Saturday, March 7, 2009

Thinking and Not Thinking

I've been happy I've not been pondering the Art vs Craft question, and just getting down to doing my thing. I almost blogged about it this morning, but there was nothing to say! So I worked some more on the Geek Drafts (I like this name!) and then I remembered something.

Back in 90's when I embarked on my flower arrangement/floral art phase, I bought tons of books on the different styles. Among them was a book by a potter, I think, who never had lessons but just loved making arrangements, and had a collection of his arrangements photographed and published. I thought it was the most beautiful of them all, until I started to take lessons, and after a few months I hated the book so much I threw it in the trash.

Japanese flower arrangement is formal, and for the first several years, depending on how strict your master is, you just plonk stuff to a formula. But these are tried and tested formulae, and follow the rules of aesthetics, and though the different schools may give them different names, the fundamental principles are the same. These formulae aim to make flower arrangements look beautiful. And once you know these rules, you start to look at arrangements in what I assume is a more discerning, learned way.

The arrangements in the said book looked so messy, unfocused, like, quite frankly, attractive women sitting with their knees apart!

I studied Western style flower arrangement as well, and though there are some interesting differences, (in most Japanese styles, the main/central flower or branch leans slightly forward so the arrangement looks like they're coming at you, making you take notice,) there are many rules in common.

While flicking from one draft to another, I was wondering if my Geek Drafts are like the potter's flower arrangements; I wondered if one day I'll know more about weaving and beautify that I would shudder to look at my undisciplined-ness.

And then we go back to the question of for whom we weave and whether I want a direct and immediate appeal to people who get me, or the approval of the discerning and the learned. (Both would be nice, but I can't think that far ahead.) Never ends, does it?


  1. I think the answer, might be yes, you will or would. Isn't that part of the evolotion of an artist?

  2. I'm afraid I'm not very evolved, at least evolving at a mighty slow speed, Dana. Actually, I think the house project has sucked my brain energy for the last few weeks I can't really think lately.

  3. We each develop our own style. I think the big question here is, do you want to evolve into your own style or someone else's? You found the potter's flower arrangements attractive at first, until other minds told you that they were wrong. Who's in the right?

    Like you, I feel my sense of style is in its infancy. But I resist trying to deliberately copy aspects of other people's style because I don't want to produce an item that someone else could make. Perhaps the potter was the same.

    It's probably going to interest you to know that I was discussing some of the weaving ideas that are germinating in my head with Ota on the weekend. Some of them were clearly influenced from having read your blog. That interested me, especially as your style and mine are so distinct!

  4. Geodyne, sometimes I think you know me better than I know myself. That is exactly the point I've been thinking. The next warp has 25 colors in random gradation; I have been thinking of ways to show the color changes in the best light, but all the drafts I made to do that looks like they've been woven before!! What I call my Geek Drafts, more my style I'd like to think, on the other hand, don't show off the color gradation as well, I don't thin, but I like them more, which make them more my style, and because I like them more, I think I'll like the end results, even though I know their weaknesses...

    I realize you and I have distinct styles, but isn't it wonderful that we learn from each other, particularly because you live so far away and in a different time zone??

  5. Geodyne, I'd be very interested to know in what way my blog has influenced you, too. First thing that comes to mind is... "keep it simple, stupid!"

  6. Well, we're both definitely fans of KISS! And sometimes, I think a lack of perfection is what gives a piece its charm. If it's 'perfect', if it could have been made by a machine, what's the point in slaving over it for hours?

    It's the colour that's been influencing me. As you know, I tend to go for complementary colours in similar hues. It's a distinctive feature of my work, perhaps more than yours. One of the next scarves will be typical: red, orange, yellow, predictable.

    But as I was spinning the tangerine silk cap, the image in your avatar kept coming back to visit me, and I started to see it woven into a royal purple silk with a complex weave draft to make them shimmer together. And then I went home and started arranging all kinds of new colours together: rose pink, mid blue and pale grey with a pale yellow weft, myriads of navys, you name it. All completely new.

    I really ought to write a post about it.

  7. That's interesting, Geodyne. A post about your colors would be very interesting. As you know the gold based color schemes came by necessity, because they mixed up the order in the first place and sent me the wrong yellow! I had ordered a much more mundane, sedate cone. And of course now that gold yarn is my favorite, and have tried at least a dozen color combinations so far, and I still haven't had enough of it...


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