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A brief history of Paramission Furniture

July 29, 2014


As I’m about to start building a few new pieces of furniture I thought I take some time to reflect on my previous work. ‘A pain in the ass ‘, was my first thought, reflection finished and I’m headed off to east some corn chips, actually Pad Thai but what’s that matter.





Coffee and end tables


Desk without me standing on it.


Furniture in action shot

table pieces2small

Many pieces.


A lot of clamps


 Another action shot







Shirking the Shark

November 19, 2012

Design considerations and rendering for One Legged desk, extracted from photos and contemplation of the completion of Five (yes, a five legged desk).  One Legged would be slightly larger and despite a metal infrastructure, hopefully also lighter and easily dismantled into two separate sections, top and base . Five is a bitch to carry to the second floor by yourself. One day I’m sure desk will be able to walk up steps by themselves, but that is of no help to me today.

I’m also considering a smaller three-legged desk called, Secretary (not Three…) It will have two main drawers instead of three on Five.

The top surface of both desk should have the strength and stability to let the fat man dance… Just because.

Hopefully, One Legged and Secretary won’t take as long as Five to build, because I’ve already spent too much time shirking the sharks (I’m not sure what meaning yet to apply to my previous metaphor, but when one out, I’m sure it will be a great motivator and will aid me in getting a lot of shit done).

Discarded abstracts from the children’s book ‘Where ideas come from’

June 5, 2010


The Spiteful Wordtree with Fruit

May 4, 2010


History, Materials and method

This vessel originally started out as a practice piece used to experiment with colors, images and engraving techniques for other vessel designs.  After repeatedly covering the previous practice palettes to prepare the surface for the next one, I decided its shape had grown into a story of its own.

 There is no transcript for this vessel.  The letters are simply brush strokes, rough, unpolished brush strokes.  My stream of consciousness filling up space – – I thought and I wrote. There are no profound ideas, memories, or insights (or lewd thoughts).  I did manage to come up with several impressive lists, including the names of most women I’ve date or had crushes on (the latter being far more extensive).  Accounts of all my past visits to the hospital.  A catalog of things I designed that didn’t or shouldn’t work (most recently, the ventilated dunce cap).  I also discovered – – I suppose I knew this already, so it was more of an illustration than a discovery – – that my tolerance to focus on a single line of thought for any significant amount of time was very low (It took me two weeks to complete this sentence).  While I was writing , I might start out explaining how I built something,  ten seconds later, jump to explaining how frustrated I was because I couldn’t find my bendy ruler (Imagine a ruler that wraps around things and holds it shape), I’d start listing the places I’ve looked. I switch into some gibberish language I couldn’t understand, then admonish myself with whatever was the most convenient admonishment – – I often call myself lazy.   Sometimes fat, stupid, idiot, weak…. I don’t pay much attention to my self-admonishments, I hope you don’t ether.  Next, I start signing along with the song on the stereo, making up lyrics to replace the ones I couldn’t remember. 

It’s not a good read, but hell, I was conscious, that should count for something?   With some self–reflection, advice from others, re-tooling and a good editor, I can probably salvage something out of it.

The Spiteful Wordtree with Fruit’s form is made from a discarded stoneware vessel which had exploded during the kiln firing.  I used a tin can to replace its missing bottom half (Heck, it started as practice vessel).  Over the course of several months the surface is built up with layers of modeling paste and other polymers mixed with, red oak, walnut and ebony dust, dry pigments, acrylic inks and elephant dung paper. Between applications the form is grinded and sanded. The final layer is sanded to a shiny hue and a temporary coat of gloss varnish is applied.  Then the surface is engraved, inked then wiped – – Sometimes many times (this vessel in particular has several layers history of other works underneath its outer skin.)  Afterwards, the surface is sanded again and an isolation coat of varnish is added to the engraved areas.  Painted effects and details are added to the vessels using water colors, acrylics and oils. Next, it is topped with several layers of tented glazing, washed, sanded and sealed with two layers of MSA Matte varnish.


