Setting and Solving Design Problems
“I don't think that art comes from art…I think it comes from the awakening person. Do artists need a spiritual way or do they need art? You can say that one is the same as the other. Everything tends toward awakening.”
- Isamu Noguchi
In a way, art is my most private activity. Discovering a problem to solve is like finding the beginning of a mystery. My design problem might be working with the texture of clay to suggest rock. As I explore this problem with sculpting and surface treatments I am lead more deeply into what rock means to me. I may discover that it is a metaphor, or it is a truth. Fantastic sculptures by nature and time, divine contradictions of the hard and soft, the moved immovable; yielding stone worn steadily by the most placid of materials-liquid.
Like most artists, I find nature to be a source of inspiration. But inspiration is only the beginning. What is needed to create art is the insistence on articulating your vision in whatever media you choose, be that clay, glass, language or any other.
One recent design problem I have focused on is creating vessels for ikebana. I see my sculpture an incomplete until the flower arrangement is placed in the vessel. My surfaces might be dull and unassuming but with the addition of flowers or pine or grasses the vase becomes a palette for a natural scene. I want the sculpture to make the viewer feel like he has come upon a natural setting and been surprised by the sudden appearance of beauty. Perhaps it is a rock in a crevice or a fern on some moss in an unlikely place or even a small evergreen clinging to a boulder.