Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Gold Stars, Awards and Recognition

As we prepare for upcoming shows: The Western Design Conference in Jackson Hole, Wyoming and the Texas Furniture Makers Show in Kerrville, Texas we question why is it that we do them? It REALLY is NOT for the Awards or Prizes but more for a chance to push Lou's artistic vision and ability. The Gold Stars, Awards and recognition are always nice (probably necessary in Elementary School) and perhaps validate what the artist is creating but in the end that is not what Lou is working for.

He does this work in Mesquite furniture to satisfy something inside of himself and also to bring out something from the mesquite tree's spirit that is speaking to him. When we started this furniture making journey we had many head scratching, naysayers who did not quite understand what he was doing and why he invested so much time creating the curves that have become a part of his signature style. Lot's of folks just did not "get it". Lou Quallenberg's work is not traditional nor is it really contemporary. We honestly don't know what to call it. He is not repeating designs from the past or copying another style. His work truly is his own. His own Design. His own Style.

Someone recently found a piece online that was an "ill" attempt to copy his look. Lou repeated Charles Caleb Colton's words "Imitation is the sincerest of flattery." Lou also said:
"they can copy only the works I have already produced they can't copy the designs I hold in my head and have yet to produce." Lou Quallenberg
He is right but it still ruffles my feathers a bit. I guess because I feel like they are trying to take something away from him. But they can't.

Another reason we attend these shows is the opportunity to meet such amazing and talented Artists. At the Texas Furniture Makers Show we always look forward to seeing the work of Frank Strazza. (Our inside joke is that Lou has to come up with a Strazzanator) Frank's work is so amazing and he uses only hand tools!! Barry Bradley and Rex White are always coming up with something unique for the Texas Furniture Makers Show, we see them more often because we all have work at the Artisans at Rocky Hill Gallery in Fredericksburg, Texas.

The Western Design Conference is the one that really inspires because it brings together western influenced artists from Jewelry, Fashion, Metal, Wood, Leather, and Home Accents. It is a room full of 100 or so Artist's bringing their best. It is pure inspiration from the moment you walk into the gallery setting show. If you consider the amazing talent and hours of hard work that come together under one roof for those few days it will blow your mind. We always hope that while we are there in the midst of that creativity some of that talent and inspiration will somehow sneak it's way into our souls and make us better at what we do.