Wednesday, October 28, 2009

If Art is a step from Nature toward the infinite, can furniture be art?

"Art is a step from nature toward the infinite." Kahlil Gibran

So can furniture really ever be considered art? Lou is consciously trying to bring his mesquite furniture to the level of art. Will we know if it ever reaches that level? I'm not sure, but I know that it won't keep us from trying.

We are having a difficult time finding appropriate places to show his work. True "Art" Galleries are quick to say that they do not show furniture, without even taking a look at his work. We have been in several galleries that use furniture as fixtures covering the pieces with guestbooks and nick nacks. When really one or two pieces of something sculptural would enhance both the sculpture and the furniture piece. I have to say Artisan's at Rocky Hill does a nice job of displaying our mesquite furniture pieces. Most Furniture and Retail stores are more interested in volume. Quantity over quality, the old stack 'em deep and sell 'em cheap philosophy. It is so hard to find a good fit.

So that leaves Shows as the best option to get his work out in front of the public eye. We prefer gallery setting shows with the pieces shown on pedestals, like art. We dislike outdoor shows for one main reason: THE WEATHER! The weather can ruin the finish of a piece and create all kinds of problems with wood. Warping, swelling, and sticking to name a few. This is the main reason we don't show at the Texas Mesquite Association Art Show in Fredricksburg, Texas. It is an outdoor show and it always seems to rain on that weekend. It poured this year and was cold on top of it all. We are still in the process of identifying which shows will give us exposure to the upscale clientele we serve. It is all trial and error and it helps so much when our artist friends share information about successes and failures on the show circuit. We are even working with some folks on creating an upscale show that would showcase artisans and in particular wood. We will of course be sharing that information once plans are finalized.

Don't forget The 10th Annual Texas Furniture Makers Show in Kerrville runs from October 22-December 6th this year. Based on what we saw on delivery day it will be another wonderful show. We saw some really amazing pieces! This year's Seminar “The Contemporary Scene in Handmade Furniture” with author and furniture maker Jonathan Binzen is on November 7th from 2:30 - 5:30 pm with the reception and awards ceremony to follow.

Advertising and our website are also ways to gain exposure but they lack one of the most important aspects of his work, the ability to touch, feel and look under his pieces. Lou is a great photographer but these pieces all present major challenges. They curve and wave, sweep and swoop and it is almost impossible to capture that multi-dimensionality in a photo. We have even considered video and it may help capture a few curves here and there but it presents even more technical challenges. In the end it probably won't reach the results we are looking for. Don't worry, it won't stop us from trying and we will post any suitable results on our website or here so keep checking back. Advertising in the high end magazines can eat into the wallet and then some and, depending on the economy or the issue, not have a payoff. We always track where our sales come from and so far the internet has been our best resource for new clients.

So as we try to push Lou Quallenberg's work, a step from nature towards the infinite and into the realm of art, we continue to be blessed with this amazing mesquite furniture journey. We look forward to spending another year reaching towards the infinite and following our dreams.