Saturday, August 27, 2016

two threads

The philosophy of my work grew from two slender threads, carefully woven through years into a consistent body of work.

The first of those philosophical threads was given to me as a young man when an elder craftsman, guiding me through the restoration of an old car told me that my “brains are in my hands.” I spent the next 25 years as a furniture craftsman exploring that notion, proving it to myself, and arriving at the conclusion that what was true for me was also true for most others as well. I’ve spent the last 15 years helping others to understand the power of the hands to reshape their own lives. There should be no surprises in this. The pre-Socratic Greek philosopher Anaxagoras noted centuries before that “man is the wisest of all animals because he has hands.”

The second thin thread was the realization that the woods that come from our great forests are too rarely understood in their great beauty and diversity. The most meaningful task for any woodworker to perform is to awaken others to the beauty that surrounds us. To craft something lovely and useful from our native woods lures others to discover the value of our native woods and to take care of the forests from which they come.

These two slender threads are carefully woven into a rope with two ends. One is a body of crafted work. The other consists of the sharing of the methods and spirit of that work through books, articles, classes for children and adults, and this daily blog, Wisdom of the Hands, where I promote the ideal of hands-on learning.

Shown above is a collection of some of the thoughts that may go into making a box.

Make, fix, create, and extend to others the likelihood of learning likewise.

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