Polivka Furniture Design & Studio | Arts Upload
Polivka Furniture Design & Studio | Arts Upload


THE NAME BELGER IN THESE
PARTS HAS LONG SIGNIFIED CRANES
AND HEAVY HAULING.   IN FACT, BELGER CARTAGE SYSTEM
DOES THE HEAVIEST LIFTING
AROUND. BUT BECAUSE THE OWNER DICK
BELGER IS ALSO AN ART COLLECTOR,
HE STARTED THE BELGER CENTER, AND LAST YEAR HE AND HIS WIFE
EVELYN OPENED AN AMAZING FOUR
BUILDING COMPLEX AT 2011 TRACY. IT’S HOME TO ART AND ARTISTS
AND VAIR URS — VARIOUS MEDIUMS.
RIGHT NOW AN EXHIBITION OF METAL WORK IS ON DISPLAY THROUGH
JANUARY 24th.
DAVID POLIVKA MAY NEVER HAVE HAD A SHOW HERE, BUT THE
FURNITURE HE MAKES IS OWNED BY
SOME OF THE FOLKS WHO HAVE. DAVID’S BEEN PURSUING HIS
VISION OF BEAUTY, OLD TIME
WOODWORKING TECHNIQUES AND SUSTAINABILITY FOR OVER 30
YEARS.
PRODUCER ASHLEY HOLCROFT SHOWS US JUST HOW THAT LOOKS. ¶ WE’RE IN RNS.
IT’S KIND OF A FOUNDATION FOR
US, BECAUSE WE BELIEVE THAT WHEN SOMETHING IS HANDMADE, THERE’S
INTRINSIC VALUE THERE BECAUSE A
HUMAN EXPERIENCE IS REALLY DEFINED BY ALL OF THAT.
OUR HERITAGE IS BUILT ON THAT.
MASTER FURNITURE MAKER DAVID POLIVKA HAS BEEN HONORING THAT
CREATIVE HERITAGE, HERE TO SHOP
IN THE RIVER KEY FOR DECADES. BUT IF THINGS HAD GONE AS
ORIGINALLY PLANNED, HE WOULD
HAVE BEEN BUILDING WATERCOLOR LANDSCAPES INSTEAD OF PERFECTLY
MITERED TABLES.
I WENT TO KANSAS CITY ART INSTITUTE FOR ONE SEMESTER AND I
GOT MARRIED AT 19.
AND I HAD TO GET A JOB, AND I GOT A WOODWORKING JOB.
AS I GOT IN A SHOP THAT HAD
PEOPLE WHO WERE REAL CRAFTS PEOPLE AND WHO HAD GONE THROUGH
THE GILDS AND THINGS LIKE THAT,
I REALIZED THAT I WAS — I HAD AN OPPORTUNITY THAT I HAD TO
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF.
IT SHOWED ME EVERYTHING. IT MADE ME THE PERSON THAT I AM
REALLY, IN A CERTAIN SENSE.
WE TRY TO STAY AWAY FROM DESIGN TRENDS, ALL OF THE
TRENDS.
WE WANT TO MAKE OUR OWN TREND. WE USE ALL LOCAL MATERIALS
PRETTY MUCH, UNLESS IT’S
SOMETHING I’VE SAVED OVER THE YEARS OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT,
BECAUSE I’VE BEEN AT THIS SO
LONG. WE DO A LOT OF RECLAIMED
MATERIALS, BUT WE TRY NOT TO USE
RAINFOREST WOOD. THE FACT THAT IT CAN LAST
FOREVER IF IT’S TAKEN CARE OF IS
A BIG DEAL. ALSO, MY FURNITURE INCREASES IN
VALUE INSTANTLY, ESPECIALLY WHEN
THERE’S NOBODY AROUND TO REALLY MAKE IT ANYBODY.
POLIVKA’S THOUGHTFUL DESIGNS
AND FOLLOW THROUGH ARE CHERISHED STAPLES IN HOMES THROUGHOUT THE
COUNTRY.
BUT DAVID’S PASSION IS NOT LIMITED TO CREATING BEAUTIFUL
PIECES.
