Friday, July 10, 2009


"Work begets ideas, which begets work, which in turn begets more ideas.". - Rice Freeman-Zachery

I know there are definite cycles when it comes to creating art.... a prolific period followed by a fallow period. I've also noticed that if I keep working steadily the ideas will keep flowing which means I keep working and the ideas keep on flowing and .....well, you get my drift :-)

At the moment I'm going through an almost frenzied phase of carving, which is part of the cycle. Autumn and Winter are the most creative seasons for me but come Spring I start slowing down and with the arrival of our harsh South African Summer work usually grinds to a halt for days on end. So I am making hay while the Winter sun shines.....and I'm covered in sawdust from dawn til dusk.

This week I've been revisiting my earlier totems.

"I will wear my heart upom my sleeve for daws to peck at " - Shakespeare

Three years ago I started carving a tribe which became the "Tribal People" series for an exhibition in 2007.

Then ..... the "Broken Angel" series.

Browsing through old photos of pieces long gone I'm rekindling and reinventing old ideas; doodling and playing with old sketches and developing them in new directions. The piece I'm working on now is related to these pieces.
Small detail of carving I'm creating at the moment.

"The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect, but by the play instinct acting from inner necessity. The creative mind plays with the objects it loves." - Carl Jung.


  1. why do you do this to me? I love them all havent decided which one the most! Is that you hiding behind that mask? you are a very talented woman!

  2. Lyle, you are too sweet! Yes that's me and even with the mask my nose is full of sawdust at the end of the day, not to mention the watery red eyes.

  3. Oh Robyn, your work is just amazing. So beautiful. I love your aesthetic and the textural quality of your pieces and honestly, it all tugs at my African heart strings so hard. It's great that you're on a roll and the ideas and inclination to work are flowing... It must feel lovely to be so creatively inspired and productive. Enjoy! I can't WAIT to see what's brewing next!!!

  4. Its lovely to see your work like this.
    I have 'my heart on my sleeve' in my profile. Its my great flaw. Or virtue.
    I love these pieces.

  5. Congratulations Robyn on your terrific spurt of creative energy. That makes me smile. It is so true what you say about being in the flow - the more ideas you have the more ideas that come to you. Your work is so awesome.

  6. Your creations are wonderful! They also look like they would feel wonderful.

  7. Your work is beautiful I love it all but especially The Broken Angels.

  8. Hallo there R!

    I want them all, now please. I especially would like one of those broken angels on my red wall. I promise she would be happy there.

  9. Thanks so much Kendalee, as you say it is great to be on a roll.

    Jackie, thank you. It's a bit nerve racking wearing ones heart on ones sleeve.

    Thanks Leslie, I knew you would be smiling!

    A Scattering, thank you. I love the feel of wood.

    Thanks Janet, I have a soft spot for the angels.

  10. Thanks HHMNB, a red wall....I like the sound of that!

  11. oh, Robyn, I am soooo glad to know that you are revisiting earlier totems and seeing them new ... can't wait to see the magic that comes from this. :)

  12. Hello Robyn, Debrina from down under here! It is ALWAYS so refreshing to read your blog postings - they are always so wonderfully intelligent and creative and everything just ties in beautifully. I agree - the ideas are in the doing and the doing generates more ideas. Motivation is a myth - you just need to "DO".

  13. Creativity seems to obey its own set of rules. It's either feast or famine...but so much fun when one is feasting!!

  14. I love how you've combined ideas. I'm starting to do something similar after a REALLY fallow period. And all your observations about how work begets inspiration, etc -- YES. I experience exactly the same.

  15. It is so incredible to see all these together in one post. They are spectacular on their own. Grouped together their impact goes beyond words.

  16. You are sooooo talented. your work inspires me. You are just amazing :)

  17. I have to admit that though you open doors for me to new artists I would otherwise not be aware of, I am always most excited about your work and your ideas and your life. lol, thats the voyeuristic nature of these blogs though isn't it? i love how your work has developed and yet still retains it's authentic 'Robyn' feel. You are mighty dear one. Keep on carving. Keep on keeping on.

  18. Love the piece with the suspended heart and the jackdaw on their shoulder.

  19. I think most of us empathise (is that the word?) with totems. Yours are magnificent. Is it presumptuous to ask how to get one and prices?

