what i'm reading #1: tell your story

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Blog entry by dan mosheim posted 03-29-2014 12:32 PM 1528 reads 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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so kurt vonnegut is one of my favorites. like my father, he was caught up in world war II and made the best of it. in kurt’s case, you might say he made a career of it, and i go back to his books from time to time for his insightful writing and sense of humor. i recently read the book of his collected letters, and while some are mundane, others are brilliant and totally make me stop and think .. the one above is a good one. click it to enlarge it and (hopefully) be able to read it … the image may be too small here, but if you visit my blog at the link below, you can make it big enough to read, though it’s still not a great image.

others are below at the end of this post.

what to make of the letter above. hmmm .. i am a member of the the guild of vermont furniture makers, a group with 30 or so members throughout the state. .. kate pace owns and runs a company called ‘route 7 social’ that is engaged in helping small businesses like ours market their products. the guild recently received some state money in a grant designed to increase business activity and job creation, and we engaged her services to use social media to help us do that. after imploring, (without much success), the list of suspects to add content to our guild of vermont furniture makers blog , she has more or less taken over the production, (writing), and promotion of that web address. in that effort she is visiting and profiling all thirty artists in their studios. i had an interesting conversation with her on thursday, when it was our turn, dan’s furniture, sam’s metal work, and will’s banjos. one of her observations from visits with other makers are that many of them describe themselves as ‘not into self promotion’, and ‘want to let their work speak for itself’. that’s all well and good, and i understand completely. but often, objects themselves don’t have all that much to say and just sit there quietly, waiting to be ‘discovered’ ... as kurt points out, “people capable of loving some paintings or etchings or whatever can rarely do this without knowing something about the artist.” so without the story, as kurt suggests above, ‘there goes the ballgame right there’. i agree that the object is only one half of the conversation. i’m often curious why i write what i write and why i actually enjoy and look forward to doing it, and have come to the not unsurprising conclusion that, while it is not for everyone, i have a story to tell about the stuff we make, and sharing that story gives me some sense that what i am doing has an audience and is part of a dialog. so, my humble advice to other artists is to ‘tell your story’. there’s nothing more deflating in my experience than to drop off a piece, have the client say here’s your check, thank you, see you later.. there’s more to the ballgame than that.

think briefly about the ‘famous funriture makers’ .. krenov, wendel castle, nakashima, garry knox bennet … while their work ‘spoke for itself’, they all spoke up for it too … picasso, jasper johns, ai weiwei, story tellers all .. the post above is from my dorset custom furniture blog i have been telling my story for over 5 years

-- dan,vermont,

4 comments so far

View DocSavage45's profile


8733 posts in 3079 days

#1 posted 03-29-2014 03:42 PM


If not for reading about Krenov’s journey, many people would not have been moved to do what they “hoped to do someday.” I have read Thos. Moser’s books…Good stuff. I recieved some great insight from a guy here in MN when I went to his “Design Workshop” a couple years ago. I had read most and more of what he discussed about design, but I really appreciated his sense of self preservation and style. He told me that many gifted woodworkers had perished in this last economic debacle. He survived by being dramatic in his presentation and involving the “client” in the progress of the commissioned work. He has a beautiful light an airy workshop/studio overlooking a river in a densely wooded area.

Story’s of the journey are what keep us involved in life’s struggles. Many people who can afford an expensive piece cannot create for themselves?

Many of the folks who are my heroes would not have made it without the support of others. Frank Lloyd Wright, , Krenov, and Picaso to name a few?

Keep your story going.


-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18423 posts in 3913 days

#2 posted 03-29-2014 07:51 PM

Keep telling your story Dan, Interesting post.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View cathyb's profile


839 posts in 3481 days

#3 posted 03-29-2014 10:39 PM

You are such inspiration to me. Your thoughtful and insightful posts always give me a reason to pause. Thank you so much.

-- cathyb, Hawaii,

View stefang's profile


16209 posts in 3571 days

#4 posted 03-30-2014 03:55 PM

The back story always give us a much better appreciation of a piece, and I’ve always enjoyed your blogs as well as you and your associate’s first class work.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

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