May 4, 2010

Wood is Wonderful.

I've always thought wood was good. I think my career as a graphic designer has been an excuse to navigate a way to express myself through shapes and forms. Lines and empty space. Nature and contradiction. Telling vs showing. The 'not' there vs the 'there'. My own little world where I can enjoy putting things in their place and learn from the process. I've never felt quite satisfied though. I want to explore a bigger space. I'm ready. The thing that first hooked my desire of design was wood and fashion. Specifially chairs and men's suits/women's shoes from the 1950's-early 60's. I got my first book on chair design when I was 18. I used to collect chairs from dumpsters, streets, thrift stores. I saw so much character in each form. There they were, to hold us while we did absolute everything. This obsession was the spark of something bigger. The big thing. Noticing everything and seeing how it took up space. I was very sure that people should not live in right angled houses. I became very interested in curves and circles. In nature, in food, in old magazine, on album and book covers. I still am convinced that even though the right angle is a very strong structural motive, when I sit in a room that has rounded corners and arches...mixed with the right angles, this is the ideal space for ideas and internal thoughts to not get stuck. The conversations in that room have an open ended life. Unsure of what I really wanted to study in college besides art and music, I thought I would end up an architect or a furniture designer....then after sharing a dorm with architecture students, I saw the science behind it and somehow thought that the science and rigid math was in no way going to work for me. I've almost always thought that science destroyed something very spontaneous and able about the instinctual first head-to-hand gesture. The making of things. I'm impulsive. I get a lot done and some of it doesn't work. I usually do a small amount of research and then try it. Try it again and then see if I enjoyed the process or result enough to keep going with it. I regret not making more wooden objects. This is going to change. I've recently become aware of the J.B. Blunk House (and residency program) after hanging with the daughter of J.B. Blunk, Mariah Nielson and her dear friend (and my current roommate) Vanessa Gates. At a dinner at the Blunk house in Inverness, I met a lot of resident artists that have been inspired to make wooden scupltures. Since then, I've had the pleasure to visit one of the coolest wood mills in California. Surrounded by tissue-thin ribbons of wood everywhere, this was a place to get things done. Maybe my time with wood has finally arrived. Naturally. The best way.
Above, the first chair that ignited the excitement for chair design and molded plywood. Design by Norman Cherner. The arms!

Above, a chair by J.B. Blunk- "invisible presence"

Lounge chair by Londoners 'Sixixis'
The 'Topos' chair by Mark Naden
Wooden block house by Sou Fujimoto.

Summer rolling house!
My drive through the redwoods to Marshall, Ca.

Japanese hand planes. I couldn't believe how thin the shavings were from these things. Redwood tissue paper.
On the way home...Tomales Bay.

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