Photo’s and Text for, “Dealing with Cones and Spheres Encroaching on my Desert Landscapes.”

April 29, 2010



         I glanced into my rearview mirror, but it was gone.  Another desert landscape painted and then discarded.  It was no great loss.  It was not even a small loss.  I discarded or lost most of my landscapes.

My odometer read one, three, three, six, one and eight – – I’ve been driving this car for many years. The trip meter read two, three, four – – It’s been a while since I last bought gas.  The last mile marker I passed read one, two and zero – – This number means nothing to me.  I search the horizon for mountains, grasping for meaning, but I see none.  My eyes flick back to the mirror and then straight ahead.

There is a point on the horizon where the asphalt of the two lane highway and the desert become one.   Behind this shimmering oasis, a glass-walled factory produces mile markers, approximately one every fifty-two seconds.  They leap out of the factory like salmon from a waterfall.  It is my job to sit at the end of this production line and count each one.  Losing track is bad, because it means you have to start counting over again at the number one.  One is bad.  One hundred is good.  So far in the past three hours I’ve only been able to reach sixteen.  That’s bad.

This time I only made it to twelve.  Through my driver’s side window, I see mountains peeking out of the southwest horizon.  I watch amazed, their size and distance wreaking havoc on my artist sence of perspective.  Though I had seen them on my previous drive, the sight is still a surprise.

The mile marker read one, nine, and two.  Again, I looked in my review mirror.  Those landscapes held many wonders, up close and far away, but sometimes finding beauty in the desert’s banality took imaginary cones and spheres.














Text and photos of A Plan for Future Sunrises

April 28, 2010







A Plan for Future Sunrises


    Of all my Muse’s plans for future sunrises, I liked her concept for a random celestial horizon the best. 

“Every daybreak would be a surprise!” My Muse screamed. “We would no longer take dawn for granted.”  She swooped her arm toward an imaginary sunrise.  “Today the Sun rose over the barn.”  Then she spun around, her arms flying through the air. “There is no west or north… We have no idea where it will set.”  She stops, “Look!”   She holds up her wrist to look at an imaginary watch.  “What time does my watch read?

Tick tock tick tock

Time clocks are such silly constructs,

You might have two cheeks and only one bum,

But the sun will sit when the sun sets.”


She came over next to me and leaned her chin up against my chest. “How’s that for a simple lesson to help our children learn time?”

I wondered if she meant poem to actually rhyme, but then decided it didn’t matter.  “It would have made my kindergarten years less stressful.”  Then I added, “Now, if we only  had random cheeks and bums, then the teaching of math would just be silly”

A new thought occurred to me which I quickly molded into inspiration. “I want to try to paint your idea of a random sunrise…” I hesitated.  “But I don’t know if I have the creative or technical skill to match your absurdisms.  It is so monumental.”  I moved to put my arms around her, “Such beautiful thoughts…”  I hugged her. “Some of your stupidest ideas are my biggest inspirations”

Maybe it was a misunderstanding or poor choice of words… or both?  Later, alone with my thoughts and a freshly broken nose, I briefly pondered the prudence of finding a new Muse and even considered the wisdom of possibly dropping the Artist/ Muse arrangement.  Was it really working for me?   Was it worth the cost?  Could my inspiration come in another way?  These thoughts quickly ceded to another line of reasoning. Maybe it was an accident?  I deserved to be punched.  Well, not deserved, nobody deserves to be punch, not even an ass, but… isn’t a broken nose given to you from your Muse sort of like a war wound?   Wars might be wrong or bad, but they still give you medals.   Emotional turmoil I survived.   With my artwork being a medal of valor.  That might be going too far, but it was the most interesting thing to happen in the past month.  I am an artist with canvasses waiting for paint.

I remembered her head turning towards me, her fist cutting an arc through the sky, her crooked smile and the vanishing bend of her nose, as her beautiful eyes made contact with mine.  With such a striking image left to be painted, I easily convinced myself to put off living a healthy and circumspect life.

