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Feather in shibuichi and shakudo


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Man, I had to look at the first three pics for five minutes before I was sure it was your work and not a real feather. Beautiful as always. Some day I will maybe have the money to buy one of your jewelry pieces for my wife. I really liked the porpoise bracelet.

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Ah thanks Justin, I'll have to clarify that. In fact, the first pic is my metal feather, the second and third photos show the real feather that was the model.

I'll add some text on that page to make it clearer.

 

I'd appreciate any other comments or suggestions.

 

Jim

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Lovely, Jim!

 

Hmmm... I keep wanting to make some drinking vessels out of a shakudo / tumbaga for depletion gilding...

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Jim, thanks for the website info, I'm keen to try a little more than just working knives, so in the process of gathering info etc. Your post is an inspiration and an eye opener for me, I can't thank you enough for your kindness of sharing your knowledge and techniques with us!!!

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Ah thanks Justin, I'll have to clarify that. In fact, the first pic is my metal feather, the second and third photos show the real feather that was the model.

I'll add some text on that page to make it clearer.

 

I'd appreciate any other comments or suggestions.

 

Jim

Jim,

The fact that you have to add text to clarify which pictures are the real feather and which are your metal copy...says it all.

Loosely quoted from the fabled contest between Zeuxis and Parrhasius: "you have won for while I deceived the eyes of birds you have deceived the eyes of men"

I love that you took a wild feather with its slight crinkles and deformations as your model rather than a pristine feather. That touch of imperfection enhances the realism of the piece immeasurably.

Thanks for sharing!

James

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Thanks very much Miles and James and thanks James for prodding me to look up Zeuxis and Parrhasius. Good old Pliny the Elder. There are a number of fables around Chinese painting relating the power of imagery. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wu_Daozi

 

Yesterday I showed the metal feather to an expert birder friend on the Vera wood sculpture that will be its home. I didn't preface it by any explanation, just showing her the wood with the feather on it. She assumed the feather was a real feather. I think the naturalistic conformation and believable scale of it was enough to carry the illusion, and of course, no-one is expecting to see a metal feather.

 

Oddly, realism wasn't high on my list of goals for it, at least consciously. I guess a certain realism would be implied in going for "featherness".

 

The ideal of realism raises some interesting issues. I'm not particularly a fan of Trompe-l'oeil or hyper-realism, and am much more interested in conveying an emotional or felt content than achieving the closest possible physical match to an object. It's been very interesting (and rewarding) to see the reaction to this piece. I really didn't expect to have it get the response it has.

 

I think humans have an intense connection with the natural world that Stephan Buhner calls biophilia when related to plants and animals. I'm sure it extends to even inanimate nature as well. If I can tickle that sense of connection to nature in my work than I've done my job. The crinkles and deformations that James mentions have a much better chance of touching us, I think, than portraying the "perfect" feather, as we are all, to some degree, crinkled and deformed (some more than others).

 

Another aspect of "realism" is that current physics seems to take us closer and closer to a more Asian view that reality is some sort of illusion. What this means to me as an artist is that rather than aspire to convey "reality" (impossible), I'll shoot for "feathery distillation". If I come close then it should resonate with at least some of the populace.

 

Anyway, blahtaby-blah-blah-blah………………

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Jim, I think you're on to something with the reality/illusion thing. Humans are reknowned for seeing in shorthand, if you will. We see what we think we're seeing, not what we are actually seeing, in other words. What you have done with this feather is not hyper-realism or trompe-l'oeil, you were not trying to fool the eye. You merely suggested the quality of "featherness" as well as you could, which turns out to be well enough that we all seem to see a real feather.

 

That, sir, is what we call art.

 

Well, my wife the cultural anthrologist calls art "any modification of nature or act of motion which seeks to interpret or express human feeling," but at any rate I think you qualified with this piece. :lol:

 

Blahtaby-blah indeed. B)

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Thanks Alan.

"Seeing in shorthand" I like that. I suppose it's why spare ink paintings or katakiri-bori engraving can be so effective.

 

Here's another shot of this developing sculpture with the previously seen Hemlock needles and a "stone" in layered shibuichi.

 

IMGP7827PSEweb.jpg

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Well since Jim and Alan opened the pseudo-techno-babble... :rolleyes:

My "day job" is psychology/counseling, with my clinical work focusing on emergency evaluations and differential diagnosis, so I do a lot of reading in various journals regarding brain function (or dysfunction) and resultant effects on our perception and behavior. :ph34r:

 

My supposedly simplified explanation that I started to type would exceed my usual attention span well before I reach the point. :wacko:

So here is my K.I.S.S. version: (aka Keep It Short, Stupid) :unsure:

 

The human brain processes all incoming sensory information twice. The first time in the supposedly primitive portions of the brain which prioritizes the input on what is often described as an "instinctive level". The second processing is on the "rational level" in the supposedly advanced portions of the brain that turn optic nerve data into the images we "see", etc.

Emotional value assignment, being very dependent on nuances and thus complicated, was "logically" assumed to be accomplished during the second level processing. This doesn't fit well with certain phenomena, but the assumption is that we don't understand the phenomena well enough to make them fit. <_<

New research indicates that emotional valuation and what we often call gut level responses are actually formed in the first stage of processing. That emotional or gut response is transmitted alongside the sensory input, and because it therefore requires no additional processing, we are aware of them minute fractions of a second before we actually assemble the image or other sense in the way we traditionally understand it.

