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Bricklayers vs Sculptors - another perspective.

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Bill Davis
Bricklayers vs Sculptors - another perspective.
on Jun 13, 2017 at 6:31:11 pm

The headline here reminded me that I actually hired a bricklayer once - and it totally changed my thinking about a bunch of stuff in my life.

During the build-out of my home studio in the late 1990s, I needed to replace a wooden fence on the property line with one that was more permanent.

So on the advice of our general contractor, I hired the Herrera-Herrera brothers firm to construct a 100’ 4” property-line boundary block wall, not technically brick, but close enough.

The morning the work was to commence, they arrived with a work crew of three.

For a while I ignored them. But after walking past them at midday, I noticed they were making exceptional progress.

So I stopped for a while to watch the crew work .

The helper toted the materials and kept things at hand. The “mixer” carefully prepared the cement that would bind the blocks.

But it was the senior Mr. Herrera-Herrera who I started to watch.

He would take a block from the stack next to him` - methodically turn and dip his trowel in the “mud” - and after glancing at the trowel, tap it either once, twice or (rarely) three times on the side of the mud holder. Then in a tiny ballet of efficiency - he’d first, pre-butter the blocks back and left edges, do the front edge of the landing block - and set the new block in place atop the reinforcing wire he’d laid between each course Then he’d tap the top of the new block in a spot of his choosing - either once, twice or three times. Never more, never less.

Over and over. Patiently, precisely, never stopping.

The crew built half the wall on day one. Fifty linear feet of six foot tall block fence.

Now modern 4” fence block isn’t particularly heavy but I know enough about manual labor from my youth to know that if I’d been somehow forced to lift, hold and position those all day long, I would have expected a few nights of extremely nasty arm cramps. It’s HARD physical work.

On the second day, at their lunch break. I walked to the end of the now 75-foot long wall - and out of curiosity - sighted down the length of Mr. Herrera-Herrera’s work.

If there was a single block in those hundreds upon hundreds that was out of perfect position, I couldn’t see it.

I ran out and bought the crew case of beer to give them along with their check - poor compensation for the privilege of seeing such wonderful craftsmanship in action.

After reading Simon’s post, I’m left wondering what made him feel the need to segregate us into these categories and make us focus on the effort of one “style” of wall creator over any other?

We all gather bricks. We can’t build without them. We all lay them out somehow, and then arrange them into the constructions we need.

While reading this, the most frequent thought I had was “sure, but I can ALSO work that way if I prefer in X...so what’s the real point here?”

If you see your workflow as “sculpting from moment one” - and think therefore that you can save time by avoiding the way another editor likes to arrange their bricks - great. Have at it.

To match that workflow In X, just take EVERYTHING in your browser, sort by date, time, shot number or whatever - tap Command E - and BINGO. You’ve got a total string-out.

Want to precisely trim from frame 10:50:07:24 right through the entire next clip and on to timeline frame 10:51:20:03 (ala Simon’s example?) No sweat. Mark a precise in, mark a equally precise out and tap delete.

This article seems to presume that MISSING a database pushes the editor into some type of more refined special editors thinking? I just don’t see that. Because I doubt that there are many editors reading this that haven’t done a TON of this exact type of “sculptural” editing every day.

But here’s the real thing.

Sculptural thinking is really, really useful when you need to create a sculpture.

It kinda sucks when what you really need in the moment is to just build a solid, beautiful, and exceptionally useful brick wall.

But what do I know.

BTW, Thinking about that wall, I remembered a video and photo shoot we’d done at our house for a major spa manufacturer. One location we set up was adjacent to that very wall I reference here! So I pulled up one of the set documentation stills. Here’s perhaps 10 of the hundred feet of the wall from this story. Mr. Herrera-Herreras’ work is perhaps veiled behind the stucco and paint - but I’ll attest that it’s there - and it’s awesome. A testament to some hard work by an exceptionally FINE “bricklayer.”



Creator of XinTwo - http://www.xintwo.com
The shortest path to FCP X mastery.


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andy patterson
Re: Bricklayers vs Sculptors - another perspective.
on Jun 13, 2017 at 7:54:19 pm

I did not know we would really get into brick laying examples. Having said that one of my clients does Cultured Concrete/Eurotile. It is one piece of concrete sculpted with different textures, patterns and colors. It is better than stamped concrete. It is an art forum to say the least.

http://www.culturedconcrete.com/residential/decorative-concrete-home/


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Richard Herd
Re: Bricklayers vs Sculptors - another perspective.
on Jun 16, 2017 at 9:44:30 pm

Fantastic story Mr. Davis! I had a similar reaction to Simon's post, and along the way was contemplating Aristotle's ideas on the topic. Here's more regarding Aristotle. The reading is a bit dry (as in drywall pun?) Sorry. https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/episteme-techne/


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Franz Bieberkopf
Re: Bricklayers vs Sculptors - another perspective.
on Jun 16, 2017 at 10:45:24 pm

[Richard Herd] "... and along the way was contemplating Aristotle's ideas on the topic."

Richard,

How are you relating Aristotle to the topic at hand?

Franz.


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Richard Herd
Re: Bricklayers vs Sculptors - another perspective.
on Jun 19, 2017 at 7:56:36 pm

[Franz Bieberkopf] "How are you relating Aristotle to the topic at hand?"
The main ideas I was referencing are techne and episteme.


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Franz Bieberkopf
Re: Bricklayers vs Sculptors - another perspective.
on Jun 19, 2017 at 11:01:47 pm
Last Edited By Franz Bieberkopf on Jun 19, 2017 at 11:03:57 pm

[Richard Herd] "The main ideas I was referencing are techne and episteme."

Richard,

Yes, I assumed so base on your link.

I was wondering how you were relating those concepts (and Aristotle specifically) to the discussion.

Franz.

Edit: disregard, I see you've taken it up under "Learning".


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Bill Davis
Re: Bricklayers vs Sculptors - another perspective.
on Jun 16, 2017 at 11:16:27 pm

Thanks, Richard.

Verbally shared that story with a few friends years ago when the experience was fresh, but never wrote it down until now. It was a big growth moment for me coming to the realization that sometimes the people in the small jobs were every bit as capable of excellence as those with the big ones. (Not to mention the corollary that those doing the big jobs might sometimes be every bit as susceptible to producing mediocre results as anyone spending their time doing less "prestigious" work!)

And Franz, seems to me the relevance is established in the actual title of the linked Stanford piece. Thoughts on the nature of approaches to skill sets, mental orientation and how different people might take different approach regarding their work.

Seems to me pretty directly on-point.

Creator of XinTwo - http://www.xintwo.com
The shortest path to FCP X mastery.


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