Sunday, May 10, 2015

fuzzy fruit...

A variety of quickly made small boxes...
There is an interesting interview in American Craft Magazine, Dec/January 2015 with glass artist Paul Stankard. I became familiar with Paul Stankard's work through an article in American Craft over 30 years ago. His work was incredible then and is even more so now. His efforts to achieve skill and vision in his work have carried on. His most recent achievement has been to create the appearance of fuzz on the skin of fruit within his intricately crafted botanical paperweights. His interview called "Who Needs Education" focuses on self-directed learning and the role that formal programs and informal opportunities play in developing the "craft artist." In it he states:
Whether one is self-taught or a graduate of a formal arts program, rising to the top of your field and being recognized for doing significant work is difficult… Formal education isn’t required to reach upper-echelon status as an artist or craftsperson; however, artistic maturity is.
In my own shop, I have been working on far simpler things than fuzzy fruit, that are definitely more approachable than elegantly crafted botanical forms. As I tried to explain to the Stateline Woodturners in yesterday's presentation, the value of work has a great deal to do with where you are going with it, and what your objective is. If my purpose was only that of further developing my own artistic skill I might not have made these boxes, and would not have discovered how much fun they are to make. Since my own artistic journey is that of empowering others to create, to give starting points for others to launch their own creativity is a worthwhile goal. The fun that comes from it is bonus, like the fuzz on a fresh peach.

At Clear Spring School last Thursday, while most of our students, grades one to six were packing up their gear to return from three days and two nights of camping on the Buffalo River, we had a new boy visit the campus with his mom. Our school counselor asked him what he likes to do. "I like to figure out how things work," he replied. He would fit perfectly at Clear Spring School. As you may note, he didn't say, "I want to be taught how things work." He like most boys of his age wants to "figure things out."

Discovery is the key principle that leads from informal learning, through a process of formal learning, back toward informal life-long learning, and ultimate mastery of a craft.

On the same subject, my wife and  I have been noticing one of our squirrel proof bird feeders empty each morning. Since it happens at night, we are convinced that racoons are the predatory agents... They have a raiding party each night. They rotate the feeder from its position hanging in space, to one from which they can stand on their haunches on the deck railing and empty the thing. Racoons are relentless learners just as our children should become, and would become if we were to allow and encourage them to figure things out.

On Friday, the tracking software from blogger indicated that this blog has reached the 1 million page view milestone. I launched the blog in 2006, but tracking only covers the last 5 years or so. In any case, lots of folks have stumbled upon this page. Some return and some have changed their lives in one way or another... Hopefully for the best.

Make, fix and create...

1 comment:

  1. Hi Doug

    Congratulations on the impressive milestone.

    Sounds like the new boy at school is going to fit right in.