THE BURDEN OF STEWARDSHIP FOR THE MATERIALS HE UTILIZES HAS
MADE HIM A MAN ON A MISSION.
THE FACT THAT I’VE LIVED THROUGH, YOU KNOW, CERTAIN WOODS
BECOMING EXTINCT BASICALLY, THE
TREES THAT TAKE A THOUSAND YEARS OR 900 YEARS OR A LONG, LONG
TIME TO GROW CONTINUALLY CUT
DOWN FOR AGRICULTURAL USE AND TO CLEAR CUT.
I WANT TO TALK ABOUT IT.
I WANT TO BRING IT TO PEOPLE’S ATTENTION THAT WE’RE LOSING
THIS.
DAVID SHARES EQUAL CONCERN THAT THE KIND OF MENTORS AND THE
SYSTEM IN WHICH HE LEARNED HIS
SKILLS WILL BE FAR LESS AVAILABLE TO THE NEXT
GENERATION.
WE’RE LOSING THE CRAFTS PEOPLE.
THEY’RE ALL DYING.
THERE ALMOST AREN’T ANY GOOD WOOD SHOPS NOW IN COLLEGES.
EVEN WHEN YOU GO TO PLACES LIKE
THAT, THE YOUNG KIDS DON’T KNOW WHO TO GO TO.
WHERE DO I GET MENTORSHIP?
WHERE DO I LEARN HOW TO UTILIZE THE FORESTS, TO UTILIZE THE
TOOLING AND ALL OF THAT STUFF
THAT IT TOOK TO MAKE THINGS? DAVID HAS BEEN PASSING ON
THESE HAND CRAFTED WAYS TO
COUNTLESS INTERNS THROUGHOUT THE YEARS.
IN 2011, MATT, WHO IS NOW HIS
PROTEGE, ARRIVED WITH A BACKGROUND OF ARCHITECTURE AND
METAL WORK AND A PROBLEM HE
HOPED THE SHOP COULD HELP HIM SOLVE.
WELL, THERE IS JUST A
SEPARATION BETWEEN DESIGN AND MAKING.
IT LOOKS GREAT ON PAPER, BUT
WHEN YOU GET TO MAKING IT, IT’S A TOTALLY DIFFERENT STORY,
MAKING SURE THAT THE PROPORTIONS
ARE RIGHT, EVERYTHING LOOKS DIFFERENT IN REAL LIFE WHEN
YOU’RE ACTUALLY MAKING A
PHYSICAL OBJECT. SO JUST THAT DISCONNECT, I
WASN’T HAPPY WITH, AND I KNEW
THAT I COULDN’T BECOME THE CRAFTSMAN OR THE MAKER AND
DESIGNER THAT I WANTED TO BE.
SO I KNOCKED ON THE DOOR HERE AT POLIVKA AND ASKED FOR AN
INTERNSHIP.
YOU CAN’T LEARN IT OVER THE INTERNET.
YOU CAN’T LEARN IT FROM
MAGAZINES. IT HAS TO BE TAUGHT BY SOMEBODY
WHO IS, AGAIN, TAUGHT BY
SOMEBODY ELSE. I CAN’T EVEN BEGIN TO EXPLAIN
HOW AWESOME THIS IS TO WORK
HERE. THE TIPS OF THIS TOGETHER,
JUST GENTLY PULL IT TOGETHER SO
IT WILL HOLD. MAYBE HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF
MILES OF MITERS WERE DONE THIS
WAY IN THE ’50s. THIS IS A CALM THING TO DO.
WE GET ALONG REALLY WELL.
WE’RE KIND OF KINDRED SPIRITS. WE LOVE THE SAME OLD MUSIC,
REINHARDT, A LOT OF OLDS JAZZ.
WE WORK TOGETHER REALLY WELL IN OUR PROCESS, THE WAY WE START A
PROJECT, DOING COUNTLESS
SKETCHES, SO WE JUST FLOW REALLY WELL.
REALLY, MY WHOLE GOAL HAS
BEEN TO DO THE HIGHEST QUALITY WE CAN DO.
