‘If you live the sacred and despise the ordinary, you are still bobbing in the ocean of delusion.’
Lin-Chi Buddhist proverb (from Craft Unbound)
What’s often most astonishing about the internet is the way in which paths cross virtually across the most incredible distances. Australia had always counted among the more exotic places in the imagination of my youth … the pull of coral landscapes, aboriginal painting, the sound of the didgeradoo, the miracle of a kangaroo’spouch, to name a few resonances. In the course of my occasional virtual travels (aka “surfing the internet), I’ve stumbled across some pretty amazing craft work. But earlier this week I was amazed to learn that the TikkunTree project has been included among the on the Craft Unbound blog. he Craft Unbound blog continues the exploration begun in Australian Kevin Murray’s Craft Unbound: Makes The Common Precious (read the preface, or a review) of new developments in contemporary craft, especially in the “poor craft” movement – “the creative strategy of using materials that have little or no value”. When I read the preface, I was intrigued by Murray’s distinction between craft artists according to their “method of approaching the ordinary:
Gatherers draw from the [...] land to produce work, while Fossickers discover materials in manufactured environments. Gleaners use what gets left behind, such as packaging, and Alchemists look to the physical transformation of materials. Dissectors expose beauty through the act of destruction, but Liberators take the precious out of the gallery and onto the street.
I’m flattered that the TikkunTree is counted among the “unbound” in Murray’s estimation, a participant in the “art of the ordinary”. But more importantly, I hope that the TikkunTree’s “liberation” from the gallery conveys my conviction that the business of making peace is an ordinary one, something that grows out of ordinary thoughts, conversation, connection, commitment, and (hopefully) eventual action. Making a single leaf is a simple act, expressing a simple commitment – to peace. So if the TikkunTree is to truly contribute to the realization of peace in Israel-Palestine, it can do so only by the accumulation of ordinary acts of peace-ful making. Will you knit (or crochet, sew, felt, fold …) a leaf or two, to make this virtual olive tree a real symbol of peace?