Wednesday, April 14, 2010

How to Make Buttons Out of Bootlaces



[click to enlarge]


Ever since I discovered Ken Flett through his blog, Shaping Stones, I’ve felt we have a great deal in common — not in the sundry details of our distant lives, but deeper down, in their underlying fabric. That, of course, is due to his artistry and humanity. As the title of this post suggests, Ken is someone who needs to make things. And he is very good at making things out of whatever is at hand — so good, in fact, that I wrote a bit about him in the first installment of the new “Web Lights” series I’m doing for John Berbrich’s literary quarterly, Barbaric Yawp. I won’t reproduce the column here. If, after spending time at Ken’s site you’d like to read it, copies of the Yawp are easily and cheaply obtained from John. Just ask him for the January 2010 issue, which is also chock-full of poems, stories, and small press reviews.

Naturally, I didn’t want to tell Ken ahead of time that I was writing about him. Instead, I sent him a copy of the magazine as a surprise. What you see in this photo is what he so graciously sent me in return. The book was given to him long ago by a dear friend. Now it’s mine, but in a way that makes me feel that it’s really ours — Ken’s, mine, his friend’s, and yours. It’s hard to explain. It doesn’t need to be explained. It just is.

At the top of the page that says Scouting for Boys are the last two steps showing how to make buttons out of bootlaces. The pictures are Ken’s, and the stamp can be interpreted in many ways, or, better yet, relished as it is without interpretation — a lesson in life and poetry.

There is also this outlined phrase: No matter how difficult it may seem, he should tackle it, with a smile; the more difficult it is the more interesting it will be to carry out.

And that, along with my thanks, is a good place to end this post.


Update:
In the Forum: hydraulics and loneliness.

13 comments:

ALeks said...

Wordless you leave me behind,spechless and in love with the friendly love I feel trough this post! :)

William Michaelian said...

Thank you, Aleksandra. I know you think very highly of Ken, as I do. But wordless or not, your very presence makes you part of this post.

Janice said...

Good Morning William. This is a wonderful post. I love the thought of taking found treasure and creating something from it, or not! Maybe it is something that should be yours because it stirs up a memory or brings forth a thought. The outlined phrase seems like it was made just for me, though of course this isn't so :) I am so happy that I found your blog~~~

ALeks said...

It was worth it all of my hardship just to be in situation of getting to know bits of lives of 2 great people,if I may call you my friends. Both of you hold amount of dedication,love and passion in what you do and how you do it,it brings me all the time on crazy,new ideas and in trouble :O) I would love to be sure of combining and merging those wonderful worlds in a near future,in a new,brave movement,to be one revolutionary again but not in harming way,pure crafts and beauty.Oh there is so much I would love to do,I would need 10 more lives to do one third of it!!!And it is not about wanting it alone it is about doing it too! Thank you for everything!

William Michaelian said...

Good morning, Janice. I feel the same way about yours, as if it were another of those found treasures. In a way, I think if we don’t try to live that quote, we are betraying those who are in no position to do so.

Aleksandra, thank you for these beautiful thoughts. It’s a winding road, sometimes dangerous, sometimes serene, that brings us here. I have great faith in your future, which is already underway. To die knowing there is more to do is a good thing, as long as we do our best and all we can until then. Our best is always good enough, even if we are later able to improve upon it.

Wine and Words said...

Thanks for the into to Ken. I especially appreciate "It’s hard to explain. It doesn’t need to be explained. It just is." It is nice to release the need to do just that, or force a knowing that cannot be understood.

William Michaelian said...

Thanks. I’m glad you feel that way. All too often, nailing things down limits them — not unlike pushing a pin through a butterfly in a glass case. And yes, Ken’s world is full of wonder, surprise, and inspiration.

all ways 11 o'clock said...

William,
I love this post. Ken Flett has been an inspiration of mine for some time now. Inderfectly he got me back into photography again after putting down the camers for some 20 years.

His stories, 'found' pieces, dolls and more make him so wonderful to experience.

Again, great post.

~robert.

William Michaelian said...

Robert, thanks very much. I gather Ken has had a profound effect on many of us....

Thanks, too, for signing on as a follower. I love the statement on your blog,

It is all one day,
only the light changes.


That’s my feeling too. And so I’ll be looking forward to your own updates as well.

I appreciate the contact.

Anthony Duce said...

Thanks for the introduction. Talented guy.

William Michaelian said...

My pleasure, Anthony. Thanks for paying Ken a visit.

nouvelles couleurs - vienna atelier said...

William I'm discovering too that are so many wonderful people in the world!... this gesture on your part to write and make a surprise ... for what you know about you by reading your stories, I think you were very agitated by the fact to do the surprise... and the book of Ken, that he send to yuo is such a importance attitude of a true friendship!
Is somthings special!
Not long ago a freind of mine present to me his shaving brush, used, (the one he used the morning of his wedding)... well this is not a book, but I know that for my friend this brush has had a especial meaning... I send to him my book, copied and write from my hand, when I was a teenager, from the "Pensieri" of Leopardi ...

welll hehehehehe all this story (sorry) to tell you that I'm happy for you!

William Michaelian said...

Laura, I love your story. Beautiful. Sometimes I think we’re still kids, trading things in the schoolyard....