Design Matters: Look Beneath the Surface

Jim Sannerud BowlLearn the hidden order that speaks a common craft language.

by George R. Walker
pages 18-20

Jim Sannerud is a gifted artisan who turns wooden bowls that are inspired by the rich tradition of Scandinavian woodcraft.

Recently, I was admiring his work when the conversation shifted to clay potters who turn their work on a wheel. Jim looked up from the bowl he was working on and made a simple yet profound observation. Potters and turners share a common language and the two crafts have always shared ideas and inspiration.

Now this language Jim spoke about is not some secret jargon known only to bowl turners. We often think of language strictly in terms of words. But languages that express ideas can go far beyond the limits of words.

In Jim’s world, the language is primarily about describing curves. In truth, our spoken language has a very limited range of words that can describe curves: concave, convex, fast, slow etc. Yet the vast possibilities of curves and combinations of arcs are infinite. Words are inadequate.

Blog: Read more from George R. Walker on his Design Matters blog.
In Our Store: George Walker’s DVDs “Unlocking the Secrets of Traditional Design: Moldings” and “Unlocking the Secrets of Traditional Design.”

From the February 2016 issue, #233
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