Seeing this ale bowl basking in the sun, my wife asked my daughter what she thought of the new dragon bowl. Emma replied, “What dragon bowl?” Wonderful.
What Emma noticed were the flowing lines and the form, and only after looking more closely did she discover the dragons in their midst. I like that. Details and dragons are secondary. I find the same can be true with calligraphy; regardless of the meaning, or if we even know the language, we appreciate the beauty of the form, the sweep of the line.
The overall question of what we find beautiful is full of fascination and mystery, and my wonder surrounding it grows all the time. But we’ll leave that larger question for another time. One thing that seems clear is that our eyes are drawn to beautiful lines and contours. We appreciate the graceful lines of everything from cars to dancers. Fred and Ginger certainly understood that idea.
Now I’m entering dangerous territory. Me writing about dancing is akin to a cat writing about canoeing. Yet, I can still intuitively be awestruck by the beauty and flow of the lines, even if I can’t strike the pose.
Al Hirschfeld was known for dancing his pen across paper, speaking volumes and expressing beauty with the flow of line and subtle variations in its width. Brilliant:
Another Hirschfeld, just for Follansbee:
So I strive for the beauty of the line, the flow of the form. And I’m drawn to the graceful lines in the works of other designer/makers I admire. All the better if I can touch as well as see. Our fingertips can tell us as much as our eyes, and, although I sometimes understand the necessity, a “Do Not Touch” sign is often a heavy blow.
You can not only touch this bowl, you can drink from it. This is my second exploration of this design, again in black cherry, with a bit of the lighter sapwood running through the heads. This design is challenging; maintaining the flow of the flutes through the grain along the heads is just one example. Below is a slideshow with a few additional photos.
13 1/4″ long, 6 1/4″ wide and 5″ high, and would hold 20 ounces. I’ve just posted it to my website as well.