“There is one timeless way of building. It is a thousand years old, and the same today as it has ever been. The great traditional buildings of the past, the villages and tents and temples in which man feels at home, have always been made by people who were very close to the center of this way.”
~ Christopher Alexander
It has been many years since we built our first steam box (still in use) and made our very first yurt(still going strong). Doing it the right way has always been my “thing”...not so much a perfectionist but just wanting it to feel right...to me when something feels right it is worth its weight in gold. When it doesn't then I feel stiff, awkward and uncomfortable.
It is the same with anything creative...writing, painting or playing an instrument...feel is what guides the artist and that is also my experience.
Our work becomes an expression of who we are. If we are lucky. At first glance it may seem that all yurts are equal, that a yurt is simply just that, a yurt. But in fact, like all nouns, they hide something. A name, a moniker is useful to help us communicate and yet when we look carefully they hide what is there….is it a car or is that a piece of art with an engine? It is only when we stop to feel it, to pause and sense how that “car” feels to us that we recognise it is far more than the three letters, c a r.
It is the same for yurts...at least we want that to be the case, for you to experience more than a name, a function, a shape, to perceive and experience something we might describe as magical.. Beautiful places and spaces are not random affairs, they are precisely knowable and we can create them…
Architect and visionary, Christopher Alexander, quoted above, has written extensively about this specialness, this unnamable feel we recognise in all great buildings. When we make a yurt it is with this very vision, this ancient sense, what Alexander calls the Timeless Way…
“It is not possible to make great buildings, or great towns, beautiful places, places where you feel yourself, places where you feel alive, except by following this way. And, as you will see, this way will lead anyone who looks for it to buildings which are themselves as ancient in their form, as the trees and hills, and as our faces are”.
...places where you feel alive...nourished and most of all yourself...this is and has always been our goal in yurt making. We had a great many generations of teachers who crafted these structures in a time when humans were much closer to this “quality with no name”, this timeless way.
The ancient nomads who walked the bare earth for 1000s of years, herding and wandering the ancient plains...these ancient peoples...as old as the hills forged the their own souls into the humble yurt.
As the years pass, it seems to me we are invited to a dance, invited to dance to life´s tune, to find its expression in our living...this isn't easy in today's mechanical world...where everything is governed by a way of thinking that was so alien to the ancients as it is normal for us. Some call it spirit, or the Timeless Way, the quality with no name...whatever we name it it is sadly missing from much of our environment and the places we inhabit.
It is our joy, that in a small but significant way, we re-include this timeless way into our crafts and support the rediscovery of this most ancient and vital of forces.