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
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.
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.
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.
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.