I have always considered myself a craftsman. As a craftsman what I produce has some sort of function, that fact provides me with parameters to work within, as long as you meet the needs of these parameters you are free to work with your creativity and make it something special; to give it some expression.
My wife on the other hand is an artist. Her forms are born of a creativity without the bounds of function, she has confidence in having freedom of expression without the need of purpose, without any guiding parameters.
Working with Naomi allows her to make use of my skills in the workshop (though she is highly skilled herself) and for me to play with interesting and challenging forms and sometimes new materials.
Of course there are some difficulties….
I am used to my customers being pleased with my interpretations of ideas and rarely critical, particularly on the creative aspect. Working with an artist however, especially one who is your partner, well it’s a little different… Naomi has had to learn to embrace the changes that occur in a piece when it transforms from her concept to physical form as it passes through my hands. The changes are sometimes simply part of the process of making into three dimensions, and sometimes as a result of my own interpretation.
I on the other hand I have had to (am having to) accept criticism and temper my own enthusiasm for ideas. As I have work alone for most of my working life, and as I am me, I admit to finding that hard. When it works though, it works well.
Working with Naomi can also open doors for me, for example using materials that I have not had to work with before. The white sculpture above is made from Portland limestone and is now in a garden overlooking Thurlestone beach, there is a story behind it’s making but that’s for another day.
I work hard to find my materials which I covet, and always find hard to cut into them; Is this the right use for my precious timber? My stomach drops a little when Naomi Requests my most prized brown Oak, I shouldn’t have boasted about it to her. Not long though and the form is made and, it is beautiful. Of course then there’s the prolonged silence when Naomi first inspects, my own insecurities make that hard to cope with but I am getting better with that now. Sometimes she will make changes or alterations but in this case all is fine.
There has been a long period with Naomi away from her core work, circumstances are changing now though and we will be working together to produce much more of her work for the future.