Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Art And The Handicraftsman...

A few years ago I issued A Call for Return of Craftsmanship (look for the article in an upcoming issue of Artistically Speaking magazine). Those artisans who work not merely with their hands, but with their hearts and heads too, exemplify my idea.

One such artisan is Connie Cotita and her husband Randy of Monroe, LA who designed and painted this Gypsy Wagon dog house for the benefit auction of the Louisiana Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Only a craftsman who works with her head, hands and heart could have created this masterpiece. The story, and detailed photos, of the finishes used to create this piece will appear in the premier issue of Artistically Speaking magazine.

Design and finishes copyright of Connie Cotita 2009. All rights reserved.

Oscar Wilde wrote about the same thing in the early 20th century.
Reprinted from Essays and Lectures by Oscar Wilde, London: Methuen and Co., 1908.

PEOPLE often talk as if there was an opposition between what is beautiful and what is useful. There is no opposition to beauty except ugliness: all things are either beautiful or ugly, and utility will be always on the side of the beautiful thing, because beautiful decoration is always on the side of the beautiful thing, because beautiful decoration is always an expression of the use you put a thing to and the value placed on it. No workman will beautifully decorate bad work, nor can you possibly get good handicraftsmen or workmen without having beautiful designs. You should be quite sure of that. If you have poor and worthless designs in any craft or trade you will get poor and worthless workmen only, but the minute you have noble and beautiful designs, then you get men of power and intellect and feeling to work for you. By having good designs you have workmen who work not merely with their hands but with their hearts and heads too; otherwise you will get merely the fool or the loafer to worn for you.

That the beauty of life is a thing of no moment, I suppose few people would venture to assert. And yet most civilised people act as if it were of none, and in so doing are wronging both themselves and those that are to come after them. For that beauty which is meant by art is no mere accident of human life which people can take or leave, but a positive necessity of life if we are to live as nature meant us to, that is to say unless we are content to be less than men.

continue reading the essay

1 comment:

Theresa Cheek said...

So typical of Connie and Randy to set the bar on this project! This is way above the requirements. I would love to see this in person. Amazing!!