Thursday, February 19, 2015

the ornamentation of form

The artistic impulse, the following from Robert Keable Row, 1909:"When one comes to feel a conscious power over his materials, is aware of a degree of technical skill in working, realizes a degree of pleasure in manipulating the materials, the art impulse begins to assert itself. He wants to add decoration to his work. He wants to express his feelings of joy in his work as well as his intellectual interest in the problem solved." The artistic impulse is a part of the way through which a maker lays claim to ownership of the object.

The ownership impulse, also from Robert Keable Row: original piece of composition, produced because the writer has seen, thought and felt something worth telling, "though a puir thing, his ain," is always a source of pleasure to the author. The young bride rejoices with commendable pride, in the pie, or cake, or, if she be especially efficient, the loaf of bread, of "her own make." The prosperous business or professional man takes vastly more interest in the products of his own flower plot, or of the fruit tree he has landed and pruned, than in the best his wealth can buy. The marvelous development of machinery for manufacturing, with all its accompanying advantages, has had this disadvantage, that it has deprived the worker of a large part of the personal pride and joy he had in the work of his hand. It is not unreasonable to hope that shorter hours for the factory worker, cheaper and better transportation to suburban homes, training in manual occupations in the schools, growth of the arts and crafts idea, and development of an appreciation of the differences between machine made decoration and the work of the artist-artisan, may restore to civilized man in general, and to the city dweller especially, much of that joy in human production of which manner has deprived him.
The drawing above is one version of a new project I've had on the mental drawing board for years. I call it a "choiring of trees" in honor of Arkansas writer Donald Harrington, who wrote a lovely book by the same name about a man in death row in an Arkansas prison, and his relationship with the trees in his forested community. It is planned to contain 25 samples of Arkansas hardwoods, each a different species. I plan two versions, one wall hung and the other free-standing. Aa small door at the bottom is pushed opened to allow the fingers to pull open the two doors that cover the front of the small cabinet. Inside you find the "choir" of various species. It will be a small chapel in which to worship the diversity of our forests.

You can see that our second Clear Spring School 3-D printed hand is nearly complete. Two of my students cleaned it up, removing plastic waste and fitting the parts. They were proud of what they'd done, as it required some careful work.

Make, fix and create...

1 comment:

  1. The "Choiring of Trees" seems like a vertical version of a piece you made many years ago for showing native Arkansas woods. As I remember it was made from a beautiful lighter colored wood.