I read my way out of the Aughts. Now it’s your turn.

January 7, 2010

These are books I think you should read (No dancing around the point here).  They are not political or philosophical books, except in that in the way that any individual fictitious character might have some particular beliefs and opinions. These are not self help or inspirational guides (or at least I don’t think that was the author’s intention). They are not biographical or historical, so they’re not full of lies.

These are books that linger on in my consciousness. They are damn good reads.  Years might pass and I continue to remember what ‘Damn good reads’, they were (some books are good reads, but I don’t continue to kick them around in my head).  Most of these books are part of a series or trilogy. I suppose quantity has something to do with their mental stickiness, but I’m no book shrink, just a bad ass, telling you what to read…  Last night a woman I never met before told me – or actually told the guy sitting next to me at the bar, that I looked like a “bad ass”.  “No he’s a nice guy,” he said.  I agreed.  Inside, I laughed and laughed and then cried and cried.  It’s good when people think things about you.  It is never what I would have suggested they thought.  But it’s still good.  I think… at least you’re not invisible.  Yes, not invisible.

Dear —–,

I’m finally getting around to making your reading list, and I apologize, I meant to do this earlier, Fortunately, because the extremely cold weather and snow I have a multitude of halfway believable excuses for me not to go into the office.  Also,  free time to imagine I work in an office.  It’s a tidy little cubical near a window, in the corner, to the right of my chair there is a potted plant, a small tree, that someone else waters (because I’m sure I haven’t in all the years I’ve been here).

Honestly, I couldn’t tell you where I should be right now; my mind is drawing a blank and when it began to form an idea, I  remember that I left my snow boots at the office.  So, here I am making a list of books for you to read.

Sorry again for the wait,

Yours truly,



I would not call the order in which I lists these books a ranking, but I did place them in a descending order of  my daily ‘Damn that was a good read’ recall scale; A scale that is not in any way a determiner of either good or bad literature.  Though they all are in there own way, great literature (based on my own ‘because I say so’, logic). There is no need to run out and read them all right away.  In fact the first book on the list is currently out of print.  I’m sure this is just a fluke, or as Johnny, the guy in the cubical next to mine says, “a glitchy”.  The other two books in the series are available and this trilogy is greatly loved by many more people than me. Read the reviews on   “Fantastic!”  “Unputdownable”. “Stop Reading These Reviews! Buy This Book!.” A few reviewers might not have been espousing The Word, but sometimes people are wrong.   I suggest buying the hard copy version or used copy of the first book (Some idiots want $43.99 + for a new paperback)… but you didn’t need me to figure that out for you.  But I will if I have too.

 I also recognize that you are busy and have other obligations, it might take some time. I can wait.  Never the less, I will know if you haven’t read them…  Now I’m thinking ‘invisible’ might have been a superior choice to ‘bad ass creepy book reviewer’.  Here are the books.

Dead I may Well Be, The Dead Yard,  The Bloomsday Dead, by Adrian McKinty.  These little gems follow the delightful musings of the Michael Forsythe, an Irish criminal who killed more people than all the funerals you’ll attend in a lifetime.  It took me awhile to get around to reading these books.  Reading books in first person and sympathetic portrayals of killers are not my cup of tea… unless they’re really well written. I won’t let a narrator push me around with contrived justifications, half assed apologies and willful ignorance.  I demand a lot from these writers and Adrian McKinty delivers! But then I’m also a quarter Irish.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest (Forthcoming)  by Stieg Larsson  


Even if you’re not one of those people who wondered what happened to Pippi Longstocking after she grew up, you will after reading Stieg Larsson. And you don’t even need to speak Sweedish.  I have no basis to judge the quality of any translation, but in the past I’d always found myself distracted, wondering what was lost in translation; what I missed. These books help me to come to appreciate that if something was lost, something else was probably gained.  As with any translations, I have no idea what was lost or gained, but in this case I’m not missing anything.  Thank you Stieg Larsson and Reg keeland.

The Last Refuge, Two Time, Head Wounds, and Hard Stop.  By Chris Knopf.

