February 2005アーカイブ

'Kiwaku' and 'Stretcher'


I made a canvas the other day. Since I was a student, I usually make canvases by myself as it is cheaper; but it was my first try since I came here.
Rijks has workshops for various media. In order to make a canvas, first I go to the wood workshop to make the frame, and then to the paint workshop for the canvas. Other workshops are: metal, print, ceramics, plastic, chemical, video, photo, digital etc. They own special equipments, and there are technicians to help the artists.

A word for 'kiwaku' (wooden frame) in English is 'stretcher.' I would like to introduce the way they make stretchers here - as it is soooo smart!!
In particular, this part. They put this small wooden part between these metal parts (image 1), and fasten them onto the four corners of the frame and to the support. As this metal part has some flexibility (the screw can move about 1-2 cm), you can hammer the wooden part and crush it into the frame (image 2). This process always allows you to stretch the canvas tightly over the frame without failure (image 3). Isn't it super? I think they should apply for the patent.

The stretcher, as it is called, is what 'stretches' the canvas. While I was using the word 'frame,' I saw it as a frame, as a border line. But when I call it a stretcher, there is a notion that this is a tool - something like a backstage worker - which has a role of stretching the canvas. As its role becomes clearer, the role of the other part - the one that is 'stretched - also becomes visible. It makes me see the surface - the canvas - differently.
What I came to see was that every system, tool and name was made after a substance. The name was given in order to show its role, and the system is developed in order to preserve the substance. Paying attention to 'what it is' makes me see what I should do or why I do this.
Both Wim and Arend - the technicians of the wood workshop and the paint workshop - say 'The system itself will not create anything. Open your eyes (they really say this) and check each time what is happening in front of your eyes.' I think I learned something from what they told me. What I came to see was the way I look at things - the way I see things as an artist, not as technicians. I kind of felt relieved. Is it just me?
And one more thing... Arend calls wrinkles on the canvas 'bubbles.' Wrinkles and bubbles... this also makes me think of how people see things differently... but anyways, this is all for today.

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