Robert Ebendorf is known internationally for his use of unusual materials such as found objects, industrial products, and paper in his work, and his willingness to share his techniques and ideas with students.
He is credited with helping to shape the craft movement since the 1960’s.
I recently found a transcript of an interview with Robert Ebendorf on 2004 for the American Art, Smithsonian Institution it is a very inspiring read, to understand his thoughts, you can find it here.
You can see more of his work over here
“Finally I am coming to the conclusion that my highest ambition is to be what I already am. That I will never fulfill my obligation to surpass myself unless I first accept myself, and if I accept myself fully in the right way, I will already have surpassed myself”.
Every so often I tend to go into raging “cleaning” spurs.. only in my house, in my workshop is the opposite not a thing it’s ever tossed only moved to make room for more materials..
I have a wooden box where I keep my old notebooks, inside there are bits of papers with a phrase or sometimes just a name, always with the hopeful plan to not forget and to have time to research more on that person.
I have finished quite a few notebooks, I am a fan of pen on paper and I write in a sort of violent non linear matter. I open the notebook,write what I must and then start on another paper with no particular order.. so going back to older notebooks it is just a peek into chaos.
Through 2016 I have to start a year long project, to begin, my gut tells me to pick up the pile of papers and arrange, this way arranging my own mind, what I need to know next hides in the pile.. just waiting to be found.
I decided through the next few months to share with you part of what is written on my notebooks, characters and works that inspire me.
It is hard to share sometimes, hence my lack of blogging, but in forcing myself to re-discover my own notes, I believe it will help to keep everything in one place and who knows, it might be interesting for someone else as well..
THE DICTIONARY OF OBSCURE SORROWS http://www.dictionaryofobscuresorrows.com/
The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows is a compendium of invented words written by John Koenig. Each original definition aims to fill a hole in the language—to give a name to emotions we all might experience but don’t yet have a word for.
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.
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.
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…
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.
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!
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…
“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.”