Al Gravitar Rodando

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“I like vessels … you’ve got an inside and an outside. I like things hidden.” — June Schwarcz

June Schwarcz is 97 years old and still enameling today..

June in her studio

I feel quite drawn to work like this, where the more you seek the more details you find..

I once had a conversation with one of my teachers where he asked me why I kept making boxes.. for some reason I am drawn to boxes and hollow structures as well, we decided there was some sort of “protecting” aspect about it.. and when I see her vessels I get just that, I think her subtlety shows through, these are not to be used in a common form, they were made to hold something deeper… they are to be admired and loved as the  beautiful object they are..

This video features her talking about her work, it is so inspiring to see someone so fulfilled and with a life time of memories through making..

 

Oh..well, did I tell you I really like her work? :)

Extracts from the The Keeper of Flocks by Alberto Caeiro (Fernando Pessoa)

The work of the poet Alberto Caeiro, Fernando Pessoa’s heteronymous, is a philosophy without philosophy. One that puts into question the cultural tradition that “covers” thought: philosophy, poetry, mysticism, religion. It does so by returning to nature in a way that implies an absence of meaning, concepts, knowledge structures and prejudices that distort the look of things, the experience of Nature and feel of Reality. Because it deals with an unlearning, Caeiro turns to the simple, not-thinking, almost to the absence of the word.

IX

I’m a keeper of flocks.
The flock is my thoughts
And my thoughts are all sensations.
I think with my eyes and with my ears
And with my hands and feet
And with my nose and mouth.

Thinking about a flower is seeing and smelling it
And eating a piece of fruit is knowing its meaning.

That’s why when on a hot day
I feel sad from liking it so much,
And I throw myself lengthwise on the grass
And shut my hot eyes,
And feeling my whole body lying on reality,
I know the truth and I’m happy.

X

The frightful reality of things
Is my everyday discovery.
Each thing is what it is.
How can I explain to anyone how much
I rejoice over this, and find it enough?
To be whole, it is enough to exist.

XXI

If I could take a bite of the whole world
And feel it on my palate
I’d be more happy for a minute or so…
But I don’t always want to be happy.
Sometimes you have to be
Unhappy to be natural…

Not every day is sunny.
When there’s been no rain for a while, you pray for it to come.
So I take unhappiness with happiness
Naturally, like someone who doesn’t find it strange
That there are mountains and plains
And that there are cliffs and grass…

What you need is to be natural and calm
In happiness and in unhappiness,
To feel like someone seeing,
To think like someone walking,
And when it’s time to die, remember the day dies,
And the sunset is beautiful, and the endless night is beautiful…
That’s how it is and that’s how it should be…

(3/7/1914)

XXIV

What we see of things is things.
Why would we see one thing as being another?
Why is it that seeing and hearing would deceive us
If seeing and hearing are seeing and hearing?

The main thing is knowing how to see,
To know how to see without thinking,
To know how to see when you see,
And not think when you see
Or see when you think.

But this (poor us carrying a clothed soul!),
This takes deep study,
A learning to unlearn
And sequestration in freedom from that convent
Where the poets say the stars are the eternal brothers,
And flowers are penitent nuns who only live a day,
But where stars really aren’t anything but stars,
And flowers aren’t anything but flowers,
That being why I call them stars and flowers.

(3/13/1914)

XXVI

At times, on days of perfect and exact light,
When things have all the reality they can,
I ask myself slowly
Why I even attribute
Beauty to things.

Does a flower somehow have beauty?
Somehow a fruit has beauty?
No: they have color and form
And existence only.
Beauty is the name of something that doesn’t exist
I give to things in exchange for the delight they give me.
It means nothing.
Then why do I say, “Things are beautiful”?

Yes, even I, who live only to live,
Invisible, they come to meet me,
Men’s lies in the face of things,
In the face of things that simply exist.

How difficult to be yourself and see only what you can!

(3/11/1914)

XLIV

I suddenly wake up in the night,
And my clock occupies the whole night.
I don’t sense Nature outside.
My room is a dark thing with vaguely white walls.
Outside there’s a quiet like nothing existed.
Only the clock goes on with its noise.
And this little thing of gears on top of my table
Smothers the whole existence of the earth and the sky…
I almost lose myself thinking about what this signifies,
But I come back, and I feel myself smiling in the night with the corners of my mouth,
Because the only thing my clock symbolizes or signifies
Filling the enormous night with its smallness
Is the curious sensation of the enormous night being filled
With its smallness…

(5/7/14)

Black Cloud-Carlos Amorales

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“Sometimes, seeing one of these moths that have met their end in my house, I wonder what kind of fear and pain they feel while they are lost. As Alphonso had told him, said Austerlitz, there is really no reason to suppose that lesser beings are devoid of sentient life. We are not alone in dreaming at night for, quite apart from dogs and other domestic creatures whose emotions have been bound up with ours for many thousands of years, the smaller mammals such as mice and moles also live in a world that exists only in their minds whilst they are asleep, as we can detect from their eye movements, and who knows, said Austerlitz, perhaps moths dream as well, perhaps a lettuce in the garden dreams as it looks up at the moon by night.”

W.G. Sebald

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This past weekend I saw this beautiful piece in the Contemporary cultural center of Barcelona.. thousands of black butterflies surrounded the place.

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And in this video you can see the motivations behind the piece and a few glimpses of the installation in another place.

Michio Kaku

“Beyond work and love, I would add two other ingredients that give meaning to life. First, to fulfill whatever talents we are born with. However blessed we are by fate with different abilities and strengths, we should try to develop them to the fullest, rather than allow them to atrophy and decay. We all know individuals who did not fulfill the promise they showed in childhood. Many of them became haunted by the image of what they might have become. Instead of blaming fate, I think we should accept ourselves as we are and try to fulfill whatever dreams are within our capability.

