While watching a YouTube video of a couple of guys building with timber I was smacked by a phrase that nicely says something for which the heart yearns. Some Swedish guy, forgive me for being lazy and not going back to find out the guy’s name. Maybe I’ll do it after I’ve made espresso. Wait right here. Don’t go anywhere. I’ll be right back.
Okay, I made espresso and went and checked for the Swedish man’s name. Probably not right, Yogi Sundqvist. I have no idea if the fellow was pronouncing the name correctly or not, but that’s nearly what I heard phonetically. I searched DuckDuckGo (because Google is part of the evil empire) for Swedish names until I found something that looked like what I heard. I’m pretty sure the last name is accurate. Why go to all that trouble? It’s part of how I live my life. If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well.
A friend of mine works with wood for a living. He built some benches for a sitting area. He used 2″x4″ material and screwed everything together with butt joints. It works but there’s nothing for the eye. They’re not elegant, graceful, beautiful. It doesn’t matter to many people, but it matters to me. It reminds me of what Mr. Sundqvist was talking about concerning design, material and ergonomics. The bit that struck me at the end of it was:
It’s nice to have something just for the eye.
When I build something, no matter how menial, mundane and common it is, like a bench, I won’t even start until I have sketched out something just for the eye. The material and how it’s finished should be for the eye too, but it should lead the hand. When the eye sees it, and the hand reaches out to touch it, you’ve got a fine finish. This something just for the eye is different. It should serve a utilitarian purpose, so as not to be arrogant, but it should be done elegantly, with purpose and intention.
This is akin to searching for the name of the man who is reported to have said, It’s nice to have something just for the eye. It’s a lifestyle choice that molds everything we think, say and do. It is important and it matters because I give it, myself and my time value.