What other turners aren't telling you, and how that relates to "innovative spirit"!

Discussion in 'Woodturning Discussion Forum' started by odie, Jan 11, 2014.

  1. Edward Weber

    Edward Weber

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    This thread seems to have veered in a new direction, I hope Odie doesn’t mind
    My point about what I consider to be over embellishment has been lost or at least a bit muddled.
    Whether or not something is art or not is a different discussion. I was trying to figure out at what point a piece evolves into something other than a ‘woodturning†:confused:

    #1. If someone rough turns a bowl, let’s say it takes 15 minutes. Then they carve the piece for 2 hours and take another hour to do some pyrography. Is it still a “woodturning�
    #2. The same piece, once rough turned is cut into pieces and some, but not all of the pieces are used to create the finished piece. The finished piece, which is now no longer round in shape, has taken the same time to complete as did #1. Is this still considered a “woodturning�

    Piece #1 is still easily identified as at least having been turned, mostly due to the shape, though the actual time “turning†is minimal.
    Piece #2 however, is much more difficult to identify as to how it was made, let alone what percentage of turning was involved.
    They are both certainly art, but which category, if any, do they now fit into?
     
  2. john lucas

    john lucas

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    Edward It gets even more muddy when it's really hard to tell it's been on the lathe. Take the multi axis work of Derek Weidman. Not only has it been on the lathe but it's been on there a lot and at many different angles so people who are not knowledgeable about this style of turning will not think it's ever been on the lathe. Is it turning, sure is. Possibly more so than some of the ones you mentioned. Does it look like a turning? not to the untrained.
    Personally I don't care. I try to create a piece of art or sculpture and the lathe is simply a tool just like my other carving tools. In many cases the lathe is the primary carving tool but in some cases it isn't.
    Carvers take up the same argument. Is it done with power carvers or by hand. Then of course the Whittlers don't like it if you use more than a pocket knife.
    It's either good or bad, you like it or you don't. Doesn't matter how it got there to me.
     
  3. Tom Coghill

    Tom Coghill

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    Ed,

    Good point:

    at what point a piece evolves into something other than a ‘woodturningâ€

    Like most art, that decision belongs to the maker and the buyer (if it is being sold). This path of discussion is a long and winding road with many on and off ramps, not to mention a few roundabouts and cul-de-sacs.

    One has to find the path that interests and inspires them the most, follow that path or (better yet) create a new path out there for others to follow or gain inspiration.

    I have discovered that when trying to making ones own path, there are a lot of dead ends (the results are not what you expected and not "appreciated" by others). However, occasionally, you find a gem and that makes it all worthwhile!

    Tom
     
  4. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    It was veering from the get go. I'm sure that Odie is just beside himself with concern about the direction of the thread. :D I'm joking, of course. Odie is enjoying it immensely as he said so himself a few post above.

    See the post immediately above your post for the answer to all of your questions. ;)
     
  5. hu lowery

    hu lowery

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    lying and boasting


    Al,

    I don't know about when art started but I know lying and boasting started soon afterwards! I was looking at some little known cave drawings in the general area of four corners, yep, being very vague, I have no right to disclose the location and never would publicly for the unprotected work to be destroyed anyway. What gave me a chuckle were the racks on the, I assume elk, reaching behind the hindquarters with many many points!

    Hu
     
  6. Sergio Villa

    Sergio Villa

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    i' m not an art critic nor an artist although I enjoy good music, not rock type please! as well as other productions of the human creativity.
    There are two points I would like to make and that stem from my own non expert experience.
    Beauty is not necessarily art and should not be confused with it.
    Second, I tend to call art any fruit of the human creativity that stimulates my brain in an deep positive emotional way. Obviously everybody has is own level of vibration of the brain in front of a piece of music or art in general, including literature and this depends from his own sensitivity but also education.
    I believe woodturning can create beautiful things. Can it ceate also art? I do not know, perhaps a few pieces.
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2014
  7. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    Just imagine if largemouth bass had been in the four corners area.
     
  8. Betty Scarpino

    Betty Scarpino

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    Edward, to muddy those waters even more, let's talk about segmented work. A turned segmented vase looks like a woodturning, but the maker probably spent 90% of her time designing cutting, sanding, and gluing all those tiny pieces. The other 10% is turning. By your definition, a turned, segmented vase may not be allowed to be called woodturning?

