bodgingmilano

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bodgingmilano

Postby jacob » Thu Feb 23, 2012 7:38 pm

This has probably been posted about already but just in case anybody has missed it - I thought his was very interesting; www.bodgingmilano.co.uk
Personally I've always felt that trad crafts need to come out of the closet like this, and in other ways.
I got the link from the Regional Furniture Society mag - another body which should be out in the mainstream perhaps?
http://www.regionalfurnituresociety.com/
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Re: bodgingmilano

Postby robin wood » Sat Feb 25, 2012 10:15 am

I agree Regional Furniture soc should be much more known amongst the green wood fraternity though the number of folk who seem to be interested in taking things to the next academic level seems to be sadly limited. I have been on many trips with them over the years and to visit a museum with Bill Cotton of Vic Chinnery and have them turn the furniture upside down and explain everything they know about it was an incredible experience.

Bodging Milano I am less sure about. Funny it should pop up again now it happened 2 or 3 years ago. There is another event happening about now in Cumbria with designers coming together with traditional crafts to move things forward.

I find the basic premise rather condescending. It says look here chaps you might be able to make stuff and your old techniques are actually quite interesting in these eco friendly low carbon days but what you are doing has been done for ages and I am sure we could come in and tell you how to do it better. So in they sweep with only a week, or perhaps even a few days, and come up with their wacky new designs. The press love it and the art galleries and the funding agencies.

My problems with it are
1 the basic premise that traditional makers do not innovate and come up with new designs is wrong. Every good maker does innovate though we do tend to work within the boundaries of a long tradition. This means that folk in the know can spot a Mike Abott chair from a Gudrun or Katie Abott or Ben Orford say.
2 it takes some time to really understand the materials and techniques we are working with (more than a week) and until you have understood those things then you are unlikely to come up with better designs than existing ones. Unless you are very lucky.
3 David Colwell and Trannon is a perfect example of good new design coming out of deep understanding of traditional techniques and materials, it doesn't happen overnight.
4 it is arrogant to think that a designer with a week playing is going to be so much better than a good traditional maker taking the best of hundreds of years of traditional design and moving it on with their own personal fingerprint.
5 the chairs made on this course with Gudrun were on the whole poorer, less interesting and less aesthetically pleasing chairs than on most of Gudruns courses.I would argue that this was the result of folk trying to run before they could walk. If I wanted someone to write me some new music for guitar I would want them to learn how to play a few good existing tunes on guitar first. Of course just give the conductor a guitar and they may make some interesting noises that have not been made before but there will probably be a lot of unpleasant stuff too.
6 how do you think these designers would react if we suggested going into their workspaces to see if we had anything we could offer them? perhaps we could improve their existing environmental practices? or bring some of the natural ways of getting closer to materials which they admire into their existing practice? or perhaps understanding the local vernacular and local materials and working with it could give a new take to their practice? Do you think we could secure funding for that? do you think they would welcome it? I suspect not.
http://www.robin-wood.co.uk bowls, books and courses
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Re: bodgingmilano

Postby jacob » Sat Feb 25, 2012 8:02 pm

robin wood wrote:I agree Regional Furniture soc should be much more known amongst the green wood fraternity though the number of folk who seem to be interested in taking things to the next academic level seems to be sadly limited. I have been on many trips with them over the years and to visit a museum with Bill Cotton of Vic Chinnery and have them turn the furniture upside down and explain everything they know about it was an incredible experience.

I've only been on one - around Haddon with V Chinnery (the late). I recently signed on for a 2 day visit to St Fagans but not enough support. They need some more members who aren't antique dealers or academics but who make things instead IMHO.
Bodging Milano I am less sure about. Funny it should pop up again now it happened 2 or 3 years ago.

Because it's new to me and I thought I'd post anyway!
There is another event happening about now in Cumbria with designers coming together with traditional crafts to move things forward.

Links?
I find the basic premise rather condescending. .......

