Sunday, December 11, 2016

a lovely book

I received a lovely book from the American Folk Art Museum, thanking me for sharing my home and studio with their members during two visits in the fall. Meeting them was a delight, as was the opportunity to sell some of my work, so no such lovely thanks were required. The boxes above are from that book, American Folk Marquetry by Richard Mühlberger, and published by the Museum of American Folk Art.

So many of the fine works of art in the book, most of which are boxes of some sort, were made by anonymous makers. The following is from D.H. Lawrence:
"Things men have made with wakened hands, and put soft life into are awake through years with transferred touch, and go on glowing for long years.

And for this reason, some old things are lovely
warm still with the life of forgotten men who made them."
Donald Trump exists within a state of juvenility. I sign my work because my customers insist upon it. But to place one's name in gigantic fake gold plastic letters on the top of buildings and to bask in such egotism is the sign of a diseased mind, bringing to mind the work of another famous poet, Percy Bysshe Shelley:
I met a traveller from an antique land,
Who said—“Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. . . . Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed;
And on the pedestal, these words appear:
My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings;
Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.”
There is humility in the well crafted beautiful and useful thing. Many of the objects in the book were made as gifts to celebrate both craftsmanship, and the love one felt for another. May we, at some point return to such wholesome regard for the well crafted object and the spirit that leads men and women to create through the power of their own hands.

Make, fix, create, and engage yourself anonymously in the fabric of humanity, that we may all thrive in personal creativity and health and love learning likewise.

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