Sundays are a time for reflection and contemplation. Even if one finds oneself in their workshop planning the next week of production, the tone of an otherwise lazy Sunday brings a thoughtful mood. This past Sunday, as I was tinkering in my shop, my eyes landed on my bench alter. I’m not conventionally religious, more of an animist, or Buddhist, if anything, so I do have a small collection of things meaningful to me presiding over my workbench. Must be a human need.
Mortui Vivis Praecipant…
…stuck with me after I made a custom ring, a band with those words around it, for a forensic expert that left our town of Eugene, OR for a time to help in New Orleans after the Katrina disaster. The words are in Latin, and translate as “Let the Living Learn from the Dead”. If you search that phrase, you will find several stories about Katrina. And so that goes…I don’t dwell on the potential morbidity of that phrase, but see the complete wisdom of learning from our mistakes. Both in the broader aspects of life, and in the workshop!
Make Your Own World
It seems for me, some of the best gifts pop up out of nowhere. And usually just at the right time if you think about it. I found (it was a “ground score”) the “Make Your Own World” button sometime shortly after I began making jewelry, over 40 years ago. I think it helped to inspire me to start my business, rather than pursue a job with someone else. Woodstock had come and gone by then, but the US was then still reaching for a new era, redefining many aspects of our culture. Seemingly, much of the impetus for real change has now been co-opted for that new I-phone…or whatever.
Anarchism for me, by the way, has nothing to do with riots or breaking windows, and everything to do with being as independent and self-sufficient as is possible in today’s world. Check out the link above for a good overview of its true meaning on Wikipedia. So this button remains a reminder to me to stay strong and not allow myself to be too caught up in the acquisition of things that, in the long run, probably don’t matter too much.
There are other things on my bench that have similar purpose. The little frog my son gave me, a note from my daughter. I look at them and smile…
Your Own Symbolic Journey!
You too have things that are meaningful to you, something that symbolizes what you believe in, or what and who you love. Through the magic of Custom Jewelry Design, it’s possible to memorialize an idea, a moment, or a love in a physical object. Many people do that by way of a wedding ring, or some form of commitment jewelry. Ring us up here at Gary Dawson Designs (541-729-2531) and let us turn your symbolic theme into something you can wear to show the world. We love doing custom design! You can also use our convenient Contact Form to start your project today!
Happy New Year! 2018 will be a great year for Beauty and Craftsmanship at Gary Dawson Designs.
There’s never a bad time to reflect on what gives meaning to our lives but the new year seems to compel us in that direction. Serendipitously, as I was driving to my office the other day, starting my new year of design and custom work, I heard an NPR Ted Radio Hour that really set me afire with reflection and contemplation. “What is Beauty” was the title and while all of it was good, a particular segment caught my attention as being relevant to what I do.
The wisdom of Denis Dutton, now passed, is preserved in his TED talk entitled, A Darwinian Theory of Beauty, given in February of 2010. Dutton was educated at UCSB and went on to be a professor of philosophy at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand. He was perhaps best known for his site Arts & Letters Daily, which he founded in 1998 which, in the words of Lev Grossman, secured him a place among “the most influential media personalities in the world”. (Time Magazine, June 13th 2004)
Beauty, Craftsmanship and “Fitness Signals”
I highly recommend listening to his entertaining presentation, but I’ll eschew here his verbatim transcript. In it he makes the point that humans are likely hard-wired to seek beauty. Specifically with relation to artistic beauty, he refers to what he calls “fitness signals” and relates that concept to craftsmanship as it developed in the evolution of the Acheulian hand axe. Fitness, in this case being the ability or fitness to breed. These artifacts go back about 2.5 million years and display what may be the first evidence of artistic beauty as created by a human. In that far too many of them have been found in some sites to account for only butchering game, some are too large to be used for butchering, and many show no evidence of ever having been used, it seems evident that at least some of them were created for their beauty alone. According to Dutton, “Their symmetry, their attractive materials and, above all, their meticulous workmanship are simply quite beautiful to our eyes, even today!”
He further states, “Competently made hand axes indicated desirable personal qualities — intelligence, fine motor control, planning ability, conscientiousness and sometimes access to rare materials. Over tens of thousands of generations, such skills increased the status of those who displayed them and gained a reproductive advantage over the less capable. You know, it’s an old line, but it has been shown to work — “Why don’t you come up to my cave, so I can show you my hand axes?””
So when you find yourself over-thinking why you want that nice piece of Gary Dawson Designs jewelry, just remember…it’s about survival! You want to signal fitness, right?
Contact us today to start your project! It will be executed with attractive materials and meticulous workmanship!