This series of novels are about a guy named Sam Aquillo, who lives in what some might call a shack on the beach, when you consider some of his other neighbor’s houses in the Hamptons.  He an everyman’s everyman or at least my model for an everyman’s everyman.  I, like most of us, are not as witty, intelligent, tough, aloof, alcoholic, irreverent, messed up as Sam, but I think these are all things we can strive for in moderation.

A Changed Man.  By Francine Prose.

Francine did the impossible here and made a Nazi skinhead lovable (Could you write a less compelling accolade?  Just read the damn book.)

The Power of the Dog. By Don Winslow.

Unlike Winslow’s other books this one ensnarls you in the teeth of a rabid dog and won’t let up (the dogs in his other books are not rabid.)  This sick dog sinks its teeth into the fucked up mess which Richard Nixon first coined, ‘The War on Drugs’.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not pro-drugs (I supposed if you cornered me I wouldn’t say I was anti drugs either).  The main character is a DEA agent, who tries very hard to do the job he was giving.  But it’s hard.  It is very very hard.  

I like to mention one of Winslow’s other books, it is less solemn and more typical of his crash, bang, zoom, take no prisoners prose, California Fire and Life, is one heck of a fun read.

Not on the list, but dancing around it, are the books by A. M. Holmes.  Also, Jonathan Dee’s ‘Palladio’  (it had been out of my head for awhile, but he has a new book coming out soon, so it has crept back in).  And the two books I’m currently reading, ‘Bad Thing’s Happen’ by Harry Dolan and ‘New World Monkeys’ by  Nancy Mauro. 

Well that is my list…  And sorry, my editor was out of the office… I think out having coffee with my common sense and decorum. Those fuckers.

An Artist Ascension from Hell

December 6, 2009


(Songs From the Crickets In My Basement)

By Bradley Bowers

Twelve years ago I quit etching.  There were many reasons for this, but the most memorable was the pinched nerve in my right shoulder blade.  As far as health problems go, it was merely a nuisance, only bothering me when I etched, but when it was intense and persistent enough, it would drown out other pains and thoughts.  A Zen point of focus of sorts, intensity and concentration I also found by holding my breath in the middle of a long distance run.  And like holding one’s breath, it was something I could not continue doing indefinitely. Being aware of bad behavior is half of the way to sanity.  The other half is attempting to correct it.  I hope it is obvious why I say, ‘attempting’, rather than simply saying ‘correcting’– which might indicate delusions of grandeur.  At the time, I sought out different solutions, such as writing with my left hand, sitting in different positions, and taking more breaks.  These would help some, but in the end and knowing better, I found myself reverting to my old habits.  I am not sure of the empirical progression of my nuisance pain if I had continued to etch, but I postulated my arm falling off.

Another reason I stopped etching was that I found myself working on too many projects.  I was constantly going back and forth between several endeavors, expanding upon each one, changing and diverging into new tangents. I was content, satisfied.  I enjoyed this work method.  I had transformed the artistic process into a cycle.  I worked constantly and finished nothing.  I suppose this was a metaphor for something, possibly, the world is a stage and curtain calls are only symbolic, an intrusion into an ever changing play, but I knew better.  You visit metaphors; you don’t live there.  It took purchasing a house to bring me out of my stupor and refocus me on the importance of finishing things (even if it is all nonsense).


Ten years later I find myself etching again, but this time on vessels, using different techniques and working habits.  So far, I have only experienced a lingering phantom pain– not while I work, but now, when I reflect and write about etching.  Recently, I have been hearing crickets in my basement studio. They seem to be growing more numerous. Louder than your typical cricket in the basement experience.  One evening while engraving a vessel, I realized I never got around to fixing the broken window by the old boiler furnace.  I had forgotten about the jagged missing piece of glass. Actually, I had remembered and forgotten many times over the past ten years.  As I worked and the crickets chirped, I considered whether I should replace the glass, buy new widows, or just re-duct tape the plastic over the hole.  I had this same conversation with myself for next several weeks as I finished my vessels for the SOFA show, until October when the weather turned chilly and my basement was quiet again…