  20. love the images Robyn and I love what Rice-Freeman Zachery has to say - it's like a chain reaction - funny, I'm in a work craze right now and of course it is summer here - I slow down in the winter - the cold really puts a stop to my working with the fluidity I feel when it's warm - the picture of you is just wonderful!

  21. Love the tribe....
    We're in that 'hotter than hell' phase at the moment,I can't do anything constructive, just want to sit in the sea!!

  22. Broken Angels, I love them. where ever you get your timber from is a magical place. You manage to make the wood seem alive again. Great post and thanks for the kind words on my blog. Kindest regards Dave

  23. Thank you for reminding me that when your creating more creative ideas come to you. I kinda felt that with the collage series (which I haven't yet completed) but than sometimes life happens and has other plans for you, even if you really want to be in your studio! Even checking out my favourite blogs has been a challenge.

    Love the reworking of older ideas/ pieces because when you do revisit something you generally bring a new perspective.

    Take care, Robyn!

  24. I am always intrigued by your ladies with the long necks. Their eyes always seem so wise. They are so feminine even though they are carved of wood.

  25. oh Robyn, I love your old friends - thanks for the visit! The Rice Freeman-Zachery quote you've chosen, along with your own words, describe the way I experience working creativity as well. It's almost tortuous when I have to take a break, thinking I'm cutting off that flow. Slowly I'm learning to train myself to believe I'm in a continuum, even when I've physically stopped creating, so that I can carry the flow of working ideas beyond my body's ability to take me.
    Your work is inspiring and beautiful - and I love seeing the eyes behind the wonders :)

  26. Hello Robyn,

    Your Tribal People look friendly, fun folk and the Angels seem to have a vulnerability. All very beautiful. I'm glad to see some of your earlier pieces and wish you well with the current crop.

  27. Ohhhh, I love the heart on my sleeve piece...the quote and the totem. Thanks for writing about your creative process, the way your creativity builds and plays off your past creations. It's food for thought.

    I'm curious. How did you evolve from painting to carving? Had you done sculptural work before this?

  28. Robyn, your works are MAGICAL, very much alive by your hand. The quote of Carl Jung is perfect and true and proved by these photos. I like your photo and imagine a smile under the mask.

  29. you are such a prolific artist!! it amazes, impresses and inspires me!!!! i'm enjoying seeing the series you've done in the past and looking forward to what you are creating now.

  30. Lovely, lovely!
    I love your blog :)

  31. Thanks Michelle.

    Debrina from down under :-) You say the sweetest things, thank you. I suppose it's a matter of getting your mind right...which can sometimes be quite difficult.

    Pamela, a quote I enjoy by Quinn McDonald (creativity coach) "Creativity doesn't ask for permission, it comes when it wants, leaves when it likes. In another life, creativity must have been a cat."

    Thanks Andrea, hope you find the ideas flow swiftly after the fallow period.

  32. oh, i love these! wood is something i can't do but adore--my grandfather was a woodworker and made lovely furniture, etc. i love the trickster, and the totems, and the heart inside the cut-out (that's a wonderfully done piece, indeed). glad you've discovered it's true for you, too: there's nothing like work.

  33. Seth, I must say I found it rather comforting with them all propped around the walls whilst I was preparing for the exhibition.

    Pink Dogwood....I don't know how to reply to that.....thanks so much.

    Thanks Rachelle, I'm going to get a swollen head just now. There is that voyeuristic aspect to blog watching...but it's such fun!

    Annie, this was a fun piece to carve.

    Jeane, I'm laughing. My husband took one look and said , why on earth do you post that dreadful photograph?? Well I'm not going to do my hair and dress up in my best to work am I?

    Jude, a fantastic picture you must make just sitting in that beautiful azure sea.

    Dave, I'd send you some would if I could.

    Curio, it sounds like you've been so busy lately. It's time you had some quality time in the studio.

    Lisa, I do enjoy carving them.

    Karin, that's interesting...."learning to train myself to believe I'm in a continuum". The cogs never stop turning even when the hands are still.

    Derrick, they are rather a friendly lot :-)

    Stevie, I started carving when I was about 8 or 10 so it's been a long time but I've done all sorts of other things inbetween.

