Why do we gravitate towards seeing things in black and white, right or wrong, this or that? In this article, Danielle explores the tendency of such a dynamic in the world of woodworking, a world where art is frequently thought of as less-than; a recurrent villain to the hero of craft. Why does the word “art” incite such pushback and how can we inhabit more of the gray areas that exist, in both our own work and the appreciation of others’?
Speaking from her perspective and using the work of furniture makers who inspire her as an example, she describes the journey of balancing traditional hand tool techniques and practicality with the importance she places on the many modern, improvisational, and experimental methods used to shape and embellish her work.
Her encouragement lies in the acceptance of many modes of expression, and emphasizes that the very recognition of one mode does not necessitate the negation of any other. This article does not escape the sociological scope that Danielle frequently employs to identify and make sense of common human behaviors, especially within the realm of hand tool woodworking.
As a child in a declining rural Maine paper mill town she sought beauty where there were only gray smokestacks nestled in the foothills and an overwhelming sentiment of collective defeat. She learned that what she was searching for was something she could create. With this perspective she addresses the value of beauty within the world of craft and the function it serves, suggesting that function goes far beyond the capacity to perform a task. Beyond her own role in this sect of the trades, she makes a case for others to explore their own vision of beauty within utility, either theoretically or in their own work, to help further the craft in all its forms.
Stay tuned for tomorrow’s announcement of the next article upcoming in M&T Issue Three...