This small and intimate carving, known simply as ‘Owlwoman’, has been a real surprise since she came into being – one of the very few pieces of antler work I have made for myself, she came through into physical form with real purpose, beyond the sheer joy of making and dreaming from which she emerged……
Fact is, ironically, Owlwoman has spent more time with other people than with myself, and, in the course of time I have come to see how that purpose of hers is working in the world.
Being a figure of only 18cm, she is intimate and tactile and is carved in Pere David deer antler, a material that is a good ivory substitute. Pere David is a-typically solid through to the center so this kind of antler can be carved in deep relief and in the round. Owlwoman also represents a kind of work that I am commonly commissioned to undertake as a carver.
On reflection, Owlwoman’s role, her particular purpose as it has come through the accounts of those who have kept her, carries a call to find powerful centering and to get in touch with the inner stories, the ones that we have come here to tell, that only we can tell – I guess thats why she came to me as, after I had finally set aside the carving tools, I felt protected and ‘on track’…….she also helped me to understand, on a more personal level, that it is the story in the art that pushes it into manifestation. It needs to be told……
The whole idea that stories might need us so that they too may have their life helps to deepen the connection between individuals, the community and arts practice – within this is an honouring of the duende, the living spirit within the story being told through the art – the artists role is that of the carrier and courier, functioning as a kind of gatekeeper.
With spending so much time out there in the world, Owlwoman has always brought back stories to accompany her return – people with whom she has spent time tell of re-finding their center, their power, and of renewal – she has brought courage and calmness in the face of adversity, the feeling that we are never so far from home as our challenges might have us to believe – others have said she has brought a wild wisdom, a spur to move forward with energy and dignity, trusting in their own vision, a powerful and steady wind in their sails.
Owlwoman does have another level too – woven into her are symbols that have their own story and reach back in time. These tie-in to ancient methods of keeping track with natural cycles, angling to the directions and the stars in time and space, of navigation and orientation towards life here on earth – they also connect with the tracks of ancestral knowledge that reach back more than 10k years into Eurasian indigenous culture, with the symbolic seeds of dreaming that they have sown in our times.
She is enigmatic for all this – loved by many who encounter her, she is a magical envoy carrying a pilot light for the soul.