May 28, 2018


As far back as I can remember, an old handsaw hung on the pegboard above my father’s workbench. I do not recall him ever using it, instead using a newer saw that hung next to the old one. It was not until I was a teenager that I noticed the initials “RH” carved in the old saw’s wooden handle – my grandfather’s initials.

        to the morning light . . .
        fleeting dream

My grandfather died when I was two years old – too young to remember him. There is a photo of this man and me riding together on a horse, and he is smiling. There is another photo, this time he is alone, standing outdoors looking forlorn. I would like to know more about this man I never had the chance to know.

        image before me
        reflected in the mirror . . .
        family tree

 Dan Hardison

Contempary Haibun Online
July 2016, vol 12 no 2

May 10, 2018

The Art of Handmade

For Dina

When you think of art, what comes to mind – paintings or sculpture perhaps? What about stained-glass windows, a hand-blown glass vase, an animal carved in wood, a hand-woven basket, or a bowl wheel-thrown from clay?

art:  The products of human creativity

Regardless what a person may think about art, most people enjoy that which is handmade. And if someone we know created the item, it will have special meaning. This can be true with a quilt sewn by your grandmother, a table built by your father, or a mug crafted of clay by a friend.

handmade:  Made by hand or a hand process

Whether a person creates objects for a living or just as a hobby, they do so because they love the process of creating. Nancy E. Green has described this process of craftsmanship as, “with an eye to both beauty and utility, not just art for art’s sake, but art for the soul’s sake.” So whether it is an oil painting or a handmade coffee mug, it is the fact that it was created with “heart and hand” that makes it special.

artist:  A person whose creative work shows sensitivity and imagination

People collect these works for the enjoyment of being surrounded by things that are not only beautiful, but are also handmade. As clay artist Dina Wilde-Ramsing has said, “There is a very intimate relationship between the maker and user. God bless the people who appreciate that.”

love:  Have a great affection or liking for

— Dan Hardison

"The Art of Handmade" is a handmade accordion artist book containing the essay above. Constructed with photographs of clay art by Dina Wilde-Ramsing from the collection of Dan and Patty Hardison, giclĂ©e printed on watercolor paper with archival ink, mounted on paper, backed by handmade paper, and sealed with archival varnish. (one-of-a-kind, 4” x 4” closed, 4” x 41” opened flat, includes paper portfolio)

View the complete artist book as a PDF