search  current discussion  categories  events - fairs & shows 

smithsonian show

updated fri 22 dec 06


Wes Rolley on thu 21 dec 06

While the discussion of the Smithsonian Craft Show has been primarily
concerned with Ceramics, has anyone explored the the other areas? I
did, but only after trying to digest both the Smithsonian show itself
and the discussion about it. I found that the attitudes I had developed
regarding the ceramics portion of the show certainly affected my initial
perceptions of other segments, particularly furniture.

I have several favorite furniture makers / craftsman whose work I hold
in the same regard as I might that of Warren MacKenzie or Marguerite
Wildenhain. They include Sam Maloof
, James Krenov
and George Nakashima.

While the influences of these outstanding furniture makers can be seen
in some of the works in the furniture section of the current Smithsonian
show, the same tendencies of carry ideas to an extreme edge, to give an
undue (to my mind) value to show effects and always the same very high
level of technical mastery of their craft.

I might have a slight disagreement with the Nakashima quotation on the
linked web sit, that "A tree isour most intimate contact with nature."
Getting your hands in the clay is probably equally as intimate, though
having used my hands to rub oil into fine wood is also wonderful and the
aromas of working with woods like olive are surely much more pleasing
than a stinky reclaim bucket.

What I find in both the ceramics and furniture sections of the show is
that the sensibilities are defined kprimarily by our urban life styles
and are about as far possible from the elemental experience that makes
working with clay and wood so rewarding.

Wes Rolley
17211 Quail Court
Morgan Hill, CA 95037

"Happiness is to be fully engaged in the activity that you believe in and, if you are very good at it, well that's a bonus." -- Henry Moore