Art and Artisans

Some of you who read my blog know that I get weak-kneed at beautiful hand-made furniture. Even simple, hand-made furniture feels special to me. I blame it on the Denver Art Museum which had a beautiful carved Chinese wedding bed in their Asian collection that I visited every week or so. I pretended that it was mine so hard that if it appeared in my house today I’d just welcome it to my home as my long-lost bed. 

When it came time to buy our own furniture one of the first pieces we bought was a kotatsu table, a hand-made Japanese table with a heating element, exquisitely crafted by a local woodworker and sold through one of the Sakura Square’s shops. It’s been our mainstay for decades now, providing warmth in the winter and just a nice place to sit and eat in the summer. You can buy kotatsu tables on Amazon these days, but they’re not the same. There is something about human-made things that separates them from their machine-made kin.

I was reminded of this reading a comment made by Storm Michael Hubert on Facebook yesterday. He said, “Art has intention. It’s in purposeful conversation with society and culture and the things that came before through its style and technique and the unique subjectivity of the person making it, all seen in the smallest choices made in its crafting along the way.”

That is exactly right.

It is why we buy from artisans and artists. We want that sense of connection. We have eleven pieces of hand-made furniture in our house and just ordered another that will be arriving from San Francisco in about a month. These things delight me. The thing about artisan-made items is that they require more thought, both for the artisan and the buyer. They require examination and a full engagement with the item. It slows things down and that’s to the good.

Daily Dozen Challenge

The last two days have been mixed. Thursday I managed an incredible 23 out of 24 boxes, but Friday we indulged in a less healthy Shabbat dinner and I ended up with 17 out of 24. Still respectable, but not as good as Thursday. Today will be better.

Two Book Recommendations

I’ve been shelving and rating the books I’ve read this year in GoodReads in preparation for the end of the year totals. I want to recommend one fantastic SF book to you and a historical mystery series that you should definitely check out. 

The SF book is John Scalzi’s Starter Villain, which is the funniest book I’ve read all year. I highly recommend this crazy romp to anyone who loves fun. If you listen to audio books, this one is fantastic as an audio book read by Will Wheaton.

The historical mystery series is Amanda Quick’s Burning Cove series. Set in the 1930s in California this series captures the flavor of the era with smart, proactive heroines who solve mysteries and find love along the way. Start with The Girl Who Knew Too Much. I think you’ll love them. There is a reason that the author is a long-time bestseller.

Be well, friends!

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