Asymmetry thoughts

imageMachines seem to be good at making symmetrical  artifacts, nature is not. However, if you measure very accurately machines do have their limits in accurate symmetry.  We think we see symmetry everywhere, but this is a trick played on us by the way our brains create patterns. We perceive  people’s faces as symmetrical , they are not.

Me:

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Me split and flipped.

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Sorry, the software won’t let me actually shove them quite together

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2 plus 2 make a very weird number!

Lots of early artifacts, I think pre-industrial revolution, do not slavishly use symmetry.

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The Manor House Museum, Ilkley.

Consider the guilloche panel carved on the top rail of this chair. While there is a flower in the middle and three more at each side, our modern eyes might expect the flowers on each side to reflect each other.  Instead the figures are repeated in the same order at both sides, a repeat rather than a reflection.

Sometimes the issue is asymmetry because a pattern doesn’t fit:

portraict - 1Didn’t seem to be a problem then – this chair survived, the pattern on the lower panel also has a lively dance around the edges ignoring slavish symmetry.

I suppose the tiger looks symmetrical on first glance but to a tiger’s eye no doubt full of the charm of asymmetry.

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While natural scenes hold not a jot of mirrored sameness, we do occasionally mimic that beauty.

image … but then necessarily spoil it by repeats, often out of pure necessity as with this Wm Morris wallpaper block.

Then in the Arts and Crafts movement therer was a move against symmetry in architecture:

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The Red House

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Blackwell, Lake District

I find it hard to describe why I prefer the windows dotted around rather than in a slavish pattern. I wouldn’t try to say patterns are unnatural but I do enjoy natural chaos.

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Hang on, they’re not English oak leaves – Ed,  Nah, Bald Eagle State Park, PA – FS

portraict - 1 (1) portraict - 1 (3)Sorry the posts have been so thin on the ground.  A collection of various minor issues have been getting in the way: work; file sizes on my host server; holidays in the US, posting to Instagram – I would like to find a way to  post here direct from Instagram, anyone know if it’s possible?

Then there’s beekeeping and queen rearing, much easier in nature:

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Longwood Gardens, PA

That chair again, and that time of year.

 

SAMSUNG CSCThis looks like a step backwards.  Well it is.  This chair is taking over my life.  In the last update it had taken on a vile Victorian upright habit to its back.  It was difficult to spt as the chair sat in the bodgery with that very uncertain floor, consisting of 18 inches of shavings.  Only when sat in the trailer again did the error become obvious.

Now, a comfortable chair has a relaxed back.  And a shepherd’s chair, which in theory was a chair where a shepherd could fall asleep at lambing time, should be so relaxed.  Straight backs to chairs do not induce, nor allow sleep.  Mind you, following the Law tradition I can fall asleep anywhere – sitting on two bricks (father-style), standing up, playing the clarinet (that’s me), whilst driving … (steady on – Ed).

Turns out that the straight back was a result of chopping the mortices in the back legs at  the mirror-image angle to what they ought to have been chopped. Doh!

Now it looks likes this:

SAMSUNG CSCThe back is relaxed.  Phew!  Dig those trailer side fastenings.

So apart from making an almost impossible (for me) chair, this is what’s been happening (omitting mundane things like: two swans with three cygnets on t’canal; Canadian canoe shooting The (very dangerous) Strid (twice); making animal courses (less internal organs); vegetable growing (especially that vertical pumpkin); scything (sorry Steve, a vast topic); and so on, (this has been happening) int’wood.

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LOADS of fungi.  These are Black Bulgari.  They grow on dead oak, I keep on telling myself, “This is why we remove the bark and sapwood.”

Almost edible (but goes soggy when cooked):

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Didn’t identify this one, but grows on oak roots:

SAMSUNG CSCLooks boleteous to moi.

Then, these guys appeared in the outfall of the lathe:

SAMSUNG CSCThis is Deer Shield “Edible. but not worthwhile.” It says here.  It’s a bit odd sharing your work space with flora and fauna. They shrews were suddenly very active a couple of days ago, rushing about every couple of minutes or so. I thought it was just me rushing about at this time of year – see you at The National Forest Wood Festival next Monday (if you don’t happen to be on one of my next three courses).

 

More stools

Development of a stool.

Three legged stools are quite popular. They were often used in places where the floor was uneven as they are self levelling – stools with three legs do not rock. So they were used e.g to sit on when milking, they are good for this as the front two legs allow the tilting forwards that’s required when getting to the teats at the far side of the beast. This was taken to an extreme in some areas with a belt on one legged milking stool:

I’m making two three leggers at the moment for a client as previously mentioned. I already had a five minute one made from scraps so I could sit and carve bowls in the so passé vertical bowl clamp. It was rather an oddity with a longer leg to accommodate the slope on the workshop floor. That’s the really rough-looking one at the right of the picture above. Then I made a prototype, but based on a round-topped one so I laid out the legs on the same basis – dividing a circle into sixths (then thirds) with a pair of compasses. This didn’t work well – see the one at the back with the wedges sticking out. I’m going to remodel the top into a shape that reflects the leg layout.

However, I’m rather pleased with the way this one is going:

I’ll get it glued and wedged today.

I’m also working on making more space in the workshop by rationalising the lathes. I’m combining the bowl and spindle lathes into one, making new poppets for the single bed original lathe and reorganising the stiffer pole than drives the bowl version. It’s also time to sort out the horse, I’ll be sawing a log to provide a new bed for it, of the conventional style with a flat bed. Watch this space…

And for a little relaxation a shrink pot in alder: