The sculptor carves because he must

Barbara Hepworth
Sea Form (Atlantic)
Bronze, 1965

Dallas Museum of Art, Sculpture Garden
Dallas, Texas

Sea Form (Atlantic) Barbara Hepworth (click to enlarge)

Sea Form (Atlantic)
Barbara Hepworth
(click to enlarge)

“The sculptor carves because he must. He needs the concrete form of stone and wood for the expression of his idea and experience, and when the idea forms the material is found at once. [...]
I have always preferred direct carving to modelling because I like the resistance of the hard material and feel happier working that way. Carving is more adapted to the expression of the accumulative idea of experience and clay to the visual attitude. An idea for carving must be clearly formed before starting and sustained during the long process of working; also, there are all the beauties of several hundreds of different stones and woods, and the idea must be in harmony with the qualities of each one carved; that harmony comes with the discovery of the most direct way of carving each material according to its nature.”
—- ‘Barbara Hepworth – “the Sculptor carves because he must”‘, The Studio, London, vol. 104, December 1932

“I have always been interested in oval or ovoid shapes. The first carvings were simple realistic oval forms of the human head or of a bird. Gradually my interest grew in more abstract values – the weight, poise, and curvature of the ovoid as a basic form. The carving and piercing of such a form seems to open up an infinite variety of continuous curves in the third dimension, changing in accordance with the contours of the original ovoid and with the degree of penetration of the material. Here is sufficient field for exploration to last a lifetime.”
“Before I can start carving the idea must be almost complete. I say ‘almost’ because the really important thing seems to be the sculptor’s ability to let his intuition guide him over the gap between conception and realization without compromising the integrity of the original idea; the point being that the material has vitality – it resists and makes demands.”

“I have gained very great inspiration from Cornish land- and sea-scape, the horizontal line of the sea and the quality of light and colour which reminds me of the Mediterranean light and colour which so excites one’s sense of form; and first and last there is the human figure which in the country becomes a free and moving part of a greater whole. This relationship between figure and landscape is vitally important to me. I cannot feel it in a city.”
—-Barbara Hepworth ‘Approach to Sculpture’, The Studio, London, vol. 132, no. 643, October 1946

Natural Sculpture

Vegetation growing on the wall near the entrance at the Dallas Museum of Art Sculpture Garden.
Dallas, Texas

Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, Texas

Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, Texas

“We are made aware that magnitude of material things is relative, and all objects shrink and expand to serve the passion of the poet. Thus, in his sonnets, the lays of birds, the scents and dyes of flowers, he finds to be the shadow of his beloved; time, which keeps her from him, is his chest; the suspicion she has awakened, is her ornament”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nature

Cisco and Generac in Frisco

“I am somewhat exhausted; I wonder how a battery feels when it pours electricity into a non-conductor?”
― Arthur Conan Doyle, The Adventure Of The Dying Detective

Sculpture by Mac Whitney, Cisco
Emergency Generator by Generac
Frisco, Texas

“One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It’s simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we’ve been taken. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back.”
― Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark

Cicso, by Mac Whitney, Frisco, Texas

Cicso, by Mac Whitney, Frisco, Texas

“Invention is the most important product of man’s creative brain. The ultimate purpose is the complete mastery of mind over the material world, the harnessing of human nature to human needs.”
― Nikola Tesla, My Inventions

Cisco, by Mac Whitney, Frisco, Texas

Cisco, by Mac Whitney, Frisco, Texas

“Is it a fact – or have I dreamt it – that, by means of electricity, the world of matter has become a great nerve, vibrating thousands of miles in a breathless point of time?”
― Nathaniel Hawthorne

More Blooms

“The breath of wind that moved them was still chilly on this day in May; the flowers gently resisted, curling up with a kind of trembling grace and turning their pale stamens towards the ground. The sun shone through them, revealing a pattern of interlacing, delicate blue veins, visible through the opaque petals; this added something alive to the flower’s fragility, to it’s ethereal quality, something almost human ,in the way that human can mean frailty and endurance both at the same time. The wind could ruffle these ravishing creations but it couldn’t destroy them, or even crush them; they swayed there, dreamily; they seemed ready to fall but held fast to their slim strong branches-…”
― Irène Némirovsky

Dallas Blooms, Dallas Arboretum

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“The beauty of that June day was almost staggering. After the wet spring, everything that could turn green had outdone itself in greenness and everything that could even dream of blooming or blossoming was in bloom and blossom. The sunlight was a benediction. The breezes were so caressingly soft and intimate on the skin as to be embarrassing.”
― Dan Simmons, Drood

Still More Blooms

“A garden to walk in and immensity to dream in–what more could he ask? A few flowers at his feet and above him the stars.”
― Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

Dallas Blooms, Dallas Arboretum

“A flower blossoms for its own joy.”
― Oscar Wilde

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“There has fallen a splendid tear
From the passion-flower at the gate.
She is coming, my dove, my dear;
She is coming, my life, my fate.
The red rose cries, “She is near, she is near;”
And the white rose weeps, “She is late;”
The larkspur listens, “I hear, I hear;”
And the lily whispers, “I wait.”

