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PostPosted: Sun Feb 15, 2009 3:01 pm 
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Rats! The Theory versus Formula, Principles versus Rules by Todd Johnson thread started out fantastic! Really sorry to see that head south, and then be locked out :cry:

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 15, 2009 4:14 pm 
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Kurt, I'm not sure why you locked the thread. Certainly there are other worthwhile contributions to be made and hopefully some substantive discussion. Most of the posts were amongst you, me, Jeff, and Rad, four people that fall somewhat outside the post's intended audience. Perhaps you and I have something to work out privately regarding my "teaching style" and your "learning style," but it seems petty to lock the thread. Might there be some conflict of interest here?

Todd

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 15, 2009 5:10 pm 
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There should have been some sort of summation along the lines of Learned Technical Skill versus Natural (Inherent?) Artistic Talent. Obviously there's a large grey area twixt the two, but I've certainly gained a lot more insight from that thread.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2009 11:40 am 
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2009 1:11 pm 
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I locked the thread due to the quick Southerly direction it was taking. I'm more than happy to continue the discussion of the ability/inability to learn proper aesthetic composition, and the definition of the word "great". However, I expect that any such discussions will maintain a gentlemanly air, and though I myself am guilty of one glaring superlative, I see no reason to bring subjective criticism or ad-hominem attacks into the discussion. If anyone has a question about what I mean exactly, please email or PM me.

Feel free to start a new thread, but lets keep it all above the belt.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2009 1:53 pm 
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Kurt, I knew the ostrich picture would draw you out of your lair. :D

I'm still not sure what you found so objectionable in that thread. Perhaps you could PM *me*. What I would like to see happen, Kurt, is for the guys who are here trying to learn pipemaking actually learn something. If one takes the tack that "taste is subjective"--which I will admit, to some small degree--then there's really nothing to be learned by a critique of one's work.

Too many of the gallery threads are basically a bunch of backslapping and encouragement for stuff that's simply not worthy of much positive feedback. I know this sounds harsh and that I may come off a bit unfeeling at points, but I think you understand where I'm coming from. You don't praise mediocrity or sub-mediocrity because it does not help to raise the bar. My goal has been, is, and will be to raise the bar for American pipemaking and American pipes.

I'm not suggesting that someone who cannot "see" will never be able to create, just that someone will never be able to create until they can see. This little board is a drastically flawed medium for teaching anything, especially teaching how to pick up the detail and subtlety that separates an average pipe from an excellent pipe. If you or anyone else are expecting me or any of the other professional carvers here to do that, it's just not feasible.

I'm trying to offer as much as I can here, but as you know, what one often gets is an assertion that A) design is subjective, B) this or that was intentional (and therefore justifiable), and C) amateur pipemaker X thinks such and such looks just fine. Someone that does that gets written off, as well they should. Navel gazing is not a noble endeavor, and it's a wast of time to engage with folks that are doing it. Ask the other professionals here, and I think they'll pretty much tell you the same thing. For those that really want to, there's much to be learned here. I'm happy to contribute, but I don't want to argue over "teaching methods." Nobody's paying for advice, so I view it as something of a "take it or leave it" thing. Most people choose to leave it, but that's okay.

Anyway, if you start a new thread that speaks to your concerns about design, teaching, the definition of "great," etc., I'm happy to contribute.

Todd

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2009 2:39 pm 
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ToddJohnson wrote:
If one takes the tack that "taste is subjective"--which I will admit, to some small degree--then there's really nothing to be learned by a critique of one's work.

Too many of the gallery threads are basically a bunch of backslapping and encouragement for stuff that's simply not worthy of much positive feedback. I know this sounds harsh and that I may come off a bit unfeeling at points, but I think you understand where I'm coming from. You don't praise mediocrity or sub-mediocrity because it does not help to raise the bar. My goal has been, is, and will be to raise the bar for American pipemaking and American pipes.


I agree completely. When I am able (due to time, or whatever) to offer criticism, you'll find that I phrase my critique a certain way, so as to offer guidance, while praising what has been accomplished. There are many way to supportively offer advice, and I do my best to do that. Sometimes this involves digging deep, which should be seen as much of an exercise for the critic as making the pipe was for the carver.

A few months back George Dibos and I got into a row on this very subject. It wasn't pretty, and I'm not actually satisfied by the outcome, but the appreciative messages I received from the membership makes me think that perhaps it was indeed the right way to handle it.

My goal for this board is keep it supportive, vibrant, full of collaboration, and a nursery for new ideas and new carvers from all over the world.

