Sunday, December 05, 2010

if you grow up by the highway...

If you grow up at the side of the highway, you assume that highway speed is normal and desireable, despite the exhaust smoke and obvious dangers involved. Last night at my small show at Lux Weaving Studio, a visitor asked, how do you have patience for such work?  Our sense of time is a thing conditioned by our engagement in it. We have patience for some things and not others and I have no patience for waiting in line to buy the latest hot object on Black Friday, and I have no patience for urban traffic where you wait at lights and then lurch forward at breakneck speeds in order to save the time you wasted at the light.

These days, Americans routinely hurl along on fossil fuels at speeds unattainable by kings and queens in earlier times. Our computers can thrust words and concepts into minds on other continents at nearly the speed of light, and we have conditioned ourselves toward impatience with all the simple skilled standard processes that served as the foundation of human culture. There is danger in all this, as we lose patience with simpler things. The remedy is to take direct action to slow down and savor the direct acquisition of skill. There is no other path. Cook, make, plant, fix, create, become mindful and enjoy. Conviviality demands simple tools that allow for our own creative resistance to uniformity. To take time into one's own hands offers rewards unperceived by those who are driven by the machinations of industrial society toward an ever faster pace.

I am grateful to live in a creative community where the arts are nourished by appreciation. We have no stop light to mechanically control the relationships we have with each other, and to share what we do with friends is a wonderful thing.

I was pleased that my piece of sculpture, Dancing Noguchi met with favor at my small show at Lux Weaving Studio. And while I haven't sold it yet, I received enough encouragement to proceed with more sculptural experimentation. Dancing Noguchi is shown in the photo above.


  1. "Our sense of time is a thing conditioned by our engagement in it." Yes, indeed. Thanks for articulating this so clearly. So timely as I just composed an email to a fellow spoonmaker, lamenting how I've let modern life compromise shop time.

    You are a luck man. Surrounded by supportive and creative people. I've always enjoyed you woodworking. I am moved by your writing, arguing and reasoning for the sensible approach to art, handwork and education.

  2. Anonymous5:47 AM

    How do we have patience for it? That makes it sound like what a craftsman does is a chore. Good grief. Talk about not having a frame of reference for craft work.


  3. If I had sold a box to every person who claimed to not have the patience for it, I would be a wealthy man. It is offered as both an excuse and a compliment. But it overlooks the pleasure in creativity, and ignores the viewer's potential to engage in creativity themselves. There are a lot of people in our faster equals better age that won't get it.