Fletcher Cox | Golden Section Plate 1
|Biography Statement Ask the Artist|
Fletcher Cox describes himself as a self-employed designer and craftsman in wood. He's also an adjunct assistant professor at the Mississipi State University School of Architecture. His work is in the permanent collection of the Mississippi Museum of Art, the Arkansas Art Center and the Fine Arts Museum of the South in Mobile. Among his public commissions-- architectural additions to the Mississippi Governor's mansion.
He has made a specialty of constructing sanctuary furniture for churches in Mississippi and Alabama.
In "Home Economics" essayist Wendell Berry takes his friend Wes Jackson to task over the use of the word "random" to describe the arrangement of raindrops as they fall from the sky. He proposes the use of the term "mysterious" instead. Just because the order isn't apparent doesn't mean it's not there: it is we who have not yet found it. Our attitude toward the mysterious is quite different from that toward the random.
There is a temptation in post-classical artifice to approximate the mysterious orders that abound in First Nature. Plastic counter tops that imitate stone's crystalline structure are one obvious example: compositional maneuvers in hand work are another. Such efforts are doomed, at best, to sentimentality, if not narcissism. The freedom we find in First Nature's mysteries is to be found in Second Nature in the workings of pattern.
Such a pattern is the shape of the traditional plate: shallow bowl surrounded by sloping (more or less) platform: an opened-out jar with rim. Like a table, it makes an interiority above itself. This shape was traditionally decorated on the rim with representations: totems of domesticity and power. The rim of this plate is the emblem of the order/random encounter: it is not surface, not applied, but made up in the plate. The field of the bowl is a multiple pattern based on the golden section proportion which is itself a traditional pattern.
Since the invention of joinery, woodworking in general has gone from being a subtractive medium to additive. The exceptions to this trend are monolithic sculpture and turning. In this plate both additive and subtractive processes are at work, aiming at balance.
Where do you get the ideas for your work?
Do you work alone on your craft, or with others?
Do you ever teach, or take on apprentices?
What's the most exciting part of creating your works?
What's the most difficult part of creating your works?
What sort of technology do you use in your work? Has the technology of your craft changed dramatically over the past 100 years?
Do you have any advice for somebody just starting out?
Can you share a "secret of the trade" with us--something nobody else knows or that you found out only after years of experience? Put another way--what do you wish somebody had told you when you were just starting out that might have saved you hours of wasted effort?
What are we missing by experiencing your work through the Internet and not seeing/hearing/feeling/smelling/touching it in person?
What is still confusing about your craft? Why is hardware so lame? What is the truth about glue?
|Anthony Corradetti||Frank E. Cummings III|