The rest I'll move to a new thread and a PM.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2009 7:22 pm 
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ToddJohnson wrote:
Kurt, I knew the ostrich picture would draw you out of your lair. :D


Forgot to mention - I actually didn't see this thread until this afternoon. I'm supremely guilty of not scrolling very far down. :roll:

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 17, 2009 12:55 pm 
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Quote:
American pipemaking and American pipes

:?: Well there goes my idea of being a South African one! :?
Quote:
drastically flawed medium for teaching anything

Tend to disagree. Everything I know about pipemaking (even though my knowledge might be insignificant to you pro's) have been from participating in this forum.
Quote:
C) amateur pipemaker X thinks such and such looks just fine. Someone that does that gets written off, as well they should

I'll be honored if any of you pro's would teach me otherwise.

Any way, PLEASE keep up with teaching us little imbeciles!


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 17, 2009 1:40 pm 
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Charl,

This is a great place for picking up tips and tricks, but it's difficult to "teach" using an online message board.

Todd

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 17, 2009 2:38 pm 
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Charl wrote:
Quote:
drastically flawed medium for teaching anything

Tend to disagree. Everything I know about pipemaking (even though my knowledge might be insignificant to you pro's) have been from participating in this forum.

Perhaps if I amend the above quote to read, "drastically flawed medium for teaching everything about pipemaking", you might get the point. There's a vast difference between learning the basic mechanics of pipemaking and the artistic subtleties of what make a great pipe. Todd is trying to point out that this is a Forum not a Pipemaking University/College.

Charl wrote:
Quote:
C) amateur pipemaker X thinks such and such looks just fine. Someone that does that gets written off, as well they should

I'll be honored if any of you pro's would teach me otherwise.

Sometimes an amateur will post a pipe in the gallery for critique. After lengthy constructive criticism by knowledgeable individuals, such as Todd, Jeff, et al, the maker of said pipe will remark that they're quite satisfied with said pipe just as it is. I will hazard a severe smack on the lughole by putting words in Todd's mouth, but I imagine his response would be "If amateur pipemaker X thinks such and such still looks just fine, then I'm wasting my time and talent critiquing for him. In future I'll just write him off".

After assisting on Pipedia for many weeks, I'm aware of the fact that there are literally hundreds of professional pipemakers out there. This forum has the benefit of just a very few of them taking their time to share their valuable tips, tricks and insight with us. The amateurs, myself included, would do well not to piss them off.

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 17, 2009 3:30 pm 
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Frank wrote:
Charl wrote:
Quote:
drastically flawed medium for teaching anything

Tend to disagree. Everything I know about pipemaking (even though my knowledge might be insignificant to you pro's) have been from participating in this forum.

Perhaps if I amend the above quote to read, "drastically flawed medium for teaching everything about pipemaking", you might get the point. There's a vast difference between learning the basic mechanics of pipemaking and the artistic subtleties of what make a great pipe. Todd is trying to point out that this is a Forum not a Pipemaking University/College.

Charl wrote:
Quote:
C) amateur pipemaker X thinks such and such looks just fine. Someone that does that gets written off, as well they should


I'll be honored if any of you pro's would teach me otherwise.

Sometimes an amateur will post a pipe in the gallery for critique. After lengthy constructive criticism by knowledgeable individuals, such as Todd, Jeff, et al, the maker of said pipe will remark that they're quite satisfied with said pipe just as it is. I will hazard a severe smack on the lughole by putting words in Todd's mouth, but I imagine his response would be "If amateur pipemaker X thinks such and such still looks just fine, then I'm wasting my time and talent critiquing for him. In future I'll just write him off".

After assisting on Pipedia for many weeks, I'm aware of the fact that there are literally hundreds of professional pipemakers out there. This forum has the benefit of just a very few of them taking their time to share their valuable tips, tricks and insight with us. The amateurs, myself included, would do well not to piss them off.


Frank,

Thanks. I pretty much agree with the way you've phrased everything here. I can't really express the gratitude I have for Tom Eltang and the generosity he showed me at a very early stage in my pipemaking career. I was young, brash, and talented, which makes for a dangerous combination. Tom helped me train my eye, hone my skills, and understand the difference between compromising your rigid ideals, and compromising your work. The latter is pure folly, but the former makes it possible to be a working artist who can pay the mortgage and put food on the table.

I take seriously my responsibility to other talented fledgling carvers, and have hosted a good number of them in my shop. One thing I can tell you is that all the raw talent in the world will come to naught if you're not willing to concede that you don't yet have it figured out. The guys that think they do--no matter how talented--get written off. Some probably manage to make their own way, but it makes for a much steeper climb when you have no one that's willing to invest in helping you.

As for not "pissing off" the professional carvers, I don't think that's really the thing to be worried about. Just be respectful, teachable, and willing to put the advice given into practice. That's all.

Todd

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 18, 2009 11:52 am 
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Quote:
This is a great place for picking up tips and tricks, but it's difficult to "teach" using an online message board.

I can't agree more. :lol: Unfortunately the only "professional" pipemaker in SA is not too keen on sharing his knowledge, so the only way for me to learn something is from this forum. It's not the preferred way, I know, but the only way I have. :(


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