Chiaroscuro

6 May

Chiaroscuro is Italian for ‘light-dark’ and refers to the masterly and subtle use of pigments and shading to suggest depth and solidity. My friend, Robert Twigg, a film maker, follows in the footsteps of Carravagio, that great exponent of ‘light-dark’, in his documenting of the craftsmanship of local Sheffield artisans.

Bob filmed me at my work on a recent commission. In addition to revealing to me the depth of my concentration and focus whilst working, he was also able to draw from me some of the harder aspects of my life’s experience through a series of clever meetings; some outdoors, some in his own home. My life’s history resonates in the timbre of my voice. Craftsmanship – hours of thought, work, planning, editing, re-editing – experiential learning have gone in to him to making a raw and honest document of my practise.

Unfortunately we cannot get to edit the reel of our lives like a film maker. We only have one take and our triumphs and mistakes tend to be starkly outlined – in black and white.

It will be two years this summer since my daughter Polly married her fiancé Alan Howden.

‘Father of the bride’ is one of the most gratifying roles a man can be asked to play. The requirements are very straightforward: look smart, make a short respectful speech welcoming all the relatives and guests at the wedding breakfast, bust a few moves on the dance floor, bask in the radiant glow of your lovely girl’s happiness and take a back seat. The father’s role requires ‘chiaroscuro’, a little light and the shade to illuminate the substance of the main players – the one’s you love.

 

3 Responses to “Chiaroscuro”

  1. Jo May 7, 2015 at 6:52 am #

    Dear Henk, you are clearly what my grandmother used to call ‘fey’ being blessed (or cursed?), with the gift of ‘ second sight’. Yesterday I was finishing a turning in eucalyptus. A lovely piece of wood shot through with hints of pink, green and various shades of grey. I was re- sanding it as I was unhappy with the finish that I had done the day before which was decided rough in places. As I re-sanded it I found myself thinking of you.
    Although we have only met once ( at the European Woodworking Fair a couple of years ago), I realised that I hadn’t heard from you for a time (via your blog that is). I keep your knife in my workshop and it was there in front of me as I worked. The finish on the knife and handle is lovely, polished and clearly the product of care and attention to detail, something which was missing from my turning. I carried on refining the finish and now I’m much happier with the result. But it was the example of your work which made me refine my own.
    So it was lovely to read your latest posting this morning, even more so as you had been in my mind so often yesterday. Thank you for both your post and your unconscious influence on my work.
    Kind regards,
    Jo

    • woodenhenk May 7, 2015 at 7:00 am #

      Hey Jo, what a lovely letter and a link to our meeting. A fine turning of events. I shall carry that today as I work on a delicate cabinet – your words have helped me decide to make all the drawer dovetails by hand and not use a jig x H

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Opa | Woodenhenk - April 11, 2017

    […] Seaton Howden, photographed here by his dad Alan Howden. Joseph was born to my wonderful daughter Polly Howden on Tuesday 28th March […]

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