Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Wendell Castle's Rules of Thumb & Kentucky Museum of Art & Craft News

A feature on the artist Wendell Castle in the latest issue of American Craft Magazine included Castle's "guides to creativity". I read and re-read the straightforward, candid, and extremely relevant lists several times when the magazine first arrived a couple of weeks ago, and thought that the start of the new year (Happy 2013!) is a perfect time to dwell on them again. How many of them hit particularly close to home for you?

The Original 10 Adopted Rules of Thumb
1. If you are in love with an idea, you are no judge of its beauty or value.
2. It is difficult to see the whole picture when you are inside the frame.
3. After learning the tricks of the trade, don’t think you know the trade.
4. We hear and apprehend what we already know.
5. The dog that stays on the porch will find no bones.
6. Never state a problem to yourself in the same terms it was brought to you.
7. If it’s offbeat or surprising it’s probably useful.
8. If you do not expect the unexpected, you will not find it.
9. Don’t get too serious.
10. If you hit the bull’s-eye every time, the target is too near.

Wendell Castle’s New Adopted Rules of Thumb
1. Distrust what comes easily.
2. You have to stand for something or you’ll fall for anything.
3. Bring conflicting attitudes to bear on the same problem.
4. We should never know for whom you’re designing.
5. Always listen to the voice of eccentricity.
6. The whole secret to designing a chair is applying the seat of your pants to the seat of the chair.
7. The problem with taking life in your own hands is you have no one else to blame.
8. If your mind is not baffled, your mind is not fully employed.
9. Imagination, not reason, creates what is novel.
10. Jumping to conclusions is not exercise.
11. Keep knocking – eventually someone will look down to see who’s there.

(Source: American Craft Magazine, Dec/Jan '13)

Wendell Castle, Midnight, 2010 stained mahogany with oil finish
Wendell Castle, Desk, 1967. Photo: Jon Bolton

Castle's work is currently on exhibit at the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft - "Wendell Castle: Forms within Forms". The show sounds marvelous and has received great reviews. Although I can't attend in person, I'm very pleased to announce that, as of last month, my work (hand-knit & crochet accessories & jewelry) is carried by the Museum's shop. It's a treat and an honor!