Turning Archive 2005

More art and plagiarism

Keith Tompkins
>Just when you thought it was finally over.. :)
A few thoughts on the subject...when I do a demo or class, I like to stress the importance of understanding design principles. Here are a few reasons...Most turners attend sessions held by "known" turners whose contributions are well respected. I think many people leave with the idea of "borrowing" these newly learned techniques, and applying them in their new work. The problem is many emulate the techniques without fulling understanding WHY the technique works, or without having a good foundation or understanding of form or design. The result is, in too many cases, a highly decorated, poorly executed form. It doesn't work too well, and the turner can't understand why his pieces don't look like "turner X"s" work, who just charged him big bucks to learn the latest technique.

While it's great to learn from the masters, it's much more important to learn fundamental form principles first. By studying, understanding and applying these principles, a turner won't need to rely on someone else's "secrets" in order to advance. Plus, they learn to trust their own instincts and will develop their own style much easier...they won't be limited to copying what others do. They will understand HOW and WHY good pieces work.

Personally, I try to avoid techniques commonly seen at shows...such as piercing. In my opinion, there are too many such pieces, and they all begin to look the same after a while. Only when I come up with something where piercing is really called for will I use it.

If this seems a bit hard to swallow, take a good, long look at Mr. Wally Dickerman's website. FORM, FORM, and more FORM. As good as it gets.....sorry Wally, I couldn't help it.

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