I have a cigar box lap steel on the go, and I’m fixing up a one of a kind tenor guitar
If you know how to play bocce ball, bowling, billiards, or curling the right way, you know how to live the right way: you laugh at your poor shots; admire your good shots and the good shots of your friends; share spontaneous moments of friendly competition and anticipation; know the whole time that the game doesn’t matter as much as your friendship and feel thankful.
There are regulations for the bocce court, but forget all that rubbish and play on any random surface like a park or a beach. The virtue of bocce ball is that it is almost impossible to take yourself seriously, like playing the ukulele. You will also find that you have a free hand for lemonade or beer. The rules are just like curling, another great pastime.
The controversy around criminalizing spanking reminded me of steven Pinker’s book, better angels, I perused a few years ago. He welcomed that we live in a less violent world because of science and reason. Still, while I hold a lot of stock in science and reason, I also hold a lot of stock in intuition and emotions and wildness (Chesterton wrote that the chief aim of Christian charity is to let good things run wild). I would caution that a world without physical violence can still be a nightmare (anyone read brave new world?) There are good, loving parents who sometimes spank their kids and there are terrible, selfish parents who never do. I think our stifling litigious society misdirects a lot of things- ignoring the biggest issues and taking all the air out of life around trivial things. Pinker also wrote that the world has too much morality. If he means we have too much cold, self congratulatory judgement, then I agree. I think the world doesn’t have enough of the sort of morality that forces you to ask more of yourself, though. What people need is true freedom, and you can only have true freedom with a moral vision. What really matters is how people treat outsiders.
I dabbled in acrylics a couple years ago, and this is my favourite. The subject matter–the tree, split and bending over the creek to reach the sun, bark worn off and almost pure white in the sun, washing out detail– really evokes something important to me.
If you’re feeling heavy and in the doldrums from reading news articles and comments, or just any sneering or ironic or critical posturing, just go on any website that caters to crafts. For example, go to cigar box guitar sites and behold the tenderness and charm going back and forth in the comments section for every effort and bit of individual expression, innovation, or resourcefulness like the different things used for bridge pieces- still nothing beats friendship to put the wind back in your sails
This painting, Blotter, reminds me that there is beauty even if you’re stuck feeling lonesome thinking about yourself- just look around for it
Rob Raeside’s Stately Playground: Artist Profile by Stewart Britton
What makes Raeside’s art so special is that it can deliver to everyone the joys of geometric abstraction—the kind that impels mathematicians to call a formula beautiful for its simplicity and clarity—with a childlike hunger for life. It’s hard to believe at first glance that these pure, elegant forms are made by a big kid. The closer you look, though, the playfulness really shines through. With these clean contours you might think you’re escaping the messy world because you’re not being reminded of anything, but given time these forms start to grip onto life and show off the light around all the twists and tangles.
Born an artist in Brockville, Ontario and raised an artist in Kitchener, Ontario, Raeside has always been equal parts contemplative and off-the-wall. Look through his VHS collection and you’ll see this fusion of sophistication and silliness in the best possible senses. Mystic River and Weekend at Bernie’s come to mind.
His enthusiasm for glass was sparked in Italy where he saw the old masters in Murano. He threw on some tinder with glass blowing classes at Fleming College, then kindling and full blown fuel at Sheridan. Let me tell you, Raeside’s art throws off plenty of light and heat. That’s his art—restrained energy. The wild frontier spirit only balanced, barely, by the rigour of his style and craft. He crafts a place to wonder, wander, and play.
You can find this glass artist and his objects at the Kingston Glass Studio. There you can also see the performance art, the kinetic beauty, of watching the fluidity and perfect timing of his creative process and technique.