Against the flow to the Dragon’s Gate
In Chinese and Asian folklore is the legend of The Dragon’s Gate. It’s a story that’s as common as there are rivers and waterfalls. But the moral of the story resonated with this project. Even though it was the furthest thing from my mind when I embarked on this creative journey.
The Dragon’s Gate Story
This is my paraphrased version of the Dragon’s Gate based on the research that I have conducted.
In the third month of spring somewhere in China, the koi carp begin to swim. They swim from the seas and the tributaries. Against the currents, they swim up the river to gather in the pool of plenty at the foot of a huge waterfall. Many of the koi don’t make it, getting lost along the way or allowing adversity to prevent them from completing the journey.
Of all the koi that make it to the pool of plenty, only a few can continue the journey. It is said that there can be only seventy-one koi ascend through the Dragons Gate.
When these koi have jumped through the Dragon’s gate they’re rewarded for their tenacity and determination. Transforming into dragons themselves and bestowed with magical powers.
The Creative Journey
These days I work on an iPad but I was exploring the potential of what working on my desktop could achieve. I was experimenting, pushing boundaries and limitations of software to manipulate my artwork. And I have to admit I was was very happy with the results I was achieving! But something wasn’t quite right, I still don’t know why either. So the project kinda got shelved.
I spent a lot of time in Brisbane, particularly in Fortitude Valley and China town. This is where a lot of the Asian influence comes from and the story of the dragon’s gate I suspect. Friends had seen the artwork and more than once it was mentioned that the works would translate well as fabrics. I don’t disagree but I am yet to explore this aspect of the project yet.
Plabric, making the journey an environmental statement
Plabric tied the ideas I had with fabric. And being more durable, structured soft sculptures. I had visions of sculptured koi dotted along a river of some sort, created from a bolt of fabric. This, I thought was a logical progression. Plastics pollute waterways and harms wildlife.
Connecting with Clay
So it was back to the drawing board or should I say iPad, where to from here? I had every intention of exhibiting this project, the story of overcoming adversity is a great theme to explore.
I wasn’t intentionally revisiting the theme of the story when I started going to meet with a group of potters at the Dalby Arts Centre. I was actually going in relation to researching Dalby’s art history. However, I decided to play with clay, something I haven’t don’t since I was in high school.
I was hoping to translate some of my original digital works. The clay, however, had other ideas. Working with clay is very different to working with vector drawings and layers. So far I am happy with the results but the journey is not at an end yet.