Daily discipline

On Friday late in the day while Tina and I were walking down the street to get a light dinner, a call came in on my BlackBerry from Rad Davis in Foley, Alabama. I had sent him copies of a drawing that included one of his pipes as a subject, and subsequently on seeing his weekly addition to his online store, had dropped him a note admiring his dedication to the work. He was calling to say thanks.

Rad is an inspiration to me. He is one of a relatively small number of pipe carvers who makes his full time living this way, and he makes an impressive number of consistently excellent pipes at an even pace, week after week, year after year. What I said to him in my note was that in my experience, it's not so difficult, given talent and some skills, to turn out something terrific when the mood hits. Far more challenging is to do it every single day, at a high standard of excellence and with such fidelity to a recognizable and ever improving sense of form, proportion, and detail. Dependably. Whether you feel like it or not.

My contact with Rad has been very little for someone whom I would call a friend and colleague, but I know Rad through his work. The nearly ascetic qualities of iconically simple beauty in the forms he creates, without fussy frills or gimmicky touches tell me a great deal about who he is and how he lives his life. I can only hope that I can continue my own efforts as an artist, every day, whether I want to or not, constantly and patiently striving to improve over the day before.

Pipe by Rad Davis and Alex Florov for Quality Briar


Starting out

Putting up a new website is, for a perfectionist like me, like trying to ride a handmade Italian road racing bike with skinny tires up a steep and rocky mountain trail. It seems so daunting that it's nearly impossible to even get started. That's complicated by the fact that the subject matter is my own work. But, the realist inside says that it would be far worse to continue to let precious time pass, energy to drain away, and not even to embark. And I'm tired of being rigid with fear. So I'm starting off on foot here. I figure that I can always go back and get the bike once I get to know what the trail is really like.

To begin with, this is going to be a place where I can share what I want to as an artist and as a designer, along with the droplets or streams of thought that are connected to the work. I'm going to trust that the people I invite to see these bits will come because we share some common interests, and I can only hope that you will feel comfortable enough to offer your genuine reactions, approving or critical, and to leave evidence of those thoughts as comments.

I don't quite know where this is going. What I do know is that an artist and designer working in isolation gives very little to the world. So I'm looking to begin to contribute, to solicit an audience, and to share experiences and their visual product. To receive feedback, to grow, and to offer something that will somehow enrich the experience of those of you who visit and participate. We'll see where it leads.

 faded chair, saratoga springs; pastels on paper, 22" x 30" collection of Meredith Henry Geringer

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