"The Mustard Seed Garden Series" of bronzes is my personal interpretation of the eight trigrams around which the ancient and still highly revered Chinese classic the I Ching is centered.
I have completed three of the series, "Mountain", "Thunder", and "Wind", pictured on this website, which symbolize the essence of stillness, movement, and following the path of initiation, respectively. I am presently sculpting "Heaven" which symbolizes strength.
I have been a sculptor and student of Taoism for many years. My inspiration for this series came to me several years ago when I decided to explore painting in the style of my favorite Oriental art and discovered a book titled The Mustard Seed Garden Manual of Painting. This book is a record of not only how to properly paint with ink but also how to apply the principles of the Tao to the processes of the creative act itself.
It is my understanding that "The Mustard Seed Garden" was the name of a small Chinese bookshop which undertook the task of collecting and reproducing with wood block carvings various examples of painting excellence which were at risk of being lost forever during the brutal Cultural Revolution. It first appeared in 1679 and I am truly grateful for their efforts.
As I perused "The Book of Jen Wu", the section about painting people and their things, I noted that the small ink drawings of what appeared to be Taoist monks seemed to lend a particular virtue when included in landscapes or other settings. Not only did they add compositional direction, balance, and scale to the images around them, which may otherwise be confusing or lost, they also added personal access for the viewer to the overall compositions. It was this personal access through human identity that offered my initial inspiration for this series.
In my own effort to lend personal accessibility to the I Ching trigrams, symbols of mystical and natural principles, I have endeavored to sculpt three-dimensional images. It is my sincere intent to reflect these principles honestly through my favorite medium of bronze. Thus, I have named my endeavor The Mustard Seed Garden Series. I am dedicated to completing these eight sculptures, all of which will be to scale with one another and will be interactive in groupings displayed both indoors and out.
It is my observation that those who cultivate their inner and outer paths by following the Tao often times employ the principles of Feng Shui to cultivate and direct the energy flow in and around their homes and work places. Beyond creating a meditative focal point, the deliberate placement of a bronze metal sculpture in one's environment may also serve to balance, redirect, or facilitate the flow of chi.
The juxtaposition of "Mountain", representing stillness, and "Thunder", representing movement, is the most pervasive concept within Taoist texts. That is, to still the mind and move with clarity and deliberation. I hope you enjoy taking this journey with me as the path unfolds. You are very welcome to contact me through my galleries or website at any time.