The Mineral Collection
In this collection land plays an integral part in each essence.
In the mineral essence there is a story, sometimes it’s mythic, it weaves place and time, it accesses the universe, it reminds us of the microcosm within the macrocosm, the above as is below.
Like Blake’s lines of poetry:
To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.
William Blake, from Auguries of Innocence, 1803
I am holding a stone. It is greywacke, a sediment stone found on a beach at Waiheke. It is covered in fine grey lines like a gnarled palm of a hand. It’s a stone of imprints absorbing land and sea and creature. It is made up of mostly sandstone pressed down into the earth over time.
A stone moves through a cycle, from molten rock thrown up from deep within the earth, cooling and crystallising becoming igneous rock. Ash and fragments of volcanic rocks are carried to the sea by wind, rivers and glaciers. It settles to the bottom and becomes sedimentary rock. As it settles deeper and deeper, changes occur through pressure and heat and chemical reactions. It becomes metamorphic rock. If it remains deep within the surface it may melt and this liquid rock could in turn be thrown to the surface through volcanic activity.
I hold the stone, I put it down, I pick it up again and rub it. Our relationship can begin with a small stone we find and slip into our pocket, it can feel like our protector or something that can only belong to us. In its inertness we are able to create and play with it in our mind and in our feelings.
I once found a small Maori rubbing stone like this when I was a child on the pa site at Ohope. I showed it to Mr Paul, my teacher, who told me what it was and from that moment I carried it around for many years. It became intrinsically connected to me, I would hold it and rub the worn shape of it. I remember one particularly frightening incident which induced a state of shock. In touching the stone at the time, I felt myself come into my body. The stone gave me a strength that enabled me to get through some troubling times. I eventually gave it to a friend who did not understand its significance and it was lost in the way stones are. Today, as I write this, I feel the loss of a small and powerful friend.
It’s hard to describe the smell of mineral. It conjures riverbed, mountain, earth, or dust and dark caverns where there is no light of day. The mineral kingdom that makes up our rocks, volcanic, sedimentary and metamorphic, gives us the story of our earth. Our lives are intimately connected with minerals and our death will be part of the chemical process that creates rock. Rock is thousands and thousands of years of life that has come before us. It gives us insight into time and rhythm.
The predominant experience that most people have in their relationship with the kingdom of minerals is a sense of preciousness, sometimes verging on possessiveness. There are many mysterious and magical stories in literature where a person becomes possessed by the very thing they wish to possess.
The force of mineral is integral to the material world on which our society is based. It is a force that can create a deep rift in our human relationships, creating feelings of superiority and deep unhappiness. Awareness and understanding of our relationship with the material world can lead to co-operation without the need to renounce or discard. I often think that what balances all that power and strength of the material force is tenderness.
The rock is universal, it is the stuff of the universe, the fundamental element of life, in essence it is star dust. In merging with the mineral or rock through meditation is to experience the great dropping away of what we identify with in the world. Interesting the paradox of this is that the mineral and the material world is what we create from to express our identity.
I have placed the pearl and the nautilus shell in this collection for although they are created by an animal they are made up of a mineral substance. The shells also break down and are part of our sedimentary process of the rock cycle.