Working on these beads got me thinking again about my observation that people seem to be most moved by the all-bark baskets. Does the intensity of the use of raw material make them more emotionally reactive? or just visually novel, compared to most of material culture?
This seems strange to me; aesthetically, I find them to be too raw, with the texture of the bark overwhelming. I like the bark shown in contrast to the smoothness of the veneer, which allows my eye to rest and to appreciate the texture of the bark in greater detail. These beads, I decided, have many of the same raw, rustic qualities that the all-bark baskets do, and I wondered if people will have a similar reaction to them.
I have to admit that there may be other reasons I feel averse to the all-bark baskets. For one, I spent years participating in finely pointed, dispassionate academic critiques of art, which favoured work that was intellectual rather than emotional. For another, my own personal struggle to understand and assert the value of what I do has made me shy from making things that are rustic, simple, unsophisticated or emotional. I am also afraid of making work that is 'too rustic' because it is too far outside the mainstream.
But secretly I like those things. I really liked the all-bark baskets when I made them; I would probably have made a lot more except my inner critic started in on them about the same time that I realized I was going to run out of bark imminently, and I had the idea that I might be able to make baskets from veneer instead. With my mission to investigate natural materials and make my audience more aware of the possibilities of natural materials, clearly I should be making more 'raw' work.