Tapestry of Talents: Bringing Your Whole Voice to Your Craft

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Tapestry of Talents: Bringing Your Whole Voice to Your Craft

Exploring the possibilities for us to bring all our diverse interests & skills into the art we create.

Members: 53
Latest Activity: Sep 1

The Renaissance Man

Welcome to my new Crafthaus group. In this forum I will explore how artists who also have skills in other disciplines, art related or not, can harness and express our various talents through our chosen professional art form. If you are a painter, actor, musician, philosopher, botanist, or whatever, sharing the same body with the craft-artist in your mirror, you can combine these talents and express them through your work. If the possibilities of this interest you...let's get started.

First, let's define who we are. A "Renaissance man", or polymath, is someone who is proficient at many different skills, usually both arts and sciences. Leonardo da Vinci, Galileo, Pythagoras, and Ben Franklin to name but a few are great examples. These men set the bar very high because they were gifted, if not genuine genius, and were proficient in science, education, art, philosophy and sociology in their day. Without having to reach that high, I think a lot of artists are "Renaissance people" on a much smaller scale than such historic greats.

I am a silver sculptor, flutemaker & designer, published novelist, airplane pilot, parent/grandparent-guardian(underrated skill if ever there was), and amateur foil fencer. I have a passion for quantum physics and wrote my own theory on the origins of time. I've created web pages, stop-motion animation, edited films, written movie scripts & TV pilots and taught creative writing. I play a few instruments and sing in the shower. In past years I was an elected public official, fund-raised almost a million dollars for a library renovation, ran a presidential candidate’s local office, and fought the waste industry to protect my town. I've traveled the length and breadth of the Milky Way in my imagination and breathed in so much gold dust off my bench that my family will probably have my remains cremated by a refinery. One thing I'm not good at is being a commercial success in my own right (we’ll touch on that in a future post).

I’m sure if you wrote down your varied accomplishments and life experiences you’d have as busy a list as mine. The sum of who you are as an artist is much more than the work you do at your bench. Of course, our art already reflects who we are, but there is much more we can bring to our work. How to sizzle them all up in the same pan will be the challenge I put forward to this group.

I hope you'll join in and contribute to the conversation with your thoughts, ideas, experiences, and suggestions.

Discussion Forum

Life has many layers - like lasagna.

Started by John Lunn Sep 1. 0 Replies

I've been absent from these pages for the summer while I started a new book and concentrated on getting some flute projects out the door. This month I've actually (gulp) taken a spare bag or two of time to myself and done sweet fork all. What a treat that was. It's been at least a century since I could live a couple of weeks without feeling compelled to do anything.Well, not nothing... (How can any self respecting obsessive compulsive polymath really do nothing ?) That would be unconscionable. Aside from cleaning the garage, copying 500 VHS movies to a hard drive, retrofitting my workshop so it's ready for some serious work this fall, and so forth, I've been completely idle. Unless you add...oh, never mind. I guess the point is that is really, really hard to do nothing at all when you're wired to be busy all the time. I don't even have a cell phone and I still can't stop whirling like a dust devil.A couple of thing I discovered while running on empty for a few weeks. First, doing…Continue

Prima Donna Assoluta

Started by John Lunn Jul 18. 0 Replies

I've been so busy with work I've missed writing the blog for a couple of weeks. I've got some ideas to share, I just need time to assemble the thoughts. In the meanwhile, let me share my latest flute images. These portraits are of famous opera divas past and present (taken from images while in costumed role). Each disc (flute cup) is a little over 1/2 inch in diameter and they are all chased and raised out of the flat surface of the cup - nothing is soldered on.I hope you like them. Joan Sutherland, Diana Damrau & Sarah Brightman.Side view of cups showing relief.…Continue

Tags: diva, raising, chasing, opera

When will I be satisfied?

Started by John Lunn Jun 10. 0 Replies

Now that I've admitted and conceded that, despite all my interests, I am a bridesmaid to the flute first and last, I should come to terms with it and mold the future I want from the history it has given me. When I first set sail in business on my own, my intention was to make a great flute and compete in the market like any sensible manufacturer. Making a great flute was easy - I had a sensible business plan, talented employees, and the requisite skills to succeed. Finding a place in a very competitive market? Not so much. A quarter century gone by and it appears I’ve found my niche - working alone to create a legacy flute, a work of art and music that stands apart in the crowd. A flute to perform through generations of players, become part of musical instrument history and family heritage. Of course, history, not I, will decide if that succeeds. But there is no reason a well made and cared for flute can’t be played for hundreds of years.What's germane to the polymath here is how I've…Continue

Handing yourself the pink slip.

