'Midnight, No Waves, No Wind, the Empty Boat Is Flooded With Moonlight'
November 24, 2021
"The primordial, luminous nature of the mind is self-arisen primordial wisdom, empty and clear. By nature, it is empty like space, yet its character is luminous like the sun and moon. And the radiance of its cognitive potency manifests unceasingly and unobstructedly like the surface of a limpidly clear mirror, free from stain."
Dzogchen Master Longchenpa
(Skip the chit-chat and see the finished piece and full details here.)
Originally inspired by and taking its title from a favourite poem from 13th century Zen Master Dogen, this began as a small scale idea a little while ago, when I was reading some Zen texts by Dogen and Huang Po, and has ended up being quite a big project, involving a completely new process and also the invention of some new techniques...
I showed it in the makings to Mr Alasdair Manson at Manson's Press, and he suggested transforming it into a gold gilded glass piece, utitlising his very fancy and well-honed skills as both a screen printer and glass gold leaf gilder.
The delicate and dark black line work of the main central artwork of the skull and sky was screen printed on to 6mm toughened glass, and then gilded with 23 carat gold leaf and 12 carat white gold leaf behind that to create a highly mirrored effect, adding in directional oil gilded white gold for the moon, which I then drew into, plus a couple of secret techniques that Alasdair has developed especially for capturing the intricacies of the smoke around the skull.
I've found it pretty much impossible to photograph this piece in a way that captures the play of light and dark and reflection in this piece, but there are a few views of it with different backgrounds that give an idea of how it changes with the light and surroundings that do a reasonable job.
The piece is somewhere in the middle of being a mirror and a 3D artwork and a screenprint.
The moon is a regular feature of Buddhist teachings, the best known of which is probably the advice not to confuse the finger pointing at the moon for the moon itself, ie don't get caught up in the teachings of or ideas about reality, or the intellectual contrivances that may arise - better to have a go at apprehending the moon itself by direct perception.
Once again, it's been a lush process of making new imagery working from 1800s sources, the principle ones of which here were the anatomical studies of Bernard Siegfried Albinus and pieces of Dore's engravings of Dante's Divine Comedy,
I'm going to be making a little film of the gilding and finishing process soon as Al goes about completing production of the first six of these, which will ready by Dec 10th or before, which I'll add to my website and the socials as and when.
There will be only 12 of these, and 6 will be ready to ship by December 10th, with the other 6 being ready for January, possibly sooner, depending on how timeframes go with the amount of work required to make them.
If you have any questions please feel free to email here.
Thanks for reading all of this, click here to have a look at it.