    In my "book," time spend with something on the lathe is not a valid for determining "woodturning" or "not woodturning."

    I highly carve my sculptures. But I start them on the lathe. For many years I've dedicated my work time to exploring what lies inside of a turned sphere or plate. It's exciting stuff! Am I not allowed to call myself a woodturner?

    Jerry Bennett's lyrical sculptures don't even look like they are turned at all, but the turning process is essential. The techniques and processes he's perfected are revolutionary.

    Besides, why try to exclude the work of people who only tangentally use the lathe? I'm all for being inclusive. An inclusive approach makes for a healthy, exciting, interesting and rewarding experience for everyone. Including bowl-makers.

    I guess what I don't understand, Edward, is why you would want to exclude anyone or anything from your definition of woodturning? What's the harm? Who loses? Are you not getting what you need to make your time in your shop satisfying? I sincerely am curious ....

    Betty Scarpino, Editor, American Woodturner
     
  9. Mark Mandell

    Mark Mandell

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    Barbara Hepworth (prominent British sculptor) was loudly criticized when she disclosed that her sphere-forms were first made on a lathe rather than being hand-carved into the initial ball which she then cut into to make some of her pieces.

    https://www.google.com/search?q=Bar...org%2Fprofiles%2FBarbara_Hepworth.htm;630;523
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2014
  10. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    Edward, if I may present you with a conundrum, the cardinal rule for artists is that there are no rules.

    Art is too complex to put it in a box. Expressionism, for example, is a movement that emphasizes the conveyance of emotions and feelings ... what the artist was thinking to inspire the work. That is why you will sometimes hear inquisitive people remark when viewing expressionist art, "What was he thinking".
     
  11. odie

    odie

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    Art vs craft........

    Something that I don't think has been mentioned yet......is the psychological perception people have when thinking of the exact same object, depending on whether the thought process is related to art, as opposed to craft. I'm not speaking of the artist's, or maker's perception of his/her own work.......but, the person who purchases, or acquires those things.

    For instance, lets take a finely made vase, superb in detail and creativity......and, put that vase in a gift shop. Take the same vase and put it in an art gallery. Chances are, the exact same vase will (or could) command a much higher selling price when purchased in the gallery setting. The purchaser of the vase in the gallery is more likely to treasure that vase quite a bit more than the purchaser of the same vase in the gift shop.

    (Of course, you can't paint all purchasers with the same broad brushes I used in the example......but, it is my opinion that generally, the hypothesis will bear out to be true.)

    ooc
     
  12. Edward Weber

    Edward Weber

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    I must not be making myself clear.
    I don't have a definition of what is or is not considered "woodturning" that's why I asked the question. I'm not trying to argue some conclusion I already have, I'm trying to learn something.
    I do create segmented work, but comparing it to a one piece bowl is apples and oranges. Its also refereed to as "segmented turning", meaning it has it's own classification.

    I am not trying to exclude anyone or anything, I was only asking those who have more knowledge about these things than I do.
    At what point a piece evolves into something other than a ‘woodturningâ€
    If something evolves from a "woodturning" into something else it doesn't diminish it in any way, we just refer to it by another name. All the qualities that make it a piece of art are still in tact, no one or no things are excluded.
    I have a wooden dresser with turned drawer pulls, is it a "woodturning", I don't think so. :D:rolleyes:
    Good discussion, but now my head hurts again
     
  13. odie

    odie

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    You know, Ed......I believe I understand the point you're making. I don't have a definite answer to the question of just when an object becomes more an expression of something else than it serves to exemplify woodturning as a basis for it's existence. The answer is likely somewhere in the grey area known as personal opinion! :D

    I have seen quite a few famous, and talented "woodturners" who are experts at embellishment, but produce very run-of-the-mill turnings as a basis for where their real expertise is. Possibly, an answer to the question might be in eliminating everything that isn't done on the lathe, and analyze what's left. If what's left doesn't generate the same level of praise.......then, it's the embellishment that is the real generator of that kind, or level of acclaim.

