A visitation to my Studio

A few  evenings ago I was working in my studio, the door was open. In a moment a very large Tawny owl flew in, flew about, landed on the back of my computer chair, then flew up to the beam above my head, stared down at me, flew around the room again and then out of the door — gone. I spoke to it- “what are you doing here? Aren’t you beautiful etc”

I was left stunned and felt that this had been a special moment. We hear them here in the woods behind the house, but rarely see them. It was a very large and beautiful bird. I felt somehow honoured, and since my health is not good — protected. Actually wildlife seems to come in an out of the studio. A robin often visits and hops around under my feet. Not so long ago I was on the phone and a pipistrelle bat flew in — flying around my head and the room and then eventually out again.

Throughout my life I have had encounters with owls. I even once made a sculpture from a real live Tawny owl which was tethered to a post and who watched me walking around him — swivelling his head as I went around the back. I once discovered a baby Little owl in the field behind my friends house. I crouched down and tickled its breast with my finger and he hopped on — staring at me with big eyes all the time to make sure I didn’t try on any funny business. I left him under the bush.

Early on in my career  I was beginning to doubt what I was doing and it was very hard to make a living. Just at this time I had a very powerful archaic dream — a dream which seemed to come from the history of the human race.

‘I was sitting with my back up against an old twisted pine in a kind of Cezanne landscape. As I looked out over the landscape I became aware I was not alone. I looked up and on the branch above my head were two huge Eagle owls sitting impassively. I thought to myself I have been here all this time and had no idea these two were here. At this moment a third owl flew down, grabbed me and flew off with me. Then cut to and underground cavern with tree roots, sitting across from me were several children and the owl in the centre of the space was explaining to the kids the significance of the intricate painting on a very large egg.’

Over the years I have found deeper meaning in this dream — like leaving the parental nest and becoming an artist, but mainly this is a shamanic dream where the trainee shaman is grabbed by a large bird of prey and either taken up into the heavens or down underground. The tree is the tree of life and the underground dark space is closely aligned to my cloud chambers where the images of clouds and sky and tree branches are brought down into a dark earthy space and re revealed in a dream-like way. The painting on the egg is the art that comes from these experiences and they may be shown in whatever way to the wider world — in particular to children, who regularly write to me from all over the world to ask about what I do.

Not long after this dream I decided to use the imagery in a basket (see below – Dream Basket). It is a coil basket made from green sticks bound in white willow and bramble. It has four handles in the cardinal directions. Owl feathers hang from each of the handles. The image woven into the basket is of two owls with outstretched wings facing one another.

About the time I made this work, I was cycling back home across the Romney Marsh from my studio at dusk. All of a sudden a beautiful and ghostly white barn owl flew down and in front of the bicycle. It continued to fly a 3 or 4 metres in front using the movement of the bicycle to put up any insects which it would swoop upon and grab. This went on for the best part of a mile. An owl makes no noise as it flies so enhancing this transcendent experience. Eventually two crows flew down and mobbed it, so it left, leaving me to cycle on feeling that I had been deeply honoured, as I did the other day when the Tawny came visiting.


A visitation to my Studio | 2022 | Ideas, Uncategorized | Media: , | Tags: