Where’s the Wheels?
I only attended Handmade Shows in San Jose and Portland; and then the first Manifest in Portland. So, like most of you, I’m experiencing subsequent Handmades through blogs and journalists. After reading reviews of the latest event in Richmond, some thoughts come to mind.
Designers and artists know about white space. The absence of color is just as important to the outcome as the marks you make. Some traditions, like Chinese landscape painting, are built around the careful management of emptiness. It takes enormous confidence to make best use of white space. Understatement, another form of white space, is a more demanding expression than over embellishment. The Handmade Show’s bicycles seem, for the most part, to be over decorated.
Intricacy is mesmerizing: ivory carving, Russian egg decoration, miniature jewelry… captivating. But for my taste, details can be over applied to a bicycle frame. Worst case, it’s an excuse for lack of confidence. Pile on the features and a frame’s value grows. Is there a limit, a reasonable balance of function, decoration, and simplicity? Builders like Masi and Colnago built their early careers on super simplified frame design. They certainly wouldn’t rate attention in today’s Handmade scene. Read more →