What stoves and gargoyles have in common

old stove

What delights me about this old stove, in addition to the antique vacuum beside it, are the curves and swirls and decorations on the metal panels. After all these years, long after the designer of the appliance has passed away, these remain.

They remind me of the gargoyles placed high upon the cathedral roofs in medieval Europe. These immense churches could take a century to complete, sometimes being worked upon by generations of stone masons.

The roofs needed spouts to carry the water away from the slates, and so gargoyles were born. They could have been simple drainage spouts like we use on our roofs today.

Instead, these stone masons made a choice.

These stone gargoyles, hundreds of them, became elaborate creations, carved and placed where most people would never see them, monuments to the stone carvers who created them.

Just like this stove. The designers didn’t have to add all of those curlicues and furbishes. It probably ran the price of the stove up at least another nickel or two. But because they did, a thing of beauty as well as utility was born.

We are all creators, every day, in our own way.

To my mind, creativity is creativity, whether you’re making art or running a company. Anyone who does anything well is an artist.
~Dale Chihuly~

 

Book review: Dale Chihuly: 365 Days


chihuly 365Chihuly: 365 Days
by Dale Chihuly
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Dale Chihuly’s career as a master glass artist, now spanning four decades, is illustrated in this amazing book of 365 full color photographs featuring some of his most famous pieces. Included, also, is a running commentary of his views on creativity, productivity (he believes in eight-hour days with no lunch breaks) and the joy of being alive.

When Chihuly lost an eye in a serious auto accident and dislocated his shoulder soon after in a body surfing accident, he turned to a team approach to working with glass. He then was able to turn out immense works of art, some over fifty feet in length, constructed of blown and fabricated glass elements.

Color is primary to his creations. He says he never met a color he didn’t like, and his works explore a wide palette: bright green heron pieces in a river, a crystal chandelier of aquamarine and white, a boat filled with yellow, blue and red glass objects. Lighting of these glass art works is essential. Within a museum, the pieces seem to glow in a dark room. At a conservatory or a lake amidst plants, they peek out from the leaves adding explosions of yellow or red or magenta.

Chihuly explores other elements as well. In an exhibit at a Citadel in Jerusalem he exported 64 tons of ice blocks from Alaska to create an immense melting wall that both blended with the current architecture and symbolized a wall that no longer needed to exist.

Viewing the book is visceral pleasure and reading his philosophy is nourishment to the artistic soul.

Highly recommended.