Time Flies

The beginning of November marked the opening of “Foundation”, a show I am taking part in at the Saint John Arts Centre. Our special group comes together as a result of shared experience, the Sculpture Saint John symposium of 2012. We spent six weeks with six international artists, constructing six granite sculptures. We lived together and worked together and learned to communicate together. It was the most immersive experience I’ve come across.

That summer set me off on a mission to unite my chosen medium of textile, with my new-found love of stone, with my ever-growing passion for plants. From a personal standpoint, these three mediums activate different sides of my self. Textile for flexibility and colour, stone for strength and endurance, plants for energy and nurturing. I think of them as my prescription for well-roundedness.

From a conceptual standpoint, they make even more sense. Stone. The unyielding machinery which drives our planet. Plants. Lush and pulsing, they hold the very present moment. Textile. Almost impossible malleable, cloth is what makes us human. By combining these three primal disciplines I will evoke the kinship between man and biosphere.

I have begun through exploration, testing different ways of uniting these three. See below the initial designs, collectively entitled “Time Flies”. The final piece, “Necros”, is still in progress. In the coming days I will take you through the huge learning process of creating the first four. You can see the finished works at the historic Saint John Arts Centre until January 10th.

Page 18 - Insect Lifecycle Collection (1) - CopyPage 19 - Insect Lifecycle Collection (2-3) - CopyPage 20 - Insect Lifecycle Collection (4-5)

Let the time pass by.

I, like every other, think about time all of the time. I worry the premise until it is soft like a river stone. But I have been thinking lately that maybe this is the wrong approach.

It seems the more you fuss about it the faster it passes (or alternately slow, when you are fussing about it at work). My goal being of course the extension of time, I think it is best to ignore it entirely.

Even when you are in a rush. The more you focus on that rush the more it distracts you from getting the thing done, from doing things one at a time. Even more this focus on rush overwhelms me and leads me to procrastinate.

I have a difficult relationship with focus. I don’t remember that problem when I was younger. I suspect I do it to myself, like most things we do. I know it’s not a mental illness. Distraction just is.

And plus, there are these times of perfect clarity, so I know it lives inside of me. When I have zero time left to do something, I lapse into a hard-line focus. It feels wonderful. I think of nothing else but the task at hand.

This is the reason I am so fond of test-taking. For some reason, when I take tests I can be nervous as all hell right off the gate, but once I read the first question I relax. My internal monologue disappears one hundred percent. All I do for as long as it takes is test-take. And it rocks.

I think maybe when I’m not in these moments of pressure, I am out of focus not because I am not exercising focus but because I am exercising it on too many things at once. FromĀ  “This is taking so long” to “I’m never going to get this done in time” to “I can make that decision later” to “I wish I could read my book now”, I run through a thousand negatively shaped, time-worry thoughts.

Enough! I refuse to allow myself to cater to these whims. It is a rumour that we are not in control of our own thought patterns. This rumour comes from needing to trust what our minds tell us, from everyday sensory information to danger recognition. But in the case of the nagging monologue, it is a false prophet.

I suspect that in order to act as compassionate beings, we have to worry what others think. We have to play pretend that we are them and not us, that we are judging ourselves from the outside. But we are not the outside. We are ourselves. And I for one must cut myself some slack.

If I learned anything from quitting smoking it is that the mind can be convinced to do anything if it is framed positively. And anything can be framed positively. If I can quit smoking, I can learn to savour the passage of time.

Time is our only path to the present. Without it we would have all moments at once, and none to experience. The present is the gift time presents to us. We should not look a gift horse in the mouth. Anticipation is all very well and good, but we cannot spend all of our time in that realm and none experiencing what we have been waiting for.

Time will pass. Let the time pass by.