Monday, March 09, 2009


Artifact: n. [Latin ars, artis, skill, art + factus; see FACT] 1. Any object made of human work. 2. in histology, any structure or changed appearance produced artificially or by death. Also spelled artefact

While the definition is simple, and it appears than any man-made object might fit, we have come to know the term as something more... that an artifact tells a story of human culture and civilization, or on a more personal level, the story of our own lives.

When you make something from wood it serves as an artifact in several ways. First it tells the story of the wood itself, interpreted and recorded in the maker's use of grain, color and form. Then it tells the story of the culture within which the maker works, and his or her experiences and capabilities. It then records and tells the story of its own making. And of course any of these can be read and understood only by those literate in reading between lines, in subtleties and nuances. these are the kinds of things that you learn through the education of the hands.

Today I am leaving tracks on wood, assembling and gluing wood into larger forms that will be shaped, cut and fitted to form an artifact, telling the story of conservation, respect for the natural world, the making of museums, and the teaching of kids.

Next, I go looking for rocks.


  1. Anonymous1:19 PM

    Doug, from 365 Tao Meditations; Deng Ming-Dao. I get alot of bang for my life from these daily meditations. They have been an enormous lift to my life as a person and artist. "Without movement, there could be nothing created in this universe. The revolving of the heavens can generate wind, rain, thunder, lightning. The revolving of the earth enables us to have day and night, the very cycle of the weather, the seasons, and the growth of plants. Movement is responsible for creativity.
    Followers of Tao value initiative, but mere aggression is not enough. One needs creativity. This can mean the ability to solve problems, to think of unusual strategies, or to compose poetry, music, and painting. In all these cases, one moves in concert with Tao not by blind aping, but by giving intelligent counterpoint and harmony. Creativity does not mean the arbitrary making of something out of our cultural minds. Rather, it is spontaneous movement in tandem with Tao, a movement that will generate life and not misery for others.

    One has reached the ultimate levels of creativity when one has mastered skill so thoroughly that it can be forgotten. Look at heaven and earth. Do they think about creating the weather, the seasons, and the cycles of growing? They only go on revolving according to their nature, and the rest is generated without any thought or work on their part. This is truly effortless action and is considered the highest skill that a follower of Tao can attain." If more people followed this type of advise verses say Warren Buffet I think the world would be a whole lot better off.
    Scrap Wood

  2. Anonymous1:24 PM

    Doug is that you on Chris S. Blog at Pop Woodworking With my good friend Wayne Barton looking at a crane or something or other
    Scrap Wood

  3. Yes, that is me. Cris, Wayne Barton and Peter Korn and I were judges and presenters at last year's showcase. Photo here.

    I agree with your observations on the Tao. This is the 50th anniversary of Barbie, and we have been pushing people beyond their inner natures and inhibiting natural creativity for years. But this is also the 75th anniversary of the CCC and WPA, great institutions for the development of character and inner strength.