Sunday, April 2, 2017

The dance of life


Gert Roos

Creative projects never progress very fast with me. But there are visible creative growth spurts.
I am experiencing one right now. Thank you Gert.

face of The dance of life animation figure by Corina Duyn
For years, and years I wanted to do an animation project.
Maybe this stems back from the Ballycardool project I was involved in (making the figures) in the two years leading up to me becoming ill.
Or maybe because I love puppets. I love when 'dolls' come to life.
Maybe it is the Life Outside the Box project that sparked finally starting my dream project.

I knew the theme of my project for a long time...
Inspired by this image from the Japanese animation movie Spirits of the Past.

still from: Origin, Spirits of the Past. Keiichi Sugiyama (Director) 
Although I tried to so something with this image initially through the form of a tapestry.

And... in all honesty - cocoons, pods, eggs, boxes... have appeared in my work for as long as have made Artist Dolls. (See link below to my galleries if you like to see them).

A pod
A cocoon
and a figure emerging from it
exploring my garden.

a little footnote
Over the years my creative work seems to go hand in hand with what is going on in my life. But I only became aware of these 'coincidences' much later. Sometimes months or even years.

In July (I think) I bought an animation armature.
Sounds grand, but it really is a bag full of tiny, tiny, nuts and bolds, and rods, and screws, and wire, and a drawing on how to put these bits into a a figure.
body and cocoon of The dance of life animation figure by Corina Duyn

Fun. Frustrating. Painful (literarly). But in the end I did have a little 'being'
I found some small eyes and put this in a piece of clay. The base for the head.
This is the way 'she' sat there for months and months, while I researched on how to make hands, that can move; what material to use, how can I make a face that shows expression... Animation/claymation is mind blowing stuff really. But interesting to explore a completely new territory.

The first cocoon I made out of paper mache, but as I wanted to be out in the garden, it had to be made out of real clay. This method brings its challenges. 
Real clay (versus air drying clay) shrinks a lot during drying and can not that easily be added on to when dry. And my studio days can be few and far between. But in the end, I did end up with a pod. And to my surprise and delight, it did not crack at all, at all, during the firing.
unfinished cocoon of The dance of life animation film  by Corina Duyn
unfinished cocoon

The idea is that this little being would emerge from the pod/cocoon and walk through my garden.
But when I thought about it a bit more, it felt kind of lonely.
So I bought another armature. A slightly different one. 

Two, to dance together through life.

'She' turned out to be a little bigger. Somehow a little bolder.

I brought both with me to my retreat at Dzoghen Beara in February.
In the past the work that came from my hands and mind in Room 4 had a kind of wisdom in it. The location, the peace, my thoughts all making their way into my creations (Think 'Into the Light' book, and my Wisdom sculpture).

to unfished The dance of life animatio figures  by Corina Duyn at Dzogchen Beara
at Dzogchen Beara

I worked on the little one first. Shaping the body and working on her face.
It took me a few day, and what emerged was a kind of wise, quiet, knowing expression. 

A kind of purity - according to John Doughlas.

John Doughlas

The last day I got to know the other little being.
She turned out to be much 'bolder'. Stronger. 'Out there'. Not really caring what anyone thought of her.

John, the wonderful spiritual care staff at Dzogchen Beara whom I have chatted with every single time I was at this beautiful place. He is wise. Very wise. Just before I headed home he explored the week's thoughts with me. And we ended up talking through these two little figures. Talking about where I am at in my life... I am ready to speak up... but bring the wisdom of illness with me.
Ready to dance. The dance of acceptance. The two figures representing both side of me.

"She can only dance when she remembers the connection of the pure one"

Two unfinished  The dance of life animation figures  by Corina Duyn
dance of life- who is pulling the strings
John wondered that maybe the pure one is pulling the 'strings' of the bolder one.
The pure one having a kind of presence, but not really engaging with her surroundings. 
She can retreat back into her cocoon. 
Together they can dance with joy. And hold on to the inner contentment.

Much later, at home again,  I finally go to work on the cocoon.
cocoon and unfinished animation figure for The dance of life animation film  by Corina Duyn
I went into the studio to paint it, but ended up using the beautiful papery layers of a wasp's nest.

And over the past few weeks, I have worked a few times on the hands and feet, and boots. Using Silicone. Again a process of trial and (many) errors. But am getting there.
adding silicone on to make hands
On one of the sunny days last week, I chose the location in my garden where the cocoon will be filmed. (how that will happen I don't yet know...)
 cocoo forThe dance of life animation film  by Corina Duyn in  her garden
cocoon in my garden
But then, I received the sad, sad news that my dear friend Gert Roos had passed away after a long illness. A brave man. A friend for 33 years. Gert encouraged me in my journey through life and illness. Encouraged my creative path. (I will write a proper post over the next few days about this beautiful human being).
The sadness of no longer being able to share our worlds took a great deal of my thoughts and energy.
Yet, Somehow I felt this great need to go into my studio. I found I was able to work on the little figure. I gave it hair. I started with the clothing. I felt at ease.
dressing the animation figure for The dance of life animation film  by Corina Duyn
I truly believe that Gert was there with me. Guiding me to keep going. 
To step out of that cocoon, and dance with life.

I have been in my studio every day for the past few days. And will go there again today.

Over the past few months, we communicated via what's app. Sending short messages, memories and photos. I forwarded images and a short film of the cocoon opening to him. The word that came back most times was "Prachtig". Which does not have a direct translation in English, but are a mix between: lovely, gorgeous, stunning, wonderful...

  • Thank you my dear friend.
    Much love to you and all.

  • Further reading and links


    Therese Doherty said...

    This is beautiful, and so interesting to see how your little beings are growing and becoming.

    Corina Duyn said...

    Thank you Therese
    The little being are coming alive more and more.
    I see now the connection with life and death. And renewal.
    much love