I’ve always been a maker that is completely comfortable working with a material that has seen better days. I like how I can transform it into something new yet retain something of its original form. One of the biggest challenges can be dissecting the original object because more often than not, its shape resists the tools and machinery I use to cut it up. For Te Uru I am contradicting this and cutting into sheets of flat, rectangular ply!
Before I cut up the full sheet of ply’ [handshakeproject.com/cutting-a-straight-line-te-uru] into the sizes I wanted to work with, I looked at this massive sheet and associated it to my aversion for a clean, new piece of paper. This isn’t to say that I don’t like paper; I just get quite precious about using it, wanting to save it for that special drawing moment that never happens by prescription. Essentially, looking at a new piece of paper for me is like looking a huge void that can and does stall my creative process. The perfection of a new piece of paper and the desire to put something on it I find disillusioning. Retrospective of this initial analogy and to my own surprise, I have found cutting into flat pieces of ply refreshing and uplifting and in no way as daunting as I anticipated.
Essentially, I believe that we are born with learning’s that are passed on instinctively. Challenging this notion, the phrase ‘new piece of paper’, with its many variations; blank slate, clean slate, blank piece of paper etc, primarily comes from Tabula rasa which refers to the opinion that we are born with minds that have no content and that knowledge is gained through experience and observation.
Agreeably, a blank piece of paper is said to give a person the freedom to choose without influence and the sheets of ply bring me back to my earlier contemplation about my objects informing my thoughts as opposed to my thoughts informing my objects. [handshakeproject.com/thoughts-becoming-thoughts] I can see quite clearly now how a blank sheet of paper, through its simplicity, daunts me and has little to no way of informing my creative thoughts. It has no ability to inspire me all on its own, there has to be other stimuli to accompany it. Subsequently, the flat sheet of ply is not inhibiting my process because as a material and an object it inherently informs my thoughts, purely through my experience of cutting and forming wood into new forms.