mummer-me-a-bundle-of-sticksPosted: May 30, 2012 | |
In a vain attempt to appreciate the conceptual nature of my ongoing MA ART & ENVIRONMENT project, A BUNDLE OF STICKS, I have been tempted by drastic but most sensible measures. What could be more logical in light of my year long, artfully intensive and obsessive research into the practical, metaphorical and ecological implications of this primitive action and entity than to embody a most literal interpretation in practice?
‘The Ashen Faggot is a West Country Christmas Eve custom – it’s a large log with withies bound around it to make a bundle which is burned indoors in the hearth. Drinks are consumed as each withy breaks in the flames, which sounds like an excuse for a good drink! The practice still survives in country pubs notably the Lutrell Arms in Dunster, Somerset – their faggot consists of twelve thick sticks bound in a bundle using ash withies and the Dunster Carol is sung while it burns in the vast fireplace. It’s a revived custom dating back to the 1930s but with much older roots.’ calendarcustoms.com
How often have we heard the phrase ‘to listen to nature’, or been puzzled by an intuitive resonance of substance or place? ‘Each according to their own nature’, we may declare, or ‘the substance of things may only be perceived through practice’ said Mr Beuys. As I struggled to consolidate and configure the diverse and intrinsic ramifications of A BUNDLE OF STICKS towards my own emerging practice within the confines of a 7000 word dissertation I was struck by how much I had begun to see the world through it – how I had become both the subject and object within the the nature of my study.
As an artist there is a definitive emphasis on the sensory appreciation of and response to the world, which may then be most mystically synthesised with our intellectual, relational and tactile dexterity to perform our communal craft. An adult interest in earth spirituality and indigenous culture has been both enjoyed and indulged through the more traditional celebrations of our ecological connectivity, its ritual, its power and its lore, to enable an active expression of this essential sensibility within my evolving environmentalist practice.
And for a change, more pictures and less words …
“Owing to the failure of intellectual leadership, the breakdown of religion, and the short-cuts to culture, our minds are now for the most part demoralized; in any true sense we know nothing, we understand nothing, we are incapable of reflection.” John Stewart Collis; THE WORM FORGIVES THE PLOUGH (LONDON; Vintage, 1973)
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