Tuesday, July 1, 2008

AIMING FOR EXCELLENCE

Wood turning is not weaving, although wood is a kind of fiber. I have always loved wood shops and lumberyards. The feel of the wood. The tools. In high school I took a class in woodworking--the only girl in a sea of boys. The boys were quite helpful to this ignorant student. From time to time, the itch to start working in wood has made itself known. Realizing that my husband would hit the ceiling if I took on another hobby, I kept it under control. But I do love wood.

Woodturning is not weaving. Still, wood is a kind of fiber. And creative artists in other areas often have things to say that transcend their own media. This, I believe is the case with Bill Luce, wood turner.

There is an interesting piece in the June 2008 issue of The Crafts Report. Another of my fantasies is to become a professional weaver. So on occasion I pick up this most interesting periodical. This June issue contains an interview with a wood turner by the name of Bill Luce.

At the end of the article, Luce explains that he is driven to creating work that is fulfilling his own vision of the piece more than he is driven to creating work for large monetary gains. The implication of this, of course, is that he could make more money if he were to choose the alternate route. In the final paragraph, the author gives the following quotation from Luce:

If we don't create work guided from within, how will we ever create truly great work?....Merely guessing what might please someone else just can't take you to that same level of creativity, innovation and excellence. (page 27)

My weaving path, these past few years, has definitely been guided by my own inner stirrings and needs, not by what someone has told me to do, nor by what I think I ought to be doing. Certainly not by the market. I am fortunate that I do not need to worry about the market. Or perhaps that is not a fortunate thing. Sometimes I do wonder.

But, though I follow my own path, I cannot possibly aspire to the levels Luce is talking about. Still, those levels do exist in my imagination as a kind of ultimate and unachievable ideal.

To learn more about Bill Luce and to see some of his work, go to his website. Don't miss the page "About My Work." He has much to say about his own creativity.

Related Posts:

Style and Originality
Originality

© 2008

4 comments:

Jane said...

Good morning, Miss Peg!

Am back from our travels, sitting with cup of coffee in hand, and had to tune into your blog to see what you have been up to while I've been away. Busy, as usual, I see!

Oh, I, too, so love wood and all of the tools for working with it. Although I am not a woodworker. I just dream about it and have such an appreciation for it. I love the smell of cut wood, it carries me to a different place within my creative's brain.

And speaking of creative -- long ago, my first mentor in the painting world (when I was an ancient 14 years old. . ha!) told me to paint only because I loved doing it, and to never give a care about what was fashionable or what would sell. I've followed that advice my entire artistic life, and create solely for the Joy.

This has always worked out well for me, and I've found that when I have tried to force a piece into something that it doesn't want to become, then it just never turns out quite right -- and I feel stifled.

So create on and thanks for another thought provoking post!

Jane

Leigh said...

What a great quote from Bill Luce. I'm not so interested in wood, but my DH is, so I'm going to have to show this to him.

I agree with Jane, you are an excellent source for thought provoking posts.

Kaz said...

Peg, This is a great post and inspiring for me at just the right time. I recently started to think about the different types of personalities in our world and at the workplace how extreme self interest and power broking are considered positive traits. Although, of course, I can't help but be interested in myself I just can't get into it.
So I started to imagine a world where there were no artists, weavers of beautiful cloth, no woodturners of beauty, no builders of mastery - in fact no-one to "do" beauty and the deep expressions of what human existance is capable of. That wouldn't be a human world at all and we would probably destroy the planet faster in the rush for more resources and sales. So I figure that it's important that we carry on and create objects that thrill and engender awe and great emotion in us.
Hope this makes some sense.

Peg in South Carolina said...

Jane, welcome back. I hope you are refreshed and ready to plunge back into life. I'm glad you enjoyed this post.
Leigh, thank you.
Kaz, you make a great deal of sense and I agree with you. Even in religion, art and beauty are of great importance. Indeed, the beauty of the liturgy does more to keep me in church than do any of its doctrines.