    Mary Ann, thank you.

    Thanks so much Julie.

    Thanks Jo!

  34. aha!
    I knew you would pop out one day.. nice to see you.

    Thank you for the lovely words about the knit..indeed.. we are all one tribe, anyway...

  35. aha!
    So that is what you look like... I was wondering when you would pop out.

    Thankyou for your kind words about the knit. We are all one tribe, anyway..I feel...

  36. my blog pal, Karin, told me about your doing the daily 10 minute collage exercise so I decided to visit.
    your work is amazing; it's hard to believe that such talented artists could ever have fallow periods; like Karin said (above) it is tortuous to have a forced break, mine occur for much the same reason as hers, along with two kids on summer break:)
    I do believe that there is an evolving flow, beneath our conscious mind, that, once we are active again, is reflected in our work.
    Sorry to be so wordy - I look forward to spending time propelling myself through your fabulous, inspiring site!

  37. well hello there!! You know, like all pricelss one of a kind brilliant things in life, you really really should dust yourself once in a while! : )

    i am taken by the angels and the off set placement of the heart; its red, the color on the neck bracelet. Lovely!

    Quote is greatly appreciated; playing with worm holes, and all, etc... :) thank you.

  38. Your Tribal People are fantastic. I hope the weather stays cool and you can keep creating!

  39. Rice, I find working/creating is a balm to almost anything. Thanks so much for your kind words.

    Grrl :-)

    Patti, I'm impossible to live with if I don't take that time to create. Please do be's great to hear your views. Enjoy summer break!

    Thanks Mansuetude ....
    you're getting the strange stares again :-)

    Thanks Chris, the weather is pure bliss this early morning (5.00 a.m. - the stars are bright, the stream is rushing, the air is crisp and the Hadedas are waking all in sundry)

  40. These are great, i especially like the one with the red heart!

  41. Broken Angels :) That RED heart grabs mine...
    I just love what you do, Robyn xx :)

  42. Robyn, I am absolutely in awe of your strong, beautiful work.

  43. Thinker, the red heart was one of my first sales at the exhibition.

    Thanks so much Jo.

    Kim, I appreciate that, thank you.

  44. Old stuff to you Robyn but very fresh to my eyes. I know it might sound a little sycophantic but I mean what I say when I say that your stuff really speaks to me. It is interesting what you say about prolific and fallow periods. I am going through only my first cycle of either and I am learning all the time. As always a great read.


  45. Your totems are so awesome. So earthy and strong, yet fragile at the same time. Looking forward to seeing your new creations.

  46. How lovely to see you at work Robyn. Your totems are very special but I am particularly drawn to the angels, and the wonderful figure with the isolated heart and bird. So iconic and I love the Shakespearian quote. I can understand your work lessening in your extremely hot summer. Luckily we don't have that over here.

  47. Robyn, these are so stunning... The "broken angels" have taken my breath away, the "tribal people" each so different but all as one, and your newest totem... almost like an antelope spirit...
    I can just imagine you days... carving away in the sweet winter sun...I love the picture of you too, so inspired. Thank you again and again for sharing your art and life in Africa. Roxanne

  48. As my daughter (HHnB) has bagged one of the angels, can I reserve the other,please? (although I do not have a red wall)

  49. Richard, I'm so happy that my work speaks to you. You know i feel the same way about your land art.

    Bindu, I appreciate what you've written. It warms my heart :-)

    Thanks Cathy. I think our winters are like your summers. The days can be glorious but it gets nippy at night.

    Roxanne, it's encouragement like yours and all the wonerful bloggers who visit here that keep me inspired.

    Avus, any wall will do....however the two angels are long gone to new homes :-)

  50. I find as I get older I can feel taken over by making for long periods of time, there are so many things clamoring to get out. And as you say, working continuously, a sort of balance between restlessness and satisfaction in making and remaking.

  51. Wow Robyn, the tribal people are divine.

  52. Wow, your great! Wish you were here, I'd love to put your work in my gallery?
    I so glad I found you!

  53. lol, robyn... i do believe lyle's said it best. : )

    oh how i love your work...


  54. Robyn, your work is wonderful!! I started with your disintegration piece and kept going.

    thank you for the visit to bring me over...and hope your winter day warms up...