nature, it helps to shift perspectives and turn ourselves inside out and upside down."

"Go to wild places and invite the unexpected. Gather what you want onto a page or into a small box and allow yourself to sense the mystery in whatever is around you. Travel as much as you can, even within your own yard or town. Spend time contemplating water. There are many activities that can jog our brains and hearts and help us tap hidden tunnels leading to bottomlessness. Inviting playfully expansive "craziness" as well as regular depth soundings in our lives might help us stay more deeply sane, in touch with the ongoing present moment and with our true boundless and timeless natures, where the depth we seek is simply waiting to be perceived. "


  1. Robyn, there is a real calm when I gaze at your work and read your words.
    So wonderful you were able find some quiet space, to carve away at those tensions...
    Wonderful passage from Susan Woolridge...It needs to be framed and hanging on my wall...take care lovely one...Jo

  2. The bird in the top photo is my favorite piece of your work, by far. And I know exactly what you mean by balancing solitude and socialization - it's nice at times to just come home from work and sit on the couch with the dogs in the silence (well, relative - there's always barking!). Hugs!

  3. I know what you mean, nothing can calm me down like carving. I find the process relaxing and meditative in a strange, special way.
    And i like the carvings very much!

  4. These are the words we never get tired of hearing.. to stop and listen to your inner self.

  5. yay!!!
    The machine let me comment!!

  6. Thanks Jo, Susan Wooldridge writes so well and I find her words soothing.

    Heather, dog hugs can be pretty amazing.

    Thinker, yes you would understand that meditative state. There's nothing quite like it.

    Grrl, glad your back :-)

  7. Your work is extraordinary, beautiful, and mystical, all at the same time. I just found your blog and I will be back. Wow

  8. Robyn -
    So sorry to hear of your sudden loss. May your memories bring you peace and comfort.

    I recently discovered the poetry of Amy Lowell . . . she wrote so beautifully of nature. Here is one you may like. It's a bit long, and I apologize for the lengthy comment, but it's worth the read:

    Poetry of Amy Lowell
    A Dome of Many-coloured Glass

    A Japanese Wood-Carving

    High up above the open, welcoming door
    It hangs, a piece of wood with colours dim.
    Once, long ago, it was a waving tree
    And knew the sun and shadow through the leaves
    Of forest trees, in a thick eastern wood.
    The winter snows had bent its branches down,
    The spring had swelled its buds with coming flowers,
    Summer had run like fire through its veins,
    While autumn pelted it with chestnut burrs,
    And strewed the leafy ground with acorn cups.
    Dark midnight storms had roared and crashed among
    Its branches, breaking here and there a limb;
    But every now and then broad sunlit days
    Lovingly lingered, caught among the leaves.
    Yes, it had known all this, and yet to us
    It does not speak of mossy forest ways,
    Of whispering pine trees or the shimmering birch;
    But of quick winds, and the salt, stinging sea!
    An artist once, with patient, careful knife,
    Had fashioned it like to the untamed sea.
    Here waves uprear themselves, their tops blown back
    By the gay, sunny wind, which whips the blue
    And breaks it into gleams and sparks of light.
    Among the flashing waves are two white birds
    Which swoop, and soar, and scream for very joy
    At the wild sport. Now diving quickly in,
    Questing some glistening fish. Now flying up,
    Their dripping feathers shining in the sun,
    While the wet drops like little glints of light,
    Fall pattering backward to the parent sea.
    Gliding along the green and foam-flecked hollows,
    Or skimming some white crest about to break,
    The spirits of the sky deigning to stoop
    And play with ocean in a summer mood.
    Hanging above the high, wide open door,
    It brings to us in quiet, firelit room,
    The freedom of the earth's vast solitudes,
    Where heaping, sunny waves tumble and roll,
    And seabirds scream in wanton happiness.

    *Be well,

  9. Thank you Shelley, this is such a beautiful poem. A feeling of deja vu when reading it. Yesterday someone brought me a piece of driftwood. Whilst sitting studying it I was daydreaming about where it had come from and the weather changes the tree must have experienced over many years.

