Thursday, May 9, 2013

But is it "cute?"

(To find out about my personal secretary series, read the previous blog post.)

I've been working on a multi-level personal secretary, a commission.  She asked me to make a cabinet with six unusual compartments.  So I started thinking about differently-shaped doors and drawers.

I came up with this basic design, and started construction.

I realized it would be a good idea to make a diagram numbering each piece so I could keep track of them as I cut them.

So, over the months, as time allowed (which it didn't do very often) began to build the piece, starting with cutting the various pieces, covering them in a layer of neutral-colored paper and acrylic matte medium, and joining them together when they were ready.  As I worked, I learned what steps had to be done before others, and what techniques worked and what didn't.


Even though all the levels weren't constructed, I couldn't help myself from moving on to covering the first layer with the final papers.

Since then, I've been putting in many more hours, and made quite a bit of progress.  As you can see, I decided to reverse the orientation of the top layer.


Here's the thing:  when I describe the series to people (not easy), or sometimes when people see the pictures I post, they say "That sounds really cute" or "Your work is so cute."  Hmmm. "Cute" is not the first word I would want to come to people's minds when looking at my work.  "Clever," maybe.  "Intriguing," definitely.  But as I keep working, like today, making a small beach scene that fits in one of the drawers, and it was turning out to be rather "cute," I wondered if the project is doomed to be "precious."  And yet, the choices I'm making feel true and right for the piece.  How can I rescue it from mere cuteness?

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