My name is Bob Galivan, but in this particular arena, I go by the moniker “Braider Bob.” I started braiding back in late 2011 or early 2012 when my wife (to her eternal regret) suggested that I take a class with Adrienne Gaskell. Adrienne is the person I consider most responsible for bringing beaded braids to the mainstream. In that class, I was introduced to her focal beaded braid, and to the marudai. I fell in “like” with the braiding, not so much with the beads.Over the next year, I studied fiber braiding using the books of Makiko Tada, an amazing Japanese woman who is the person responsible for bringing Kumihimo to the west. Then Makiko came to town, and I was pretty much lost!
Over the next 4 years, I took probably close to 200 hours of classes in Miami, Japan, and Tacoma, WA, plus a lot more hours of self-study and experimentation with all kinds of braids, braiding, and materials. I’ve worked through almost a dozen braiding books, studied with Rodrick Owen, Jacqui Carey, and others. It has been an interesting, fascinating, sometimes frustrating, always fulfilling.
I some months ago I tried to create an artist’s statement; I don’t remember what it was for, but I do remember agonizing over it for weeks. I read dozens of artist statements that talk about higher purpose and inspirations from nature, philosophical leanings, doing good for mankind, and so on. All of them were wonderful. Many of them sounded like they came from a write-my-artist-statement website (I actually did find an artist statement generator website, at artybollocks.com. Try it if you’d like to have some fun….).
What I figured out about why I braid is pretty simple. I like to braid. I enjoy working with my hands. I enjoy the process of learning a new skill, and then expanding on that knowledge to improve what I am doing, or finding a new way to do something. I enjoy teaching, and the process of developing what I will teach. I enjoy writing instructions and tutorials. I enjoy the creative process, especially when I have a sudden insight on a problem I need to solve, or some new way to do something. It’s often the case that inspiration comes to me at completely random moments (the worst being at 3am…). But when I am driving along, at a concert, or doing some kind of rote work. I really do not consider myself any kind of an artist. When you use the word “artist” I think of Caravaggio, or Rodin, or Alexander Calder. Those are artists. I’m more of a creative technician (IMHO).
P.S. Here is the artist statement that ArtyBollocks came up with: “My work explores the relationship between consumerist fetishism and midlife subcultures.
With influences as diverse as Rousseau and Buckminster Fuller, new synergies are distilled from both explicit and implicit meanings.
Ever since I was a postgraduate I have been fascinated by the unrelenting divergence of meaning. What starts out as vision soon becomes debased into a carnival of temptation, leaving only a sense of nihilism and the inevitability of a new understanding.
As temporal forms become reconfigured through emergent and personal practice, the viewer is left with an insight into the possibilities of our world.“