plate from ‘Kunsterformen Der Natur’ (1899-1904) by Ernst Haeckel
For the better part of the past two weeks I’ve stopped all production in order to spend time with family and nourish my exhausted body and brain. Over the holidays we’ve been making leisurely day trips, hiking the beach, cooking, napping and reading, seeing movies and spending time with friends.
I’ve been particularly re-invigorated by reading ‘Morphic Resonance’ by the brilliant and eccentric British biochemist, Rupert Sheldrake. Originally published in 1988 and recently revised, the book lays the groundwork for Sheldrake’s concept of morphic fields that might model “the means by which simpler organic forms synergetically self-organize into more complex ones, allowing a different explanation for the process of evolution itself, as an addition to Darwin’s evolutionary processes of selection and variation.” Though grounded in contemporary science, Sheldrake’s theories are not easily proven by experiment, and the book rings with a pre-modern sense of wonder and awe. Reading it has me researching the work of self taught 19th century naturalists, particularly Ernst Haeckel, who is also an accomplished artist and whose plates are shown here. Haeckel discovered several species in the course of his explorations and research, and was a major proponent of Darwinism in Germany.
Though we have yet to make any scientific breakthroughs, I’m beginning to appreciate what a productive year it’s been for Ene and myself as 2010 winds down and we enjoy a much needed respite from our busy lives on and off the wowhaus studio compound. Here are some highlights of what we’ve accomplished over the past year: two public art commissions for the cities of Oakland and San Francisco; an interior design commission for a new house in Marin County; a design commission for an observation tower/treehouse in Sonoma County; design commissions for a production dining chair, one-off conference table, and assorted stacking stools; an artist residency at Kohler; a visiting professorship at CCA; trademark registration of the ‘deep’ logo in three classes and a business plan for a Deep Craft product line. Some of these projects are recently completed and have been documented on these pages (see ‘project dispatches’ in the scroll-down menu in the sidebar). Others will soon be documented, posted and promoted as we forge ahead in the year to come.
Ene and I will soon be back in the studio and out in the field, laying the groundwork for another productive year. We’re looking forward to developing a new public art commission for the City of Santa Cruz, developing furnishings for the ‘Shed’ in Healdsburg, tooling up to manufacture my ‘deep deck’, and bringing our rural studio compound to the next level of functionality and conviviality. I wish everyone a healthy and happy 2011 and thank you for tuning in to my Deep Craft ruminations.
plates from ‘Kunsterformen Der Natur’ (1899-1904) by Ernst Haeckel