But curiously peaceful nonetheless. Many good intentions fell by the wayside today, and only a few things got accomplished in the cleaning-up sense. But I spent much of the afternoon and evening sketching ideas for jewelry, dolls, and a martini glass for Betty who needs something a bit more sturdy than glass. I got to thinking about Art Clay and the possibility of making a silver glass for her. Might be a fun project.
While I drew I was watching “Craft in America.” I got the DVD via Amazon.com marketplace, and I was really impressed. It dealt with a lot of ideas that have been rattling around inside my head for a while now.
One of the artists profiled on the program is Garry Knox Bennett whose work is wonderful and strange. I particularly like his more functional chairs. This one, entitled “Early Twentieth Century Chair” (above) feels as if it’s already occupied, doesn’t it? It’s a quiet, well-disciplined chair, just waiting for the right user. One would never think of setting a drink down on that seat for fear of offending it. And if I had the money, you can bet I’d buy myself the FDR Chair (left) which I love beyond reason.
I enjoyed listening to Bennett in a way that the other artisans, no matter how interesting or appealing, couldn’t match. His off-the-wall humor and sense of fun covers a great deal of positive energy and a ferocious intellect. Of all the artists profiled, he was the one I’d most love to meet.
Another furniture maker profiled was George Nakashima whose studio continues to produce furniture according to his philosophy, and overseen by his daughter, Mira. For a time, Mira seemed content to reproduce her father’s designs, but now she’s branching out with her own collection. What I found interesting and quite wonderful was Mira’s Concordia Chair (right) which she designed around a very specific request. As I looked at it, I thought “That chair looks like a woman.” And for me it really stood out from her father’s work, not because I felt it was better than his, or not as good as his, but because it was so very female, and in sharp contrast — for me, anyway — to the quite masculine quality of his work. There’s a wide-hipped, goddess-y grace about it, I think, and I really like it. Again, I feel certain it’s something I could never afford, but that doesn’t stop me from dreaming about owning one.
I have to say, the series made me feel strongly about a number of things, one of which was the determination to limit, as far as possible, my purchase of factory-made goods when there are perfectly good craftsman-made ones available. Naturally this is somewhat tempered by my pocketbook, but it’s something to shoot for.
And now I’m going off to watch a movie and do some more sketching.