She is coming, my own, my sweet;
Were it ever so airy a tread,
My heart would hear her and beat,
Were it earth in an earthy bed;
My dust would hear her and beat,
Had I lain for a century dead,
Would start and tremble under her feet,
And blossom in purple and red.”
― Alfred Tennyson

Blooms

“You’re frustrated because you keep waiting for the blooming of flowers of which you have yet to sow the seeds.”
― Steve Maraboli

Dallas Blooms, Dallas Arboretum

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It was odd walking around the Arboretum – I kept expecting to see the Chihuly Glass and it isn’t there any more. The gorgeous colors of Dallas Blooms made up for the absence of the sculptures.

My poor picture taking talents don’t do justice. Peggy does a better job than I do.

“I stopped in front of a florist’s window. Behind me, the screeching and throbbing boulevard vanished. Gone, too, were the voices of newspaper vendors selling their daily poisoned flowers. Facing me, behind the glass curtain, a fairyland. Shining, plump carnations, with the pink voluptuousness of women about to reach maturity, poised for the first step of a sprightly dance; shamelessly lascivious gladioli; virginal branches of white lilac; roses lost in pure meditation, undecided between the metaphysical white and the unreal yellow of a sky after the rain.”
― Emil Dorian, Quality of Witness: A Romanian Diary, 1937-1944

Digitalis

Dallas Blooms, Dallas Arboretum

The Foxglove now in crimson tresses rich
Depends, whose freckled bells to insect tribe
Afford a canopy of velvet bliss.

—-Wordsworth

digit3

A chemical extract from foxglove, digitalis, is both a famous deadly poison and a precious remedy for heart disease. The difference, like everything else in life, is timing and dosage.

In digitalis the gap between poison and remedy is very, very small.

digit1

How did it get its name?

According to the 19th-century book, English Botany, Or, Coloured Figures of British Plants:

Dr. Prior, whose authority is great in the origin of popular names, says “It seems probably that the name was in the first place, foxes’ glew, or music, in reference to the favourite instrument of an earlier time, a ring of bells hung on an arched support, the tintinnabulum”… we cannot quite agree with Dr. Prior for it seems quite probable that the shape of the flowers suggested the idea of a glove, and that associated with the name of the botanist Fuchs, who first gave it a botanical name, may have been easily corrupted into foxglove. It happens, moreover, the name foxglove is a very ancient one and exists in a list of plants as old as the time of Edward III. The “folks” of our ancestors were the fairies and nothing is more likely than that the pretty coloured bells of the plant would be designated “folksgloves,” afterwards, “foxglove.” In Wales it is declared to be a favourite lurking-place of the fairies, who are said to occasion a snapping sound when children, holding one end of the digitalis bell, suddenly strike the other on the hand to hear the clap of fairy thunder, with which the indignant fairy makes her escape from her injured retreat. In south of Scotland it is called “bloody fingers” more northward, “deadman’s bells” whilst in Wales it is known as “fairy-folks-fingers” or “lambs-tongue-leaves”

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The Scottish doctor William Withering, while working as a physician in the 18th Century, had one of his patients come to him with a very bad heart condition and since Withering had no effective treatment for him, thought he was going to die. The patient went instead to a local gypsy, took a secret herbal remedy – and survived and improved. When the doctor found out he searched out the gypsy. The herbal remedy was made from a variety of things, but the active ingredient was the purple foxglove, digitalis purpurea.

Withering tried out various formulations of digitalis plant extracts on hundreds patients, and found that the dried, powdered leaf worked with amazing and successful results. He introduced its use officially in 1785.

Spider

“There are spiders living comfortably in my house while the wind howls outside. They aren’t bothering anybody. If I were a fly, I’d have second thoughts, but I’m not, so I don’t.”
― Richard Brautigan, The Tokyo-Montana Express

Louise Bourgeois, Spider

The Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden, New Orleans Museum of Art

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(Click for full size version on Flickr)

“Spider venom comes in many forms. It can often take a long while to discover the full effects of the bite. Naturalists have pondered this for years: there are spiders whose bite can cause the place bitten to rot and to die, sometimes more than a year after it was bitten. As to why spiders do this, the answer is simple. It’s because spiders think this is funny, and they don’t want you ever to forget them.”
― Neil Gaiman, Anansi Boys

“There was less than I’d expected in the rainy-day fund that Mom had kept in the bottom of an underwear drawer in a panty hose egg labeled ‘DEAD SPIDERS.’ As if I hadn’t always known it was there. As if I wouldn’t want to look at dead spiders.”
― Adam Rex