I can see what you mean but I saw it more positively. More a case of the bodgers being condescending to them!
I've always thought that the big weakness in a lot of Brit design is the lack of appreciation of trad crafts. It could do them good.
Anybody who believes the "basic premise that traditional makers do not innovate and come up with new designs" is simply very ignorant, or possibly blind. It's all around us. Take a look at Richard Bebbs book on Welsh furniture - it's brimming with exuberant designs, variations, colours etc which make the "designer" products of the Arts n Crafts movement look very dull. I feel sorry for modern furniture designers as they struggle so hard to be different. They lost the plot a long time ago, in their desperate anxiety to be innovative and original. All that talent but they've been cut of from their roots somehow. Poor things!
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Re: bodgingmilano

Postby Former Glory » Sun Feb 26, 2012 2:47 pm

robin wood wrote:how do you think these designers would react if we suggested going into their workspaces to see if we had anything we could offer them? perhaps we could improve their existing environmental practices? or bring some of the natural ways of getting closer to materials which they admire into their existing practice? or perhaps understanding the local vernacular and local materials and working with it could give a new take to their practice? Do you think we could secure funding for that? do you think they would welcome it? I suspect not.


I hear what you're saying Robin, but our experience is different - we don't go to designers workspaces, but they regularly come into ours to learn how to use materials to achieve their desired results. Do they welcome it? Yes. Do they think they need to pay? For the most part no. There's never likely to be any central funding for us to do this aspect of our work and in a lot of ways, (controversial as it may sound) I don't think there should be. They should rate our artisan skills highly enough to expect to pay for advice in the first place, blatantly at present they don't, we are seen as a free resource just like the internet. What I also passionately believe is that designers should spend time making more of the stuff they design as part of their coursework, it would save me so much heartache explaining why something can't be done and allow a lot more time to explain how it can be done well. How can anyone get something right if they've never been given the opportunity to get it wrong? This is a raw subject for us at the moment, yesterday I spent best part of an hour on the phone explaining to a student at a very highly respected college why the seat weave he wanted to do wouldn't work on the frame he had designed.

Needless to say he knew more about seat weaving than I do because he had studied a very good picture of a Hans Wegner chair similar in design to the one he wanted to make. If I had that picture I would happily turn it into string and use it for unsuitable purposes! Frustrating or what.

On the other hand a couple of weeks ago I spent a very happy few hours working with a Bournemouth Art student helping her to make a woven structure for her fashion design project. She contacted me of her own free will and came along with no support or encouragement from Uni. I was unpaid, but at least one young woman went away enthused, uplifted and feeling more capable of creating the things she designs. She wrote on her blog:

"I am very very excited about wheat I learnt yesterday, and it is so much more satisfying to now have the skills to create the pocket hoops myself, as opposed to using something ready made or paying someone to make it for me, although I supposed that's why I am in the costume making business!

Strangely enough, I found this experience much less daunting than the prospect of going in to the workshop at uni and asking for help creating my wig structure. I think the problem with the workshop is that it is full of people who appear to know what they are doing, whereas yesterday, there was no pressure to appear all-knowing. It does go to show though, that I am capable of many things and it's all about just biting the bullet and asking for help."


I can appreciate that there is a need for academics in our environment to "up the ante" when it comes to the perception and acceptance of our work, but if doing this work is how you earn a living, then you're too busy and there's no time left to be academic, (or at least that's my experience). Surely it's up to us to try and gain respect for what we do by our deeds. If bodgingmilano and similar events help in this respect, then from my viewpoint, that's great.
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Re: bodgingmilano

Postby davestovell » Mon Feb 27, 2012 5:22 pm

I was lucky enough to attend the event in Cumbria last week held at Charlie Whinney's studio (http://charliewhinney.com/). It was attended by a variety of people including coppice workers, designers, designer/makers, architects etc. For me the weekend was about getting like minded souls together and playing with ideas and of course there has to be an objective in mind, funders often require one. You can read my thoughts about it here: http://www.davidstovell.blogspot.com/

My background is firmly in product design, we studied speculation and questioned everything. This helped to me to question production methods and sourcing which then led to a days tuition with Robin Fawcett, which led to joining the APT&GW, which led to going to the Bodgers Ball where I was lucky enough to attend a session with Robin (Wood) about knife grips and then onto another day with Robin Fawcett. This year I will be going to the BB again (my third time) and am hoping to attend some more courses, yet I still see myself as a designer who uses (sometimes) greenwood and associated techniques but still I want to question, can it be tattooed, coloured with hena, streched, squeezed and twisted, can it be mixed with (as in used with) plastic, metal, plaster and the new RP technologies. What is the relationship formed between a customer and a piece? what are the stories that can be told and how can they be told?

I do not want to become a craftsman, but I would like to master my craft and I think there is a difference, I want to become better at what I do and for me this is entails looking and borrowing from many sources. I respect the people who are craftsmen and have the discipline to master a particular material or process but this is not for me but I also expect to be treated as an individual and not lumped together under a general banner.

