Amacker (2019) writes about surrendering to the now, pointing to a state of being where one can dissolve her boundaries and objective conditions in experiencing and begin understanding how we are connected in our actions. Amacker also directs the attention towards a sense of being instead of pursuing towards a conclusion: “At some point all experience passes into a cognitive process of distinguishing and analysis, but the qualitative begins with connection. When we allow ourselves to be taken up with the materials and energies of our environment we stop becoming an object of our awareness. Our experience can stop satisfying objective conditions and we can be taken up directly in sense-perception” (Amacker 2019: 1846).
Giving attention to our bodies during practice and exploring our sense perception is truly directing the attention towards within. In the Subtle Ground method, the purpose is to be open to connectedness, how we are part of the world instead of shutting down and closing the world around. Architect Juhani Pallasmaa writes: “ ...visual perceptions are fused and integrated into the haptic continuum of the self; my body is truly the navel of my world, not in the sense of the viewing point of the central perspective, but as the very locus of reference, memory, imagination, and integration” (2007: 11).
The method Subtle Ground can be seen as unfolding a process from dwelling towards indwelling. As discussed in the section ‘Sensorial Ground’, the weekly process described as inhaling and exhaling draws upon a wider context, turning the attention gradually within, where aesthetic experiences can be understood. The term ‘indwelling’, we feel aptly points to the area of understanding, of capacity, where our interest lies. Indwelling is described as “being an inner activating or guiding force” (Merriam-Webster, n.d.). In here, the indwelling further defines dwelling, giving direction to let the attention move within making and in connection with the material qualities.
What is also evident in the idea of dwelling as an approach to making is that there is no need to express oneself through an outcome. It is about staying with the experience of being with the material in making and directing the attention to haptic experiences. The making as such can be anything that supports practitioners to indwell. The given example of ceramic pebble making is a good exemplary exercise that supports the dwelling approach because of its mute nature. Muteness in making implies a process that is about feeling the clay in palms and turning the focus on the embodied dimension (Falin and Oksanen 2021).
In this context, dwelling means giving time to a process and spending time with the feelings and sensations that belong to that particular process. To dwell in is to be able to focus, to stay with the practice or the process in an open active way, to continue, and to return with growing familiarity. The Subtle Ground emphasizes the idea of dwelling and the process towards indwelling. It is about connectedness, it is an organism–environment interaction, it is about the aesthetics in making.