|Project by Mark A. DeCou||posted 04-12-2009 03:42 AM||2278 views||0 times favorited||15 comments|
Free Form Walnut Bowl & Stand
Dimensions and Specs:
- Length: 23 inches
- Width: 12 inches
- Height: 7 inches
- Wood: Kansas Flint Hills Black Walnut
- Antler: Kansas Whitetail Deer natural Shed
- Base: Burled Kansas Flint Hills Black Walnut
If you like this sort of project, I have another one, Click here to see it
Some times I just surprise myself that I manage to get out of bed. Really.
And when I do get out, I surprise myself that I manage anything else.
Now, you know.
I have planned and finished projects that I’ve piddled with all this year, trying to finish some of them this week for a private Art Show tonight (Saturday).
Normally, my work is mostly commissioned items, and so when I am asked to do a grouped presentation, the pickings of things laying around the house and shop are pretty slim.
I’ve been trying to change that by preparing a few things all year, and work on them a little at a time, and try out some new concepts and see where they take me.
For these types of Art Show events I like to try new things, stretch what people have come to expect from me, and use the time to refresh my own creativity, which can wane after doing repeated orders of the same, or similar, items.
I like paid work, but a guy just wants to try something new once in awhile. At least I do, often, maybe too often. Maybe it’s just adult ADD, and not my fault at all?
For the project this time it was Sculpted Freeform Vessels.
Scott Shangraw is a master at sculpted freeform Vessels, and I have admired his work so much, that I finally asked him how to do it. He told me, and I was off looking for wood to try it.
Ok, and so I was pretty excited to unveil the “Objects-de-Art” at the Art Show tonight and see what people think about them.
So, about 1:30 pm today, after spending until Midnight last night cutting out brochures and business cards, and spending the morning tying on little laminated tags and scratching my head about what to charge for each item, and a quick dash to the Church to finish up a project before the Easter Service tomorrow, I was finally ready to load the Yukon.
So, I’m headed quickly by the refrigerator to pack up the Yukon to head to the show, when I just by chance, glance at the calendar on the front of the Fridge. Written in my own scribbles on the 18th, is “Art Show”.
That’s next week, what was I thinking?
I stopped, looked with that perplexed “Mark” look, and couldn’t hardly believe that I had been so far off.
Now, you know.
I never much trust my own notes, or administrative efforts, so I dashed to the computer to check the emails, and sure enough it is the 18th.
I had written it down correctly, just didn’t act that way. I even told another artist about it, and convinced him to bring his stuff on the 18th. And then planned like a crazy man…..on the 11th. Ugh.
So, I’m ready a week early.
Hey don’t laugh, I once flew out on a plane to a Job Interview at a huge Aerospace company, with my Power-Suit Jacket in my bag neatly folded, but with my Suit Pants left hanging on the back of my bedroom door. Power Suit Coat, Faded Blue Jeans, Dressy Tasseled Loafers. And surprisingly, I didn’t get a job offer from that one.
Another job interview, I carefully made sure I had the suit pants that time, but discovered when I arrived at about 10:00 pm at my hotel room, that I had another problem. I had left my ironed white dress shirt hanging above the ironing board, at home.
I had the silk tie, and the white undershirt. That was way back before Walmart was open all night, so I couldn’t take a Taxi and go buy a dress shirt. So, I sheepishly called my host for the interview and explained the problem.
He was a take-charge type of guy, and quickly sized me up, came to get me in his car, and hauled me over to another co-worker’s house, who’s husband wore a shirt in my size.
When we arrived at her house a little before midnight, she was standing in the utility room ironing me her husband’s shirt. But, that wasn’t bad enough, she had arrived earlier that evening from the hospital after giving birth to her first child. What a lady, huh?
How do you say “thanks” for that one?
I did get that job.
Ok, back to today….with my scheduling mistake, I spent the rest of the afternoon fixing the mysteriously broken turn signal on the Yukon (bulb loose), and photographing the stuff I made for the Art Show.
Then, I took some time to write up a little blog about Ants and Fire that I came up with this week, and just enjoyed the new feeling of being ready for something ahead of time.
