No rest for me today!
Different work, but work none the less. Had to go over a lot of courseworkto present current research work in a cohesive and structured way. That means a lot of things, but most of all it means that my plans to help my fellow enthusiasts increase in power to reverse the effects of industrialism of the past two centuries and more in their lives gains new ground. The contrast between being industrious and being industrial is remarkable. It’s the contrast between agriculture and agri-business. One is where you are immersed in the organic vibrancy of life, growing a simple but effective and efficient vegetable garden as opposed to growing only for money. On the one hand you care about all life in its cohesive wholeness and on the other you care only about one plant or animal type and little beyond.
Industrialism fractured the family, devalued life and split the workshops of old to create mass producing factories, yet despite that, people still hold within their genes the inherent desire to grow, to cook and to make. They can buy food cheaper than growing it and they can buy cake and bread cheaper than they can make it. Did you know that it often costs me more to buy the wood for my work than it costs to buy the finished products in furniture stores? It’s always been that way during my lifetime, but I chose the path to creative workspace over the factory and mass manufacturing. Thankfully, despite the odds and opposition, I have managed to provide for my family throughout these 45 years and sometimes it was really tough, but you know what, I’d do it all again. I was able to train my sons in woodworking, to be with them throughout the formative years of their lives and watch them grow into young men with substantive skills. I will always remember them making their first spoon and spatula and cutting board. I recall one of them making his own bed and his office desk with a bedside table to boot. Imagine working with one of them to build his first cello and then go on to a second and then violins too. Imagine hearing the first notes vibrate across the bridge.
Expanding my creative workspace encapsulates what being a parent and, for me, a father and craftsman is all about. It’s a non-monetary investment of one life into another. Apprentices past and present now share my vision for craft and work. Working is an honorable estate. Strange words? I suppose so, but how else can you describe that thing that gives meaning to life. I think people can still like work and all the more if or should I say when they work with their hands. Does that mean everyone must be an artisan? Of course not! The questions should be, “Why can’t all people work with their hands?” Why does it have to be an either or? Why can’t we make working wood or clay or iron or any other raw material available to all? Were I an academic I would still work with these raw essentials. Were I a software engineer I would still plant a garden and bake a cake. I said it before and I’ll say it today:
Go make something, anything!
Fly a kite you made from silk, brown paper bags or bits of string.
Work out the weights and wings and fins and things
You don’t know where things like this can lead to. You might end up with a quiet life, tending to your own business, working with your own hands. You might end up not only providing for your own needs, but also the needs of many others too. Inspiring each other is an important element of life. Enterprise such as this is a prize in and of itself.