Monday, November 16, 2009

Carved Books Again

A couple months ago I shared some of my artistic endeavors here on the blog as I was preparing for my show in the library of North Seattle Community College. Prior to this, I had a three pieces hanging in a shop in the Georgetown neighborhood of Seattle, but this was really the first time they’ve all been on display anywhere other than my own home.

I included my contact information in the exhibit, thinking that someone might want to get in touch about buying one, or possibly commissioning a piece, but the idea really wasn’t to sell as much as to get them out of my house and into the world. One thing I hadn’t anticipated were strangers calling me just to talk about the work. I’ve often been moved by art, but it has never crossed my mind to express gratitude to the artist unless he was standing right there with me. My god, what an incredible feeling it is to have strangers phone you as you’re cooking dinner or folding laundry just to reach out and say, “Thanks.” I hope it doesn’t sound like I’m fishing for compliments here, but I've fielded dozens of calls this past month, and after a particularly nice one last night, I’m blown away this morning by the kindness of strangers. And more than a little shamed by all the times I’ve been moved by a piece of art without sharing it with that unknown artist. It really is better than money.

Although money ain't so bad either. On a much lower level of existence, I’m excited to report that the show has resulted in a sale! It’s not the first one I've sold, but it’s the first one from a show so it’s something of a milestone. This is the one that will soon have a new home:


I promised the buyer that she could have it before the end of the show, so I’m going in this week to trade it out for this new piece:

Le fraincais partout 1

This was the girlhood French book of librarian Elinor Appel who is responsible for the show being at NSCC in the first place, her name is even written on the flyleaf. I’d planned to give it to her as a “thank you” at the end of the show, but now I think I’ll put it in the display case with a card that reads, “From the private collection of Elinor Appel” and see if she notices. I know she sometimes reads the blog, so maybe she’ll see it here first. Thanks Elinor!

If I can find the room, I’m going to try to wedge this new piece into a display case as well:

Boy From Johnny Butte

And maybe this one:

The Seven Principles Of Golf

I’m also excited to report that I’ve recently received a commission, although not as a direct result of the show. I’m going to be carving a book for an old friend back east to give as a Christmas gift to her husband.

Back to preschool posts tomorrow . . .

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Monkey's Mama said...

I really love your pieces. They are so amazing. I haven't gotten to see them in person but can only imagine they are that much cooler in person. I love that you're doing a sneaky gift for your friend. She will be so touched.

Floor Pie said...

I love the Le fraincais one.

Eternal Lizdom said...

I highly suggest that your readers click on the images to "bigify" them. Just to catch a bit more of the detail. These are really unique and amazing. If you ever do one from my childhood favorites list... I don't know if I'd be able to resist (Black Beauty, anyone?).

As for the phone calls... I guess it's kind of like blog comments. We all want comments because it is a reflection of what our readers connect with in our writing. I like knowing what my readers take from what I share. By these strangers reaching out to you, they are leaving their own kind of comments!

Unknown said...

Oh, I am SO glad that you posted this! I was going to go and find your old post about this as you mentioned it the other day in a comment and I was intrigued! This is a wonderful medium! I love it! : ) Your creativity inspires me Tom! What a great hobby!

MOM #1 said...

Love them! Love them! Love them!

They are beautiful and I'm so glad you're getting positive feedback from the hearts of strangers.

It's always great to have people who aren't paid by you or who aren't a part of your family (and therefore obligated) to heap tons of delicous praise on you.

Well at least I always like it, LOL.

Michelle said...

Wow. I'm so ummm staid that it took me until the third or fourth picture to get that they were actual books (ok, so I have a hard time removing any book from circulation, but I love these). It makes sense now why my eye kept moving through them -- they're 3D! Way cool.

Edie Jane said...

Here's another note of admiration from a stranger. I just love these, and can't wait to see one. I guess that will happen sometime since I'm Elinor's aunt!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations Tom, that is excellent that you getting recognition for your hardwork and art. I'm not an art buff, but I can certainly appreciate the time, care and exacting nature it must take to create one of these pieces.