Sunday, March 30, 2014

the value of tools, vs. art...

From the New York Times
Evidently, some people are wondering why musical instruments like the Stradivarius violins and violas have not yet reached the value of works by famous artists. Blog reader Randall Henson alerted me to some articles that address this issue, like this on PBS, Setting a new bar on the price of musical instruments.

It is fascinating that musical instruments need to be used in order to be preserved of their usefulness and beauty of sound. An article from the New York Times describes this phenomenon: Fingers that keep the most treasured violins fit. On the other hand, a painting can be hung by a decorator on a wall in an office where a CEO can merely point to it with pride and derive benefit of pride from having it in his possession. He requires no particular expertise to revel in its proposed value. Someone owning a Stradivarius, would be made to feel shallow and incompetent by his or her own failure to make such a magical instrument perform. Now that these instruments are gaining in value, some are being leased to artists, and others, falling into the unskilled hands of speculators and collectors will diminish in value for not being played.

It may come to pass that musicians will be like dog walkers, hired to exercise strads in the same way dog walkers are hired by the rich and famous to exercise their poodles and thus keep them fit and of value.

What a funny world we live in.

My friend Larry Williams makes wood bodied hand planes that are works of art, and yet, most are sold to collectors who may be hesitant to take their first swipe on wood due to concerns that by doing so, they will diminish the plane's value. Perhaps when they learn that a tool is nothing without use, these collectors will hire craftsmen to make things using their collections of tools. Fat chance of anything like that happening.

My new book project that I'm beginning will be Making Kindergarten's Gifts. Chapter one will include some overview of the life of Friedrich Froebel, the impact of Kindergarten on world-wide education, and the making of the first gift.

Make, fix and create...

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