MY INTENT IS TO GET MY WORK
OUT AS MANY PLACES I CAN, BECAUSE I HARDLY EVER GET
ANYBODY WHO ISN’T HAPPY HAVING A
PIECE OF MY STUFF. SO WHEN I’M A HAPPY MAKER, I
LIKE TO DO THAT.
I VIEW OUR PIECES AS FUTURE ANTIQUES, PIECES THAT YOUR
GRANDCHILDREN WILL FIGHT OVER IS
THE WHOLE THING. AND NOW FROM MASTERS OF WOOD
TO MASTERS OF PHOTOGRAPHY.
EARLIER THIS YEAR, PBS RAN A DOCUMENTARY ABOUT THE GREAT
DORTHEA LANGE.
HER GRANDDAUGHTER DYANNA TAYLOR IS A PRETTY FINE CINEMATOGRAPHER
HERSELF AND PUT TOGETHER THIS
LOOK AT THE MOVIE SHE MADE AND THE ARTIST THAT INSPIRED IT.
SO WE’VE SEEN THIS.
WE’VE SEEN IT. THE NATION HAS SEEN THIS
PHOTOGRAPH MANY TIMES.
AS DOROTHEA SAYS, IT BELONGS TO THE PUBLIC REALLY.
IT DOESN’T BELONG TO ME ANYMORE.
A LEGEND OF THE STRENGTH OF AMERICAN MOTHERHOOD.
SO WHAT WE’RE SAYING IS
CONTINUE WITH THE MOVE-IN AND THEN JUST CUT TO THE PHOTOGRAPH.
SHE REALIZED HOW IMPORTANT
THAT IMAGE WAS AND WHAT IT MEANT TO PEOPLE AND ITS IMPORTANCE TO
OUR UNDERSTANDING OF THE GREAT
DEPRESSION. FLORENCE THOMPSON’S HEADSTONE
READS, MY MOTHER, THE LEGEND OF
THE STRENGTH OF AMERICAN MOTHERHOOD.
YEAH.
YEAH. I THINK THAT’S GREAT.
YOU KNOW, I NEVER THOUGHT THAT I
WAS ACTUALLY CARRYING ON MY GRANDMOTHER’S WORK, BUT AFTER A
NUMBER OF YEARS, I BEGAN TO SAY,
WELL, ACTUALLY I AM CARRYING ON HER WORK, BECAUSE I’M DOING
PROJECTS THAT ARE RELATED TO
SOCIAL ISSUES, PROJECTS THAT — YOU KNOW, STORIES THAT NEED TO
BE TOLD, REVELATIONS THAT THE
REST OF THE COUNTRY OR THE WORLD MIGHT NEED TO SEE, YOU KNOW,
BRINGING VOICE TO THINGS THAT
NEED TO BE EXPERIENCED OR KNOWN. NOT UNTIL I WAS 11 OR 12 DID I
BEGIN TO UNDERSTAND THAT THIS
WAS SOMETHING QUITE UNIQUE THAT SHE WAS DOING.
SO I TOOK IT ALL VERY FOR
GRANTED WHEN I WAS YOUNG, BUT IT WAS ABSOLUTELY SEEPING IN.
YOU KNOW, IT WAS COMPLETELY
BECOMING PART OF MY FABRIC WITHOUT ME EVEN KNOWING WHAT WAS
HAPPENING.
DOROTHEA WAS VERY EXACTING, VERY CHARISMATIC AND VERY WONDERFUL,
BUT VERY EXACTING, AND SHE
REALLY WANTED YOU TO BRING YOUR BEST.
