“If you can’t hear it, you can’t play it.”
That rings true to me and resonates with my approach to training the eye. Aplying that to design it might read.
“If you can’t see it, you can’t build it”
A big part of training your eye is to build up the library of images (music) in your mind. I look at a lot of furniture, most often in books and whenever the chance avails, revel in person. Architecture is also a constant source of inspiration, a deep pool that continues to offer up surprises and delights in old buildings that often go unnoticed. Nature offers an unending banquet. In my case for most of my adult life it’s been fueled by a keen interest in botany and ornithology. This time of year that’s a bleak source but in a few months I’ll take to the wetlands with my wife Barb to witness the majesty of the spring migration. We’ll head up to the southern shore of Lake Erie where large numbers of colorful warblers pause to rest before jumping across the open water.
It seems the more I study design the more I notice things. These snippets seldom go immediately into a furniture design. Most of the time they get filed away in the library I’m amassing internally. When it comes time to lay in a curve on the front of a chair seat or transition a leg into a case, those tucked away images guide and inspire. The best part is this doesn’t require anything on your part but to slow down and really look.
I do a lot of my work with traditional hand tools; many of them refurbished vintage planes, chisels, etc. Here’s a plane that’s a bit of a wall hanger. It’s one half of a matched tongue and groove set for 7/8 stock. It’s on my list some day to take up the challenge of making the missing partner and putting it back to work again.
But just look at it.
This is not all function though it does fit the hand like warm water. Note the graceful elongated way the tote flows back and how it transitions into the plane body as though it sprouted from the earth. Even the metal parts mix function with beauty.
One of my favorite quotes-
“…what humans have done excellently once they can do again (Demetri Porphyrios, 1982). “ .
George R. Walker