Jump to content

'window sill of shame'


Simon F

Recommended Posts

After reading Tom's post with reference to the 'window sill of shame' I thought I might ask you all how you feel about finishing a piece that you have identified as not coming up to the standard you had imagined when you started it? Say you have spent quite a long time on it - and now it owes you somewhat - but there are a few sections or aspects that you now regret. Do you soldier on regardless, or stop wasting any more time? Or do you modify it to try to resolve the problem? Or just put it down to learning?

 

I imagine that there are as many answers as there are projects, but am interested to hear your comments.

 

Simon

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest ford hallam

Hi Simon,

 

for me it's both simple and painful. I learnt a long time ago that if I'm not happy with the work then it's best to call it a day. There are times when your potential clients won't see the piece the same way and you can still sell the work but it's possibly a dangerous indulgence that could easily allow us to become complacent.

 

I suppose it may come down to whether you are selling a product or a part of yourself. If it's me I'm selling, I'd like to think I'm being as honest and as generous as I can. Hmm...come to think of it, in those terms, it seems obvious why art should cost so much more than craft. And I'm certain that statement will provoke some comment...at least I hope so ;) because I've suddenly got a whole load of stuff to say on the matter :P

 

btw, I didn't see your own introduction when you first joined, sorry. I really like the platypus bottle opener and the whole idea of really functional sculpture. Beautiful work that I genuinely "get". I look forward to seeing more.

 

Cheers, Ford

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks Ford

 

The bottle opener needs refining, as after i cast it i found that it won't pull the caps off... i might be able to get it working with a little more space between the claws and the tail. the angle of the lift is the all important thing. unfortunately you can't really check that when it's still in timber form! i've put it aside for a bit.

 

i then thought i'd keep things simple by doing a one-off carving of a Tasmanian Devil. It been on the go now for three weeks, and there are some aspects that I'm really not happy with. however I think i'll see it out this time to see if the finished piece is better than i fear it will be.

 

Hmm, can you tell i have got used to auto-correction??? Damn capitals...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'd say it depends on the artist's stage of development. If a beginner, then keep soldiering on. A beginner probably doesn't have "artistic judgement" developed enough yet to know when it's hopeless, and there's a lot to learn even from a failure. Maybe especially from a failure. If you're not really happy with how things are turning out, then maybe the beginner will be willing to take a bigger risk on the piece and try something new.

 

If not a beginner, then decide if there is something to be learned, or another technique to try. If the time involved to correct the problems seems excessive, then toss it onto the windowsill of shame, and have another big slice of humble pie. :P

 

I like Ford's discussion of product or self - in my simple mind, maybe that is ultimately what divides art from craft...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

" A beginner probably doesn't have "artistic judgment" developed enough yet to know when it's hopeless, and there's a lot to learn even from a failure. Maybe especially from a failure. If you're not really happy with how things are turning out, then maybe the beginner will be willing to take a bigger risk on the piece and try something new."

 

I think it might be closer to say the beginner doesn't have the technical certainty, say knowing which tool is going to give the effect that you want. Knowing just what cutting angle - and being able to get it on the given tool - makes a big difference to the success of the cut, and then the outcome (?). It's one thing to visualize a great design, and another to make the material carry it.

 

For me, in this particular project, I have made a couple of mistakes in the lay out, but the one that is really bugging me is the inconsistency in the texture of the 'fur' that I'm carving. the density of the wood, direction of the grain, and the difficult access are requiring different tools to cut with - all giving a slightly different appearance.

 

So it is quite annoying to have gotten so far through the carving only to snatch defeat at the last by messing up the finish.

 

This might not be the case when you are experienced and know exactly what to expect from a given tool or approach, but given that many writers on this forum talk about pushing themselves to achieve and create new and more perfect work, then I'd think that the problem above might be more common than discussed. In fact given that the more experienced carvers here would have the added pressure of both customers and reputation to worry about, it seems that it is more pertinent a question to them?

 

As a newbe to the carving world, I don't have the stress of those things yet, but remember them from working as a jeweler, especially when working on a new technique or material.

 

Simon

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest ford hallam

Hi Simon,

 

I don't know if I can help much here but here goes...

 

it sounds to me that the problem that you are experiencing is exactly that which almost anyone would have to deal with when creating the surface you describe. There are, of course, simpler solutions, a generalised, fine texture ( using a punch) is often an easy answer. There are numerous texture burs available commercially, apparently, which promise to leave a convincing fur-like finish.

 

That you have chosen, on the other hand, to work out your own response to the problem means that you actually stand a chance of creating something that more accurately reflects your own aesthetic and sensibilities. I think that once you enter into that sort of dialogue with your medium you are engaged in the real work of creating art. There are no easy answers, how special would it be if there were? If we put aside the matter of technical competence, or skill, the job of finding the right expression for you on this specific piece is exactly what it's all about.

 

If it's all perfectly laid out and planned before you begin where is there room to interact with the work? Of course we need to plan, with sketches, detailed studies and clay models. All of these exercises inform us and prepare us to deal with the evolving subject matter. If the final finish is proving tricky you need to be experimenting like crazy on the scraps of off-cuts. I'd suggest that if you have a fail safe technique in your technique box ( which is what I suspect many imagine to be the solution ) then after the fist use it is passe and no longer valid, nor vital. Many carving instruction books offer exactly these sort of "one size fits all" sorts of tricks. This is part of the reason work produced in this fashion is ultimately so bland.

