Thursday, August 14, 2014


The Known Unknown

Dearest Readers,
I’ve been eyeing this delicate pile of grey sticks stacked like a hut in the field where I’m living in Vermont. I’ve circled its perimeter and glanced inside through the nest of criss-crossed branches. I’m itching to shape it into a special place for thinking and abiding.  I envision making a low-down crawling entrance like an igloo’s, and digging a well-like hole inside with a chair positioned at its lowest point, and a hand-made pole ladder rising up out of the roof.  It is a KNOWN creative commodity fashioned in my imagination. A couple of years ago I drew plans for several as yet unrealized holes. #4, the lowest drawing, comes closest to “The Known Unknown”.

Cynther Greene who owns the field and the house in Peacham, calls this fragile wooden beauty “the burn pile”–fated at some future time to light up a solstice party.  This is also KNOWN.
Cynther - Gardener extraordinaire
I KNOW how to dig a deep hole. I blogged about the creation of a marble lined cylinder of emptiness for SculptFest 2012 at the Carving Studio and Sculpture Center in West Rutland Vermont.
The marble hole in West Rutland Vermont
I KNOW how to pace myself. My diaristic, quotidian method for almost all of my art is the way to go.

I KNOW about performance art. The thought process and physical effort is as artistic as the final product–even the possibility of failure.

What’s UNKNOWN is how to make it happen, how to proceed, what techniques and tools to use, and the method of problem solving along the way.  This challenges my fear response to keep quiet, and the visible me to proceed carrying the tiny stick of patience.

My stamina is an UNKNOWN commodity. My bum knee-cap (fractured it last year) and 68 year old creaky back are KNOWN UNKNOWNS. So, I’m being very kind to them.

The total timeframe is an UNKNOWN. Can I dig the hole before the frosts concretize the land? Can I delight in the deconstruction of the pile of sticks? Expose the site? Dig the hole? Make and fit the ladder in place? Reposition and secure the pile of sticks higher with an entryway? Sigh. All UNKNOWNs.

Here’s what I do KNOW. Every journey begins with the first step.  Over the past two weeks of work and rest days I’ve clipped away the wild grasses around the base, and yanked them by hand.

trimmed some of the sticks, 

and have begun removing branches for future use. 

Sometimes I sit in a lawn chair, once in a while I bend over or get down on one knee.
So far so good.

To be continued……

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