Thursday, July 27, 2017

3 days, five kinds of box...

My students at ESSA had been at work 3 days, and most have completed 4 or 5 kinds of tiny box. Today we will make hinged and sliding top "pocket boxes." We are each learning and exploring our relationship to the craft, and attempting to express the things that are relatively unique within ourselves.

I have been attempting to make some boxes of new designs to share with my students. One uses buried pop rivets to attach a pivot lid. Another is like a tiny shaker box with lift off lid.  So far, so good. You can make very interesting things from very small pieces of wood.

It's curious how much time is spent by human beings attempting to stand apart from each other and to do so by gaining notice or by defending turf. Loneliness and isolation are not worthwhile goals in human life. We seek to belong. Some gain a mistaken sense of belonging by controlling others. Others gain a sense of belonging by being of service.

In the arts, we are taught to look at both positive and negative space. Positive space is that defined by the shape and outlines of the object. Negative space is all that surrounds it. Thus, negative space describes the relationship of the object in its surroundings. Some of that relationship is visible. Some not. It is interesting that when one looks at an object, and even though we may draw crisp lines at the intersection between perceived shapes, these lines represent illusion and our inability to translate actual relationship onto paper. A painting (or a box) may be a wonderful thing but exists as a representation of relationship that the casual viewer or even its maker, may never fully understand.

There are no definitive lines between I and thou. And let us not forget that we are each a part of one another. That extends even to the least among us  whether we like it or not.

Today at 4PM- 5:30 we will have the ESSA studio stroll. I will demonstrate making tiny boxes. The photo above is of me in my teaching mode at the Mark Adams School of Woodworking, as I attempt to explain the negative space consisting of relationship and potentialities that surround (and inhabit) a simple box. We become better box makers, and better, more imaginative craftsmen, by thinking outside the box.

Make, fix, create, and improve the chances that others learn to love learning likewise.

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