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.
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.