Holding the Dark

Posted: January 24, 2020 by Mo Crow in It's Crow Time

Holding the Dark Mo 2020
black Italian glove leather over bookbinders board, black vintage suede lining, black leather cord, grape vine tendril, lead fishing weight covered in gold leaf, red and black Ormosia coccinea seed (a gift from Peter Webb  plant guru extraordinaire 1974), black linen thread, red Gütermann upholstery thread
H 8cm W 8cm x D 8cm
an elegant resolve
in process
it was tricky stitching the knotted linen thread into the edges!
gold leaf over lead fishing weight in process
the sun just came out briefly so here’s a couple of better photos taken by Old Man Crow with his iphone
my hands Holding the Dark
the inside view
Holding the Dark disappearing into the shadows

  1. dinahmow says:

    It suggests something menacing, hidden, unresolved. Until it is opened!

    Very “Mo.” 🙂

    • Mo Crow says:

      (((Di))) this one took me deep into the darkness of existential angst but then on Sunday there was a big Crow vs Currawong argument in our back lane concerning the light post. The biggest Crow was very vocal, told the Currawong off in no uncertain terms then flew straight at me, looking me right in the eye through the louvres in the bedroom window, with a deft flick of the wings he flew up onto the roof & stomped around chortling… crows always alert me to the magic that’s around when we take the time to listen. On Tuesday I got a call from a friend saying there was a dead fruit bat on Parramatta Rd. I grabbed the gardening gloves, a trowel and a pair of secateurs to give him a decent burial taking 4 claws in the process… transformation
      Magic Days

  2. Martine Bos says:

    Mo its beautiful and elegant but i can’t bear much black nowadays…………..

  3. deemallon says:

    Elegant indeed.

  4. nancy says:

    Wow! Mo you are the most wonderful box artist around! This one is really something.

  5. Louise Watson says:

    Elegant alchemy indeed! Very beautiful and the little gold weight inside – superb!

    • Mo Crow says:

      (((Louise))) finding the gold in the dark, the first phase in the alchemical process is the nigredo or blackening,
      “Psychologically, nigredo is a process of directing oneself to find self-knowledge. A problem is given full attention and reduced to its core. This is not done so much in an intellectual way, but especially by feeling the emotions. By really going into to it, one causes putrefaction, the decomposition of that in which one had been stuck. The confrontation with the inner reality is often painful, and can lead to depression. But once in the depth of the darkness, with the discovery of the seed of the problem, the seed in the ‘prima materia’, the white light is born (=albedo, whiteness, the next phase). A state of rest arises. Insight into the problem has been gained, it has been worked out emotionally, and knowledge arises on how to handle it in a more positive way and to build a more pure attitude.”

  6. Rene Walkin says:

    Absolutely exquisite Mo-everything you make is so beautiful!

  7. Marti says:

    Dark but the dark is contained and I think of how it must have been, working with this. Yes, I understand and realized that it could definitely put you in a funk but simultaneously, it could have also been such a good, cathartic way of expressing dismay, anger and grief, channeling all of this into the black box…knowing that the dark cannot hold out against love, against hope, against taking it to the streets, action in the face of adversity, light against dark, your golden orb rising when the lid was opened…a powerful creative expression here Mo…

    • Mo Crow says:

      (((Marti))) this was potent work, dealing with such deep despair as the fires rage around our land finding hope and transformation in the dark, as Clarissa Pinkola Estés Letter said in her Letter to Young Activist in Troubled Times ;
      “… One of the most calming and powerful actions you can do to intervene in a stormy world is to stand up and show your soul. Soul on deck shines like gold in dark times. The light of the soul throws sparks, can send up flares, builds signal fires … causes proper matters to catch fire. To display the lantern of soul in shadowy times like these — to be fierce and to show mercy toward others, both — are acts of immense bravery and greatest necessity. Struggling souls catch light from other souls who are fully lit and willing to show it. If you would help to calm the tumult, this is one of the strongest things you can do. “

  8. Liz A says:

    it is always a challenge to capture the darkness in photography … how apt that it was that bringing it out into the light of day made your box visible in your hands … and better yet, the inspiring words of Clarissa Pinkola Estes, which your artistry has brought to life

    • Mo Crow says:

      (((Liz))) I read Clarissa Pinkola Estés powerful words on Monday morning when I woke up crying, they always bring hope & fortify the soul. Holding the dark, knotting the linen thread with deep intent into every knot, stitching it ever so carefully into the edges with love & respect for the materials.Then after it was all said and done these words made me laugh, going deep into the heart of the matter from Patti Smith’s latest book, “Year of the Monkey” (p 41)
      “…But then everything changes. It’s the way of the world. Cycles of death and resurrection, but not always in the way we imagine. For instance we might all resurrect looking way different, wearing outfits we’d never be caught dead in.”

  9. fiberels says:

    BEAUTY as boxes …

    • Mo Crow says:

      (((Els))) the chicken and the egg Voodoo Child (slight return) with a nod to Jimi Hendrix Electric Ladyland is incubating… need to make a few drawings of some favourite trees ’round the neighbourhood to keep the hand in first!

  10. Acey says:

    as always my favorite part is the ever so elegant stitched finishing details. But this time I love equally your hands holding the box towards us. And the VOID when it’s opened. And the peculiar yet compelling handle.

  11. fiona says:

    Oh Mo, this one is precious. I knew I wanted to see it; needed to know it was in the world; and it is indeed a splendid thing. It is so interesting to know that it arrived fully formed from a dream, and look how beautifully you’re able to realise that dream. Clarissa’s words are so powerful, and so needed. Thank you.

  12. Barry says:

    Hi MC – very powerful piece. B

  13. Saskia van Herwaarden says:

    this one is scary, I have been here looking at it several times…..reading the comments I gather I am not alone in this, but you are right, we cannot afford to look away from that what frightens or even terrifies us

    • Mo Crow says:

      (((Saskia))) seeds need the dark to germinate and fears shrink when pulled up out of the shadows to be looked at straight in the eye

      • Saskia van Herwaarden says:

        ha, hadn’t thought of it this way, of course you are right
        and also, even though I am afraid of so many things, I try to face my fears and notice how they often shrivel under close scrutiny

  14. Dana says:

    Oh Mo, this box is so powerful! It evokes and holds the dark clearly and unequivocally, triggering all the reactions that darkness brings out in us. I see mystery and magic here….. the unresolved possibilities lurking beneath the surface symbolized by a sphere of gold. I’m glad you kept it simple (although your details are as exquisite as ever) because darkness is a blanket and an obliteration and too much stuff would have undermined that quality.

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