• Carol Wiebe

How Many Artists Have You Been?

I am reading a book that I took out from our local library, titled The Nature of Design. It’s an excellent book, which, as the summary states, ” . . . works the same way a designer’s brain does–visually.”


book jacket

On page 145, a very unique house caught my attention. I looked up the credits at the back of the book and found architect Terry Brown. However, a Google search revealed that he died in a car accident in 2008.

The article where I gleaned this sad news described Terry as the Mushroom House Architect, which arose from the design of his own home and studio.


(See more images of this house at Architectural Record.)

That same article described his unique approach to building this way:

He started using a variety of materials—wood, colored glass, shell, ceramics, and various metals—and crafting them into irregular shapes reminiscent of those in nature. His structures provide a variety of unusual, sensuous experiences in color, shape, sound, volume, enclosure, and texture.

That sound like a mixed media approach to me.

In The Dry Facts, a blog post included a quote by one of Brown’s students (Leslie Clark):

Terry believed it was an architect’s responsibility to invent solutions for clients that they didn’t know were possible, to transform their ideas of what a house could be.

That is a creative philosophy we can all strive to follow, no matter what kind of artist we are .  .  .   but not just for the sake of “clients.”  We owe it to ourselves to uncover the assumptions we make about what kind of artists we are, thus limiting our own transformation. It’s so much more exciting to surprise ourselves, entering realms of work that we had not yet realized were possible.

My husband once told a mutual friend that he had been married to quite a number of women through the years, and they were all Carol (me). That statement made me very happy: his tone of voice and body language indicated that this was exciting for him. I will add the word challenging, although he was wise enough not to use it.

How many different artists have you been?

The nature of design : how the principles of design shape our worldfrom graphics and architecture to interiors and products / Peg Faimon & John Weigand.

Available, with a peek inside, at both Amazon.com and Amazon.ca

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