 

So I say, If it's proving difficult it could be that you may be onto something. I don't carve wood, but metal, and the same thing is true. The tradition I have studied most is an absolute treasure trove of textures. If I use any one of them "off the shelf" as it were, I'd be a big fake. The only legitimate response for me is the one I've worked out for myself in response to the work under my fingers, at that particular time.

I also don't know that it helps to think in terms of "perfect" at all. It doesn't need to be perfect, just to express something of what you feel would be a start.

 

I really don't know if I've offered anything of any real use in this ramble but it's how I look at it anyway :P

 

I look forward to seeing how you figure it out.

 

Namaste, Ford

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thankyou Ford.

 

Those thoughts are reassuring at least, and i've been staining the piece as i go - impatience as much as wanting to check how the surface will respond to colour - and as it gets darker it's starting to look better, and certainly much better than i feared.

 

I will post some photos as soon as it's done - not far off now, a foot, at tail and a few hard to reach bits i've put off. then some red/pink stain i need to go find to give the muzzle a little more life.

 

Do you have a website or collection of photographs? I'm interested in the type of work you are into. When at Uni doing my jewellery design degree, i explored the Japanese inlaying technique a little and had a little bit of a play. Enjoyed it very much. Particularly loved the various pictures i came across of inlayed Tsuba. Really love the finesse and subtlety of the Japanese style culminating in a piece that is wonderful to behold, but still completely functional! Also love that the colour and design can come from the metal itself as numerous metals fit together to make a homologous form.

 

Cheers

Simon

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Simon,

 

I don't know if I can help much here but here goes...

 

it sounds to me that the problem that you are experiencing is exactly that which almost anyone would have to deal with when creating the surface you describe. There are, of course, simpler solutions, a generalised, fine texture ( using a punch) is often an easy answer. There are numerous texture burs available commercially, apparently, which promise to leave a convincing fur-like finish.

 

That you have chosen, on the other hand, to work out your own response to the problem means that you actually stand a chance of creating something that more accurately reflects your own aesthetic and sensibilities. I think that once you enter into that sort of dialogue with your medium you are engaged in the real work of creating art. There are no easy answers, how special would it be if there were? If we put aside the matter of technical competence, or skill, the job of finding the right expression for you on this specific piece is exactly what it's all about.

 

If it's all perfectly laid out and planned before you begin where is there room to interact with the work? Of course we need to plan, with sketches, detailed studies and clay models. All of these exercises inform us and prepare us to deal with the evolving subject matter. If the final finish is proving tricky you need to be experimenting like crazy on the scraps of off-cuts. I'd suggest that if you have a fail safe technique in your technique box ( which is what I suspect many imagine to be the solution ) then after the fist use it is passe and no longer valid, nor vital. Many carving instruction books offer exactly these sort of "one size fits all" sorts of tricks. This is part of the reason work produced in this fashion is ultimately so bland.

 

So I say, If it's proving difficult it could be that you may be onto something. I don't carve wood, but metal, and the same thing is true. The tradition I have studied most is an absolute treasure trove of textures. If I use any one of them "off the shelf" as it were, I'd be a big fake. The only legitimate response for me is the one I've worked out for myself in response to the work under my fingers, at that particular time.

I also don't know that it helps to think in terms of "perfect" at all. It doesn't need to be perfect, just to express something of what you feel would be a start.

 

I really don't know if I've offered anything of any real use in this ramble but it's how I look at it anyway :P

 

I look forward to seeing how you figure it out.

 

Namaste, Ford

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Simon,

 

I don't know if I can help much here but here goes...

 

it sounds to me that the problem that you are experiencing is exactly that which almost anyone would have to deal with when creating the surface you describe. There are, of course, simpler solutions, a generalised, fine texture ( using a punch) is often an easy answer. There are numerous texture burs available commercially, apparently, which promise to leave a convincing fur-like finish.

 

That you have chosen, on the other hand, to work out your own response to the problem means that you actually stand a chance of creating something that more accurately reflects your own aesthetic and sensibilities. I think that once you enter into that sort of dialogue with your medium you are engaged in the real work of creating art. There are no easy answers, how special would it be if there were? If we put aside the matter of technical competence, or skill, the job of finding the right expression for you on this specific piece is exactly what it's all about.

 

If it's all perfectly laid out and planned before you begin where is there room to interact with the work? Of course we need to plan, with sketches, detailed studies and clay models. All of these exercises inform us and prepare us to deal with the evolving subject matter. If the final finish is proving tricky you need to be experimenting like crazy on the scraps of off-cuts. I'd suggest that if you have a fail safe technique in your technique box ( which is what I suspect many imagine to be the solution ) then after the fist use it is passe and no longer valid, nor vital. Many carving instruction books offer exactly these sort of "one size fits all" sorts of tricks. This is part of the reason work produced in this fashion is ultimately so bland.

 

So I say, If it's proving difficult it could be that you may be onto something. I don't carve wood, but metal, and the same thing is true. The tradition I have studied most is an absolute treasure trove of textures. If I use any one of them "off the shelf" as it were, I'd be a big fake. The only legitimate response for me is the one I've worked out for myself in response to the work under my fingers, at that particular time.

I also don't know that it helps to think in terms of "perfect" at all. It doesn't need to be perfect, just to express something of what you feel would be a start.

 

I really don't know if I've offered anything of any real use in this ramble but it's how I look at it anyway :unsure:

 

I look forward to seeing how you figure it out.

 

Namaste, Ford

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

×
×
  • Create New...