    Is it still a turning?.......Well, sure it is......but, let's not let the embellishments overrule the value of finely executed tool preparation and control, which minimizes distortion from unnecessary sanding......and a sense of design created, or established by lathe techniques, and so forth......

    We seem to be at a point where excellence in lathe use seems to take a back seat to all the add-on glamour. Again, this is not to say that all this embellishment isn't a valid, or authentic part of the total lathe community.......but, it certainly does tend to minimize what is actually being done on the lathe.

    ooc
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2014
  14. Betty Scarpino

    Betty Scarpino

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    Oh, okay Edward, I think I understand your question. But ... it's not important to me to define "woodturning," so I cannot help you, sorry. Even if I took a stab at a definition, it would only be my opinion. Labels are limiting enough, let alone trying to categorize or write a difinitive definition of something as broad as woodturning. Besides, what would we use that definition for, anyway?

    My editorial philosophy has been to be inclusive of everyone who chooses to have his or her work relate in some way to woodturning. Even then, I occasionally include something non-turned if it's pertinent to an article. For example, Michael Peterson's profile article a few years ago. Many of the photos were of sculptures not turned. I chose to have the article in the journal because early in his career, Michael was primarily a woodturner. Today he rarely, if ever, turns. His work serves as an example of, for instance, hollowing a log, but using a chainsaw. That might inspire a turner. And, Michael occupies a historical place in the turning field.

    In addition, I have avoided having the endless "art versus craft" debate in the journal. Actually, I try to avoid "anything versus anything else." Instead, I prefer "this AND that." Everyone can come to my party! :)

    The next editor of the journal may have a different approach, though.

    Betty Scarpino, Editor (for a few more months :D), American Woodturner
     
  15. Edward Weber

    Edward Weber

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    After all this discussion, that"s your answer, you're killing me :D
     
  16. Brian McInturff

    Brian McInturff

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    Well shoot, let's throw another wrinkle in then. The finish itself. A bad finish can ruin a perfect woodturning. And then there is the French Polish using a little stain that can "hide" some imperfections. Or the piece that is turned then "distressed" to look like it came from an era long ago. Or translucent dyes. Or, or, or??? lol

    I love this topic because there is no right OR wrong answers!
     
  17. Mark Mandell

    Mark Mandell

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    Ed, if you're searching for parameters for a definition of s**t made with a wood lathe, I think you'd best get a dishpan for a hat, a trusty sidekick named Sancho, and set your sights on the nearest windmill.

    Only a few years ago, the concept of "turned wood" was rather easy to categorize and pigeon hole. The definition has, however exploded as a purist's use of a wood lathe to make round things has been relegated to the importance of a table saw, a jointer, or any other woodworking tool. What once held the mystique of a somewhat exotic process has become rather commonplace and users view it as a means to an end rather than a category with its own rules and limits.

    I've spoken to several folks, mostly retirees, who were initially really happy to have discovered a niche hobby that they could seem to excel at with a bit of effort but now finding that whole lots of people were getting involved and changing what had seemed to be the "rules of the game" or the definition of good work.

    These were folks who wanted to make stuff, liked working with the material, but got really upset when somebody started talking about "art forms", sophisticated "design concepts", and showing stuff that was so far from round that they couldn't see where the object had ever been within 20 yards of a headstock.

    Bottom line here is that Ed Weber just needs to define what woodturning means to Ed Weber and go with that. Don't look to Betty or me or Odie or anyone else to hand you the definition. They are very likely to be very different and do nothing more than confuse you if you let them.

    Peace
     
  18. Betty Scarpino

    Betty Scarpino

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    Brian, I meant to respond to your post earlier. Yes, so true what you wrote. And, there are some turners whose bowls/vessels become signature, such as Bert Marsh or Bob Stocksdale (and David Ellsworth/John Jordan for hollow forms). Their work soars! It soars because they've spend hundreds/thousands of hours learning how to pair forms perfectly with wood. These turners are masters at knowing which form works best for a particular piece of wood.

    Artists, craftsmen, turners, potters .... the ones whose work repeatedly gets recognized are those who spend hours and hours in their shops and studios.


    Betty Scarpino, Editor, American Woodturner
     
  19. Edward Weber

    Edward Weber

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    Great post, and thanks :)
     
  20. Mark Mandell

    Mark Mandell

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