Happy New Year

Lee Gass

Happy New Year.  It has been a wonderful year of sculpting here on Quadra Island, a wonderful year of exhibiting my work in the city, and a wonderful year of reflecting on various kinds of things and sharing them with you here, in this column on creativity.  Now it is time for another year of all that, and I’m looking forward to it.

Coming soon will be a guest column by Crescent Beach painter and art therapist Cora Li-Leger, who will tell an amazing story in which she became her own art therapist and her own client as a series of paintings ushered her through a serious medical crisis and helped to make her whole again.  Cora’s story inspires me, and I know it will inspire you.  Others will contribute guest columns during the year as well.

A series of columns about individuals, “Creativity: The Case of …”,  was among the most enjoyable writing I have ever done, and I hope it was interesting to others as well.  I will continue to reflect on individuals who impress me as being unusually creative or express their creativity in unusually interesting or inspiring ways, and will be sure to include some of those reflections here.  The next column in that series, now in preparation, will be The Case of Dirk Van Der Minne, who at the age of 78 is using sculpting, the process and the way of being in the world, to regenerate, renew, and literally recreate his own life.  Dirk’s example is an important one for anyone aware of the inescapable fact about our bodies, our minds, our imaginations and our lives that we lose them if we don’t use them.  It is an especially important message for retired people who are unwilling simply to fade away. 

Any former students of mine who read this blog will be happy to know that Fred Keppel, an engineer who influenced me greatly at a critical stage of my development, will surely show up here as well in coming months, probably in more than one column because there is so much to tell about him.

I’ll also surely continue to reflect on the process of sculpting from time to time, as in this essay inspired by the fact that sanding wears away fingerprints as well as rocks, this one about some of the weightier aspects of carving rocks, or this one about the importance of a good coloured pencil to a sculptor.  I have columns on the go right now on the use of laser light and various pieces of equipment, and ideas about similar things to write about occur to me nearly every day.  And I’m sorry, but as a biologist and educator I can’t help thinking about things from those perspectives, so it’s hard to imagine not continuing to inflict at least some of that on you.

All of those kinds of things are useful to me to think about, and that makes them useful to me to write about them.  I just hope it serves some purpose of yours for me to do that writing.  Please let me know if there’s anything you’d especially like to know about, to read about, or to see.  And if there’s anything you want to argue about, reinforce, or elaborate in what I write, please contribute comments.

My main job is to carve rocks, however, and the more I do of it the more it turns me on and the more I rejoice in the miracle of it.  Currently, that is yesterday, today, tomorrow, and some short time into the future, I am rejoicing in the late-stage thrill of bringing an evolving form to completion, and writing about that.   The illustrated poem in my last column captures some of that thrill, but there is very much more to share with you. 

As I said in the beginning, Happy New Year.  It should be a good one.


Photo by David Shackleton

For more from Lee Gass, visit his website at www.leegass.com.

Lee Gass is currently represented by Petley Jones Gallery in Vancouver.


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