forest sutra

nomad collection | technique mixte
Uttarkashi, India


I am helplessly seduced by
solitude, silence, stillness
but sooner or later
I get horny for creativity.

Wonderingmind Studio: Miriam Louisa Simons, forest sutra, Uttarkashi, India
Sutra is a Sanskrit word that can mean thread, (sew, stitches) or spiritual teachings. Since I was on retreat at the remote Krishnamurti Uttarkashi Retreat at the time, both meanings are relevant to this piece.

Walking in the high Himalayan forest I was enchanted by the pieces of bark that would fall from the trunks of huge trees and lie scattered on the forest floor like small sculptures in their own right.

I had no art materials or equipment with me.  Everything used in this piece was either scavenged from the roadside, under the trees, beside the River Ganges, or bought in the village market.

340 x 900
Stitching, gilding, assemblage
Khadi paper, hessian sackcloth, threads, river stone, old cotton dhoti, recycled cardboard, tree bark*

*Bark from the Chilgoza Pine – Pinus Gerardiana – which is native to the northwestern Himalayas. The fragments in this piece were gathered in forests near Uttarkashi, northwest India. Chilgoza Pine is a cousin of the Lacebark Pine (a native of northeastern and central China) and is also found in Pakistan and eastern Afghanistan.

the mind of winter


It’s sweaty summer downunder and the mind of winter is a far-off fantasy. But if the Xmas fairy comes with a wish to grant, it’ll be an easy choice for me: I’d l-o-v-e to attend this zen art retreat at Zen Mountain Monastery. Here’s some info from the website:

Winter is a season of deep stillness. The landscape is bare, sounds are crisp, and living creatures turn inward, seeking warmth, rest, and renewal. For many of us, winter can also be a period of trial and difficulty, a time when the life force that is at the root of our urge to create feels a bit frozen. If we look closely, though, the energy and creative potential are always there. As long as there is life, the potential is full.In this retreat, we will focus on opening the heart and mind to dispel the belief that we need special circumstances to create. We will see that, whatever state we find ourselves in, it’s possible to pick up a brush, face that situation, and use it. We just need to act with integrity. Then, simply marking a white surface with color fully expresses our creativity. We can enter wherever we are.

We’ll also have a chance to see how thirsty we are for exploration without analysis. To paint with feeling means to not know. We will explore not-knowing by painting and experiencing the movement of our bodies until the movement takes over and the unfolding of the unexpected becomes the energy that drives the brush. We may find it strange to be in a place we can’t define, but this is where true learning takes place and creativity is born.

No previous experience is necessary. All materials will be provided.

Visit the web page for more info. And if you go (you lucky sod), let me know …

Image copyright Zen Mountain Monastery website.