Tuesday, November 24, 2009


Glen Adamson, head of graduate studies at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, has an essay in this month's American Craft Magazine, about "Timbersports," a broadcast spectacle in which burly contestants compete in various forms of lumberjack competition. It is a blend of skill, balance and strength, and Adamson draws parallels between it and what we think of as "finer crafts." Adamson points out that various languages allow for the distinction. In German they have handwerk which is the category in which timbersports might fit, and they have kunsthandwerk, meaning "artistic craft." In Japanese, the terms are dentô kôgei traditional craft and kôgei bijutsu or "art craft.

And yet an axe by any other name would cut as sweet.

Adamson, concludes that the same human impulse leads one to enjoy timbersports, either as observer or participants as that which drives any of us in our aspirations to create.

He describes it as authentic. That the authenticity of it has tremendous appeal. And in this day and age in which so much is virtual and so little has the trapping of sweaty, axe flailing, chips flying reality, all I can say it we need it and it beats what we see on TV. Oh! waiting a minute. Adamson was describing what he DID see on German TV. So never mind. But do go out and chop some wood for your own sake.

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