At the European Ceramic Work Centre

At the European Ceramic Work Centre

The Other Tiger  (Printing its tracks on the muddy Margins of a river whose name it does not know)

J.L Borges

A few weeks has past since my first encounter with the ceramic material, stationed as an artist in residence at the EKWC in s-Hertogenbosch (NL). Borges "Dreamtigers" is frequently present in my mind, as a haven of thought and as a starting point for the works to come.

The shortcomings of my hands trying to turn thought into material, material as a translation of thought through my hands... a logbook of mistakes, changed routes, shortcuts turning into long detours, test tiles, the benefits and limits of technical skills... and the lack of the same.While previous patterns of working habits are broken, redone, puzzled together - the work is slowly mapping out its territory, its origins, its presence.

The Dreamtiger takes its first steps out of the dream, stumbling into what can hopefully show itself to be a new dream, a Tiger - not asking to be captured nor tamed, passing by, a breaths moment of time and space intersecting, a promise of a now, the disappearing act of a snowflake landing in the palm of a hand, the inaudible sound of northern lights flickering in the sky, and the inbeetween moments of time lapsing in the natural cycles of change.

In my childhood I was a fervent worshiper of the tiger: not the jaguar, the spotted ?tiger? of the Amazonian tangles and the isles of vegetation that float down the Paraná, but that striped, Asiatic, royal tiger, that can only be faced by a man of war, on a castle atop an elephant. I used to linger endlessly before one of the cages at the zoo; I judged vast encyclopedias and books of natural history by the splendor of their tigers. (I still remember those illustrations: I who cannot rightly recall the brow or the smile of a woman.) Childhood passed away, and the tigers and my passion for them grew old, but still they are in my dreams. At that submerged or chaotic level they keep prevailing. And so, as I sleep, some dream beguiles me, and suddenly I know I am dreaming. Then I think: this is a dream, a pure diversion of my will; and now that I have unlimited power, I am going to cause a tiger.

Oh, incompetence! Never can my dreams engender the wild beast I long for. The tiger indeed appears, but stuffed or flimsy, or with impure variations of shape, or of an implausible size, or all too fleeting, or with a touch of the dog or the bird.

From J.L Borges DreamTigers

The EKWC has for me shown itself to be such- that even as a first time ceramic rookie one can allow oneself to dream, the facilities and the staff can only be described as amazing, patiently guiding you through the working process, the passage where thought releases itself from the dreamer and materializes in the world.


Etta Säfve

s-Hertogenbosch, October 2009

http://ettasafve.com