Working wood has a way of uniting people so uniquely I still find myself bemused by the happenings within woodworking spheres of creativity. I mean, I ask myself why people like myself never give up and other full-time woodworkers can’t wait to give it up and then on the other hand so many people will give up everything for three days to immerse themselves in woodworking (and dust) to build something difficult and demanding.
Of course I know the answer and it’s dead simple. They are, like me, absolute amateurs—they do it only because they love it.
This week I saw strained faces, looks of frustration, momentary anger even. I saw people laughing at themselves and people laughing with one another. I saw a man who works as a family barrister at the next bench to a general doctor and on another couple of benches an art gallery design team member and a petroleum refiner. It didn’t end there, but they were intense in their work as recreation that was as refreshing for me to see as it was for them to be so immersed. They now grabbed planes confidently and with an expectation that they could make it do what they wanted it to do. From 13 pieces of wood a table emerged over a few days. They can now make tables for dining and for the side of their beds. They can make coffee tables and even desks. In about nine days they have gained enough skill and knowledge to be able to do these things for themselves and they no longer need Paul Sellers. I worked myself out of a job. How about that!
I watched them grow, prodded them here and there, and they left for home with tables tucked under their arms and fulfilled. I feel as I always do a sense of worth and purpose. It’s part f my dream to see a huge resurgence of interest in meaningful hand work.
I think that this picture of David speaks volumes, just volumes.
Clamping up is the culmination of nine days working solidly in a highly inspiring course. Few people today well ever experience what I am talking about and finding themselves in truly meaningful work is so important to our wellbeing. With a culture defying craftwork and denying skill to young people I find myself grateful that artisanry knows no age limit, no restraint on gender, no educational exclusion and needs no qualification because it qualifies itself by what we make.
Well done everyone and thank you!