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Soft Target

2nd January 2016

Soft Target began as a commission. A piece that I would make for someone else and in part, be produced to meet their expectations.

The brief was simple. An interlocking form of which one half would be burned on the inside and the other, burned on the out. 

One piece of Sycamore was split in two and each form was carved. Progress was fluid and the piece took shape.

I confidently burned the interior of the first half but intuitively paused before burning the exterior of the second. I wanted to burn the inside of the second half, just as I had the first.

This though was a commission. It was not what I had agreed to do. 

I am happy in my making to go against my judgment. To do what I think I should not. 

I burned the outside of the second half. The wood split, moved and checked and despite my best efforts to believe this had been the right choice, I knew it was not. I felt as if I had lost the piece. 

It was a few days before I took action.

I began to laboriously remove the burned surface from the second half and return it to the naturally blonde wood. When complete I burned the interior, just as I had intuitively wished to do several days before.  

The work balanced, I learned and the commission was abandoned. 

We can be tempted as makers to create what others may want. To act out and try to satisfy the thoughts and wishes of another. We can succumb to the conditions and demands of patron and trend.  

This is not the artist's role. The artist has one obligation;

To work with freedom. 

When we make with honesty, clarity and integrity, we uplift and embolden the self and our work may speak to others of such things.