Tuesday, October 24, 2006

On Handling, Handbooks, and Hands . . .

“But no natural object exists which does not involve in some part or parts of it this inimitableness, this mystery of quantity, which needs the peculiarity of handling and trick of touch to express it completely . . . although methods and dexterities of handling are wholly useless if you have not gained first the thorough knowledge of the thing . . . yet having once got this power over decisive form, you may safely – and must, in order to perfection of work – carry out your knowledge by every aid of method and dexterity of hand”

“It is one of the worst errors of this age to try to know and to see too much: the men who seem to know everything, never in reality know anything rightly. Beware of handbook knowledge.”

“You must stop that hand of yours, however painfully; make it understand that it is not to have its own way anymore, that it shall never more slip from one touch to another without orders; otherwise it is not you who are the master, but your fingers.”

(John Ruskin, The Elements of Drawing)

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