Applying my own synthesis of various articles on the subject I now believe that those emotional tags heavily influence the images we construct.

This explains why we can look at a Trompe-l'oeil hyper-realistic object and not be fooled, even though we can examine it and even after zooming in on the image we pronounce it "identical" to the original, but it still doesn't "feel" real.

Then we look at an object created by an artist who wanted to express the, "featherness" (to bring it right here), of the original and immediately pronounce it so lifelike we mistook it for the original, even though we can zoom in and identify a metallic shine and other details that identify it is the copy.

I do not pretend to understand exactly how we form those emotional tags, and they are not always accurate in a literal sense, but I am certain that they are a much bigger part of our likes and dislikes than we can define!

 

If you are crazy enough to want more background on the research read on below...

James

 

 

Primitive portions of the brain = the central structures at the base of the brain (principally the Amygdala and Medula Oblongata)

Advanced portions of the brain = various locations of the Cerebral cortex, more specifically within the Frontal (Olfactory [smell] processing and decision making), Temporal (auditory processing), Parietal (tactile processing) and Occipital (visual processing) Lobes.

 

Individuals who have survived a traumatic event (such as war...) can develop a reactive psychiatric condition (an injury commonly called PTSD) which in some cases displays a form of amnesia called a fugue. The person often behaves like they are re-experiencing the event (which is a requirement for diagnosing PTSD) even though they "say" they can't remember what happened. Under hypnosis, some people are suddenly able to recount the experience. That fueled the conclusion that the amnesia wasn't "real" and the person was actively "repressing" the memory.

Research, published within the last couple years throws a fascinating twist. (If you are in the psych field...remember this is not intended as a scientific paper so don't over analyze my methodology or the fact that I make a few observations about the relevance of some details that the original researchers didn't come out and say, exactly the way I am. ;) )

Specialized Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) can show the pattern of electrical and metabolic activity in the brain on a real-time basis. They have not been routinely utilized during psychological interviews or when using hypnosis to recall a "repressed" memory because it is expensive, and besides, we already knew the problem, right? :wacko:

With the numbers of soldiers currently developing PTSD and the push to figure out why some soldiers return "fine" and the soldier serving right beside them the whole way through "went crazy", various researchers have started using fMRI studies (I say they ran out of the traditional theories and said why not, Uncle Sam is paying for it). When someone without PTSD recalls an event, or someone with PTSD recalls an event unrelated to their trauma, fMRI typically shows all involved areas of the brain operating nearly simultaneously as they recall and re-process the event.

The surprise came when attempting to recall memories hidden within the fugue state. When the person was consciously attempting to recall the event but only retrieving emotions, fear anxiety etc. the fMRI showed very little activity in the cerebral cortex but full activity in the Amygdala. When the memory was fully exposed, under hypnosis or guided meditation techniques, the fMRI showed the Amygdala fire up followed by activity "broadcasting" up into the cerebral cortex, practically speaking, the brain scans demonstrated the person was experiencing the event, as if for the first time. The sensory memory was pulled up and processed in the Amygdala, just like the "failed" recall attempts, and was then transmitted up to the cortex to be processed like new sensory input and then that was processed into their responses to the interviewer asking them to describe the events.

 

The research did not explore why some subjects "kept" the memory once recalled in this manner and some "repressed" it again. But I suspect that the initial fugue was due to the Amygdala triggering a protective response to the emotional pain of the event which blocked the transfer of the information into the long term memory center of the Hipocampus, thus the individual could function from the short term memory to respond and act during the original event and again when recalling the event for the interviewer. In those that then retained the memory, the Amygdala did not tag a high enough level of emotional pain to to trigger the block during the recall and the Hipocampus was able to process and store the "rational" end of the memory. While in those subjects that "repressed" the memory again, the emotional pain threshold was once again exceeded and the Amygdala triggered the block so the memory was never transmitted to the Hipocampus above the level of the Amygdala's initial and unavoidable sensory-emotional processing. (Yes, unavoidable, the science behind polygraph examination is founded on the fact that no one can control the processing and autonomic response from the Amygdala during its initial first stage processing of input. The only way to beat the polygraph is to control yourself at the rational level to minimize the duration of those autonomic responses and then intentionally mimic the multitude of body responses triggered by the Amygdala when lying and add them to your apparent response when telling the truth, which is, of course, easier said than done...)

James...(time to climb a tree, I already look like a nut...)

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James, as a vet in a lousy civil type war, I've just learned something! Here's what a good buddy sent me, think you may enjoy/understand!IMG_20131228_00103840.jpg

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Oh my, thread hijack. This brain conversation I have a personal interest in, but perhaps it should be reopened in The Way forum. The piece that Jim is working on is extraordinary and I wouldn't want to see attention diverted from the progress. Thanks

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James, that just confirms what I always knew; that those who don't respond to my work must be suffering from repressed trauma! :P

 

Actually with some history of ahh, related phenomena in the family it's a very interesting subject, and as Don suggests worthy of a separate thread. Much more to be said. How it relates to viewing art never really struck me. Fascinating.

 

I have to get to the bench but could take the lead later unless someone else picks it up.

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