The Octupus and the Ruff
Maybe, it is my nine month old son who reminds me what my body is capable of. The grand and complex way we are made. The bodies intention to live, reproduce, and sustain other lives beyond its own.
Maybe, it is my recent need to create with my hands. To layer my past works with a new ornamentation. Give them the freedom of a new chapter, risking failure that leaving a mark has no un-do button to rescue it.
I have had these pieces in which the character seemed to be holding a discussion with something. As I nurse my son it is unavoidable not to relate to other living things. Other animals whose basic needs are met to thrive just as his are by mine. Other animals which are thought to be less civilized than humans hold so much mystery to me. My identity in some realms relate to these primitive traits.
Here enters the octopus.
Let alone their world is foreign to mine. A thick veil of space where things travel at every depth. Their age and evolution I see as judicious. Their way of movement evoke both grace and fear. A dancing tentacle lures like a coiled finger or can masquerade until it infiltrates its prey. Instead of attacking threats or desires head on they disguise themselves and then strike, almost like befriending them. Their ability to adapt by color, pattern, and even texture is enough to make me believe in magic. The ability they have to feel each of their tentacles and process them independently is astounding. As if your body was covered in a thousand tongues. Yet they lead ill-fated lives. Tragic sex lives to be exact. The male dying shortly after handing his fruit to the female. He actually has it better, as she starves herself until the eggs hatch and then her body commits cellular suicide. Tragic. At the same time as being drawn to National Geographic, I began an affair with Elizabethan collars…
Here enters the ruff.
The ruff. Those figure eight shaped neck pieces worn during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. Born during the golden age, it’s repeated pattern and regality contradicted barbaric times. This delicate and ridged neck piece, a mere trend in fashion, framed the most important part of the body. The neck being a bridge from the mind to the body hosts such a fragile and influential role.
There can be a comfort to mundane patterns. A expectation greeted. Yet there is also a wider net cast when we trace the origin of the pattern. I began eyeing these connections. Perhaps you do teach what you need to know. From the veins that show on my forearms to the remnants of a vine which traced up a building. The beauty of the underside of a mushroom and the folds of a red carpet dress. Thoughts trace from one point to another much like a web. There is a visible connection to the art of nature and man. So what would an octopus wearing a ruff have to say? What secrets could it share? I think it may just have a few tricks within its folds. Yet don't we all.