The Gesture of the Hand

The mind and the hand are frenemies

My earliest memory of making something was some time before I was three years old.  My parents divorced when I was three and I moved from that house, so I was definitely three or younger.  I remember sitting on the kitchen counter, somewhere between concentration and curiosity, wrapping a ball of tissue with transparent tape.  

In my mind I saw a perfectly round and smoothly taped ball of tissue, but in my hands crunched layers of jagged tape edges, sticking out from my tightly squeezed tissue.  First realizing this challenge, my young mind trying to comprehend how to reflect the beauty in my mind’s eye with the skill of my hand’s craft, and yet still today my hand exhaustingly chases my mind’s high standards. 

The gesture makes the hand

Alain Passard, a three star Michelin French Chef, introduced me to the significance of the ‘the gesture’ in ‘the hand’,

 

Click through to learn more about Alain Passard's exquisite food. (“Alain Passard”, directed by David Gelb, Chef’s Table, Netflix, 2016.)

 

Common words we use to describe artful people like Alain are creative and crafty, and a refined or combination of an Artisan, Maker, Designer, and/or the ever quintessential 'Artist'.  A common thread amongst all these creative people, is the ability to harness the wild, thankless hand to express an intangible idea.  If the 'gesture' is unrefined, the grace of capturing the beauty and emotion of life in motion, is then never achieved.  

Your eyes will feast even without subtitles!  See the beauty in all of art's forms--Chef's Table rules!

Although I've restored many chairs, I still question if I really know what I'm doing; echoing the words of my retired teacher, "Every chair is the same, but just a little different.  That's why you have to learn one step at a time."  Perhaps delving into creativity is actually propelled by the pursuit of something better and more.  Not perfection.  Rather, the process of creative metamorphosis that is admittedly exhilarating, the idea of evolving an idea five to ten steps ahead of the current need is my idea of toeing the edge.

The uneasy hand

Only in these last few years do I admit and call myself an artist, and feel I must also embrace the life long rivalry between mind and hand.  It’s that bit of tension, between a safe place and the edge, beckoning you farther and deeper into your Self. 

At 0:43, David Bowie explains the necessary tension to create new and exciting things.  This whole video is dense with the real stuff dreams are made of.

The hand in my upholstery art

Maybe I’m not that Asian-retentive perfectionist I think I am.  Maybe I’m actually a hungry traveler in the journey to the next exciting thing.  Instead of following the mainstream, I want to seek the longer path, and share something particularly unique.  Ultimately, my pillows and chairs are not based on the taste and preferences of any potential buyer.  I journey the creative path for myself.

 It takes six screen printed panels and careful planning to make this print dazzle from all angles.  Click through to get your own Downtown Sprawl Chair!

It takes six screen printed panels and careful planning to make this print dazzle from all angles. Click through to get your own Downtown Sprawl Chair!

 No mistake how this print looks like from the back, the placement nicely frames the different shapes.  Click through to get your own Downtown Sprawl Chair!

No mistake how this print looks like from the back, the placement nicely frames the different shapes. Click through to get your own Downtown Sprawl Chair!

I create and present what my heart ’s mind desires, the whimsy of a gorgeous idea is one of a kind like the very restored pieces in Ready to Order.  If I have to hand sew the outer fabric to make the lines match perfectly, like on the Pair of Kitchen Handle Chairs, then I’ll do so to maintain the high art of upholstery.  The true expression of art is not limited by experience or cost.  It reflects the devotion to consistency, patience, genuine heart, and a time commitment never considered.  I hope the sharper the 'gesture' in my 'hand' gets, the more clear and deep my creative message will be.

 The lines match up flawlessly and the hand sanded handle is perfection close up. The care in quality shows!  Click through to view   Pair of Kitchen Handle Chairs !

The lines match up flawlessly and the hand sanded handle is perfection close up. The care in quality shows! Click through to view Pair of Kitchen Handle Chairs!

 The  Ghost of Satao Arm Chair  commemorates Satao, one of Kenya's largest elephants, who was poached in June 2014 with a poison arrow.  Click through to view more.

The Ghost of Satao Arm Chair commemorates Satao, one of Kenya's largest elephants, who was poached in June 2014 with a poison arrow. Click through to view more.


References


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