Dimensions: 8 x 5” spoon rest with 4” creatures

Materials: clay, paint


The below writing is a companion to this sculpture.  I performed it at the MN History Theater: 

Being in Hawaii, walking distance to the ocean, actually just outside my door.  Waking up, it’s dark, is it time yet?  Can I get up yet, go swimming in the ocean?  Excitement for the day, what is to come, what will be when I step into the water?


Yes, it’s light enough, it’s time.  Swimsuit, goggles, fins, contacts, towel.  Step step step.  Sand in shoes, air turning light grey as the sun begins to rise.  Towel down, shoes off, step step water, ahh, wet, cool, step step, calves, thrill, chill, dunk all at once or walk in gradually…step step.  Dunk, Ahhh. cold, shock, thrill, I’m in.  Fins on.  Swim.  Hand over hand, arm over arm.  Look, see colors, life, movement.  My body stretches long, reaches, kicks, head and eyes move.  What do I see?  What beauty, steps forward.  The feel in my body, comfort, memory, I have always loved the water.  Fish baby.  I forgot.  I completely forgot how important the water is for me.  For me to feel happy, joy, content, comfort, curiosity…living in the moment, seeing what shows up. 


That time, in Hawaii, one morning a sea turtle—slow and steady wins the race.  Another morning an eel—rest in the rocks until you are ready to move.  another morning—a shark, Jaws music in my head.  Christmas song in my head—the Norwegian swimmer lady told me she read sharks hate Christmas carols.  Me projecting—“not afraid” in case they are like a dog and can sense fear.  Not afraid, not afraid—I’ve got my eye on you—all the way out of sight.  Shark message-keep swimming so you don’t sink.  Did you know if a shark stops swimming they actually sink.  Then another morning 300 joyful dolphins.  One swam the length of my body, 1/2” away—we went eye to eye.  Another I saw it spin, begin to spin, then turn upward toward the sky.  Spinning.  She and I pop up at the same time…me just in time to see her break surface in a spectacular jump to the sky.  Joy, happiness.  This makes life feel so present, so simple.  I want to remember water is important for me.  The other retreat, participant said—“you are a fish.”  That’s when I remember I’m a fish baby.  Always have been.  Even if I’m not in the water.  I’m still a fish baby.  I want to remember.  I need to remember.  But if I don’t—the minute I’m near the water, put my foot in, my body will remember.  Home.

Sea Creatures on Spoon Rest

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    © 2021 Martha Bird

    Holistic Nurse Baccalaureate

    Board Certified

    Martha is a recipient of the Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Initiative grant (2019) and the Creative Support for Individuals grant (2021).