  10. Robyn, you remain so prolific. I can't keep up. You are such an artist. Wonderful.

  11. how perfect those words are of hildegard von bingen... they say it all.

    and this: It's not that I'm antisocial but I feel so much better in my self if I can balance the two. Socializing on one hand and an equal amount of solitude on the other YES!!

    lastly, it's hard for me to imagine cicadas at christmas! by christmas they've become quiet here...

  12. I couldn't agree more with what you have written in this post. Everybody needs time to themselves. Everyone needs some space for themselves.

    It is in these times when you are in solitude you connect to yourself at a different level.

  13. Your carvings are wonderful and your words are so calming. My condolences on the death of your father-in-law.

  14. Mmm, wow, thanks!

    Lynne, I get so much out of all the quotes I collect. Glad you liked this one.

    T and S, exactly! You can reach a completely different level when you are able to hear yourself think.

    Thanks so much Helen. I could say exactly the same about your blog.

  15. Robyn - I enjoyed this so much - we are about to celebrate Thanksgiving here in the US and one of the things I am thankful for is your blog - this is always a place that is rich and has become a part of my day - thank you....

  16. Robyn - now when I look at some of the carved African pieces I have, I also wonder at the emotions and thoughts that the artist carved into them ... I'm glad your work is able to absorb and heal you. Take care.

  17. Jeane, what a lovely thing to say. Thank you so much.

    Thanks Bindu. If you could see some of the primitive tools used to carve the African pieces you would be amazed.

  18. Hi Robyn, I love visiting your home on the web, seeing your beautiful carvings and reading your meaningful words. I enjoyed seeing your book shelf too, as we share many of the same books! I look forward to seeing your carvings in real life at the NSA in January, all being well...

  19. Taking note of those words is, I think, essential to any artist Robyn. We have to have an inner stillness in order to create - and sometimes that stillness is very hard to find.

  20. Robyn, I was sorry to read about the loss of your father-in-law, but happy to see that you have been able to get back to your work which brings you so much comfort.

    Your carved pieces are so beautiful that make me wish that I could run my fingers over their smoothed edges.

  21. Jin, you certainly choose the hottest time of the year to visit! I hope you do see some of my carvings because the photographs can be deceiving. Most people are surprised at the height and the texture is so much more interesting.

    Weaver, I seem to spend too much time anticipating the next quiet fix.

    Thanks so much Stevie.

  22. I have only just discovered you by way of another blog (I can't remember who's now) but I wanted to tell you how much I enjoy your art, and say I am so sorry for your loss. I believe I will be a frequent reader. So nice to meet you.

  23. You are amazing and I adore those quills!

  24. Katie jane, it's great to meet you. Thanks for your kind words. I will be over to visit your blog soon.

    Judy...amazing that you should say so. Thank you!

  25. Robyn, I've been thinking about that quote you put for a couple days now: "We cannot live in a world that is interpreted for us by others." It really ressonates.

    I'm lucky to have an inspiring and empowered role model. I've looked up to her since I was a little girl, and it's just now I'm able to accept that my own interpretations of life will be different from hers. After the initial pain and frustration, it feels so good.

    I'm glad you've been able to find some peace. I can almost hear you chipping and sanding away. Your box is beyond delightful! (Liking the addition of the shells...)

  26. I think I need to read Susan Woolridge's book!

    I am so glad to hear you have allowed your art to heal and settle you. It is such a gift. What would we do without it?

  27. Your words and your carvings move me so. Thank you for introducing me to these beautiful poems that are helping me understand my art and letting it flow from my soul. Your images dance through my mind as I write this! Roxanne

  28. There is nothing wrong with having a little 'me time' do whatever you want. I had some me time last Thursday. It was great. It began at a second hand book store, then a french bakery, starbucks and lastly pottery class.

  29. I'm so glad that you were able to find some quiet time to sink into some carving - your piece is really wonderful. for some reason, I find myself really drawn to the stone & the bird. :)

    thanks, too, for sharing such inspiring words.

  30. Shayla, the quote gave me lots of food for thought too. I know where you're coming from about role models and finding your own path.

    Karine, indeed..what would we do with out it.

    Roxanne, it is such a joy for me that you find meaning in the quotes that I post. I love finding words that resonate.

    Jason, I presume you have read all about artist dates in Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way.

    Michele, great to see you're back. There's just something about a smooth pebble isn't there?