“Form ever follows Function”

I have had limited time to post lately, due to a busy work schedule. Fortunately, I like my work, and it often takes me to places I like, as well.  Recently, I attended some meetings at Salish Kootenai College in Pablo, Montana. As is often the case with meetings and conferences in Indian Country, there were some vendors there. Among them was Dion Albert. He was displaying some of his art, which included the beaded rainbow trout knife and sheath pictured below. My picture is not great, but you can still see how amazing this piece is.


The beauty of this knife and sheath brings architect Louis Sullivan to mind. In an 1896 article, “The Tall Office Building Artistically Considered” (Lippincott’s Magazine, March 1896, 408), Sullivan wrote the following:

It is the pervading law of all things organic and inorganic, of all things physical and metaphysical, of all things human and all things superhuman, of all true manifestations of the head, of the heart, of the soul, that the life is recognizable in its expression, that form ever follows function. This is the law. (Sullivan’s emphasis).

To make Sullivan’s claim absolutely true, we would have to include our emotions as “functions,” since many contemporary expressions of art have no more purpose than to provoke feelings. Also, the Euro-American concept of “art” is not always applicable to traditional Indigenous crafts, of which Mr. Albert’s knife is an expression. But Sullivan was not really speaking of art, and his implication that there is beauty in functionality certainly apply here. They apply to hand made fly rods, artificial flies, and to many other things I love, as well.

Anyone interested in knowing  more about Dion Albert’s crafts can reach him via email at memsicemboy@msn.com. Besides doing beadwork, Mr. Albert produces functional and beautiful items from buckskin, birch bark, and more. He is a member of the Confederated Salish, Kootenai, and Pend d’Oreille Tribes. Beneath the display board, upon which the knife is resting, you can glimpse beadwork done by another craftsperson. You can contact the “Native Artwork by Linda” at 406-531-5848.


One Response to ““Form ever follows Function””

  1. DiPietro Vises | The Literary Fly Fisher Says:

    […] A Blog for the Contemplative Angler and Outdoorsperson « “Form ever follows Function” […]


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