Friday, April 25, 2008

I am in Omaha, Nebraska visiting my mother. Her home is full of antiques passed along through generations of family. Each object tells a story, reminds of a person or place from the past, memories to be shared and treasured like the object itself.

We live in a time of disposable objects. I suspect that many homes of the elderly in America hold cultural riches incomprehensible to the GameBoy generation. Things wear out, break and become obsolete, then join other collections of materials in landfills, and are sealed in the earth by layers of fresh dirt. Perhaps in millions of years these layers of things will be compressed and reformed into never-before-seen metamorphic geologic layers with some new value to mankind. New forms of beauty might emerge. We can hope.

Is there a connection between the devaluation of objects and devaluation of the people who made them or used them and whose stories are told in spots of wear, where hands held them tight in use? We have become rude and angry in direct proportion to the rate at which we have filled our dumps with meaningless things.

Some day a child will walk in fields and discover things uncovered by the wind or by water rushing down a hillside. Interesting and incomprehensible artifacts of our short time on earth will be revealed.

Perhaps by that time, we will have evolved as a culture that lives for its children, that challenges them to live creative lives in the making of beautifully crafted cultural objects.

In the meantime, I keep working on rustic furniture. I brought work to do while I'm here in Nebraska. Photos to edit, chapters to write and edited material to review. Shown above is the process for taking apart a pallet, using a recipro-saw to cut the nails holding things together. I plan to use this wood to make a small cabinet. the photo below is of using a rotary chisel to texture the inside edges of a rustic maple table top.

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