Being bound

Print completed for North Carolina Outward Bound School’s 50th anniversary.

‘Scenes’ are simply moments in time, but not all moments in time are simply ‘scenes.’

Tablerock in North Carolina’s Linville gorge is a magical place. It’s striking to think that such magnificent natural areas are born of decrease rather than growth… and yet… there it stands stripped away of all that will not stand or grow upon it, leaving the strong heart of the mountain exposed.

‘Less is more.’

‘Only that which is empty can be filled.’

These sayings are not meaningless throwaway words. They carry a natural truth of our being if we’re open and capable of letting them in. In a way the text for this print is born of the same. A simple and small group of words stripped away of unnecessary exposition. In a way, this is what the experiential education organization Outward Bound does as well—stripping away what is unneccesary, unhelpful and a hinderance to our lives by means of a transformative experience—revealing the strong heart that lies beneath our softness and reliance on modern convenience.

When North Carolina Outward Bound School first approached me about making a print of tablerock my first inclination was to say ‘no.’ After all, there were any number of wonderful representations of this beautiful and majestic place to be sure. What finally changed my mind was the idea that it would be possible to capture an experience—not a scene. And that’s what I’ve attempted to do here. It’s what I try to do in all my works. All ‘scenes’ are simply moments in time, but not all moments in time are simply ‘scenes.’

The development, carving and printing of this piece indeed pushed me to my limits just as I imagine the programs at Outward Bound do for their participants. I am happy and thankful for the opportunity to work with such a great organization that shares many of my own sensibilities as an artist and a person.

As I reflect on the name Outward Bound I recognize it as the direction thousands of people have traveled with the help of this organization to ’see’ and be bound to an idea—or rather, a path. It is the great adventure but also the great discovery of self as bound to all things.

Find out more about the print here.

Find out more about North Carolina Outward Bound School here.