MARKS


Just a few lines.


I've been adding this simple glyph — this stylised 'IC' — to my work for more than twenty-five years, since I began making items to my own design. It's usually found on the back or underside of a piece and set into one of the main components with a few favoured chisels — the same chisels used to produce the work. In that respect, and visually, it’s similar to the Roman numeral-based carpenters’ marks used in traditional timber-framed construction. Quite often, I add the mark before the work is assembled for easier application. As with those carpenters’ references, my lines are not just embedded into the framework, but into the combined process also, though as a motivational aid rather than a technical assist; a tangible interjection, I suppose, and personal reminder, if any were needed, of my commitment to completing the project well.


Of course, it's a mark of my presence because I’ve carried out all of the work, but beyond its 'initial' meaning it's about certain ideals I continue to hold onto in my making. Several years after I first developed and began adding my monogram of sorts, I discovered that it was also a symbol used in mathematical notation, denoting a negated inequality between values; the ‘not less-than’ sign. In its obscurity — both in meaning and in its placement within my work — this adopted mark of just a few lines persists nevertheless, as my surreptitious conceit, in respect of those ideals or values maintained; the value of the individual process being not less than the value of the cumulative outcome; the effort not less than the idea; the fabrication, as the work of the maker, not less than the origination, as the work of the designer. It's a pluralistic approach to those aspects of creative practice that are different but 'not less-than'.

Copyright © 2021 Ian Cresswell