Monday, June 15, 2015

The investment in hand crafted works...

I spent yesterday in Little Rock refreshing the finish on office furniture I had made for the director of the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce so that it can be used in the office of the CEO of Cranford, Johnson, Robinson and Wood advertising agency in the building they are restoring in downtown Little Rock. It was interesting for me to revisit work done 15 years ago as I readied it for new service.

Finished work takes on a life of its own and we learn not only in the making of it, but by having the opportunity to observe it over a period of time as it ages, hopefully with grace. Later, after the opening of the CJRW agency's new office in Little Rock, I will be able to share photos of the furniture in its new location. Unlike the image shown above, the maple has aged to a darker color, showing a less dramatic contrast with the walnut accents.

One thing is clear. To make handcrafted work requires an investment in thought, and effort. That handcrafted work lasts is due in large part to the care it receives from those for whom it was made to serve.  For someone to commission handcrafted work is for them to enter into a relationship with another human being, and I have been honored many times by those who have asked me to make something as lovely and useful as I can to serve in their lives. Just as I have been honored to create and grow, I have then in turn been honored by customers having chosen to care for what I have made.

I am led to marvel at the gifts I have been given by those who have been willing to set my energies in motion to create. To ask another person to create something that demands his or her growth is risky. It is far easier to simply buy stuff at the local big box store than to ask members of your own community to grow to meet your needs.  But are we as a nation not missing some strength in our own communities because we are failing to invest in handcrafted works and the various lives that they produce?

As I cleaned and refinished the various pieces I had delivered over 15 years ago, I was reminded of the depth of relationship that can exist between people. In this case, I was set in motion to make and grow, and then for all these years, what I had made was cherished and protected, which in itself also requires effort and concern.

What Otto Salomon had said about the handcrafted object applies. The value of the carpenter's work may lie in the object the carpenter makes, but not solely there. The diligent craftsman cares about his or her work, and in that concern is the foundation of community upon which all further growth takes place. (or not) And craftsmanship is sustained by those who are willing to invest in it.

Make, fix and create...

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