Lately I’ve been lamenting the loss of fine craftsmanship.  The loss of beauty.

That’s not to say that there’s not beauty in the world… certainly there is.  We find it in nature mostly – a sunset, the colours of a fall tree, patterns made in the ice.  But I live in the city now, and am surrounded not by nature but by “stuff”.  By poorly made stuff.  Houses clad in plastic siding, furniture made of press board trying to look authenitc.  Mounds of “stuff” that has a lifespan of about a year before it heads to landfill.

Flat water otter tail canoe paddle

Beauty and longevity

What happened to beauty?  My wife inherited a piece of furniture from her grandmother – a walnut buffet with finely curved drawer panels, dovetailed joinery, carved designs.  It is meticulously crafted. It is built to last, to pass on to kids and grandkids.  And you wouldn’t find it in any store today.

People don’t notice any more.  They fill their lives with plastic and mass produced stuff made by anonymous hands – stuff with no history, no soul, no beauty.

Those of you who know me well know that I olscilate between wanting to change the world and wanting to hide and just live my anonymous life.  But what I really want to do is add beauty to the world, sometimes in the public realm.  I think that’s why I was drawn to the arts when I was young.  But somewhere along the line I got distracted.

So I’ve had this idea for years – an idea of how to bring some more beauty into the world – and it’s time I got off my butt and did it.  I’m going to create a small series of ornamental paddles.  Pieces of art that champion aesthetic beauty, craft, history, story and soul.  I’m only going to make a few of them to start with.  Stay tuned for more info as the project develops.

3 thoughts on “Beauty

  1. Way to go Andy, your piece is inspiring. I feel the same way … there was a great piece on CBC “Q” the other day with Stefan Sagmeister – you can find a number of his pieces on TED Talks. His interview on Q was on happiness by design … that design effects our mood, our state of mind … to your point surrounded by plastic houses, uninspiring bland places and spaces vs beautiful homes, architecturally interesting furniture, works of craft and art and function. It effects us deeply. You touch on the same thing – well done!

  2. Go for it Andy! Great idea … beauty not only enriches our world but is good for the soul – the maker and the viewers! Beauty restores our sense of reverence and inspires our imaginations. I can’t wait to see what you come up with!
    BTW- I share your dilemma … “change the world” or hide out in my studio and barn … hmmm, maybe we can do both!

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