Focus on the Essential

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Several emails have come to this blog, disputations on the general theme of “who-did-what-first.” So let me lay out for the readers who gather here how I’d like to handle this issue.

The Guiness Book of World Records has the staff of full-timers assigned to mediate claims and counter-claims. On these web pages, it’s just me reaching out to those I most trust in my artistic community for their memories, history and honest guidance.  None of us comes to this site to claim that we were the original conquerors of some polymer version of Mt. Everest, or that we mapped out the definitive historical boundaries for one technique or another.

Our mission is one of highlighting relationships and progressions in the history of a medium, documenting the various ways that artistic breakthroughs occur. Marshall McLuhan summed up his vision as, “The Medium is the Message.” On this site, let’s agree that “The Leap is the Message, not the Leaper.” 

Peter Dormer, author of The Culture of Craft, addresses this issue is a way more scholarly than I’m prepared to do here. His views, I think, are worth serious consideration:  “Technology may advance as a series of inventions, but it also proceeds organically with a mass of tiny alterations and improvements taken by thousands of individuals.  The interesting thing about working in any kind of technology, including craft, is the way in which an improvement will ‘suggest’ itself to someone.  Therein lies technology’s power: one set of ideas leads ‘naturally’ to another set and this natural growth happens not in one place at one time but is going on all the time and everywhere that the technology is used; the notion that any one person has power to determine the direction of technology, given the diffused nature of its development, becomes less credible.”

In the end, my desire is to show works of beauty that have come into being as a result of this growth.