Wednesday, October 11, 2006

On self-imposed rules

I was browsing around Myspace a while ago and found some ceramic work that resonated with me. I'm really drawn to this piece, no doubt because the form is so nearly make-able in wood on a lathe.

When I look at it I can't help but think about how I would make something like this, and how the difference in our mediums would alter the outcome. I'm a bit of a purist when it comes to woodturning technique, probably to my detriment in terms of creating art. I like to work with one piece of wood with no glue-ups that would interfere with the grain pattern. So for me this would have to be one solid piece of wood, maybe hollowed out a little under the lid. I would have to make the lid finial as a separate piece, but that somehow seems to be ok in my self-imposed rule set. I would likely use a contrasting wood for this. The grooves in the middle section would have to run all the way to the edge. Other than that, I think it would be possible to make a form like this in wood and adhere to my rules. Making it as an assemblage would be much easier.

Not that I plan to run off and copy this, I just find it interesting how the different methods of working would change the outcome. It has also got me thinking about how silly some of the rules are that I have created for my work over the years, and wonder if it is time to start breaking them.

Do you have any rules like this which might be holding you back? Or are these rules what makes our work unique?

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1 comment:

Norman Ridenour said...

If you have no rules you have nothing to break.

I too use only single pieces of wood and I borrow from other media. I am a self described minimalist.

I have one buddy on the craftmarket circuit who does highly sculptural ceramics and I often try to do his semi-closed forms in wood. At a later meeting we get together and laugh, usually at my efforts. When I was in Crete they had to pry me and my sketch book out of the archelogical museum. Walls of grafitti provide endless ideas.