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PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2002 6:20 am 
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On 2002-02-14 05:36, nickt wrote:
...not all flute makers make good whistles, it's a subtle art?


I saw this comment in another thread (I hope Nick doesn't mind the transplantation) and it begged a question, in my mind.

Although making anything creatively (pots, chairs, beds, whistles etc) could strictly speaking be defined as a 'craft', where do you feel that whistle-making lies by definition? Is it a 'craft' (i.e. a skill that can be taught and developed) or an 'art' (something that is probably produced by inspiration and genius, and is less easy to develop through training).

Just wondered.

Steve Power


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2002 6:22 am 
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Craft.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2002 7:22 am 
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Hey Steve,

I'd have to say that the best whistles are a combination of both. We all want an instrument that plays well (craft) but we also appreciate a beautiful instrument. If not, then why are so many whistles offered in a variety of colours or materials (like different woods).

It's a great aesthetic combination, function and beauty.

Vinny


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2002 12:20 pm 
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Steve

My answer is 2 fold:

1) making whistles from plans is a skill that can be learned if someone is "crafty" with their hands and with tools. This,I say,is a "Craft".

2) Designing whistles with acoustics and aesthetics in mind takes intuition and inspiration. This,I say,is an "Art".

Some people can blend Art with Mathematics and Mechanics to form "Genius". To these we say...WE'RE NOT WORTHY! WE'RE NOT WORTHY!

T.H.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2002 2:46 am 
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I agree with Thomas, After reserarching acoustics and materials, and seeing the interaction between materials,sound and design. I have to say its a combination.
By the way..If you go the "Design your own whistle" route, be forewarned..It never ends,
and will take on a compulsion of its own,
So far I've developed 3 of my own designs,
and all 3 have different good and bad traits
Dan

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2002 6:56 am 
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Someone, possibly Jessie, once posted a set of definitions on here to the effect,
If you work with your hands you're a labourer,
If you work with your hands and your mind you're a craftsman,
If you work with your hands, your mind, and your heart, you're an artist.

I think Thomas is right that whistle making is a craft but the really great ones turn it into an art.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2002 7:11 am 
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I've been at this for about a year and a half now ( watch this space for my IPO...), and I can say that there is an element of each involved. The manual skills involved in whistlemaking are considerable and subtle-- tiny changes in the dimensions, especially in the fipple region, can make a huge difference in the playing characteristics of a whistle. All of the materials involved have their own personalities, and working characteristics, especially when you are dealing with exotic woods, which can vary tremendously even from piece to piece of the same species. I guess all of this comes under the craft category. The art part comes in the design process-- choice of material, and how those materials come together ( eg, brass or stainless fittings for a particular type of wood), shape of fittings, etc.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2002 8:41 am 
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The words "art" and "artist" have many meanings - are we all sure what we are arguing about?

I'd say that whistlemakers are not artists in the way that painters or sculptors are, even if their work involves many esthetic considerations, and requires a great deal of "art" (in the sense of arcane skill and knowhow).

OTOH, who is going to quibble with calling Stradivarius an artist? So maybe it depends on the quality of their work. Perhaps we should wait for the judgment of future generations.

"Artist" is not always such a grand word, anyway: people like Céline Dion are generally referred to as "artists" (in the British Isles I think they still say "artistes" - a term that carries a faintly pejorative whiff - to distinguish tightrope walkers and country singers from the likes of Picasso).

So, art or craft - does it matter? If the whistle sounds good, great. If it looks beautiful, even better. But if it looks good and sounds like sh*t, who wants it?

Final thought: why not use the fine old word "artisan" which sounds a bit like artist but means skilled craftsman?

<font size = -1>Historical footnote: This subject was touched upon on the old board in a discussion of a certain high-end whistlemaker. An associate of another high-end whistlemaker joined in and opined that the subject of the discussion couldn't really be called an artist, more of a craftsman - something about his use of engineering techniques.

I think most of us thought this was a highly ungracious remark that damned the person making it far more than the object of his disdain. </font>


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2002 12:52 pm 
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Hey Steve,

Very nice summary and conclusion.

Thanks.

Vinny


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2002 4:00 pm 
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I consider myself an artist in many of the different crafts I know how to do. It all comes down to the fact that I love what our earth has to offer.
Presently, I am new to flute making. For this reason, I do not call my flutes works of art. Therefore, I am not an artist at making flutes or whistles. I use skills that I have learned in various places to make my flutes / whistles. I feel I should not call myself an artist at flute / whistle making until I have reached the point where
I can accomplish 2 very important things. 1. I can make an instrument that does what it is suppose to do very well and
2. I am able to take that instrument and apply some kind of Significant (ORIGINAL) touch that makes it appealing to the senses.
As I am learning a skill, I sometimes feel like I am trying to reinvent the wheel. I guess it is the trial and error thing that makes me feel like that. I take information from different sources and put it together until I have an item that does what it is suppose to do well. It's not original yet.
Although, there is something to be said about accomplishing things. This is where I am rarely satisfied, and where my artistic side comes in. I always have to tweak the things I have made in some way that makes them ORIGINAL/MINE. With whistle and flute making, I have not reached the point where I am happy with my skill. I look forward to that time.
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<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: prtpix on 2002-02-20 17:13 ]</font>

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: prtpix on 2002-02-20 17:15 ]</font>


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2002 4:39 pm 
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I think there is an art to whistle making as opposed to it being an exact science. Intonation and it's adjustment is a matter of asthetics not just frequency. The end product is an artist's instrument for painting sound pictures. The art shows through.

I seems to me that the difference between a craftsman, on the one hand, and a technician/mechanic/machinist is that the craftsman is tasked to add asthetic qualities to the product. The later produced a product to quantifiable specifications. The craftsman uses art and science to produce his product.

For whistles, the craftsmanship comes in when the whistle-maker, puts whistle to lips and adjust the intonation to meet the asthetic requirements for this individual whistle.

As in any craft, I think there are levels of craftsmanship: apprentice, journeyman, master. In our world of whistles we have mass production whistles and craftsman whistles both of which vary in quality.

So is it Art or Craft? A master craftsman produce works of art for any musician to play. I have at least a couple of these and hopefully someday will be musician enough to draw the art out these whistles.

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<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: LeeMarsh on 2002-02-20 17:46 ]</font>


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2002 6:10 am 
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On 2002-02-15 07:56, jbarter wrote:
Someone, possibly Jessie, once posted a set of definitions on here to the effect,
If you work with your hands you're a labourer,
If you work with your hands and your mind you're a craftsman,
If you work with your hands, your mind, and your heart, you're an artist.


I miss JessieK's postings. Image

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Martin Milner on 2002-02-21 07:43 ]</font>


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2002 7:55 am 
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Craft, in my opinion.

Which is not to diminish it. I have as much respect for craftsmen as I do artists (a lot).

Dale


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2002 9:18 am 
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Whistlemaking (be it art or craft)
Is putting holes in a hollow shaft.
Do it well and you're called a crafter,
And you'll be remembered ever after.
Poor ones they'll hang (once you depart),
And then refer to them as art.

Mack whistlemaker and???


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2002 9:22 am 
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Sculptor...


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