Saturday, October 26, 2013

3rd place...

My gallery talk at the Zarrow Center, students from JBU
I received the 3rd place award for best hat at the Mad Hatter's Ball last night in Eureka Springs. The Mad Hatter's Ball is an annual fundraiser for the Eureka Springs School of the Arts. My daughter Lucy designed my hat to be a protest against AEP/SWEPCO's invasion of our small community. I think I got votes of sympathy for our cause. No one wants them to do what they want to do to us.

Yesterday I drove to Tulsa to give my gallery talk at the Zarrow Art Center. It would have been poorly attended but for a group of students from John Brown University who were in the neighborhood at the time and walked in off the street. The students were taking a class called "the arts for non-artists."

It is interesting to me  that the arts are considered by most to be something separate from their own lives. In schools the arts are considered separate from academic disciplines... as though the arts are in some way disconnected from math, science, psychology, sociology, and all else. What utter nonsense that is. All students should be deeply engaged in the arts.

It was said that in Bali they have no arts, they do everything as well as they can. Here we have arts, because there is a tendency to do things to the point of sufficiency, rather than to a point of excellence. I find examples of this everywhere I look. In the AEP/SWEPCO Environmental Impact Statement, they tried to offer the minimal amount of information to get by and squeeze their proposal through the regulatory process. In the judge's order she asked whether the EIS was "sufficient to meet the requirements of Arkansas State Law." And if you read the Arkansas State Law, you'll find as I did that it's sufficient only enough to provide lawyers an opportunity to argue both sides in court.

Testing and standardized testing in schools creates an environment in which getting by is OK. The arts and craftsmanship engage students in pursuits in which there are no limits to possible growth. Without the arts, we dwell in persistent mediocrity.

An art teacher friend of mine had noted that his time with his kids was but a pinpoint in time. What could he possibly accomplish in that pinpoint in time? But a child's engagement in craftsmanship and participation in the arts can inspire work and shape attitudes and relationships for a lifetime.

Pass the saw between and edges will be cut to fit tight.
Today in the wood shop, I'm working on boxes to fill gallery orders before the holiday season. I am behind as usual. And I always keep discovering new ways to improve the accuracy of my work. For instance, I now fit inlay by laying two parts on the table saw sled and pass the blade between. This innovation was brought to mind by a Japanese boat building technique called suriawase in which a saw is passed between two boards to bring them into perfect alignment.

Make, fix and create....

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