Sunday, July 01, 2007

I received this comment from a reader in Australia.

Dear Doug,
My concern is that local becomes parochial.
Richard Bazeley

That is a reasonable concern even here amongst the hillbillies of Arkansas. So, what is it that separates the local/parochial from something more meaningful? Certainly, being local in and of itself, imparts no meaningful qualities. Something can be locally, poorly and carelessly made and be nearly as much a waste of time and resources as the stream of senseless consumer products passing from the trucks to the shelves to the shopping carts and through the checkout lines into the landfills of America.

There is a saying in the environmental movement that applies... "think globally, act locally." To think globally requires awareness of greater things and the aspiration to act from a greater sense of meaning. Take that away and the result is provincial, limited in view and understanding. But where the human soul engages the material for purpose greater than just getting by and making do... where there is effort toward growth of design and technique inspired by an understanding of greater things, provincialism fades.

For years I was inspired and challenged by the pages of Fine Woodworking, and also by the works of James Krenov, Sam Maloof, and George Nakashima. At times the quality of the work I saw in the greater world led me to feel uncomfortable with my own. But striving over a period of time has enabled me to teach and share with others.

As Richard points out, localism is not enough. There must be a striving for greater things if localism is to have meaning.

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