Next week it will be Pesach. Which means it will soon be the Omer period, and the ritual counting of the seven weeks, the 49 days leading up to Shavuot. During temple times it was a daily barley sacrifice, which the rabbinic mystics interpreted as an opportunity for personal transformation. In the past I have counted the omer with a daily drawing practice. Exploring themes of loss, brokenness, baggage, fear and the poetry of numbers.
My starting point for this year’s omer drawings is a worn out old London A-Z. It was lying around at home, very out of date and little used now that we all have maps on our smartphones. It conveniently has 49 double spread pages, with a 7 x 7 grid at the beginning. While I was checking if it would be suitable to be appropriated to use in this way, I noticed that there is a body of open water on every double page spread, from fabricated canals and lakes, to natural rivers and ponds. Some pages it’s very small, but the water is there. I find this intriguing, I am not sure if this is unusual for London, or common to most cities. After all where there are humans, especially in a densely populated urban space, there needs to be water. Water is life.
In Jewish mysticism, water associated with Chochmah, Wisdom. Chochmah is pure thought, that flash of inspiration, before it is channeled into language with Binah, Understanding. The relationship between Chochmah and Binah is that between water and it’s containers. Water flows, and has no natural form but fills the vessels it is in.
So these Water Drawings will begin with highlighting the bodies of water on each double page, and then lets see what emerges and flows from there. Like all the previous omer drawings, I have a starting point, and not entirely sure where I will end up. I'm currently reading a lot about clouds, highly recommend this book, so it might get metrological. And I'm also learning Sefer Yetzirah, so it might get mystical. And because the Omer is about personal transformation, it could get very personal. It’s a process, and I trust that just as it has in the past, it will reveal something… I aim to post these omer drawings to Instagram and Facebook. you are welcome to follow me and lets get wet.