In a Universe where all things must change, we find ourselves
among those collections of particles and waves which change the most quickly.
Much of what we are attracted to, and which we accumulate, is also temporary.
Because of the mutable nature of matter and the inexorable sweep of time,
most of what we believe ourselves to be, and very likely most of what we
perceive, will be dust again very soon as measured in sidereal time. Within
the stream are shorter and longer filaments, and the longer these glimpses
of truth persist they become crystallized into the cultural markers that
free us from definition even more than they define us. There is room and
time for us to disagree about what is permanent or worthwhile and what is
a passing trend.
But all passing trends become lifestyles and bywords for some. And the
art and architecture that persists and lengthens the seeming viability
of our transient experience assumes massive importance.
Art and Craft are sister and brother in lasting works and one cannot
really exist without the other. The key word here is lasting, because
there is ever more self-destructing art that follows modern warfare, disposable
razors and fads into the dust of time.
I own a few items that I imagine might survive several hundred years
on Earth, and in the right hands not be considered disposable. A couple
of guitars, a handful of rag-paper books, and a few Japanese woodblock
prints made by David Bull of Tokyo.
I see a stream, tumbling, taking most things like a tsunami with it to
the sea. In this stream, floating at the top, washing up on the beach
like the knight and squire of Bergman's "The Seventh Seal",
these items of value, imbued as they were from inception with a craftsmanship
utterly inseperable from the objects themselves, were not swallowed in
the flood, and their "heaviness" proved in the time-stream,
to be buoyancy.
The author Phillip K. Dick in "Man in the High Castle" describes
the concept of "wu" as an ineffable and indescribable but undeniable
value in a crafted object.
I have sat transfixed, watching the woodblock webcam, as Mr. Bull hewed
a blank face of cherry wood into a graceful representation, and brushed
color on blocks, the finished prints stacking like a slow-motion ballet..
He plans, and studies, and slowly builds, and accepts setbacks, and works
full time at this one great pursuit. When I think of his example I find
myself carrying projects a little further, planning them better, and aiming
higher for better results. I wish I had done that on this print, though,...instead
of 8 weeks deciding on a design, pushing the deadline, procrastinating,
panic...a beginner's tribute to an artisan of my own time...must...finish...print...unnnngggh
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