THAT DIDN’T NECESSARILY MEAN
YOUR SWEETEST SELF AS A GIRL. IT MEANT YOUR SHARPEST, MOST
INTELLECTUAL, MOST ACUTE
OBSERVATIONAL SELF. AND SO THAT IS SOMETHING THAT
SHE AGAIN AND AGAIN WOULD ASK ME
TO REALLY PAY ATTENTION TO WHAT I WAS DOING, PAY ATTENTION TO
WHAT I WAS SEEING, PAY ATTENTION
TO WHAT WAS HAPPENING AROUND ME. I WAS KIND OF A WILD CHILD,
COMPLETELY OUT OF CONTROL, AND A
TOMBOY AND ALL OVER THE PLACE, AND SHE WAS NOT NECESSARILY
REINING ME IN, BUT ASKING ME TO
LOOK AT THE IMPACT I WAS HAVING AND ALSO TO SEE WHAT WAS AROUND
ME. IT IS A PROCESS OF GETTING
LOST SO THAT YOU LIVE FOR MAYBE
2, 3 HOURS AS COMPLETELY AS POSSIBLE A VISUAL EXPERIENCE.
MY GRANDMOTHER LIMPING UP
FROM THE BEACH WAS PHOTOGRAPHING.
I HAD A HANDFUL OF SHELLS AND
STONES AND THRUST THEM OUT TOWARD HER, ASKING HER TO LOOK
AT THEM.
SHE SAID, I SEE THEM, BUT DO YOU SEE THEM?
I SAID, YES, I SEE THEM.
THEN SHE SAID STERNLY, BUT DO YOU SEE THEM, AND SNAPPED THE
PHOTO.
I THINK THAT ONE HAS TO LOOK BELOW THE SURFACE OF THINGS TO
SEE WHAT’S REALLY THERE, AND I
STILL REMIND MYSELF TO DO THAT, YOU KNOW.
WE’RE MOVING PRETTY FAST THESE
DAYS, AND I HAVE TO SAY TO MYSELF, STOP, WAIT A MINUTE,
WHAT’S REALLY HAPPENING HERE?
THERE’S SOMETHING MORE FOR ME TO SEE.
THERE’S SOMETHING MORE DELICATE
FOR ME TO SEE. THERE’S SOMETHING THAT CARRIES
MORE INFORMATION TO FIND OUT
ABOUT THAT THE SUPERFICIAL REALLY ISN’T WHERE IT’S AT, YOU
KNOW.
I’M INCREDIBLY INTERESTED IN THE CAMERA HELPING TELL THE STORY
BUT BEING INVISIBLE ITSELF, NOT
DRAWING ATTENTION TO ITSELF, AND IN THIS PARTICULAR FILM, I
DIDN’T WANT TO HAVE — I DIDN’T
WANT IT TO BE GIMMICKY OR HAVE THE CUTEST MOTION GRAPHICS OR
HAVE ALL THE NEW ANIMATION STUFF
THAT ONE CAN DO OR ANY KIND OF CLEVER CAMERA TECHNIQUES OR FAST
MOTION OR SLOW MOTION.
I DIDN’T WANT IT TO HAVE ANY OF THAT.
I WANTED IT TO BE AS CLASSICAL
AND FORMAL AS HER WORK. I DIDN’T WANT IT TO DETRACT IN
ANY WAY OR CALL ATTENTION TO
ITSELF IN ANY WAY. I WANTED HER WORK TO DISPLAY
ITSELF.
SHE WOULD TELL HER OWN STORY AND HAD IT BE SO.
WHEN YOU’RE WORKING WELL, ALL
YOUR INSTINCTIVE POWERS ARE IN OPERATION, AND YOU DON’T KNOW
WHY YOU DO THE THINGS THAT YOU
DO. SOMETIMES YOU’RE A KNIFE.
THAT IS SOMETHING ONE NEEDS TO
BE ABLE TO DO. WELL, CLEARLY I’VE BEEN
DRIVEN TO MAKE THIS FILM, AND
I’VE THOUGHT ABOUT IT FOR MANY YEARS, AND I NEVER FELT READY TO
DO IT.
I HAD MY OWN YOUNG MEMORIES OF HER THAT WEREN’T ALL OF — ALL
OF THOSE MEMORIES WEREN’T EASY.
I’D SEEN THE IMPACT SHE HAD ON MY RELATIVES.
THOSE IMPACTS WEREN’T ALSO VERY
EASY SOMETIMES, AND THEN IN THE PROCESS OF MAKING IT, SO MUCH
MORE REVEALED ITSELF ABOUT HER.
