Turning Archive 2006

A "different" form... and a different opinion

>All of the discussion on form in these threads and Chat Rooms is centered around shapes that we consider to be good because they are natural to us, they fit our hands, we see them in our environment, or they fit within the concepts of form that we have either learned or have become familiar with by association. We accept them without thought because they are "comfortable" forms that present no challenge to either our sensibilities or thought. They play to our natural laziness.

We see forms that are slightly outside of these parameters as being "awkward" because we can't make them fit into our perceptions of "good form". And, we are told that these are not good form by those whose opinions we respect.

But, what about those shapes and forms that are the antitheses of everything we know about what is "good". Everything about them is a challenge to our mind and senses. Do we avoid these forms because they present us with a challenge and a puzzle that needs to be solved? Do we ignore them as being too "artistic", when the reality is that we are too lazy to accept the challenge they present? Do we fall back into our confort-zone, and then wonder why all turned wood looks alike?

It seems to me that, if the impressionists and cubists had been woodturners, they would never have been because the "form police" would have prevented them, and they would never have had a following for fear of "plagiarism". It seems to me that this is exactly what we are trying to do.

How many of us have looked at something and immediately disliked it, but after some time we found that we started liking it? Could this be that our first impression was that it didn't fit into our preception of a good form, but after time we could start to see that it had its own merits.

Mark Mandell put up two pieces like this on the Chat Room last Wednesday. The immediate reaction of a lot of the folks there was they were not good form , but that opinion started to change as time passed and we spent some time looking at them. I am wondering how many would not have changed their mind had they not been forced to look at and discuss them as part of the group.

This acceptance of forms that are uncomfortable to us may be the larger lesson learned from such discussions.

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