I haven’t written anything on this blog for a while. But this morning I find myself locked out of my shop and waiting until the lady of the house, the queen of my double wide trailer metaphorically speaking, gets home around two with a spare set of keys so I can get back in. And so I thought why not write something and post it? Or will this one end up with the rest of the stack of drafts that I have written and not published? We shall see. At the beginning of the pandemic I thought that I would write more on here. Instead I found myself during the lockdown honing my spoon making skills and ended up making more spoons than I ever had before. I got quite a bit faster at it too. To the point where I can carve one out in a morning if I am really getting after it, which I rarely am.
I also spent time this year fixing some antique chairs for a friend as my end of a trade for his wood stove that he did not need anymore because of moving. One chair was a simple fix of reinforcing the undercarriage. But the other two chairs took me four months to complete. It is hard to explain why it took me that long to complete these chairs. I despaired at times of ever being able to complete them. In the end they turned out well and the process helped me realize that I really want to make stick chairs. I hope to be sharing more on this in the months to come as I venture into this area of the craft.
So what draws me to chair making? I don’t know exactly. Something does. I like that it is different from square work. I like that in the stick chair and other vernacular forms as well there is the possibility of gathering materials from the forest. I love getting out into the woods and working there. Even the hum of the chainsaw does not take that enjoyment away. I love finding a stump and carving a spoon out there among the trees, especially this time of year when the light is so clear and bright and the rays are poking through the canopy. Trees make me feel good in my brain.
What else. Well I was extremely disappointed when I got myself wound up and submitted a proposal for a grant to research the history of the Dutch Pullout Table. That is not a form of birth control. It is a form of table but it often draws a chuckle when I say it. Hell I even still chuckle when I say it. I am chuckling right now. To keep from crying when I think about how I missed on that grant. There was a lot of competition and two very worthy souls had their grants accepted. One to study Taiwanese plane making and the other to study vernacular violin making in Nova Scotia. Pretty cool. Yeah looking back my proposal did not stand a chance especially given that it could easily be mistaken for an ill-fated form of birth control. So I said to myself I am going to make the &*%$ing table anyways. Maybe this year maybe next I will be building a Dutch Pullout and surrounding it with stick chairs. Before I can devote my time to chairs though I must finish this front door I am working on for someone else and build a table for my niece. A black walnut table. It’ll be nice and it is a project I am looking forward to. And I am trying my level best to get it done by Thanksgiving. Did I mention that I stay at home with our three year old? The time skies have opened a little bit because she goes to preschool two days a week for three hours each day which might not seem like a lot but to a drowning man it is a lifeboat. Also as she gets older it is easier for her to find stuff to occupy herself while I work on projects. Sometimes she joins me in the shop which I gotta say is every bit as hella cute as it sounds. She is my DJ during those times iPod touch in hand (yes I still use and iPod touch and an iPod classic as well, and a cassette player in my pickup truck, and cds in our van. All the mediums except streaming).
I recently made a cross out ash for an Anglican Church. A cross with a base into which it can be placed to stand upright. While the last remnants of my Christian faith at least in the American Conservative Evangelical form that I grew up with disappeared into the ether sometime around 2013, give or take ten years, I enjoy making crosses and it seems I get asked to make them and I make them well I think. This latest one has an octagon at the center of it which is a symbol of rebirth and regeneration in Christianity as well as a passel of other religious traditions. I think we can all use a daily dose of that among it all.