Second, we should try to leave the world a better place than when we entered it. As individuals, we can make a difference, whether it is to probe the secrets of Nature, to clean up the environment and work for peace and social justice, or to nurture the inquisitive, vibrant spirit of the young by being a mentor and a guide.”

Why do we collect?- Small Collection- Process

I usually start by displaying materials on a table, I do a small layout to see what I have and the possibilities available, here you can see bits and pieces found on the street, on the beach.. just different walks, as time goes by I also have friends that find little pieces and give them to me just in case I can use them..

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Why is there that innate eagerness of collecting?

Why do we do this? sometimes there is really not a financial value for these objects still, we feel accomplished when we find something that just fits.

But why do we have this light obsession, why do some of us do it, some of us don´t?

I have been very interested in the topic, specially because I try to understand why do I get that light sense of “joy” when I find certain materials, I am attracted to things that have a worn aspect, a sense of time that has gone past them, everything, even the smallest thing has a story.

It is all a way to understand my own nature through making, I like giving these materials a chance, a space, why not?

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“We use keepsakes to stimulate memory, especially to trigger fond memories but even if memory cannot be relied upon to faithfully reproduce a record of the past, it remains vital to our understanding of the past.” Terry Shoptaugh

Photographs, toys, train tickets, the lists are endless and it varies from person to person, do you collect anything?

Back to the piece:

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I made boxes to keep and display them as small treasures and kept experimenting with arranging, re-arranging, and classifying parts of a-big-world-out-there, I found a composition that made sense to me, the piece that fitted each box.

This is the first brooch I made where I did made some boxes specifically for some pieces I wanted to use but for the second one (which I will show you later on) it took a little longer, I made the arrangement and then just waited until I found the correct piece for each box.

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Since this is a brooch I didn’t want the copper to go directly in touch with the clothing so I made a sterling silver frame to give it a bit of volume and stability as you see the boxes are in mixed positions, so having a frame in the back gives me a good space to make the mechanism.

At the same time, I made and soldered bezels, tubes and all the parts to hold the pieces in place.

IMG_1668 IMG_1669IMG_1679Patina and wounded finger:

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Preparing for rivets.IMG_1681

Some are tied with waxed cord, the knots can be burnt and is held securely in place.IMG_1685

Riveting

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And after finishing off, removing some of the patina in certain places, oxidizing and placing the stainless steel needle in the back, this is the result.

It makes a little noise since the bell is  tied and swinging loose :)

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After finishing, the piece left me and it’s off in the Museum of Anthropology of Palencia, for a while.

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Sunday, Sunday..

Decay.

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I have a friend,  who’s a writer. And he says that his writing is the antidote to the chaos of the world around him. I think, that’s a good description. He retreats into that world.

That becomes more important to him than the world he sees. I suppose, some people might not think that’s such a great thing but he thinks it is. It’s all real, it’s just what you choose to establish as the core of your being.

He makes the core of his life – oh, an act of imagination. Is it escape or is it liberation? I don’t know. You tell me, I don’t know, I have no idea, I don’t know anything about these things. For him, that person, writing – is a, um – it’s a reso – resolution of his life. It makes his life solid and real. Without, without that the world would overwhelm him with its chaos. So is it escape to become sane? Or – or is the insanity of the world – so which is the escape? I don’t know.

Philip Glass

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Work in progress..

“…beauty consists of its own passing, just as we reach for it. It’s the ephemeral configuration of things in the moment, when you can see both their beauty and their death.”

― Muriel Barbery

house

Jean Dubuffet

                     
                    
                                                                       Apartment houses ,Paris, 1946
I have always directed my attempts at the figurative representation of objects by way of summary and not very descriptive brushstrokes, diverging greatly from the real objective measurements of things, and this has led many people to talk about childish drawing…this position of seeing them (the objects, fh) without looking at them too much, without focussing more attention on them than any ordinary man would in normal everyday life..
   
         
Character, 1944
People have seen that I intend to sweep away everything we have been taught to consider – without question – as grace and beauty; but have overlooked my work to substitute a vaster beauty, touching all objects and beings, not excluding the most despised – and because of that, all the more exhilarating….

I would like people to look at my work as an enterprise for the rehabilitation of scorned values, and, in any case, make no mistake, a work of ardent celebration….

I am convinced that any table can be for each of us a landscape as inexhaustible as the whole Andes range… I am struck by the high value, for a man, of a simple permanent fact, like the miserable vista on which the window of his room opens daily, that comes, with the passing of time, to have an important role in his life. I often think that the highest destination at which a work of art can aim is to take on that function in someone’s life.

                                   
 A little secret that I have sought for a long time by way of a fortuitous encounter quite unrelated to the matter: for example six months I try to draw a camel in a way that satisfies me, and I make a thousand attempts without ever managing to do it. Then one day it is a drawing of a plump on the label of a pot of jam or the shadow thrown by an ink pot, or something or other equally unrelated to the matter that provides me with the solution. This kind of thing has happened so often that I have acquired the habit of always being on the outlook, and when I want to draw a camel I no longer limit myself, as I once did, to looking (only, fh) at camels…
                                                          
                                                                                             Il flute sur la boss (1947)
On Art Brut: Those works created from solitude and from pure and authentic creative impulses – where the worries of competition, acclaim and social promotion do not interfere – are, because of these very facts, more precious than the productions of professionals. After a certain familiarity with these flourishings of an exalted feverishness, lived so fully and so intensely by their authors, we cannot avoid the feeling that in relation to these works, cultural art in its entirety appears to be the game of a futile society, a fallacious parade.
                             
                                                                                                           more here
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