In the midst of surviving in the jungle, I have been creating tropical hardwood carvings from the local wood that I find. On my first voyage to Brazil in 1973 on my catamaran I made carvings from abandoned canoes. I shipped some of the carvings back home, but the biggest one, a boy riding a dolphin, I carried over the pontoons. When the weather got too rough, I sacrificed it to the Gods of the Sea. That act familiarized me with spirits in the world culture of man that dwell in the artistic creations of man and help us adapt and thrive on the earth as our souls venture into space. It has become a necessity for me to create art objects to aid our survival as we adventure into the unknown.
Of course we are busy working on the boat. Now is the time that we must work to save the schooner. She needs and deserves it. After her epic voyage, she is worn out in every way and rebuilding an aging schooner is demanding work. It takes all my time and is a challenge for me after the physical feat of departing the terra firma longer than any man. I thought my time of extreme physicality was over and that I would never sculpt again. But the mystical spirits call me and visions of gods and goddesses appear in all the wood shapes I see and I must answer their call. On a full moon extreme low tide, as we landed our dinghy, we stepped out on an old smooth holey three foot wide black plank. Four of us pulled it up and sawed it up into four foot pieces as we hauled it up on the river bank.
The first statement I made was cutting a big circle out of the plank. Much to my surprise, I found it was purple heart wood! I have had a love relationship with purple heart wood since 1971 when the solo sailor, Klaus, showed me the purple heart wood from Guyana in the interior of the little cutter he built on the beach in Bequia. When I sailed to Bequia a few years later, I began carving in purple heart. Now we see the jungle through a polished circle and are taken around the world to zen-like spaces. A praying goddess subtly appears in what looks like flames coming out of the circle.
I have several more pieces in progress, both on the shore and on the schooner. The tall slender form of a mystical creature emerges from a piece of heavy mora wood. Can you imagine that I actually hear and sea in my mind’s eye the jungle around me thank me for carving its wood and lifting its presence above domestic and commercial uses towards eternal callings. This is part of what compels me to create even when the realities of life and the huge job of rebuilding the schooner overwhelm me.