I LEARNED SO MUCH AND COULD TRANSFORM MY YOUNG MEMORIES INTO
MORE ADULT MEMORIES, OR MORE OF
AN ADULT POINT OF VIEW ABOUT, OH, THIS IS THE LIFE SHE WAS
FACING.
YOU KNOW, I UNDERSTOOD IT A LOT MORE.
SO THAT’S BEEN A REALLY
INTERESTING JOURNEY FOR ME. AS A LITTLE GIRL, I WOULD ALWAYS
SEE HER PHOTOGRAPHS AROUND, AND
ON THE DINING ROOM TABLE FOR A PROLONGED PERIOD OF TIME WERE
THESE PHOTOGRAPHS OF THIS
GORGEOUS VALLEY, INCLUDING BULLDOZERS AND THIS IMAGE OF A
WHITE HORSE RUNNING IN A
COMPLETELY BLOWNUP ENVIRONMENT. AND I WAS ALWAYS SO DISTURBED BY
THAT PHOTO, AND I WOULD LOOK AT
IT AGAIN AND AGAIN AND FEEL REALLY TERRIBLE ABOUT IT, BUT I
BEGAN TO REALIZE THAT MY
GRANDMOTHER HAD PHOTOGRAPHED THIS ENTIRE TOWN THAT HAD BEEN
COMPLETELY FLATTENED, EVERYTHING
OF THE THE HOUSES TAKEN AWAY, THE GRAVES, EVERY TREE CUT DOWN,
EVERY BEAUTIFUL HOME WITH ITS
IVY CLIMBING UP THE WALLS, WIZE WISTERIA PULLED OUT, BURNED, SO
THAT A DAM COULD BE CREATED FOR
WATER, AND THAT PARTICULAR STORY IS THE ONE IN THE FILM THAT I
RESONATE WITH THE MOST.
THAT’S BROUGHT ME TO MY OWN CONCERNS ABOUT OUR PLANET AND
THE ENVIRONMENT AND THAT’S WHERE
I FEEL MY CAREER HAS CARRIED ON MOST IS IN THAT — WHAT I
LEARNED FROM THOSE.
WHAT I GOT FROM THAT MOMENT OF SEEING THAT WHITE HORSE IS WHAT
REALLY IS THE HEART OF THE
MATTER FOR ME, HOW TENDER THIS PLANET IS AND WHAT WE’RE DOING
TO IT.
YEAH. JUST A REMINDER, YOU CAN
FIND PBS SHOWS LIKE AMERICAN
MASTERS ONLINE AT PBS.ORG AND LOCAL SHOWS LIKE THIS AT
KCPT.ORG.
WE ARE ARTS UPLOAD, DOING OUR SMALL PART EACH WEEK TO PROVE
THAT KANSAS CITY IS AMERICA’S
CREATIVE CROSSROADS. AND AS WE LEAVE THE SITE OF
THE BELGER STUDIOS, HOW ABOUT
SOME DANCE, RANDY FROM THE NEW DANCE SERIES AT JOHNSON COUNTY
COMMUNITY COLLEGE?
JUST MIGHT HAVE A LITTLE SOMETHING TO DO WITH NEXT WEEK’S
SHOW.
BUT YOU’LL JUST HAVE TO WATCH TO FIND OUT.
I’M MARIS AYLWARD.
AND I’M RANDY MASON. SEE YOU THEN. ¶   Captioning provided by
Caption Associates, LLC
www.captionassociates.com   ¶ PRODUCTION FUNDING FOR ARTS
UPLOAD HAS BEEN PROVIDED IN PART
BY THE FRANCIS FAMILY FOUNDATION AND THE COURTNEY S. TURNER
FOUNDATION.  

1 thought on “Polivka Furniture Design & Studio | Arts Upload”

  1. South Hill Farm says:

    Let's be perfectly honest; if CNC takes over with a designer behind a computer designing the furniture and creating the pieces on a CNC machine, in less than a generation craftsmanship will disappear.

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