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