Saturday, May 04, 2019

building components

The photo shows two components of a curved table base. The wood is ash, and the parts are coopered to form the inside and outside curve. Four of these units will be textured, fitted and assembled to form the base of the large and heavy natural edged table.

I chose ash as the material for the base because it is abundant in the market now as foresters race to remove trees killed by the emerald ash borer, an invasive parasite that puts all our nation's ash trees at risk. It's nice to buy beautiful wood at a good price, but the reason for the low price is horrifying. Modern life involves the awkward and painful reconciliation of disparate things.

This month's National Geographic Magazine features two interesting articles back to back. One is about the horrific effect of plastics on our oceans and sea life. The other is about the incredible genius of Leonardo Da Vinci.

The juxtaposition is illuminating. DaVinci lived in a world of wonder and in which science and the arts were the same thing. Many of his most interesting creations were made of wood. The article about plastics in the ocean is truly disturbing. It should cause each of us to reassess the plastics that have become so invasive of our own lives. No one can deny the convenience of cheap plastic. But surely, given the facts as presented in National Geographic, we should learn to recoil from their use. Some identify single use plastics as the big problem. But given the fact that our big box stores are so full of plastics that have limited use in our lives and present long term disposal problems, we should be thinking of wood.

Beautifully crafted objects made of real wood can last centuries. When the usefulness and beauty of crafted wooden objects have been used up, the material returns to the soil and continues the process for new beauty to be created. The same cannot be said for plastic, much of which cannot be recycled.

Make, fix and create. Give others a chance to live, learn and grow likewise.

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