Journalistic framing has been a dead horse this week.
Perhaps it’s why I noticed it in my interview tonight.
I’m charged with writing a profile of a local wood artist – intarsia, the art of wood mosaics. I took the story on that understanding. Unfortunately, it’s the exact type of art that I really don’t care for. Check the craft shows this fall.
It strikes the ugly chord in me. I’m used to doing fine(r) wood working with my dad. Benches and tables. Oak, maple, cherry. Functional items, not crafts.
Armed with this new knowledge of what I was actually covering, I did not look forward to the interview. Craft? Try crap.
My subject’s passion – and his wife’s passion for him – ate me up. They sucked me into their basswood, wenge, poplar and ash-framed world. No paints or stains. Totally rare wood. Their story was compelling and human.
And the guy’s “Last Supper” piece was amazing. 800 individual pieces and more than 50 hours of work. Enough said.
I’d entered this story with an exasperated memory of wandering too many craft shows with my mom, and a fine appreciation of real woodworking from my dad.
I didn’t leave with a new appreciation of the art. I still hate it. You couldn’t pay me to hang the stuff on my wall.
But I do have a new respect for the time and skill necessary to produce a piece. What’s more, I hold a fondness for the deep enthusiasm behind each piece. So much for that boring frame.
Oak frame, naturally.