Started by John Lunn May 20. 0 Replies

I quit making flutes permanently at least 3 times. My love/hate relationship with instrument making has been lifelong. Sure, it was always a good conversation icebreaker (especially with the girls), and working in silver has always been a pleasure for me, but it was primarily repetitive bench work. So I left it to write, compose music, make jewelry, and on and on. But it paid and my employers let me work from home while I persued other things. So back I went. In the end, as all who master a craft come to, I know flutes down to my bones. I instinctively understand and can connect all the mechanical & acoustic complexities in my mind and so can construct a concert flute from raw materials without the need of CAD, castings, dies or lathes. With all that at hand, I came to the conclusion that there was no reason I couldn't turn flutemaking into the art form I imagined when I first started my career, instead of searching outside the field for artistic satisfaction. Work in Progress: 3…Continue

Tags: silver, chasing, divas, opera, flutes

We are all on a 'road not taken'

Started by John Lunn. Last reply by 2Roses May 10. 2 Replies

In my search for the future, I realize that my past has had many signposts along the way that said ‘stay on this road’. But in my polymathic psyche, I couldn’t do it. When I started my own flute, a major dealer in the UK picked them up and we were on the path to being a successful player in the industry. But I took a different tack because I didn’t really want to be an employer/manufacturer. I sold 2 novels to a major children’s publisher and they wanted more but I didn’t want to lead the life of a kid’s writer who makes most of their living visiting schools. I had an agent handling my movie scripts and almost had a movie contract - and if I’d focused on screenwriting, might have broken through.I recognize other times I’ve been on that threshold but these are 3 major turning points in my career path that determined what I wouldn’t do but didn’t really determine what I would do. While I didn’t consciously decide this, I think my polymathelogical mind kept telling me that too much focus…Continue

Day One.

Started by John Lunn May 1. 0 Replies

Do you ever feel the need to reboot your life?As an artist who works his own schedule, I all too often get overwhelmed, backlogged and confused by the number of balls I juggle just to stay sane. This is one of those days. I over-promise to deliver work and when things get ahead of me I start to screw up more which slows down production and makes me further behind which feeds the ol’ OCD and makes me lose sleep, try to do too much, screw up more and - you guessed it - slows down production which in turn makes.... well, there’s the slope none of us likes to be on. As a result, I jump completely off the ride, take a day off and then restart everything as though I’m on time.Today is such a day - reboot day. I have 2 flutes that are nearly done but “nearly” in the art world isn’t the same as nearly in, say, manufacturing, accounting or horseshoes. On top of them, I have 2 commission projects arriving in the next couple of days. One with a return deadline as the customer needs his flute…Continue

Tags: barrel, a, over, overextended, overworked

In a state of jazz

Started by John Lunn. Last reply by John Lunn Apr 30. 2 Replies

Time to shift gears away from science and into music. I play jazz flute and piano and when I read this interview with Branford Marsalis  (sax player who led the Tonight Show band for Jay Leno), it connected with some thoughts I’ve been mulling over about the metal art world. I’ll start with the excerpt and comment at the bottom:“You put on old records and they always sound better. Why are they better? I started listening to a lot of classical music, and that really solidified the idea that the most important and the strongest element of music is the melodic content. In jazz we spend a lot of time talking about harmony. Harmonic music tends to be very insular. It tends to be [like] you're in the private club with a secret handshake. I have a lot of normal friends. 'Cause it's important. [When] you have a bunch of musicians talking about music and they talk about what's…Continue

Tags: modern, art, flute, avant-garde, music

Bombing the Moon for fun and profit

Started by John Lunn Apr 6. 0 Replies

Continuing my cross referencing science and art, here’s another planckscaleblog entry that I think applies to art and connects a bit to last week’s entry as well: how we observe the universe. There is so much more to see in the world than what is right before our eyes that much of it requires some imagination. Movies and video games and ubiquitous internet interaction have robbed people of their need to imagine. So much special effects and fantasy realism make it unnecessary for kids to carve a stick and imagine it as a wand because they can buy one that is product tied and battery operated. This has some relevance in our world where there seems to be a need to “educate” the buyers to what we are creating in part because they can’t seem to imagine it on their own.Here’s how I saw it 4 years ago when NASA had a great day...FRIDAY, OCTOBER 9, 2009Bombing the Moon for Fun and ProfitI loved today's moon mission attempting…Continue

Do we see all that's really right in front of us?