A new feeling, and I like it.
All of my pasture-tending neighbors are burning off their pastures today, and so the resulting smoke has sort of killed my sinuses, has my eyes sore, and has given me a headache, which all has just about killed my desire to turn out any more work in the shop today.
So, I’ll just post some stuff to LJ tonight instead.
Which brings me to the Sculpture pieces.
A couple of months back, I showed one of my new freeform “Objects-de-Art” I was experimenting with, to some friends, just to guage their response. I like to get feedback from people that care about me, and want me to succeed, and will tell me the truth.
It was interesting getting the feedback, and it was clearly evident that if a budding Kansas Sculptor is going to make something Freeform for Kansans to appreciate, it better have a FUNCTION!
“What is it?” one of them asked.
“It’s just an Object, just freeform sculpture, supposed to just be Art,” I replied.
“Would make a nice serving bowl if it would sit up straight, could hold some chips for a party,” I was told.
I had to agree.
So, my Sculpture became a “Bowl” pretty quickly that night, and my Artsy-Fartsy notions of just creating an “Object” were lost in the name of “Function.”
So much for Art, maybe another time.
We are practical people here on the Tall Grass Prairie.
And the experience was another reminder of “The Potato Salad Bowl Story.”
Here’s that Story:
A master of woodturning from Sedona called me on the phone one day in the early Summer of 1999 after seeing one of my mixed-media Scrimshaw pieces at the house of his friend.
He called to offer some free advice, and to share some of the wisdom gained from his many years working in the decorative art world. I hurriedly took notes and tried to remember every word he uttered.
His first suggestion was for me to move.
“Move where?” I asked.
“Why not Sedona?” he asked me.
“But why?” I went on naively.
“Go where you want to, but get out of the Mid-West…they are too practical, those people there just don’t buy Art for Art’s sake,” he told me.
I grew up in Kansas, as did he, but I don’t really know what other people are like, much anyway. I lived in Louisiana for a few years, and those folks loved art, and food, and dancing, and eating what we call fish bait in Kansas, and it was great fun there. Still, I didn’t stay and returned to home.
So, I questioned him further about the peole of the Mid-West, and then he told me his “Potato Salad Bowl Story.”
That story really helped me understand exactly what he was trying to say.
He said that he showed his work in Kansas City one time, still trying to make a go of it in the Mid-West. He was juried into the big old town Plaza art and craft show in old KC, and set up his booth. One of his objects was a lathe turned Vessel, about the size of a big bowl you’d serve food in.
A nice lady walked up, and admired his turned Vessel.
She picked the Vessel up with both hands and turned back over her shoulder to ask her husband, “Fred, how much Potato Salad do you think this bowl will hold?”
Fred was looking at something else in another booth, and just responded, “How am I supposed to know? If you like it, just get it.”
The lady, still holding the bowl while bouncing the weight of it up and down a little, said, “well, I guess it is big enough to hold my Potato Salad, it’s only $39.00.”
The Master Turner reached forward to take the bowl out of her hand, and said, “Ma’am, that Vessel is $3,900.00”
“What!” screamed the Lady flabbergasted.
“Why in the world would I pay $3,900.00 for a bowl to put Potato Salad in?” she went on.
“You wouldn’t,” said the Master Turner, and with that he lifted the Vessel out of her hands and placed it carefully back on the display table.
The Lady left the situation obviously offended, with Fred in tow.
The Master Turner said that it was at that moment he decided that he needed to move out of Kansas, and after his move to Sedona, his career blossomed.
And, so that was his main advice to me. “Move.”
And also to stop doing Mixed-Media since it is hard to categorize and jury into the big shows with.
I didn’t move, and I’m still doing Mixed-Media, but I think it was great advice.
Now, you know.
So, when my friends felt that my “Object-de-Art” needed to be a Bowl for the table, like something you’d put Tortilla Chips in for a party, I understood completely.
thanks for reading along,
(this writing, photos, and project design are protected by copyright 2009, but the Author, M.A. DeCou, all rights reserved).
-- Mark DeCou - American Contemporary Craft Artisan - www.decoustudio.com