Tuesday, May 11, 2010

creativity is addictive. Crafted objects are, too.

There is a great deal of pleasure to be found in shaping wood into something beautiful and useful, and even when the work is done, the finished work demands being handled. Today, some of my students worked on their trebuchet and others worked on carved spoons and turning miniature ball bats on the lathe. All were more or less successful in that they were pleased with the results. When my turning students returned to class they had their ball bats taken away for the rest of the day. They just couldn't put them down. I know how they felt. I've been working on a carved walnut spoon and giving a lot of attention to getting it sanded perfectly smooth and applying an oil finish.

You can see it in the photos below. The shape invites examination, but it doesn't have a a very useful handle. It thus offers a juxtaposition of beauty with awkward uselessness and invites the viewer (or user) to examine other qualities a simple spoon represents. Is nourishment only a physical thing, or is it also emotional? Can one gain a sense of nourishment from handling such objects? I suspect so. Make one, shape and sand it to near perfection and see if you can put it down. Your hands may insist that you start another.
On the very same subject, I gave one of my fellow teachers a spoon carving blank and got her started making a spoon in yesterday's class. She told me she can hardly put it down and continues to give it shape. She sands her spoon as she talks on the phone and conducts other business. There are neurohormones triggered by hands-on creative activities that foster a sense of well-being.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yes! I know just how the kids and your coworker feel. Even if I can't work on my current project, I have to pick it up and play with it as I go through the shop to get to the laundry.

Mario