Saturday, June 12, 2010

objects as a means of behavioral investigation

It is really difficult to understand human beings without coming to terms with our relationship to objects that we have created or to those objects that have been created for us to co-inhabit our physical and emotional landscapes. Tool objects give us the power to manipulate and change physical reality. Expressive objects serve memory and build relationships between us. Weapon objects allow us to subjugate others. The impulse to alter our physical surroundings through gardening, decorating and design, are uniquely human behaviors enabled by our having hands. Earlier in the blog, I had made reference to Chester Cornett, chairmaker, and a book about him by Michael Owen Jones, Craftsman of the Cumberlands: Tradition and Creativity.

Man is not so much a being as a "doing", and even though in these times, that "doing" may be limited for some to their tiny keyboards, please watch their hunched shoulders, and the quick motions of their fingers for the clearest expressions of their realities.

Michael Owen Jones, in his essay in History from Things, Essays on Material Culture, uses traditional chair making as a means through which to explore sociology. Behavior offers far greater truth and authenticity than words alone.

This morning, I assembled the small walnut chests of drawers as you can see in the photo above. Then most of the day was spent preparing for tomorrow's wood working extravaganza at the 100th Birthday party for our Carnegie Public Library. If you are in the neighborhood, join us from 3-5 PM. We will make tops, toy cars and sloyd trivets, listen to speeches and eat cake. So, how can one make points on over a hundred small dowels for making tops? Use an electric drill and belt sander. The points are perfect in no time. Remember what you see below as it may come in handy for other things. The Drill and sander appear still, a trick of the flash.

In the photos above and below, you see the pulls for my walnut chests taking shape. I form tenons on the ends to fit the mortises routed in the drawer fronts. Then each piece was cut to shape and routed. Next will come sanding and ebonizing. The angularity of the pulls is intended to harmonize with the angular surfaces of the chest.

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