Sunday, May 06, 2007

Design questions

As I turned for the design I had chosen, this incredible section of curl appeared. Now I hit a dilemma. If I kept with my original plan, a lot of this grain would be turned away. On the other hand, the design fit the piece well. John Hunnex claimed that the wood should not determine the final figure. On the other hand John Jordan, I believe, said that life was too short to turn poor wood. I think that implies that the figure and character of the wood should determine the final form to some degree. The concept of the wood speaking to me has never been a strong one for me although it certainly happens.
Anyway, I decided to remove some more of this wood and pause frequently to determine the shape of the piece from here on in. I think there are lots of forms that look good and quite a few would do justice to this wood. I think it was Stockdale who claimed that potters had been stealing his designs for thousands of years. Good design will either remain or come back in cycles.
Till next time, keep turning.

There are a couple of new pages up about the apple form at Ongoing Project.

Let us know how you design. Do you plan and stay on plan or are you a seat of the pants kind of designer?


Anonymous said...

It's a bit of both really. I generally have an overall plan but tend to go with the flow, working around problems as they arise, or taking advantage of opportunities presented by unpredictable features in the material.

The success of a piece is often determined by tiny details; one cut in the wrong place can ruin a piece, one cut in the right place can really make it stand out. One would need to be both a really good draughtsman and a really good craftsman to be able to say you followed a design to the letter.

In fact this might be a good exercise for turning clubs. Give every member a drawing for something, a block of wood, then have them all come back and compare the results. It would be interesting to see how much effect the tiniest of differences would have on the finished objects.

Darrell Feltmate said...

Exactly Derrick. I like to think that I have a design in mind and once in a while on paper as long as no one else sees the so called drawing. Still, I get distracted or challenged or whatever by the wood and things change. Once in a while that has resulted in great kindling but usually I am happy with it. Sometimes I stay with the original idea and later turn a piece with the new and try to decide which I like better.

Our club has done somewhat like you are suggesting for a challenge. Everybody gets a block of wood and a suggestion for a form to turn. The variations are amazing.