Gertrude Stein’s ‘A Rose, is a Rose, is a Rose’ is particularly apt for this Walt Cannoy Billiard, Grade 4, accented with ebony heart. Not as an oft-misinterpreted ‘Law of identity’
(“A is A”), but in terms of ’Problems of Universality’
; while both Lomonosov and Dixie make cups, there are additional distinctions. I talked with Walt recently for a couple of hours, and one of the first things we mulled over was the direction of his art since (say) the mid-to-late 2000s onward. He believes, and I agree, that his tastes and aesthetic have matured, become decidedly quieter. I also observed that even with the move from ‘in-your-face’, towards sophistication, I still saw many hints of an artist with almost zero ‘herd instinct’. I took his chuckle as an affirmation, and offer this Billiard as an example.
Cannoy wanted to create a blast that was utterly unique (and selects the vast majority of his briar towards this end). When carvers with less than three years of experience are churning out ultra-deep, concentric blasts, having one more in the market doesn't serve anyone. Walt’s ‘Suede’ sandblast is very labor intensive, but the goal is to coax out micro-swirls and striations which can only be observed close-up. Indeed, much in the case of when you took your first look at a seemingly ‘ordinary object’ under a microscope, only to have amazing, often crystalline structures reveal themselves, so it goes with the Suede. The texture is singular within my experience; the surface seems to hold you, rather than the other way around. The heel of the bowl neither follows the Danish in its cupping, nor the English manner, but emphasizes the subtly different rates of reduction between the front and back of the bowl. A smooth rim being reflected in an exotic wood accent at the mount is not new, but when paired with that wonderfully soft and forgiving stem material, a new fascination is created. If you are in the hunt for either a stoically classic or wildly modernist Billiard... this isn’t it. If you appreciate ‘difference’, but prefer that departure to be quiet; this is right in the zone.
--R. ‘Bear’ Graves