Sometimes, when I am traveling and away from home, I realise how much value there is in having a creative space in which to work and create and how intrinsic this is and always has been to my wellbeing. This is a physical, emotional, psychological condition governed as much by a sense of belonging than by a mere geographical place or just having something to do that occupies this space we sometimes call time and at other times call a workplace.
As I wander the US aspect of the globe during my visits I imagine the woodworkers attending the shows working in their 12 x 20 garages on Black and Decker workmates using inappropriate tools and realise that creating just about anything with or without the right tools or equipment is important to us. It’s something we feel compelled to engage in to better what we have or do for ourselves and for others too. No amount of psychotherapy can match making a garden gate or a canoe and when you do little else other than software programming all day for a living or working in a warehouse pushing stuff around with a forklift, knowing you can spend an hour or two in the sanity of your home-based creative workspace somehow gives meaning and value to our life.
Last night, as the show was closing, a hundred or more people refused to leave until I finished off a picture frame corner with a few final strokes of a #4 smoothing plane. The lights dimmed and the announcer declared the show was over for the day, but the importance of completion was near and as important to my audience as it was to me. I think you will understand what I am saying.
An audience looking for answers is key to a good show. There were many demonstrators there trying to make a connection; woodworking guilds and master woodworkers like myself who have a lifetime of experience to pass on to the next generations of new-genre woodworkers. That legacy is why we gave the New Legacy School of Woodworking its name. It was to pass on skill and knowledge and a way of life to future generations and that is why I write. Over two decades in the making I finally concluded a work that was important to me. Conclusion, finishing what you started, is critical to our wellbeing and sanity.
I so enjoyed connecting with the hundreds of fellow woodworkers I met yesterday and the day before. I look forward to meeting even more today.