The notion for Structural Integrity came to me three years ago at the SOFA show. I was discussing the design of a one legged desk with a metal smith friend.  We were considering how I could place the single leg in the desk’s corner, not have it be too substantial, and appear as if it was made of wood, and not worry about it collapsing if I was jumping on top of it.  I surmised I would need to engineer some kind of hidden metal infrastructure, but I needed more information.  Thus I began to contemplate the structure of the things around me.  I also thought about the building process and the integrity of my work and others.  It is easy to take for granted the infrastructures around us; hidden like a puppet master, they can perform mysterious, almost magical acts, until they are exposed.

Structural Integrity (One) is my first piece exploring this theme. The I-beams are covered with the text of an essay of the same title, which I have been working on for the past three years, I suppose the series will finish when the essay is finished.

The Spiteful Word Tree One and  Two come from a compulsion to write and my aversion to finish things.  In Two,  the tree pattern is made up of several layers of text; shade and texture forming with the multiple applications of ink. In total the surface was etched with 8255 words (I guessed).

The words include an unfinished poem and essay of the vessel’s namesake. There’s also a rambling and disjointed explanation of the building process, some free writing (first time I ever found any value in free writing, which was to fill space), and a few spiteful words (which I really don’t have in me).  It all results in some uneventful self-reflection.

Then there is some plagiarism– parts taken from a Donald Barthelme short story, a DJ mix of sorts.  Also, transcriptions of selected Fall lyrics, and extemporaneous dialog from various novels I was listening to on my MP3 player while etching.

One, was less ambitious, having similar content but only 1500 words.  These were written on top the surface of an etched tree.

Simple Equations in Mathematics and Art fulfills a long-standing desire to steer my art in a more educational direction… but only in a half-hearted way.

In the first grade I was placed in remedial classes because of my “learning disabilities” and then I spent most of my compulsory education trying to get out.  In the fifth grade, I had a math teacher who told the class if anyone got six “A’s” in a row on homework assignments, they could move up to the higher level math class.  After 20 perfect scores, I finally had the courage to ask the teacher if I could move up.  I vividly remember the big fat “NO” that rolled off her lips… What I can’t remember is what kind of creative math I subsequently did to bring my final grade up to the letter, “F”.

The vessel I Have a Plan is a reflection upon my working process, entangled in the forms of allegory, parody and satire.   It’s also fairly truthful and to a certain degree, I hope, universal.

I Have a Plan…
I have ideas. I have dreams.
I thought on it. I did research. I asked for advice.
I made lists. I made hundreds of lists.
I prioritized and I made choices.
I saved money. I prepared. I studied.
I experimented. I practiced and then I reflected. I sought input.
After evaluating the results, I made more lists. I made more choices…
My plan changed. My plan grew, becoming more ambitious, more complex… more glorious.
It bloomed. It evolved. Somewhere in this process, my plan took on a life of its own.
It became indignant; talking back and slamming doors.
It would stay out all night long. It would bring strange plans home.

Suddenly, I had become a slave to several offspring plans.
First having to baby sit and pick up after them.
Then trying to teach and guide them.
I lost influence. I lost authority.
I had to write their papers and drive them all over town.
I lost sleep. I lost desire. I lost hair.
Eventually I was relegated to the role of supplier, buying them drinks, scoring them dope.
And finally, I’m the guy they called to bail them out of jail.

It is early in the morning and the house reeks of cigarette smoke.
I am tired, but it is the only peaceful moment left in my home.
It is time enough to write an abbreviated list,
And a moment of reflection before I head to the grocery store.
Eggs. Milk. Scotch. I have no ideas. No dreams…
Beans, corn, Money is running low, Grape Nuts.
I’ve lost direction… purpose. Velveeta Cheese. Rice. Flour. Maple syrup.
I might not have been happy before, but at least I was content. Bacon?
I need a new plan.