I find the basic premise rather condescending. It says look here chaps you might be able to make stuff and your old techniques are actually quite interesting in these eco friendly low carbon days but what you are doing has been done for ages and I am sure we could come in and tell you how to do it better. So in they sweep with only a week, or perhaps even a few days, and come up with their wacky new designs. The press love it and the art galleries and the funding agencies.


Where do you get this idea from, you may have met some arrogant people in your time but don't tar us all with the same brush.

2 it takes some time to really understand the materials and techniques we are working with (more than a week) and until you have understood those things then you are unlikely to come up with better designs than existing ones. Unless you are very lucky.


These collaborations are not necessarily about 'better' they are a good chance to share ideas.

3 David Colwell and Trannon is a perfect example of good new design coming out of deep understanding of traditional techniques and materials, it doesn't happen overnight.


Agreed, quality does take time but seeds of new ideas can come overnight.

4 it is arrogant to think that a designer with a week playing is going to be so much better than a good traditional maker taking the best of hundreds of years of traditional design and moving it on with their own personal fingerprint.


Where is this notion of better coming from???

5 the chairs made on this course with Gudrun were on the whole poorer, less interesting and less aesthetically pleasing chairs than on most of Gudruns courses.I would argue that this was the result of folk trying to run before they could walk. If I wanted someone to write me some new music for guitar I would want them to learn how to play a few good existing tunes on guitar first. Of course just give the conductor a guitar and they may make some interesting noises that have not been made before but there will probably be a lot of unpleasant stuff too.


I am sorry but this just sound bitter, would you say to someone who has spent time on one of the many short courses run by members of the APT&GW that they are trying to run before they can walk, no, the courses are sold with the object, a take home, as part of the course appeal, surely you encourage them to carry on, not to give up as they are not up to scratch, and surely this encouragement will lead to an appreciation of the qualities you mention.

6 how do you think these designers would react if we suggested going into their workspaces to see if we had anything we could offer them? perhaps we could improve their existing environmental practices? or bring some of the natural ways of getting closer to materials which they admire into their existing practice? or perhaps understanding the local vernacular and local materials and working with it could give a new take to their practice? Do you think we could secure funding for that? do you think they would welcome it? I suspect not.


I would love anyone to come to my workshop and chew the fat, and I know of others who would as well but of course there are people who would object, this is not because they are designers but because they are human, would ALL craftsmen welcome others, of course not, so lets separate personality from profession.

As for funding, well you know that some people get funding and some don't. It's strange how many opportunities are denied me because of my age. Some people can work the broken system and some can't (I fall into the can't category)

I don't want any of this to sound in anyway offensive or rude, this is not my intention. I have great respect for the people who contribute to this forum but I also have to respect myself and as someone who has a foot in both camps I feel I have to add my two penny worth.

David






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Re: bodgingmilano

Postby pedder63 » Mon Feb 27, 2012 11:36 pm

I was lucky enough to spend a week with Charlie Whinney, eight coppice workers and a bunch of designers. There was nothing condescending about anything that happened there. Just people learning together, respecting each other, sharing skills, and enjoying themselves. The results wil be posted on the newgreenwoodwork.com website, for now thew best place to see what happened is the Grizedale Arts Facebook page. I am a green woodworker and a designer. I don't think anyone is claiming that traditional skills can be learnt or understood in a week, but sparks can fly, inspiration can happen, new opportunities and ideas can be explored. This need not undermine the traditional, but may complement it and add to the tradition. After all, all traditions have to start somewhere.
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Re: bodgingmilano

Postby jacob » Mon Feb 27, 2012 11:44 pm

Interesting set of replies!
Not sure what the problem is but could the answer be the Bauhaus?
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Re: bodgingmilano

Postby jacob » Mon May 13, 2013 7:52 pm

Visited the Harley Gallery yesterday http://www.harleygallery.co.uk/event.ph ... &ev_id=604 and had a chance to meet some of the team and talk about their project. Very interesting. In fact one of the most interesting shows (and talks) I've seen for a long time.
I think some of the negative comments above have missed the point. I think there is much to be gained from this sort of crossover - certainly that's what they thought and they weren't in anyway condescending about crafts. Quite the opposite - they were full of admiration for the bodging world and grateful for the experience, which they contrasted with the remoteness of studio design work (CAD etc) as compared to the direct hands-on of green woodwork.
Excellent stuff and not in any way divisive or elitist etc. etc.
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