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  • Paul Wakelam

a small ritual

this series of drawings are made following 'A Drawing Ceremony', a short guide to contemplative and meditational drawing by Tim Brennan.

It is a process that if repeated frequently will, as Brennan describes, achieve several things:

  • It may reduce stress or anxiety,

  • it may enable you to focus your senses in new ways, especially in the way you observe detail,

  • it may introduce you to a new kind of making,

  • the more the Drawing Ceremony becomes your own practice the more it will become part of your own journey of mindfulness,

  • it involves a form of meditation but also that of contemplation,

  • you will also have an end result, an object, an artwork.

The ceremony begins with the making of a booklet from a single sheet of A4 paper torn into 8 rectangular leaves and stapled together, in this case I couldn't help myself and used a 3-hole pamphlet stitch. This creates a blank booklet consisting of a front and back cover and 28 pages.

The ceremony continues by going for a walk, selecting a stone and getting to know the feel of the stone on the return journey.

Drawings are then made in the book of the front, back and sides of the , in each case drawing the outline then adding as much detail as feels right. It is important to punctuate , pausing between the drawings and noticing the detail of fissures, pockmarks, and indentations.

Once four pages have been completed it is time to pause, and be pleased and now the stone can be returned to where it was found.

I found the whole process incredibly nurturing. To begin with, making the booklet was very enjoyable, I make books frequently and I am able to simply enjoy tearing paper. The binding added another dimension to the meditative qualities of making as it takes a certain amount of concentration.

The walk was also an important aspect of the ceremony - I chose to walk to some woodland about 20 minutes away and I approached the walk in a meditative way, not rushing and not really thinking about too much apart from the act of walking.

Selecting the stone was also given some time and thought, finding one that had some interesting markings and felt good in the hand - this was explored on the return walk.

Then the drawing began. Looking at something that would normally be disregarded is interesting in itself but to look at a stone's details and give these time felt like a generous thing to do. In translating all the stone's marks to marks on paper actually felt like I was being given gift, a gift of knowledge and understanding but also a gift of time and patience gained from just sitting and drawing.

The act of then taking the stone back to the place it was found and returning it gently to the ground gave a great connection to a place and a process; this is a showing of respect.

Time to extend the ceremony...

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