Sunday, February 15, 2015

Form, beauty and the forest...

By making certain that students are not educated in form, beauty, and the arts, developers and industrialists can do whatever they like to the landscape, because people will not have enough sensitivity to object. So putting a lot of pressure on reading at too early an age is an effective strategy because it keeps children from developing in ways that would allow them to arise in opposition to the industrialization of our landscape. When SWEPCO planned (for over 6 years) to force their new extra high voltage power line through what can most accurately be described as an "arts community," Eureka Springs, it only took 21 months for Save the Ozarks to force SWEPCO and the Southwest Power Pool to admit they had met their match. After they pulled the plug on the last day of December, 2014, we found reason to celebrate, and we do each day.

Save the Ozarks did a celebratory dance down Spring St. yesterday during the Mardi Gras Parade. While other participants were throwing beads at the fans, we gave away packets of wild flower seeds, and my tractor was decorated on the theme "Land that we love." The loader was full of fake flowers made from old Stop SWEPCO yard signs. It was fun hearing the cheers and seeing my trusty Kubota used for some lighter work.

I know more than a few of my readers will be interested in reading Barbara's translation of Jacobsen's book, I Sløjdsagen Et Inlæg. It is interesting how Jacobsen addresses the movement of the eye in the assessment of form.
A line invites the eyes to make the fixation point glide along itself. When the fixation point is continually moved in this way, a continuous movement of the gaze arises. If the line is regular, for instance the straight line, the direction of the movements are subject to the same regularity and we notice both through the retina and the necessary movements of the eye whether digression to the side intervenes. The longer a regular movement of vision has been able to continue, the more according to the law of habit a divergence will be felt, if attention is maintained. Is such a motion initiated and the line thereafter broken (not concluded), the eye will fix in the same direction and seek the line’s continuation in it. Line induces the eye to follow after.

This occurs with curved lines and forms as well as with straight lines. Once a fixating movement is underway following a curve it will also continue following the same curve. A kink in the line gives rise to a deviation or a break in the initiated regularity. The general law of inertia applies and it is perceived in the same way as in touch when the finger after having been run along a smooth surface meets an unevenness; or in hearing when a false tone arises in music, which depends on a certain regularity of sound.

A regularly increasing or decreasing curvature is perceived according to the same law; therefore the steady deviation in curve has created a corresponding, even movement of the eye.
One thing that I try to tell my students is that when the eye's movement is unnecessarily jilted (thrown off track) in its assessment of form, the work is seen with less clarity as to the craftsman's intent. It may seem wishy-washy as though it is not a complete thought. But I have been most effective at getting this point across by discussing the work's technical merit. Try sanding a jagged turned shape, for instance. It is very difficult to effectively polish a shape that is poorly defined, or that may have imperfections from unskilled use of the tools.

The fortunate thing about wood working is that the material is bio-degradeable. In the 3-D print shop at school (consisting of one MakerBot) we are well on our way to having a working hand that can be offered to someone in need. In the meantime, the oceans are awash with plastic detritus. There are 8 million metric tons of plastic dumped or washed into the oceans each year. Certainly, nature, too has provided a huge volume of forest materials into the ocean each year. There is a difference between wood and plastic, in that wood is a natural material and will readily bio-degrade without harm to other living things.

In our makerbot, we're using PLA, which is a plastic made from plant material and bio-degrades. (a very good thing).

Make, fix and create...

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