Started by John Lunn. Last reply by John Lunn Mar 30. 6 Replies

Here's a planckscaleblog.com entry that I think applies to art as well. We all have some filters on what we will or won't see even when we're staring straight at it. As artists we use all our senses to see beyond the ordinary but what really lies beyond the ordinary?SATURDAY, MAY 22, 2010 We have eyes...but do we really see? An obvious observation about a dog is that you can hand them anything and they'll accept it without understanding. A lump of food, a digital watch, a stick, can of soda are all in the same basic place to them: can I or can't I eat it? When they're through with it, the item joins the background noise of their lives.But a less overused metaphor is when you point at the clouds or the stars for the dog all they see is the end of your finger. Looking up, or observing the background of the world, is not only incomprehensible but irrelevant to them.I wonder if the same rings true for us on some level. Are…Continue

"The Ends of Time"

Started by John Lunn. Last reply by 2Roses Mar 21. 1 Reply

Following up from last week, here's a flute that I chased with an abstract art deco design that depicts the story of time from the beginnings of the universe. Some is standard science, some is my own theory. …Continue

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Comment by John Lunn on August 4, 2013 at 1:41pm

Ugh. Sorry, Brigitte, but this doesn't do it for me. I think I have a problem with oversized bugs. The movie The Fly scared the hell out of me.

Comment by Brigitte Martin on August 4, 2013 at 12:18pm

I hope this serves as an encouragement to keep making beautiful and unusual instruments.

Comment by John Lunn on April 13, 2013 at 9:47am

So true, Roxy. It's a gift that we shouldn't squander.

Comment by Roxy Lentz on April 13, 2013 at 7:04am

I am always sorry for people who say they have no idea what to do if they retire. I could be 50 people, and still need more to get done all the things I want to do. 

Comment by John Lunn on April 4, 2013 at 11:06am

You could be right, Ann

Comment by Ann Thompson on April 4, 2013 at 6:25am

I'm actually wondering if the reviewer had an agenda of his own.

So far there hasn't been much reaction to this review by the arts community and he completely omitted the part about her exhibition including a community art component about climate change with the public which I think changes the tone of her exhibit quite a bit from a cerebral exercise to a participatory  event that is more accesible.

I'm wondering if she did have a job related to meteorology -or something in the science field-would her work be viewed differently even if she approached it the same way?

As a TED Global Fellow she's been exposed to harsher critics than this one from Maine so it's interesting that he's prepared to call her a fraud! Maybe it's actually TED he has problems with.

Comment by John Lunn on April 3, 2013 at 4:04pm

The critic in that piece, Ann, saw the master behind the curtain pulling all the strings. Not knowing the critic or the artist, it was a bit blunt of him to trash it so strongly for his interpretation. Obviously it left a bad taste in his mouth that other viewers might not have had. But your point is well taken. Crossing boundaries simply because you can isn't the same if it doesn't have a sense of purpose.

Comment by Ann Thompson on April 3, 2013 at 3:34pm

Here's her TED profile:

a href="http://www.ted.com/speakers/nathalie_miebach.html>">http://www.ted.com/speakers/nathalie_miebach.html>;

Comment by 2Roses on April 3, 2013 at 2:31pm

Ann, the article might be more germane to this discussion if the artist in question was also a practicing cartologist, musician or meteorologist. Simply referencing different disciplines in one's work does not make one a polymath, nor does it make the work interdisciplinary, in our humble opinion. For example, if the work had also played music we would consider that to be interdisciplinary. That said, we are certainly aghast at the critic's sense of entitlement to publicly trash this artist's work. We'd love to see a public rebuttal.

Comment by Ann Thompson on April 3, 2013 at 1:58pm

Sorry! Here's a better link.

a href="http://www.pressherald.com/life/audience/exciting-sculptures-but-blizzards-artist-is-too-clever-by-half_2013-03-31.html>">http://www.pressherald.com/life/audience/exciting-sculptures-but-bl...;

 

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A film about jeweller Jacqueline Mina OBE. Mina uses traditional goldsmithing techniques in unorthodox ways. Her extensive technical knowledge allows her the freedom to express her art with her own characteristic contemporary aesthetic without…
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New experiences in enameling, while taking "Enameling in the Round," with Harlan Butt at Peters Valley.See More
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Post-Human

A piece illustrating extinction and the chain effect of if one animal goes extinct that the next that had previously depended on that species will also become extinct.2014
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Behind the Brooch part 2

I am happy to share with all of you more images of wonderful brooches from artists around the word. I had so many submissions on my first call that I had to create a second part exhibition. This exhibition focuses on a side of the brooch we usually do not pay much attention to: the back side. Our first look is naturally always trained at the front, but when we do take the time to look at the back of a brooch, it will oftentimes reveal a surprising aspect for us, a delightful little secret. With…See More
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