RE: [MedievalSawdust] Re: over-engineering something on purpose
I, too, applaud Geoffrey's thoughfulk and insightful; exposition.
However, since I am deep in a study of medieval trade patterns at the moment, which is opening my mind to many possibilities, I'd like to add a couple of items for consideration.
The first is that the whole of medieval noble and gentle society - at least in Western Europe, - was partly-driven by a concept of conspicuous display, and the rarer an item was when newly imported into your home area, the more a noble "scored a coup" over his less-fortunate neighbours.
The second - of which I have only just become really aware, [ through said studies] is that the "speed of transmission" of ideas and designs, and merchantable goods, - seems to have been very-much faster than I was ever taught in my earlier studies of medieval History. Reading Peter Spufford's two exhaustively-researched "magnum Opi", - and given that merchants were always seeking things they could make a profit on selling, - there seems no good reason why a "new design" noticed in Sicily by a Florentine Merchant in one year, - could not have been on sale on his stall at the Champagne Fairs six months later.
For the rest, I thoroughly agree with Geoffrey, and thank him for his well-balanced response.
in "old" Jersey
--- On Sun, 3/5/09, James Winkler <jrwinkler@...> wrote:
From: James Winkler <jrwinkler@...>
Subject: RE: [MedievalSawdust] Re: over-engineering something on prupose
Date: Sunday, 3 May, 2009, 4:25 PM
Geoffrey wrote, "We, as craftspersons in the realm of historic reproduction (new and seasoned woodworkers) , have an obligation to put forth products to support our society and customer/user base that provide the proper medieval aesthetic. To do less, seems to me to be misleading, or even deceitful. So, there's my challenge: Contribute to improving the historical aesthetic; learn how they did it first, then do it how then did it, THEN after you are proficient - interpret."
I sincerely applaud Geoff's post... althought I might take a minor quibble at one very small point (I believe there had to be some elements of rebellion and creativity in play... or else progress would not have occured... yet, I do believe this creativity came into play in the context that Geoff notes above... a skilled artisan in the foundational skills, practiced in the foundational skills... THEN 'innovate' v. 'interpret'. ..).
But I would also observe that the validity of one's work is is relative to it's intent. If one's focus is purely 'historic recreation' then the path is clear... do as they did... period. However, if one is NOT building something historical.. . but rather a modern piece with historic elements... then it's a totally different game and needs to be judged by a totally different yardstick.
Yet... there is one consistant yardstick that can be applied to both the recreationist and the 'inspired creativist'. .. and that is craftsmanship. Regardless of what "style" of woodworking you do there is one bottom line... is the work skillfully and rationally done and appropriate to the intent?
We've all heard the old saw about art being 5% inspiration and 95% persperiation. .. I feel that applies to the current disussion. The "5%" represents the research and accademics we engage in to understand one or another 'period forms', the techniques used, the environment, the mindset, etc., etc... the "95%" represents the departure from the accademic to the practical... the picking up of the tools and our ability to exicute our mental visions on the practical palate of timbers... and the practical pallate is the truest yardstick by which, in my opionion, the accademic should be measured.
... great post Geoffrey... great post...